Pairing Notes

Explore the options to delight your taste buds

Pairing and sharing is an excellent way to challenge your tastebuds and create a gourmet experience with friends. We use the ‘Big Five’ as a framework for evaluating chocolate, and this is useful to consider when pairing as well. These five considerations are look, smell, texture, sound and taste. The perfect blend will create a harmonious sensory experience.

Dark chocolate pairing

Dark chocolate is a delicious accompaniment to many types of wine, fruit, nuts and cheese. But approach with caution – the deep, bitter flavour of dark chocolate can often overwhelm other accoutrements.

Dark chocolate is a minimum of 55% cocoa and has the highest cocoa mass of all chocolate. It contains cocoa solids and cocoa butter without the milk found in milk chocolate giving it a more intense, bitter flavour. A small amount of high quality dark chocolate is thought to be a healthier alternative than its chocolate siblings, as it is packed with anti-oxidants and generally contains less sugar. If you like dark chocolate, be sure to try the Guara 70% from Metiisto from our gallery.

Dark chocolate and wine

Dark chocolate can feature a combination of fruity, earthy, nutty, ashy, woody or roasted notes. It matches well with bolder, denser, fruit driven and full bodied red wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz and makes a joyful union with Muscat.

Dark chocolate and cheese

Cheese and dark chocolate make the perfect pair. A washed rind like a Taleggio complements dark chocolate with fruit inclusions and a triple cream brie is a delicious contrast to a dark, more bitter chocolate.

Dark chocolate and fruit and nuts

Dark chocolate matches well with fruit that is extra sweet as it contrasts with the bitterness of the chocolate. Try it with strawberries, figs and pears. It also combines well with coconut, macadamias, hazelnuts and almonds. We love the contrasting flavours of the Dark chocolate, Hazelnut and Sea Salt block by Coco Chocolate in our gallery with fresh strawberries.

Dark chocolate pairing final tip

We know that having a small amount of dark chocolate is a guilty pleasure that can be indulged every day. In addition to pairing with wine, we recommend enjoying it with a cup of tea but hold the milk as the sweetness can impact the chocolatey taste. Dark chocolate is also the perfect partner to an espresso coffee after a dinner party.

Milk chocolate

Milk chocolate is a combination of cocoa beans, cocoa butter, milk solids or milk powder and sugar. The percentage of cocoa mass can vary from 10% to 20% up to 55%. A higher cocoa mass generally equals a more intense chocolate flavour however we find that the flavour is also dependent on the variety of the beans and percentage of other ingredients used. Chocolate makers are continuously experimenting with milk chocolate, adding in new and unexpected flavours. On the whole, a pure milk chocolate block of 38% will be less sweet and more rich in chocolate flavour.

Keep the cocoa percentage in mind when pairing milk chocolate with a variety of sweet and salty foods.

Milk chocolate and wine

When pairing wine with milk chocolate, it’s best to select a wine that is sweeter than the chocolate. Choose a light to medium bodied wine with fruity character so it is not overwhelmed by the sugar in the chocolate. We also suggest trying a late harvest Syrah or a fortified wine such as a Port or a Rutherglen Muscat.

Milk chocolate and cheese

Chocolate can sometimes overpower the taste of the cheese it is accompanying, so the rule is to try to match a stronger flavoured cheese with a harder hitting chocolate. Due to its milkiness, milk chocolate makes a perfect union with most sweet, milky cheese like ricotta and buttery double and triple creams. If there are nuts or fruit in the chocolate try it with semi soft cheese.

Milk chocolate and fruit and nuts

There is no end to the combination of fruit and nuts that create a gastronomic experience when eaten with milk chocolate. Some of our favourites are macadamias, strawberries and raspberries, pistachios and peanuts. The PBJ bar featured in our gallery is the perfect example of how delicious the combination of milk chocolate, nuts and fruit can be.

White chocolate pairing

White chocolate is the sweetest of the chocolate family, made with cocoa butter, milk solids and sugar. It differs from dark and milk chocolate in that it doesn’t contain the cocoa solids that give them their flavour and colour. This makes it the perfect canvas for combining different flavours to create a chocolate taste sensation.

White chocolate and wine

The light flavour of pure white chocolate makes it perfect to pair with lighter style white wines like a Riesling or try it with a sparkling Moscato, Sherry or Muscat. These wines will bring out the buttery flavours of the chocolate and highlight any vanilla notes.

If you have a white chocolate with fruit inclusions, like our White Chocolate with Mixed Berries by Coco Chocolate, we recommend enjoying it with a glass of Port.

White chocolate and cheese

A full bodied, creamy brie is the best cheese to pair with pure white chocolate or white chocolate with fruit and nut inclusions. Next time you are entertaining or feel like spoiling yourself, we recommend pairing your white chocolate with some L’Artisan Extravagant, Woombye Triple Cream or Fromager D’Affinois.

White chocolate and fruit and nuts

White chocolate’s rich and creamy taste pairs nicely with a variety of fruit and nuts. We suggest trying it with fruits such as strawberries, raspberries, cranberries or citrus like lemons, limes and oranges. It also combines beautifully with sweet melons or peaches.

White chocolate makes a perfect union with a variety of nuts including macadamias, pistachios, cashews and hazelnuts. Try them salted or unsalted for a different taste experience.

White chocolate pairing final tip

To ensure you purchase quality white chocolate, check the key ingredients only includes milk solids or milk powder, cocoa butter, sugar and possibly vanilla. There may also be some lecithin which helps bind the ingredients to the cocoa butter. It’s also worth checking the colour to see if the chocolate is more yellow than white, reflecting the pure colour of the cocoa butter.