Feasting On Chocolate: A Foodie’s Guide to Chocolate Pairings
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Feasting On Chocolate: A Foodie’s Guide to Chocolate Pairings

Chocolate and romance are a likely couple. So, why not devote a whole day to feasting on the luxurious aphrodisiac with your beloved?

Let’s look at some ideas for a day of decadence certain to make your sweetheart swoon.

Breakfast – Chocolate with Bread and Bacon

To start your day, whip up a batch of chocolate chip pancakes – a common favorite among kids and adults. Pancakes are a safe choice if you’re worried about being too adventurous with chocolate. Plus, they’re quick and easy to make – and don’t forget to shape them like a heart.

If pancakes don’t suit you, try French toast topped with Nutella and powdered sugar; sweet crêpes loaded with chocolate chunks; or throw a few chocolate chips in a bowl of oatmeal for a healthier pick.

Bacon and chocolate have become a popular duo in recent years. I’m not a fan of this one – I like the two separately, not together – but you might see this as the perfect combo. While you have chocolate chips on the counter, melt a few in the microwave and drizzle a ribbon of chocolate over crispy, warm bacon as a breakfast side. Wash it down with a big glass of orange juice – another flavor well-paired with chocolate.

Snack – Chocolate with Salt

Chocolate covered pretzels remain a longtime sweet and salty favorite. Try adding a dash of mint flavoring to melted chocolate for a variation on this easy treat.

Chocolate covered potato chips are another odd couple garnering a lot of attention these days. I’m not crazy about this one either; give me a dark chocolate bar with sea salt instead. Escazú Chocolates makes a 65% bar with flecks of sea salt that you’ll want to savor as long as possible.

Lunch – Chocolate with Cheese and Fruit

Pairing cheese and chocolate can be tricky. Both are rich foods with a variety of flavors and aromas ranging from mild to strong. As such, chocolate pairs better with some cheeses and not so much with others.

A new choice for me is the grilled Parmesan and chocolate sandwich. It might sound strange but the nutty hints in well-aged Parmesan mixed with dark chocolate – I use 72% cacao – creates a savory blend. You’ll want to use Parm that’s been aged for 24 months or longer as it will carry those nutty tones that complement dark chocolate.

Prepare two slices of bread as you would for a typical grilled cheese sandwich. Slice thin pieces of aged Parmesan and shave chocolate over the cheese. I prefer heavy on the cheese and light on the chocolate, but feel free to find your own perfect ratio of the two. Grill until browned on both sides. For an extra boost of flavor, dip bite-sized pieces in fig butter.

Blue cheese also pairs well with dark chocolate. Mix a stronger blue with a 55% dark or a milder cheese with chocolate closer to 80%.

If you like traditional baked brie, stuff it with milk chocolate. The creamy textures of both cheese and chocolate create a scrumptious twist.

Fruit also goes well with both cheese and chocolate. Add raspberries, blueberries, or strawberries as a side to your cheese and chocolate lunch to round out the meal.

Snack – Chocolate with Nuts

We can’t talk about chocolate pairings without mentioning peanuts, cashews, and almonds. From trail mix to peanut butter balls, there’s no denying this delicious partnership. Mixing chocolate and nuts may be as old as chocolate itself, but it’s still much loved.

Dinner – Chocolate with Spices and Sweet Potatoes

For dinner on a winter evening, add cocoa powder to your crock-pot of meaty chili. Chocolate adds a rich flavor dimension to chili spices, making this variation one of my favorites.

Chocolate also complements a Mexican dinner menu. Try steak fajitas with mole sauce. The spicy chocolate sauce works well for dipping or dousing. For another tip, try a few dashes of cocoa in your next pot of black beans and wait for the compliments as your dear one tries to figure out what makes them taste so good.

Sweet potatoes are another enhancement to a chocolate-themed dinner. Whether you prefer baked sweet potatoes, sweet potato casserole, or sweet potato fries, add a sprinkle of cinnamon and drizzle them in melted chocolate for another palate delight.

Dessert – Chocolate with Wine and Coffee

Chocolate for dessert is certainly a no-brainer. A gooey, lava-style or ganache-filled chocolate cake with a cup of coffee makes a divine after-dinner pair, perfect for sharing with your beau.

If that’s overkill on the sweet tooth, a simple square (or three) of dark 74% chocolate with a glass of port wine is the right amount of evening comfort. When pairing chocolate with wine, choose a wine that’s sweeter than the chocolate you’ve chosen.

drink your chocolate guide

To determine the sweetness of a chocolate bar, keep in mind that chocolate with a high percent of cacao will be less sweet than those with a lower percent. In other words, 40% is much sweeter than 80%.

Night Cap – Chocolate with Bourbon and Cigars

I’m not much of a bourbon drinker, although I do like the flavor (without the burn). So, when I was killing time in an airport restaurant and saw a chocolate bourbon milkshake on the menu, I ordered one on the spot. Vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce, and bourbon in a blender will satisfy a chocolate hankering, as well as the need for a bedtime drink.

Bourbon may not be my thing, but I have been known to smoke a stogie every now and then. If you and your lover are cigar aficionados, check out The House of Grauer’s chocolates, specifically created for pairing with the strength and aroma of your favorite cigar.

If you’re like me and may not be well-versed in tobacco but enjoy a smoke on special occasions, sit by the fireplace with your sweetie, light up a chocolate-flavored cigar, and pour a glass of cabernet or whiskey to wrap up the day of lavishing in chocolate.

After that, you’re on your own.

Photo Credits: Author,  Ulrik,  Author, fotosanjay, Spiders, Author, and hyfather

Feasting On Chocolate: A Foodie’s Guide to Chocolate Pairings

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