Easter is one of my favourite times of year because I’m a sucker for chocolate! The darker, the better – none of this dreadful low grade milk chocolate crap!
So what better time of year to try your hand at combining beer with chocolate? There’re many ways to indulge in both. First up, how about giving Hotel Chocolat’s Cocoa Beer truffles a whirl? At first sight I thought ‘ewwwww’ but intrigue got the better of me and I broke that packet open with gusto post dinner that same day. These chocolates are sublime and I feel stupid for doubting them, particularly as I know full well that chocolate and stout in a glass combine for dramatic effects.
I recently attended the Dea Latis Event held at The Clarence, London. For those that aren’t aware Dea Latis, named after the Celtic goddess of beer and water, is a forum launched in 2010 where women working in the brewing industry could share insight. Now the group hosts tutored tasting throughout the UK and, at present, 200 ladies are in their gang.
This particular event explored the very subject of this blog entry: beer and chocolate. Hosted by beer sommelier, Jane Payton, the evening featured five beer and chocolate pairings, with the eventual winning combination crowned at the end of the evening.
I was particularly taken with the Erdinger paired with the White Green and Blacks chocolate. The slight banana tinge of this beer seemed to really complement and intensify the creaminess of the white chocolate. The winning combo for the evening, which I knew I’d also love, was the Left Hand Brew Co. Milk Stout coupled with Salted Caramel and Sea Salt Divine Chocolate. The chocolate and beer individually are so delectable but together – BOOM, what a combination!
Advice for matching
Although text books and scientific theory will point us in a certain direction toward what beer complements chocolate, it really is down to your individual preference. The Dea Latis event was evidence of this; I seriously screwed my face up at the taste of one particularly pairing, yet other ladies on my table were loving it.
“Chocolate and beer are natural allies – both are fermented and both have complex flavours that can really enhance each other. Cocoa is very bitter – it is added sugar that makes chocolate sweet. A tip for matching chocolate with beer is to choose quality chocolate with a high cocoa content and relatively low sugar content.
“Choose chocolates to contrast or complement the beer for instance, a fruit and nut chocolate goes well with brown ale because of the fruity, nutty character of the beer. Or chocolate with toffee and salt with dark beers such as Porter – there is a contrast with the sweetness of the toffee and the roasted bitterness of the beer. Tangy/sour fruit beers match very well with dark chocolate. IPAs with vibrant New World hops go very well with chocolate that contains ginger.”
So there you have it – use this Easter break to experiment and find your perfect match. What a great eggs-cuse!