It’s not an obvious combination, but the different characteristics of cheese and chocolate – mild, creamy, intense – make for unique yet perfectly balanced pairings. Build your own platter with these suggestions from Tricia Bell, owner of The Cavern, a retail cheese boutique, bistro and wine bar in Edmonton, Alberta.
1. Lindt Excellence Chili Dark Chocolate + Le Noble
Le Noble is an award-winning double-cream Canadian brie. It allows the chili chocolate to burst with expression, then smooths its edges to a smouldering linger on the palate, while the creaminess of the cheese is unstoppable. Add dried apricots to bring out the sweet and spicy.
2. Lindt Excellence Orange Intense Dark Chocolate + Roquefort Légende Lait Cru
Orange chocolate requires a powerful mate. Roquefort Légende starts mild and sweet, then moves to a tangy, powerfully salty finish. Neither the orange nor the pungency of the Roquefort Légende dominate the other – each maintains its potency in perfect harmony. Add raisins and walnuts to broaden the flavour profile.
3. Lindt Excellence 70% Cacao Dark Chocolate + Beaufort d’Été
Beaufort d’Été is a stunning Mountain Alp cheese from the Haute-Savoie region of France. Aged more than six months, it holds butter, cream and fruity notes. Pairing it with 70% dark chocolate lends an incredible milky quality to a very dark milk chocolate, smoothing it out. Add cashews to richen the butter and cream notes.
4. Lindt Excellence Roasted Hazelnut Dark Chocolate + Manchego Aged One Year
Manchego is 100-percent sheep’s milk, and aged one year it maintains a bit of a creamy character. This combination is a tasty blend of nuttiness and creaminess, a bit reminiscent of peanut butter on toast. Add a fruit jelly (blackberry or cherry) for a next-level PB&J.
5. Lindt Excellence Sea Salt Dark Chocolate + Chevrai
Chevrai, a 100-percent goat’s milk cheese made in Ontario, is smooth in texture, tangy, and even a bit gamey in taste. Pairing it with sea salt is a textbook combination – salty, creamy and tangy make for a magical experience. Add dried cranberries for a little intrigue.