Yesterday evening, we were invited along to a cheese and chocolate pairing evening at La Cave à Fromage in Kensington.
“Cheese and chocolate!?” I hear you cry, “Are you mad!?”. Well, quite possibly, but it’s not as odd as it may at first seem. After all, you’d eat a chocolate cheesecake, wouldn’t you?
The event was organised by Chocolate Consultant Louise Thomas (you see here speaking and read an interview with her here), and featured five pairs of cheeses and chocolates, which we tried individually, then together.
Here’s the menu. Each cheese & chocolate was paired in the order you see, starting with the Bleu de Basque and Askinosie white chocolate.
That was certainly an interesting combination. The Askinosie has a slightly grainy texture and isn’t something I particularly loved on it’s own, and to my mind, was actually improved by tasting it with the blue cheese.
The second pairing was my favourite. A cheddar, and a 40% Valrhona milk chocolate. The cheddar was slightly dry and crumbly, and the the chocolate was very creamy. Together, the textures worked really well, and the flavours complemented each other, with the saltiness of the cheese enhancing the flavours in the chocolate.
The other pairings were also interesting, but none worked quite as well as the cheddar & milk chocolate for me. The final offering, was an interesting choice – the Gratte Paille, a very soft, creamy cheese was paired with a 100% Valrhona. Of course, the 100% chocolate has no sugar, so this wasn’t sweet in any way, but neither was it bitter. I’m not sure I would have come up with that combination myself, but it was certainly interesting.
For me, the biggest surprise was that none of the pairings tasted bad. Cheese and chocolate certainly can go together, despite what you might think. The successfulness of the pairings varied (something which is, of course, purely subjective), but it was always clear to see why a particular chocolate had been chosen to go with each cheese.
All in all, an extremely enjoyable evening. If you get a chance to try something like this, I highly recommend it. And if you happen to be a cheese lover in the London area, get yourself down to La Cave à Fromage – it’s an amazing place.