When it comes to pairing chocolate with other ingredients or flavors, there are numerous delicious options. Skip to the second half of this blog post for the wild options, but for starters here are five popular choices:
Fruits: Chocolate and fruits often make an excellent pairing. Some classic combinations include strawberries dipped in chocolate, chocolate-covered bananas, or oranges with dark chocolate. The contrast between the sweet, tangy fruits and the rich, indulgent chocolate creates a delightful balance.
Nuts: Chocolate and nuts complement each other beautifully. Whether it's almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, or pecans, the crunch and natural flavors of nuts add texture and depth to the chocolate. You can enjoy chocolate bars with whole or chopped nuts, or try combinations like chocolate-covered almonds or hazelnut truffles.
Caramel: The combination of chocolate and caramel is a match made in heaven. The smooth, buttery sweetness of caramel pairs wonderfully with the richness of chocolate. Whether it's caramel-filled chocolates, chocolate-covered caramels, or a drizzle of caramel over chocolate desserts, this pairing is sure to satisfy any sweet tooth.
Coffee: Our personal favorite, chocolate and coffee are both complex and flavorful, making them a great combination. The robustness and depth of coffee can enhance the richness of chocolate. Enjoy a piece of dark chocolate with a cup of coffee, or indulge in a mocha-flavored dessert to experience this delicious pairing.
Spices: Adding spices to chocolate can elevate its flavor profile. Some popular spices to pair with chocolate include cinnamon, chili, cardamom, and ginger. These spices add warmth, complexity, and a hint of heat, creating a delightful contrast to the sweetness of chocolate. Spiced hot chocolate, chili-infused dark chocolate, or gingerbread chocolate treats are all wonderful options.
Now onto the wild stuff…if you're looking for unique and unconventional pairings with chocolate, here are five intriguing options:
Bacon: The combination of sweet and savory flavors can be surprisingly delightful. The saltiness and smokiness of bacon can complement the richness of chocolate, creating a unique contrast. Try incorporating crispy bacon bits into chocolate desserts, or enjoy a bacon-infused chocolate bar for a truly unique taste experience. It may not make it healthier, but it sure is tasty.
Cheese: While it may seem unconventional, certain types of cheese can pair remarkably well with chocolate. Rich and creamy cheeses like blue cheese, aged cheddar, or goat cheese can create a harmonious balance with chocolate. Experiment with a cheese and chocolate platter, allowing the flavors to mingle and create a complex taste sensation.
Balsamic Vinegar: The tangy acidity of balsamic vinegar can add a unique twist to chocolate. Drizzling a high-quality balsamic reduction over dark chocolate or enjoying chocolate-covered strawberries with a touch of balsamic vinegar can create a surprising and sophisticated flavor combination.
Lavender: The floral and slightly herbal notes of lavender can add an intriguing dimension to chocolate. Consider infusing lavender into a chocolate ganache or incorporating dried lavender flowers into a chocolate cake or truffles. The combination creates a delicate and aromatic experience.
Chili Peppers: The combination of chocolate and chili peppers may sound unusual, but it has gained popularity in recent years. The mild heat of chili peppers can enhance the flavor of chocolate, creating a delightful sensation on the palate. Look for chocolate bars or desserts infused with chili peppers or experiment with making your own spicy chocolate treats.
You’ll find many of these delicious and unique combinations this fall from the amazing vendors of the DMV Chocolate and Coffee Festival! Enjoy :)