Cooking Healthier Meals

4 Unexpectedly Awesome Chocolate Pairings You Have To Try

by Paul Watson

Chocolate, like that from Abdallah Candies And Gifts, is wonderful by itself, but it's also pretty great when paired with certain other foods. Chocolate covered strawberries, cherries, and bananas are always popular. Chocolate and peanut butter is practically a staple. But what about less common pairings? There are some flavors that may not seem like they'd taste great with chocolate, like rich cheese, bitter beer, or spicy pepper. But if your first instinct is to think these flavors can't be combined successfully, you'd be wrong. Check out some flavor combinations that are more tantalizing than they seem at first glance.

Chocolate and Cheese

In one sense, the pairing of chocolate and cheese makes sense. After all, chocolate is routinely paired with salty foods like pretzels or nuts to great effect. Why not salty cheese? But in addition to being salty, cheese is savory, and pairing it with chocolate may seem too rich a combination. It's true not all cheese goes with all chocolate – it's actually pretty difficult to correctly pull off this pairing. Sharp cheddar and dark chocolate, for example, may not be the best choice. But milk chocolate and Brie is an entirely different story.

As it turns out, one of the best flavor matches between chocolate and cheese is the pairing of Parmesan cheese and dark chocolate. It may sound strange, but the tastiness of this match has actually been study and confirmed in a lab by scientists. Try it grilled between two slices of bread for a rich, exotic lunch.

Chocolate and Beer

There is dessert wine and dessert liquor, but few people would think of combining dessert with beer. Beer is much more commonly consumed with savory, spicy, and salty foods and doesn't seem to lend itself well to sweets at all. However, beer experts say you actually can find tastebud-pleasing combinations of beer and chocolate.

Eat milk chocolates with porter or stout, and dark chocolates with dark ale. Hops-heavy beers go well with chocolate flavored with lemon verbena or other citrus flavors, and beer aged in bourbon barrels goes well with chocolates containing caramel, toffee, or vanilla flavors. Imperial stouts work well with many types of chocolate, particularly those containing nuts.

Chocolate and Peppers

Chocolate and spicy pepper might be one of the more unexpected flavor combinations out there, but this pairing actually has a long history. Mole sauce, which combines chili peppers with chocolate and other spices, has a long history dating back to the Aztecs in Mexico, and it's still popular today. Mole recipes not only combine chili peppers with chocolate, they also call for the mixture to be served on top of meat, another unlikely companion to chocolate.

You can pair chilies and chocolates in other ways as well. Chipotle peppers are sweet and smoky, and can be used to complement bitter dark chocolates. Cascabel peppers have tannic notes that pair well with coffee or toffee flavored chocolates. And Aleppo chilies partner easily with complex, nutty chocolates because of their acidic and zesty flavors. Try adding chilies to your brownies, or shake some chili powder into your hot chocolate to give your sweets some extra kick.

Chocolate and Insects

You may not think of insects as food, but in many parts of the world, they're an important part of people's diets. Insects like crickets, ants, grasshoppers, and caterpillars are actually good sources of protein. Covered in chocolate, they make crunchy, chewy, or gooey sweet treats.

Chocolate covered insects even have their own holiday: October 14th. You may not be able to find chocolate covered crickets in your grocery store, but you can certainly track some down online. Even if it sounds weird, why not give them a try, just once? After all, they're covered in chocolate, so how bad can they be?

As you can see, chocolate is a more versatile food than you ever would have though. That's why it's not a bad idea to keep some good chocolate around the house – you never know when you might want to pair it with something unexpected.