Cheese and chocolate
Cheese and chocolate actually have a lot in common. Not only do they both taste amazing, both are a result of fermentation. Cacao seeds are first fermented before being dried and roasted to produce the flavour we know as chocolate. When it comes to cheese, it’s the complex interaction of microbes doing their business which allows curds to become cheese with its own unique and distinct texture and flavour.
Both cheese and chocolate share a staggering 73 flavour compounds; both are an expression of their unique terroir (terroir encompasses soil, climate and geography). Therefore, it only seems right that they both exhibit rich, robust, and nutty flavours as well as a creamy mouthfeel. The key to their combination is finding that magic spot where aromas, flavours and texture pair well together.
At Harper & Blohm we believe in putting in the hard yards for our customers. We ate a lot of cheese and chocolate and this is what we learnt:
- Like cheese, chocolate is best served at room temperature. In fact, keeping your chocolate in the fridge isn’t ideal, unless you live in truly tropical climes. Not only can it absorb the aromas from that vindaloo you made the other day, it can also develop a dusty white appearance known as sugar bloom which affects both flavour and texture. Store it in an airtight container in a cool dark place.
- Serve twice as much cheese as chocolate. Good quality chocolate can have a tendency to dominate the palate, so we recommend serving enough cheese to meet the chocolate’s intensity.
Here are a few of our favoured pairings:
- Dark chocolate (70-80%) pairs nicely with complex hard cheese such as L’Amuse Signature Gouda, spicy blues like Queso Azul de Valdéon, and this one surprised us too - goat or ewes milk cheeses.
- Milk chocolate (30-50%) complements fresh cheese, chèvre, and soft creamy white mould cheese such as Brillat Savarin or Le Dauphin Double Crème.
- Salted dark chocolate or milk chocolate with fruit/nuts works well with a blue cheese Berry’s Creek Tarwin Blue or Colston Bassett Stilton PDO
These guidelines can help get you started but like any cheese pairing a lot of it will come down to individual taste. So don’t be afraid to play around and see what works for you.
By Olivia Sutton & Amanda Kennedy