Photo credit: StockFood / Maria Brinkop
Chocolate and cheese. British chefs dig them together, in such wild desserts as a molten chocolate blue cheese cake. Murray’s Cheese Shop in New York City sells a Mast Brothers dark chocolate–infused triple-cream cheese. Some scientists even that say dark chocolate and Parmesan are fated to be together.
The combo may sound funky, but Bedford Cheese Shop cheesemonger Laura Archer has been into it ever since she downed a glass of chocolate stout while nibbling on a piece of blue cheese about two years ago.
"That kind of piqued my interest," Archer told us. Since then, she’s become an advocate for pairing dark chocolate with dry, sharp cheeses such as Parmesan or Pecorino or pungent ones like blue cheese. "It’s a salty and sweet kind of thing," she said, though she admits some customers get a funny look on their faces when she suggests the pairing."They tell me, ‘I never thought of that!’"
Archer advises choosing a bitter, dark chocolate over a creamier variety. ”The sweetness and the fungal notes of, say, blue cheese work well with the bitterness and richness of dark chocolate,” she said. “[It’s] not because I dislike milk chocolate… [but] pairing milky stuff with milk-based products is almost redundant on the palate.”
Archer makes one exception with Nutella, which is made with skim milk. ”I have definitely dipped Parmesan in Nutella before and I didn’t hate it,” she admitted.
If you’re trying the combo at home, Archer suggests eating one substance and then the other—don’t stuff both in your mouth at the same time. “Try and get the unique flavors before combining them,” she said. (We’ll try to pretend like we haven’t done the opposite before, as with these addictive dark chocolate–blue cheese truffles!)
As far as food trends go, this one may be among the easiest to execute at home. So go ahead, throw a dinner party and give your guests a little shock at dessert time: Pair a stinky blue Stilton with a bitter, 70-percent cacao chocolate bar. They’ll thank you for it later.