Look in any bookstore and you will discover dozens of books to teach you the best way to pair wine and food. Ask the bartender at your local pub for the perfect beer to match your meal and you are sure to find a new favorite. But what if your favorite drink is coffee? Is the perfect culinary pairing for coffee a donut, bagel or bran muffin? No. It is chocolate.
Chocolate and coffee are not strangers. Besides both being a fermented fruit, café mochas and chocolate-filled pastries are popular menu items in many cafes. But, few people realize the full possibility for enjoyment which exists when combining the products that contain the finest cocoa and fresh coffee beans. Learn how to take your love of coffee and chocolate to the next level by following these suggestions.
A beginner's guide to pairing coffee and chocolate.
Quality is more important than quantity. Like the finest gifts, the best things come in the smallest packages. When you are looking for the ideal chocolate to pair with coffee, avoid the large chocolate bars available in supermarkets, many of which contain oil and corn syrup. Instead, try the highest quality artisanal chocolates you can find. We carry chocolate bark and pure chocolate wafers in a variety of cocoa intensities.
Start experimenting with a coffee or a chocolate you love. It is important to have a baseline when pairing the two. If you do not already have a favorite chocolate or coffee, ask one of our experiences baristas of chocolate purveyors at Legacy Chocolates to describe the characteristics of the several varieties of freshly-roasted coffee beans or chocolates that we have on hand, and choose the one that sounds the most appealing and delicious to you.
Pair chocolate and coffee that have similar characteristics. Lighter milk chocolate pairs well with less full-bodied coffees. Choose a lighter roast and if possible brew using the pour over or French press method. Darker chocolates with a higher percentage of cocoa (which means less sugar) taste wonderful with a medium roast coffee. As you increase the percentage of cocoa in the chocolate, you can choose a darker roast or even an espresso. Keep in mind that everyone’s palate is different, so feel free to go against the great and make-up your own combination.
Take your time. The goal of pairing chocolate and coffee is to enjoy the experience. Use all your senses and don't rush. Smell the coffee. Let the chocolate melt on your tongue before swallowing. Make sure to take another sip of coffee while there is still some chocolate in your mouth. You will most likely notice a difference in the taste, such as with wine.
Keep tasting notes of your favorite pairings. Write down your impressions about each pairing to assist in discovering your own personal preferences. Again, don't be afraid to experiment with several pairings to find the perfect combination for you. You can also host a cupping or chocolate pairing party with some of your connoisseur friends.
At Legacy Chocolates in downtown St. Paul we strive to offer only fresh coffee and chocolate daily, to be paired together or consumed separately. Visit our cafe or order online today.