In honor of Sacramento Beer Week (see http://sacramentobeerweek.com) I decided to do a dark chocolate and ale pairing with some friends. I have always enjoyed experimenting with red wine and chocolate (if you’ve never tried it, you should), but was intrigued with the idea of pairing a dark stout or porter, which can have lovely chocolate-coffee nuances, with a boldly flavored dark chocolate. So last night we lined up a collection of dark ales with a pile of some fabulous chocolate and let ‘er rip.
What I found most surprising during the tasting was the significant differences in flavor between the dark chocolates that I had purchased, which translated into notable differences in the pairings – for example, a lighter, spicy “Abbey-style” ale coupled with a mild, silky, dark Perugina chocolate was everyone’s favorite: the two products seemed destined to be consumed together; but when I nibbled the more strident, acidic Lindt chocolate with the same ale, the result was dissonant and unpleasant.
All in all, it was a load of fun, though we probably ate too much chocolate (and drank too much beer). My advice? Try introducing a tasting like this (Port and chocolate is another great pairing opportunity) at your next dinner party – your guests will love it.