Cheese and chocolate are so different that the thought of pairing them can seem at the very least difficult, or you may find the idea down right bonkers.
Not surprisingly, wine and cheese has long been a traditional “pairing” that has evolved over time, particularly with the growing proliferation of artisan cheeses within the last 15 years.
But cheese and chocolate? You might not think these two delicious, but very different, flavours would work so well together, but take it from us – pairing cheddar and chocolate creates a culinary combo of sublime delight.
How to set up your pairing
The key to this type of tasting is keeping it simple. Both are super-rich foods and a little goes a long way…
Be sure both are room temperature before tasting. Remove the cheese from refrigerator at least 20-35 minutes before the tasters arrive to maximise flavours and aromas. Cold cheese does not release flavours and aromas as quickly and alters the taste.
We recommend a small bite of cheese and then a small bite of chocolate to start, chew some, then take another small bite of cheese.
Choose quality over quantity and limit to three to five pairings.
What to look for
Cheese: Cheese offers a full spectrum of aromas such as grass, fermented hay, nuts, caramel, and animal (yes, animal!).
Chocolate: There is an incredible array of scents and aromas in chocolate. Milk chocolate aromas may include milk, caramel and malt. Dark chocolate may include nuts, coffee, dried fruits and wine.
Cheese: Creamy and buttery texture and taste
Chocolate: Classic dark chocolate with a punch of salt at the end.
Combination: A blast of rich marmite across the top of the palate, with a tangy finish that develops into a fungi end note. We found the addition of the cheese tones down the flavour of the sea salt in the chocolate. A really very good combination.
Cheese: Smooth in texture with a floral and almondy character
Chocolate: Bold and rich with classic dark chocolate notes. We also found red fruit notes of raspberry and cherry.
Combination: This is a really lavish mouthful. The two together are an almost overindulgent mix of floral bittersweet fruit flavours. An orgy of flavours in the mouth.
Cheese: A rich, intense cheese with caramel-y umami flavours. A full palate experience that develops across the mouth.
Chocolate: The label warns you about the dramatic qualities of this chocolate, but blimey it packs a punch. Almost too intense on its own.
Combination: This was by far our favourite paring. The mouth comes alive with the severe bitterness of the cocoa livened by the salty sweetness of the Vintage. The Vintage stands up well against the 100% cocoa and calms the rapid savouryness that is trying to overtake your mouth. The caramel flavour from the cheese comes through cleanly. We also loved the crunch of the cheese crystals with the crack and chomp that the chocolate delivers, before it melts at mouth temperature and combines seamlessly with the body of the cheese. Like eating rocket fuel, you can certainly ditch the espresso and load up with this combination for an early-morning wake up call.