The Unexpected Cheese And Chocolate Pairing You Need To Try ASAP

At first, cheese and chocolate might not seem like a good match, but chances are, you have already encountered the two blended into a dessert, such as a chocolate cheesecake or cream cheese brownies. According to Chad Galer, Vice President of Product Innovation and Food Safety at Dairy Management Inc., it is time you consider cheese and chocolate paired together in their pure and simple form as a savory-meets-sweet snack.

"Dark chocolate is very versatile to pair with cheeses," Galer told Food Republic. "I prefer one with 70% cocoa and salt forward." Among Galer's top "unexpected pairings" are dark chocolate and burrata — or dark chocolate and cheddar. Either pairing can be served side-by-side on a platter as a solo snack or spread for a group gathering with a beverage of your choice. For something more substantial, supplement your cheese and chocolate with fruits and nuts, such as raisins or fresh grapes and toasted almonds.

Pair textural and flavor contrasts

When considering how to pair cheese and chocolate, keep in mind the balance between sweet and salty. Galer explains that when it comes to dark chocolate and burrata, "The saltiness of both the chocolate and cheese pair well to highlight the wonderful contrast of the bitter chocolate and the fresh milk and cream flavors of the burrata." Galer also points out, "Cheddars are typically less acidic, giving them a perception of a sweeter flavor profile." In this case, the sweetness of both the cheese and chocolate brings out other elements of the tasting experience.

It's not just the flavors, but the textures, too, that account for a perfect cheese and chocolate pairing. While a fresh cheese — such as burrata — will offer a creamy consistency, an aged cheese can provide the pleasant crunch of salt crystals. Be sure to have some sliced bread or crackers on hand to serve alongside your cheese and chocolate. Serve a cheese platter interspersed with rich, dark chocolate chunks, and add some crunch with dark chocolate covered almonds speckled with sea salt, and pair it with a sweet ruby port or fruit-forward pinot noir or merlot.