How to Pair Cheese and… Chocolate?
Who doesn’t love cheese or chocolate? But together? Believe it or not, they’re actually the perfect combination for a tasting!
Cheese and chocolate are so different that the thought of pairing them seems difficult. The key to this type of tasting is keeping it simple. Both are super-rich foods and a little goes a long way. Choose quality over quantity and limit to three to five pairings.
The Art of Tasting
Learning how to taste cheese and chocolate will deepen your appreciation for the foods and makers. Start with your basic senses and expand from there. Be sure both are room temperature before tasting. Remove the cheeses from refrigerator at least 20-35 minutes before the tasters arrive to maximize flavors and aromas. Cold cheese does not release flavors and aromas as quickly and alters the taste.
Cheese: Some cheeses are intense in color while others are not. Look at the cheese rind. Is it uniform? Any cracks? Is the cheese dry like a walnut shell or moist like a sliced apple?
Chocolate: For chocolate, color depends on the origin of the beans. Quality chocolate will be shiny, glossy, and have clean edges. Look for bloom or grayish white steaks caused by poor temperature and improper storage.
Cheese: Is the cheese dense, compact or light? Is it smooth, grainy or crunchy? The higher the butter fat content, the creamier the mouth feel of the cheese will be.
Chocolate: Never chew chocolate. Chocolate should melt in your mouth. Good chocolate will feel silky and smooth. Subpar chocolate may feel grainy, waxy or greasy to the tongue.
Last, the finish..
Allow the cheese and chocolate to linger to fully appreciate the finale of the flavors. The finish is important as many of the early flavors may be masked by other ingredients.
Not all your cheese and chocolate pairings will be a success, but tasting is half the fun. Take your time and try different pairings. Host a cheese and chocolate event, and guide your friends on a delicious journey. Just remember, keep it simple.