Cheese and Chocolate Pairings
Wine and cheese isn’t the only match made in heaven. Pick your favorite artisanal cheeses and try some cheese and chocolate pairings! It is a winning combination.
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.
How to Pair Cheese and Chocolate
Pairing cheese and chocolate can create unique and delightful flavor combinations. The contrasting elements of sweet and savory can complement each other, resulting in a harmonious and intriguing taste experience. Here’s a guide on how to pair cheese and chocolate:
- Select the Right Cheeses: Start by choosing a variety of cheeses that have distinct flavors and textures. Opt for both mild and strong cheeses to provide a range of options for pairing. Some popular choices include Gouda, Cheddar, Brie, Roquefort, and Goat cheese.
- Consider Texture: Pay attention to the texture of the cheeses you select. The general rule of thumb is to pair creamy and softer cheeses with smoother chocolates, while harder and aged cheeses go well with darker, more intense chocolates. However, feel free to experiment and trust your taste preferences.
- Match Intensity: Aim for a balanced pairing by matching the intensity of the cheese and chocolate. Lighter, milder cheeses work well with milk or white chocolates, while stronger cheeses can stand up to the boldness of dark chocolate. This way, neither the cheese nor the chocolate will overpower each other.
- Complementary Flavors: Look for complementary flavors between the cheese and chocolate. For example, a sharp Cheddar can be paired with a dark chocolate with nutty or fruity notes. A creamy Brie can be enhanced with a milk chocolate infused with caramel or honey. Experiment with different flavor combinations to find the ones that appeal to your taste buds.
- Try Contrasting Textures: Experiment with contrasting textures to create an interesting mouthfeel. Combining a creamy, smooth chocolate with a crumbly, aged cheese or a crunchy nutty chocolate with a soft, creamy cheese can provide a delightful contrast that enhances the overall experience.
- Select Accompaniments: Consider incorporating complementary accompaniments to enhance the pairing. Fresh fruits like figs, berries, and pears can add a touch of sweetness and freshness. Nuts such as almonds, walnuts, or hazelnuts can provide a crunchy element. Additionally, crackers or bread can serve as a neutral base for enjoying the cheese and chocolate together.
- Taste and Experiment: The most important part of pairing cheese and chocolate is to taste and experiment. Everyone’s palate is unique, so trust your own preferences and explore different combinations. Start with small portions to get a sense of how the flavors work together, and adjust as necessary.
Remember, the goal is to create a balanced and enjoyable experience. Don’t be afraid to try unconventional pairings and discover new flavor profiles. With an open mind and a sense of culinary adventure, you may stumble upon delightful combinations you never thought possible.
What is the Best Cheese to Pair with Chocolate
When it comes to pairing cheese with chocolate, the “best” cheese can vary depending on personal taste preferences. However, here are a few popular cheese options that tend to work well with chocolate:
- Gouda: Gouda is a versatile cheese that pairs nicely with various types of chocolate. Its creamy and slightly nutty flavor complements both milk and dark chocolates. Consider pairing aged Gouda with dark chocolate for a rich and complex combination.
- Brie: Brie is a soft and creamy cheese with a mild and buttery flavor. It pairs well with milk or white chocolate, as the smooth and luscious texture of the cheese complements the sweetness of the chocolate. Try pairing it with a white chocolate infused with citrus or floral notes for a delightful contrast.
- Parmesan: 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%).”
- Blue Cheese: Blue cheese, such as Roquefort or Gorgonzola, can create a bold and unique pairing with chocolate. The pungent and salty flavor of the blue cheese contrasts beautifully with the sweetness of chocolate. Pair it with a high-quality dark chocolate to balance the flavors.
- Goat Cheese: Goat cheese has a distinct tangy and slightly earthy flavor that can harmonize with certain chocolates. It pairs well with dark chocolate infused with fruits like figs, cherries, or raspberries. The combination of the creamy and tangy goat cheese with the fruity notes in the chocolate can be quite delightful.
- Cheddar: Cheddar cheese, especially sharp or aged varieties, can provide a lovely contrast to chocolate. Its rich and savory flavor can balance the sweetness of chocolate. Consider pairing a sharp Cheddar with a dark chocolate that has nutty or spicy undertones for a complex and satisfying combination.
Remember, these are just suggestions, and the “best” cheese to pair with chocolate ultimately depends on your personal taste preferences. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different cheese and chocolate combinations to discover your own favorite pairing.
If you need a place to start, try 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!