Wine and cheese isn’t the only match made in heaven. Pick your favorite artisanal cheeses and try some cheese and chocolate pairings!
Peanut butter and jelly. Ham and cheese. Strawberries and cream. These are food pairings that have stood the test of time, and every cuisine in the world is built on them. So how do new pairings develop?
A great chef does a lot of research and taste testing to find complementary flavors when composing a new dish to serve. Roasted Brussels sprouts with aged balsamic vinegar and maple-cured bacon was a trend seen on menus for a while. Craft bartenders and mixologists are getting in on the trend, too, using tonics, bitters and herbs to invent new libations.
Turns out that there is an art and science to combining flavor profiles. In fact, the topic is so popular that much has been written about the science of taste and why we like certain foods.
Businesses like foodpairing.com have cropped up in recent years due to the need from the culinary industry to continuously develop intriguing flavor combinations.
Get Creative with Wine and Cheese Pairings and More
Taking food and beverage pairings to the next level, there are several books, blogs and articles written about how to select an appropriate wine for a particular meal. And then there are authors who have taken the topic one step further, such as the award-winning book, “Taste Buds and Molecules: The Art and Science of Food, Wine and Flavor.”
Not surprisingly, wine and cheese has long been a traditional “pairing” that has evolved over time, particularly with the proliferation of artisan cheeses within the last 15 years. Wine and cheese companies have definitely benefited from the growing foodie culture. For example, the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, which promotes the many cheeses produced in the state, produces multiple tasting guides. Their online site offers a plethora of wine and cheese pairings. There’s even a page devoted to pairing artisan cheese with iced tea in an issue of Grate. Pair. Share. And here at The Wisconsin Cheeseman, we provide a handy guide to pairing cheese with a variety of foods.
As food choices have become more global and palates are more sophisticated than ever, a significant effort has been put toward discovering new pairing combinations with wine, beer, coffee, and myriad foods.
How to Pair Cheese and Chocolate
Sticking with science, the Huffington Post reported on foodpairing.com’s free online pairing tool, which identifies the best match for 50 foods and 50 beverages. In the article, the writer found that Parmesan cheese pairs very well with chocolate. The article says:
“The salty and savory (umami) flavor of Parmesan cheese pairs exceptionally well with the depth of flavor in dark chocolate. The chocolate actually brings out fruity, tart notes in the cheese. According to the Foodpairing tree for Parmesan cheese, the best chocolates to pair include dark chocolate (64%), milk chocolate (43%) and white chocolate (31%).”
According to the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, there are no rules when it comes to pairing cheese with chocolate—it’s a matter of personal preference. So feel free to experiment! In case you need a place to start, check out the Cheese and Chocolate Pairing Guide, which recommends several clever pairings, including: Gouda with Butter Toffee, Gruyère with Milk Chocolates and Blue Cheese with Dark Chocolate Truffles.
Really, you can’t go wrong with tasting artisanal cheese alongside a dreamy piece of chocolate. However, if you’re a Limburger cheese fan, we’ll leave finding the perfect chocolate pairing up to you!