Chocolate is not often the first thing you think about when enjoying a snifter of whisky. However the two pair so beautifully together because of what they have in common…distinct flavour profiles. If you enjoy either chocolate or whisky you will certainly love them together. And if you love chocolate but aren't a whisky drinker, the pairing is a great way to get introduced.
The beauty of pairing with whisky, aside from flavour, is its warmth. If you’re a whisky drinker you are familiar with that lovely immediate feeling of warmth in your mouth at that first sip. We start a chocolate and whisky pairing with whisky first, so your mouth is nicely warmed up and ready for the chocolate to start releasing flavours right away.
A good whisky tasting begins with looking at the colour. The colours of different whisky are quite varied and quite beautiful! The aroma is next. Swirl the whisky a bit in the glass to release the aromas and then take a sniff. Try to identify the aromas. Then taste. A small sip to start, move it around in your mouth and think about the flavours you are tasting. Take note of the mouthfeel. Then have the second sip. You can add a drop of water with the second sip to release more flavours. The second sip should give you a good idea of the whisky's many flavour notes.
Now, the chocolate. Your mouth is warmed by the whisky and the whisky flavours are apparent. Add a piece of chocolate and let it melt. The chocolate will start to show its flavour notes as you move it around in your mouth, letting it mix with the whisky. Enjoy a slow melt.
While the chocolate is melting, have another sip of whisky. This is when you notice a distinctly different taste to the whisky! The flavour of the chocolate will draw out a host of different flavours in the whisky and the experience will be quite surprising!
Chocolate and Whisky pairing suggestions to try at home!
Highland Park 12 year old Single Malt Scotch, Scotland, paired with award winning Dick Taylor Belize 72% Dark Bar, US. The scotch has a smokiness that sits behind a chewy toffee, bitter orange peel, black banana and toffee fudge. Flavours emphasized with a drop of water are sandalwood and old cigar smoke. The chocolate has a roasted earthiness to it with tasting notes of raisin, tart fruit, slight toffee, malty and slightly citrus. This is a sensational pairing and a customer favourite!
Dalwhinnie 15 year old Highland Single Malt Scotch, Scotland, paired with Sirene Winter Warmer, BC. The scotch is a clean, crisp delicate drink with flavour notes of malt, honeyed walnuts, vanilla sponge and a touch of spice and gently smokiness. The chocolate is a dark milk bar made with the fruity, creamy cacao beans from Tanzania. It has a smooth creamy mouthfeel that is an interesting contrast to the crispness of the scotch. Flavoured with a touch of nutmeg and clove, the chocolate draws out the spiciness of this delicate but intense scotch. The perfect pairing for a cold winter’s day!
Forty Creek Confederation Oak Reserve Whisky, Canada, paired with award winning Desbarres Pepper Cardamom Dark Bar, Ont. This bold and spicy whisky has a buttery mouthfeel and is woody/smoky, slightly peppery on the palate. The chocolate has a creamy mouthfeel, like the whisky, and a lovely melt. The fruitiness of the Tanzanian combined with black pepper and cardamom is an explosive combination with the whisky!
Red Bread 12 year old Single Pot Still Whiskey, Ireland, paired with award winning Hummingbird Chocolate’s hispaniola 70% bar. The whiskey has a sweet aroma of fruit and honey flavour that is followed through with the first sip. The second sip shows the boldness of the whiskey and its silky mouthfeel. Add in the chocolate, and the fruitiness of the whiskey is pulled out even more so! The sweetness of the chocolate’s sugar mixes with the whiskey’s and together the flavour of caramel comes through. This pairing is a personal favourite!