Pairing cheese with chocolate may seem unconventional but it works. Some of my most successful cheeseboards have chocolate or fudge as part of the display. I started doing this for those people who didn’t want the cheese while others gossiped and drank over the cheeseboard. Guests quickly latched onto it, ad hoc pairing caramel with brie and dark chocolate with goats curd. Now I advise clients to combine chocolate in cheese starters and canapes. I’ve even seen people take a chance on crackers made from Coco Pops.
In this exploration, we will delve into the art of pairing three different cheeses chocolate, highlighting the intricate interplay of flavours, textures, and sensations that await your palate.
Here are some of my favourites:
- Just chocolate – Brie and Dark Chocolate
- Hot Chocolate – Gruyere (Swiss-style) Cheese with Spicey Hot Chocolate
- Chocolate Dessert – Blue Cheese and dark chocolate covered strawberries
Try Them Now!
1. JUST CHOCOLATE Brie and Dark Chocolate
Brie, a soft and creamy French-inspired cheese, offers a savoury, creamy, buttery flavour with earthy undertones. When paired with high-quality dark chocolate, it’s a match made in creamy heaven. The subtle nuttiness of Brie complements the deep, complex flavors of dark chocolate, enhancing its natural cocoa notes. The creamy texture of Brie contrasts with the chocolate’s initial crunch and follows on as a chocolate liquor in the mouth creating a sensual dance on your taste buds.
How to make the best of the pair:
- break off a piece of dark chocolate and let it melt gently on your tongue
- chew in the brie, allowing its creamy goodness to mingle with the lingering chocolate
The result is a harmonious blend of textures and flavours, a testament to the magic that can happen when you bring together these two culinary delights.
Manchego is another friend to chocolate. As a sheep’s cheese it is naturally nutty, often almond or walnut, both of which have long histories with chocolate.
2. HOT CHOCOLATE Gruyere (Swiss-style) Cheese with Spicey Hot Chocolate
The tradition of pairing hot chocolate and cheese traces back to the heart of Mexico, where the Aztecs and Mayans were known to enjoy a concoction called “xocolātl.” Xocolātl (Aztec Hot Chocolate) is an ancient beverage, a spicy blend of cocoa, chili peppers, vanilla and honey. It can be enjoyed either hot or cold.
Medium or Mature Gruyere is an equally ancient balanced sweet, savoury and salty cheese from Switzerland, which also accompanying nutty, fruity and floral notes.
The combination of the pair brings a warm mix of comfort and spice, jolting you in its embrace.
How to make the best of the pair:
- Stir in some chilli flakes into your chocolate before adding the hot milk and let it settle
- Cut yourself a piece of gruyere, and gently chew it so release its savoury flavours
- Sip the hot chocolate, and chew the two together
There is harmony as both are rooted in milk and earthiness. The spice raises the combination to another level, as it distracts you before dipping back into the milk creamy chocolate.
3. CHOCOLATE DESSERT – Blue Cheese and Dark Chocolate Covered Strawberries
A train crash of deliciousness.
Blue cheese loves, fruit and sweetness. Classics like Gorgonzolas love figs and apricots, stilton loves apples, raisons and pears, roquefort likes a berry compote. The combination of chocolate and strawberries raises the high floral notes of the strawberries to the earthy sweet forest notes of chocolate.
The blue cheese will bring a creaminess and piquancy not present in either. It gives the combination amazing range.
- Dip the strawberries in softened chocolate and lay out on a tray covered with baking parchment
- Break up the cheese into crumbs and lightly sprinkle over the strawberries so the cheese settles lightly into the chocolate
- Put in the fridge to harden
- Serve direct from the fridge
Experiment! Nothing is sacred.
Enjoy the above, and let that be the beginning. Try white chocolate, milk chocolate, fudge, cocoa nibs and more. You will be shocked by how fun and tasty it is to break the rules.