As we gear up for our Wicked Chocolate festival on Sunday May 7, we thought we’d chat with our in-house chocolatier Tad Lombardo about his favourite chocolate pairings and why they work so well together – some may surprise you but they’re definitely worth a try!
1) Salty Cheese
It’s pretty much a given that chocolate and cheese are some of the best known ingredients around but pairing them together? That sounds a little left field… but according to Tad (and he’s the expert), it’s all about the ‘salty and sweet’ combo.
“Salty and sweet definitely go together and the rule extends to chocolate and cheese – you’ve just gotta be open-minded. I’d suggest eating them separately but directly after one another. Start with something sharp like a wedge of Parmesan or Stilton, then go for the chocolate. That’s how you’re going to get the most out of the flavour.”
Okay this one surprised us a little – meat and chocolate? It must be an American thing.
“I know what you are thinking: you can take the boy out of America but not America out of the boy, but this does work! Again, the sweetness of the chocolate and the saltiness of the bacon creates a unique flavour sensation and it’s really tasty. Don’t knock it till you try it!”
I think we’ve all heard of choc-orange or ‘Jaffa’ flavoured things before but why does the pairing work so well? Tad gives us the low-down.
“The choc-orange pairing works perfectly when dark chocolate is involved. It’s all because the bitterness of the dark chocolate neutralises the sweetness of the orange and the flavours of the two end up really complementing one another.
Okay we’ve got no idea what he’s talking about here.
“I know this sounds really awful but it actually works very well in a ganache. The aromatic earthiness of the sage seems to contrast really well with the sweetness and richness of dark chocolate. I don’t think you’ll find too many combos like this around!”
5) Peanut Butter
I think this one is a bit of a no-brainer. You can’t really go wrong when you combine chocolate with any sort of nut right?
“Okay, again, this is very American but it works….And probably for no reason other than because I say so!”
You can’t argue with that!