A few months ago I mentioned my new found love for chocolate and beer.
In that post, I explained how a gift of gourmet chocolate to my girlfriend woke me up to a world not too different from the beer world: mainstream crappy products sprinked with delicious gems.
I entered this unexplored world excited but a total noob, so I asked my chocolatier friend Jenny to help me out:
“Jenny”, I said, “What is some chocolate that isn't hard to find, not too expensive, but is a good introduction to gourmet chocolate?”
“Chocolove”, she replied.
Chocolove: The Sierra Nevada of Chocolate
In that last post my buddy Rob commented that Godiva is like Sierra Nevada. I think that analogy can apply to Chocolove as well.
It's high quality, reliable, and easy to find. It's not quite Russian River (I don't even know who the Russian River of chocolate is), but I just wanted something good and approachable for now.
You can find Chocolove all over the country and in any Whole Foods. You might even recognize the label as I did.
There are 18 different varieties so I knew there was a lot of fun to be had in pairing these up with beer. I also had a good variety of homebrew on hand so that is what I used.
I ended up trying 4 Chocolove varieties:
Rich Dark Chocolate
Paired with: Russian Imperial Stout
The dark chocolate bar is 65% cocoa which isn't too high, but it definitely has a bit of an edge. I have a 90% bar that I've been nibbling on for 4 months. Now THAT is intense.
I needed a beer that could stand up to the intensity of the chocolate and had the perfect one for the job: my homebrewed imperial stout. The two paired well together but the chocolate didn't stand a chance against the beer. I left it on oak for way too long and it tastes like a wooden plank. Hey not all the beer I brew is great ; )
The chocolate itself is good but a little uninteresting. I'd rather keep nibbling on that delicious 90% bar that I have than eat a whole bar of this.
Still, dark chocolate and imperial stout = win.
Orange Peel in Dark Chocolate
Paired with: American Wheat
I admit it – I got the idea for this pairing from those people that put orange in their wheat beers. But they like it for a reason, right?
The two actually did go well together. In fact, I wasn't a huge fan of the citrus & chocolate combination but with the beer I really enjoyed it. I made the beer dry and a fairly acidic which had a good cleansing effect on the palate.
There's something about citrus and wheat beer afterall.
Almonds & Sea Salt in Dark Chocolate
Paired with: English Brown Ale
Now this shit is gooood. I was skeptical about the salt in the chocolate but it tastes amazing.
You know how salt makes you eat things faster? And how you can put down almonds rapid fire? Yea this chocolate bar didn't last long….
The pairing with the English Brown Ale was perfect. The sweet caramel flavors from the beer really complimented the chocolate well, and the almonds in the chocolate brought out the nuttiness in the beer.
Raspberries in Dark Chocolate
Paired with:Raspberry Wheat
Another holy shitter. I was really expecting the raspberry to taste artificialbut it's like they were picked yesterday.
The raspberry is rich, fresh, and it's no surprise that raspberry pairs well with chocolate.
I was fortunate to have a few raspberry wheat beers left in my stash. The pairing was OK, but the wheat base wasn't the best choice. If it were say a raspberry porter, then it would have worked out better. Hmmm a raspberry porter….
The Chocolove bars stacked up as follows:
- Salt and almonds
- Orange Peel
- Dark Chocolate
I recommend all of the pairings I tried, except maybe the raspberry wheat with raspberry chocolate. A standard porter would probably work better.
If you're looking to get more into good chocolate then try these Chocolove bars. With 18 flavors, I still have a bunch left to try, but I may just eat the Salt and Almonds for the rest of my life.
Have you ever tried Chocolove? Ever had it with beer?