Cheese and chocolate provide limitless opportunities for pairing. While cacao is not grown in the continental U.S., chocolate from Sonoma County chocolate maker Volo pairs beautifully with cheeses from Sonoma and adjacent West Marin. Volo’s myriad of flavored bars offers lots of intriguing options for both contrasting and complementing cheese. Read more about Volo Chocolate.
According to Jeff and Susan Mall of Volo Chocolate, what cheese and chocolate both have in common is that they are the result of fermentation. Chocolate is made by fermenting the cacao seeds before drying them and then grounding them. Cheese is made from milk that is fermented which helps create the curd.
Even though both cheese and chocolate are fermented, they might seem like an unlikely match. But Jeff explains that fermented foods go well together. Both chocolate and cheese are rich and complex, and their nuanced flavors complement each other. He adds, “The reason they pair well together is that salt loves sweet.” For skeptics he offers an example, “We all know cheesecake with chocolate. The richness of the cheese and the chocolate, it is a classic.”
HOW TO TASTE CHOCOLATE AND CHEESE TOGETHER
When pairing chocolate and cheese together, the couple offer a few tips. Like pairing wine with food, you can pair chocolate and cheese that have a similar flavor profile, such as nutty cheese with nutty chocolate, or you can pair contrasting flavors, such as creamy cheese with a more astringent, bitter chocolate. Most importantly, try different pairings and see what works best for you.
According to Susan, you should take the chocolate in your hand, rub it a little with your thumb, and smell the chocolate. Take a bite and let it float around your taste buds. Let the chocolate melt on your palate. As for the cheese, let it come to room temperature before tasting. Taste the cheese, and then take a bite of the chocolate. Enjoy how the flavors and textures complement or contrast with each other.