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Perfect Pairs (April 2018)

April’s theme is Perfect Pairs. The idea was to match various chocolate treats with food and drink. I thought this was a really interesting concept: especially the decision to let you choose your own pairings. Advice on pairing was given via a web article, which proved to be a handy guide. Personally, I’m a fan of eating chocolate with a good cuppa, so for this experiment I purposefully steered clear of tea and chose some other pairings so as to be a bit more adventurous. For foods, I had a creamy blue brie, some smoky cheese, yoghurt, plum paste and crackers. I thought about opening a bottle of wine but, knowing I wouldn’t get through it all during the tasting, I decided on sips of port instead (from an already open bottle).

I started with She Universe’s Sassy Sesame Snap which, in itself, is an interesting pairing. Dark chocolate coated in sesame seeds is not something I ever thought I’d eat. On its own, it’s almost like eating savoury chocolate, with the sesame flavour and the sweetness competing for taste supremacy. I tried pairing this with plum paste, but found the paste too sweet. It drowned out the savoury moreishness. Unfortunately the port also overpowered the taste of the chocolate. Contrastingly, the smoky cheese worked quite well and complemented the savoury sesame. The soft blue was also a nice match.

Next was something completely different: Chocolatier Mirams’ White Chocolate, Lemon, Olive Oil and Poppy seed tablet. Again, this is an amazing combination in itself. Lemon and poppy seeds are a great combination (think lemon poppy seed cake): add white chocolate and olive oil and you have a divinely inspired recipe. I tried it with the creamy brie, which worked exceptionally well.

I’m afraid that I don’t like coffee, so She Chocolat’s Chocolate Coffee Beans were wasted on me. I did try one and the chocolate coating was lovely. They will certainly make a great gift for a friend or family member.

Ocho’s 70% Cacao Solomons was just beautiful on its own, but also worked well with white bread, much like a chocolate pastry. The plum paste wasn’t a bad taste partner either as it complemented the fruity undertones of the chocolate.

When I opened up the package containing Choco Loco’s Chocolates, I breathed in a beautiful, heady, deep chocolate scent. Beneath a thick layer of couverture chocolate, lay blackcurrant and absinthe in one (A Currant Affair) and raspberry and wasabi in the other (Pepperberry Delight). Bold flavour choices: what to match them with? Cheese didn’t seem right and I just wasn’t in the mood for (any more) Port. Creamy yoghurt wasn’t too bad with the Pepperberry delight but it didn’t work so well with the Currant Affair. I think this would work well with another liqueur or perhaps a malty beer. Unfortunately, I didn’t have either on hand.

Chocolatier Mirams’ Ginger and Sesame Bonbons were an interesting melange of savoury sesame and subtle ginger. I didn’t really find a good match for these, but they were so unusual on their own, that that didn’t matter. And trying out different pairings is all part of the fun, even if you don’t find that perfect one.

Experimenting with different food and chocolate pairings was a great way to really savour the flavours and think about what might complement them. This was a fun tasting adventure and I look forward to more.

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