How To Pair: Chocolate + Cheese

Chocolate and cheese may seem a little weird to pair at first, but we swear the combo can be ridiculously delicious.  Both are go through fermentation processes (most of the time), which develops some crazy complex flavors that are fun to explore together! 

Chocolate + Cheese Board

Here's how we pair the two.  First you'll want to taste each of the products on their own to know what flavor notes each has before combining.  If you want to get real nerdy about it, you can taste the chocolate and cheese at different times, preferably with a clear palate to assess without the influence of your garlicky lunch or morning toothpaste!

CHOCOLATE:

  1. Break a bar.  It should snap, not bend.
  2. Take a moment to smell the chocolate before tasting.  Notice the aromas.
  3. Chew a piece of the chocolate but don’t swallow and let the chocolate completely melt over your taste buds.
  4. Breathe in the aromatics.  Does the chocolate taste fruity?  What kind of fruit notes do you taste?  Is it earthy?  Acidic?  Floral?  Nutty?

CHEESE:

  1. Give your cheese a good once over to take in its appearance and textures.  Is it smooth or cracked?  Does it have a rind?  Is it soft and pliable or hard and easily crumble?  
  2. Take a good sniff of your cheese and notice the aromas.  Is it funky?  Grassy?  Sharp?
  3. Finally, taste the cheese, chewing or letting it melt over your tongue to release more flavor for your senses to take stock of. Is it briney?  Tangy?  Caramelly?  Nutty?

1 + 1 = 3: 
Time to combine!  The ultimate goal is for both the chocolate and the cheese to be elevated.  A helpful tip for your tasting: let your cheese come to room temperature when you can (same with your chocolate)!  You can taste more nuanced flavors at warmer temperatures.

  1. Take a bite of the chocolate and let it melt until there’s almost none left on your tongue and take a similarly sized bite of cheese.
  2. Let the flavors meld and evaluate if you think the flavors complement each other.  Does the chocolate enhance the flavor of the rind?  The type of milk?  Does the cheese cover up some of the more subtle flavors in the chocolate?
  3. Sometimes pairing similar flavors like a nutty and caramelly aged cheese with a chocolate with toffee or caramel notes creates a really beautiful complementary pairing.  Other times, they can kind of drown each other out and we look for more contrasting flavors like that an earthy, floral cheese with a rich, fudgy chocolate.  The experimenting is the best part!

SOME OF OUR FAVES:

95% Deep Dark + Purple Haze Chevre from Cypress Grove Creamery
Aged Gouda + Mokaccino
Chevre + Triple Berry
Triple Creamed Brie + 54% Dark Milk Chocolate
Humboldt Fog + 67% Dark Chocolate from Madagascar
Comté + Toffee + Sea Salt

Explore on your own and share your own Chocolate + Cheese pairings with us on social by tagging @tchochocolate and #treatTCHOself.  Can't wait to see what you discover!