If you’ve ever considered hosting a chocolate tasting party, we’ve got a few big tips for you!
Few things seem to heal a soul more than a box of high-quality chocolates, and chocolate tasting parties add an extra layer of fun. Many chocolatiers offer various candies, including caramel or coconut-filled squares, mint crème-filled rounds, and nut-sprinkled wedges. And with such an overwhelming array of mouthwatering confections, it seems almost impossible to choose a favorite.
To add an extra flare to your party, you should experiment with even more chocolate pairing. A fun element for your party can be determining which food items match well with different types of chocolate.
If you’ve ever thought about pairing chocolate with other foods, read on. Below, we list the best items to pair with each type of chocolate so you better appreciate the silky, rich candy you crave. This guide is perfect for people hoping to host a chocolate tasting, or if you’re just trying out some chocolate pairings on your own.
Coffee and Chocolate
Start your morning off right with a cup of chocolaty brew. Whether you prefer dark, white, or milk chocolate, any type of this confection complements the roasted aroma of coffee.
Each chocolate has a gentle balance of flavors, but coffee also offers tantalizing notes that add to the experience. Serve small squares of chocolate alongside your morning java, or melt the chocolate separately and pour it into your coffee before you drink it (the chocolate acts as a creamer and sweetener in one).
To enhance a light roast coffee, such as Cinnamon or New England, consider a creamy white chocolate. For medium roast coffees, like Colombian or Kenyan, add smooth milk chocolate. Or, if you prefer a dark roast coffee, such as Brazilian or Italian, dark chocolate creates the perfect flavor contrast.
This is also perfect for a chocolate tasting on a Sunday morning. Anyone who hasn’t tried coffee and chocolate with surely thank you!
Herbs and Spices with Chocolate
The Aztecs understood that certain spices improved a chocolate lover‘s eating experience. These ancients often mixed crushed red chili peppers into their chocolate. Follow their example and experiment with chocolate-covered chili peppers.
However, if you want something more on the mild side, try chocolates laced with the following herbs and spices:
- Pumpkin spice
Take your chocolates to the next level and turn them into herb- or spice-infused hot chocolates. Remember to add a dollop of fresh whipped cream to bring a touch of airiness to your gourmet drink.
This seasoning could fall into the previous section. However, salt is an entirely different animal altogether. If you feel curious about the effect spices have on chocolate but you’d rather forego other flavors, then sea salt proves a happy solution.
Sea salt accents the sweetness of most chocolates and creates bursts of savory flavor you won’t soon forget. Sea salt best suits dark chocolate treats, and this spice increases dark chocolate’s rich flavor profile.
If you feel unsure about adding sea salt flakes directly onto your chocolate squares, consider a few of the following chocolate-covered alternatives:
- Matzo bread
- Potato chips
- Saltine crackers
- Tortilla chips
Meat and Chocolate
If you’ve ever visited Mexico or eaten at a Mexican restaurant, chances are you’ve heard of the term “mole.” Served over rice, this native dish typically consists of chicken, pureed chili peppers, spices, and chocolate.
But recently, other candy companies and restaurants have taken mole and put a fun, American twist on it: they’ve combined chocolate with other meats, including pork, lamb, poultry, seafood, beef, and bacon.
For example, one barbeque restaurant offers customers a burger stacked with coffee-and spice-rubbed beef, gouda cheese, bacon, and a chocolate hazelnut spread. Other shops specialize in chocolate-covered bacon-one candy company even sells a treat called “Sizzling Bacon,” a chocolate bar filled with bacon pieces and pop rocks.
If any of these options sound too adventurous for what you’d like to try, consider making a grilled bacon and cheese sandwich and serving chocolate as a dessert.
This could be a surprising addition to your chocolate tasting party that makes it a hit!
Cheese and Chocolate
As with wine, cheese perfectly complements different types of chocolate to give you a pleasurable snacking experience. This dairy product also provides you with a phenomenal salty-sweet flavor sure to satisfy any craving.
For white chocolate, try the following cheeses:
- Cream cheese
If you love milk chocolate, then consider these types of cheese:
- Goat cheese
- White cheddar
And if your cupboards only house dark chocolate, you’ll want to pair this sweet with saltier, aged cheeses, including:
- Monterey Jack
Complete your cheese and chocolate platter with various fruits and berries. These foods not only make your platter a little healthier, but they also add unique flavor combinations you can’t find anywhere else. Pair white and milk chocolate with citrus fruits, like orange, lime, and lemon, as well as with other fruits like cranberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries.
Since dark chocolate already has a tangy, bitter flavor, serve it with sweeter fruits, including grapes, all berries, figs, and bananas.
As you order your next box of chocolates, keep these food pairings in mind. Customize your next order with candies that complement your favorite foods. And don’t forget to host a clever chocolate tasting to demonstrate your newfound knowledge.
Use these combinations and host a chocolate tasting party, and you’ll wow your guests with the greats tastes you create.