There are many reasons that chocolate has evolved to become one of the most consumed products on the planet. Yes, it’s delicious, accessible, nostalgic, and historic. It has a place in many cultures and traditions around the world, from holiday staples to gifts to a quick pick me up. Chocolate is everything!
It is also incredibly versatile. Not just with fruit and nuts. Due to the sweet and smooth nature of high quality chocolate, chocolate-makers everywhere are getting extra creative in finding new flavor-combos. Some make sense, some less so. But all are finding their footing, and all are definitely at least worth trying.
Here are a few of our favourite chocolate combinations that you should be eating right now!
5 Favourite Chocolate Combinations That You Should Be Eating
Spring is here and flowers are blossoming everywhere. So why not add them to chocolate?! Ok, not so fast. Not all flowers are edible, and with many, they need to be reduced to their essence. But flower flavored chocolate is gaining favor with those who love the delicate, subtle perfume-y notes of jasmine, chamomile, rose, lavender, and other fragrant delicacies.
Like many spices, flowers offer a taste of far away lands, inviting the senses to imagine orange blossoms and lavender fields from around the world. Flowers evoke the rare, the beautiful, and the delicate.
Often paired with milk chocolate and especially white chocolate (dark chocolate easily overrules the lighter flower notes) to really pair the subtle notes and let both flavors sing, flowers are a special treat that’s worth exploring.
On the other end of the flavor palette, strong, hot, spicy peppers also make an excellent addition to chocolate. Here we welcome dark chocolate, as the bitterness offsets the spice, as well as milk chocolate, where the sweetness offers a balm to the heat.
We’re talking jalapeños and chilis like guajillo chili and chipotle chili that are gaining traction. There are even eye-watering, burn-y capsaicin extract chocolates that get a ridiculously extreme spiciness that only the pain-seekers will want.
Other brave souls can find chocolate covered peppers, much like a chocolate-dipped strawberry. In this case, the chocolate helps neutralize the burn of the pepper’s oil (much like a glass of milk would). However, the smoky, savory flavor is left in tact and it is a real adventure for the mouth.
Spicy chocolate as a flavor combination isn’t exactly new. In Mexico and South American cultures, spicier chocolate brews are practically ancient.
In more ways than one, meat and chocolate are building a sweet and salty union that may just last. Chocolate is an ingredient in a versatile sauce from Mexican and Latin cuisine called mole, which pairs beautifully with meat.
Mole can be sweetened with semisweet chocolate and cream, as well as spices and flavors like poblano peppers, onions, and other spices to go with lighter meats like turkey.
On the other hand, and much more traditionally, darker chocolate is merely a friend in the pot with red chilies, tomatillos and other savory, rich ingredients. This sauce has a complex flavor profile that pairs beautifully with red meats, as well as fish and poultry.
Why stop there? One food trends that seems to have captured the imagination of many is to pair bacon with just about everything, including chocolate. Sweet chocolate and salty, greasy bacon is actually unbelievably delicious together, many people say. Why is this? Well, bacon is all about fat and salt, and these are chocolate’s best friends. Who are we to judge?
This is a good time to highlight the very delicious complement to chocolate — dark and light. And that is salt. Simple, humble salt is simply a fantastic addition to chocolate.
While salty chocolate has been around for a while now, it is popping up in all kinds of salty treats. Chocolate covered pretzels, chocolate potato chips, bacon (as mentioned), all of these work because the salt complements the sweet/bitter notes and the smooth, meltability of the chocolate. The mouth waters just thinking about it!
And there are so many different salts from around the world that those in the know are seeking out. Salt fanatics will attest that salt from a specific location in the world have a distinct flavor profile that is highlighted when paired in correct proportion with chocolate.
For example, smoked salt from Wales is sweet-ish; gray salt from Brittany has a high dose of distinct minerals; pink Himalayan or Hawaiian salt has the slightest smoky profile. It may take a highly advanced palette, but for those who love their salty, crunchy snacks, salty chocolate may just do it for you.
Perhaps this is a no-brainer for some, but chocolate and coffee make the best, darkest, sultriest combination out there. If you are dreaming of a cafe in Paris, find yourself an espresso and add a square of dark chocolate to the saucer on the side.
There is something for everyone in this realm. When it comes to coffee-chocolate combos, darker chocolates tend to pair well with darker, bolder roasted coffee, like an Italian roast. Milk chocolate, a favorite for many, is best complemented by medium roasted coffee, such as Colombian coffee. We won’t leave white chocolate behind — this is best matched with lighter roasts, like Costa Rican coffees.
Whatever your preference, chocolate and coffee has that pull of far away lands. Brew yourself a cup and let your imagination do the rest!
As you can see, chocolate truly is versatile and chocolatiers are getting ultra creative when it comes to pairing it with other flavors. If you’re the adventurous sort, keep your eyes peeled for high quality chocolates and exciting new combinations. We are sure there will be more to come!