In honor of Valentine’s Day, culture is celebrating chocolate and cheese with the help of Taza Chocolate in Somerville, Mass. and Formaggio Kitchen in Cambridge, Mass. Combining their powers of production and taste, they came up with these wonderful cheese and chocolate pairing suggestions to share with all of us:
Chocolate is often paired with wine and spirits, but it’s also a great match with cheese. Instead of using cheese and chocolate as bookends to a meal, enjoying artisan chocolate and fine cheese together can create complex and intriguing flavor combinations. Taza Chocolate’s stone ground, organic chocolates bring intense, fruity cacao flavor and a distinctive, rustic texture to the table. In particular, our bold, gritty Chocolate Mexicanos with their range of vibrant flavors ﾖ sweet, savory, and spicy make for excellent cheese pairings.
Pairings take two separate eating experiences and combine them into a single, elevated experience. A successful pairing is always one that achieves balance.
- Pair Taza Chipotle Chocolate Mexicano or Guajillo Chili Chocolate Mexicano with a mild flavored cheese like a sheep’s milk feta, or Cabra Mestre Quejiro (a goat’s milk cheese from Portugal). The feta has a cooling effect on the spiciness of the Guajillo Chili, and the Cabra Mestre Quejiro’s creaminess stands up well to the spice and slight smokiness of the Chipotle Chocolate.
- Try Taza’s 70% Stone Ground dark chocolate to round out the sharp flavors of a pungent cheese like Stilton. Fruity undertones of stone cherry and plum play off the bitterness of the blue in this classic pairing. The creamy texture of the Stilton alongside the grittiness of stone ground chocolate makes for a complex mouthfeel.
- Pair Taza Salt & Pepper Chocolate Mexicano with Queso Azul de Valderon (a goat’s and cow’s milk cheese from, Spain). This pairing delivers a complex progression of flavors. Beginning with a bright tang from the saltiness of both the cheese and the chocolate, a hint of spice from the pepper follows, and then mellows into a woodsy flavor as the spice passes.
- The nuttiness of Magdalena Captein cheese brings out the subtle almond flavor of the Taza Salted Almond Chocolate Mexicano. The complementary saltiness of each enhances the understated flavors in both the cheese and the chocolate.
- Pair a young cheese like Hillman Fresh Chèvre with a sweeter chocolate, like Taza Vanilla Chocolate Mexicano. The raspberry undertones of this extremely fresh cheese blend beautifully with the vanilla notes in the chocolate. Together, they develop a mousse-like quality in the mouth.
- Taza Orange Chocolate Mexicano pairs well with Calcagno (a goat’s milk cheese from Italy). The subtle floral and citrus notes of the aged cheese pairs perfectly with the orange chocolate.
- Use a chocolate flavored with bright, assertive flavors (Taza Cinnamon Chocolate Mexicano or Taza Coffee Chocolate Mexicano) to cut through the richness of a creamy, dense cheese, like Delice de Bourgogne, a triple creme from France, or a more pungent cheese like Hooligan, a washed rind cow’s milk cheese.