Cheese and chocolate is one of the most luxurious and delightful pairings in the food world. It works in the same way as drinking wine and eating fruit with cheese. The chocolates cuts through the creaminess, evoking layers of flavour and when all is done and you are sitting back with a smile, the flavours hang together in perfect harmony.
I have put together this collection of chocolates together with Neal’s Yard Dairy. They have been the champion of British artisan cheesemakers for over 40 years, selecting and maturing cheeses from about 40 cheesemakers. We had an epic tasting to create the pairings. Here are the best of the best – our Eureka moments!
For a real Cheese and Chocolate Extravaganza you can get these exact cheeses from www.nealsyarddairy.co.uk. Otherwise choose a cheese of a similar style and use these notes to help find your own pairings.
You want to have the chocolate and cheese in your mouth at the same time. We tended to have a few bites of the chocolate first, particularly for the creamier cheeses that coat your mouth.
Durrus. A smooth, soft, washed-rind cheese with a cocoa like aftertaste given by its rind.
Super Oishi. Normally we have 2 Magnificent Creations in each Tasting Box, but Super Oishi was so incredibly delicious with these cheeses, that it has made a guest appearance.
Sambirano 71. The fruity acidity in the chocolate cuts through the extreme creaminess.
Baron Bigod. A rich creamy, unpasteurised Brie, traditionally made on the Crickmore’s farm in Suffolk.
San Agustin 88. The dark fruit notes of this high cacao chocolate are the perfect counter point to the creaminess of the cheese.
Hazelnut Raisin. A classic fruit – nut pairing. Do also try Super Oishi, with its caramel notes, it’s super luxurious.
Lincolnshire Poacher. West Country Cheddar meets Comté in this utterly unique hard cow’s milk cheese with a smooth densely creamy texture.
Las Trincheras 72 and Almendra. This is an unpasteurised cheese that loves nuts, both the smooth nutty notes in the Trincheras and the soft roasted almonds.
Quince. Membrillo quince paste is a Spanish staple typically eaten with Manchego. It hangs together with this cheese in perfect harmony.
Colston Bassett Stilton. Gentler, sweeter and more balanced than a ‘typical’ blue cheese. Creamy and buttery with a delicate blue veining.
Ginger Lime and Luscious Orange. The blue lift in the cheese wanted vibrant fruitiness to stand with it. Both of these chocolates are also excellent with Manchego.
Raisins soaked in Port. What could be more classic? Have plenty of chocolate with this one.
Quince. Rio Maranon 69 dark chocolate with Quince. # 42
The quince is the king of autumn fruits. Once cooked it is everything that is most intensely delicious about apples, pears and plums all wrapped up in a sweet, aromatic fragrance. Nestled in this mellow dark chocolate, it is simply divine.
Raisins soaked in Port. Rio Maranon 70 dark chocolate with raisins soaked in Port. #43
I have jars and jars of fruits soaking in alcohols and the plumy, dark fruit notes in the port are carried perfectly by their friends the raisins. This is one luxuriously fruity chocolate.