The combination of sweet and salty has always been interesting. Gourmets have long enjoyed combining chocolatey desserts with subtle notes of salt. But chocolate and cheese also have many similar characteristics that make for surprisingly delicious pairings. If you want to do something interesting together with your loved one right now for Valentine’s Day, you can host a little tasting. Try each of these 10 cheese and chocolate combinations and choose your favorite. For the best taste experience, serve the cheeses at room temperature and try each pairing in one bite (meaning you should eat both at the same time). We’ll also provide a few suggestions for matching wine. By the way, you can also read about which wine goes best with which type of cheese in this article .
Gruyère cheese + hot chocolate
Mozzarella and farmer’s cheese are typically served with hot chocolate in cafes throughout South America. When doing so, locals usually argue over whether to eat the cheese first or last once it’s melted in the cocoa. With its nutty yet sweet flavor and low melting point, Le Gruyère is a decadent addition to hot chocolate. When doing so, it’s best to reach for an organic dark drinking chocolate from Ecuador!
Extra matured cheddar + dark chocolate (70% cocoa) with sea salt
The salt crystals in the chocolate match the tyrosine crystals in the cheddar and it feels like a cross-over texture experience. In other words, this classic pairing balances the texture, flavor and intensity of both the chocolate and the cheese. Serve with the sherry-like Sierra Morena wine.
Ossau-Iraty + dark chocolate with fruit.
Ossau-Iraty is a firm sheep’s milk cheese and is considered one of the first cheeses ever made. Its grassy-sweet undertones become vibrant and nutty when paired with dark chocolate with fruit, such as blood orange or raspberry.
Vegan Cheese Spread + Vegan Chocolate
All chocolate is naturally plant-based, as cacao grows on trees. However, in the supermarket, look for products that do not contain added milk (i.e. whey, casein, milk fat, among others) . Try a vegan dark chocolate with a light cashew-based vegan cheese spread. You can drink La Crema Russian River Chardonnay (also vegan!) with this chocolate and cheese pairing.
Young goat cheese + “Stone ground” dark chocolate.
These two go wonderfully together, as you get a contrast between the thick, chunky cheese and the rough, almost sandy texture of the Stone Ground chocolate. The young goat cheese has a bright, lemony flavor that combines with a fruity dark chocolate to create a chocolaty, cheesecake-like experience.
Comté + Hazelnut Chocolate
If you were to spread Nutella on a grilled cheese to achieve a similar effect, you would miss out on the nutty nuances of this French pairing. Comté is a protected designation of origin (PDO), which means the cheese must be made in a specific region in France to be called real Comté. Here, the milk comes from one of only two indigenous breeds of cows, resulting in an aromatic and buttery cheese with naturally nutty notes that are enhanced when combined with hazelnut-infused milk chocolate.
Blue cheese + dark chocolate truffle.
Michel Bras, a starred French chef, made this combination famous when he invented his dark chocolate and blue cheese dessert, Coulant. Chocolate and blue cheese share more than 70 flavor compounds and essentially become one as the fatty acids of the cheese break through the bitterness of the dark chocolate and enhance the deep vanilla undertones. Try a ganache truffle with bold blue cheese crumbles. Pair these special flavors with a glass of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.
Extra old Gouda + milk chocolate.
Extra old Gouda, for example, aged 1 to 2 years, has a firmer, crystalline texture that pairs well with milk chocolate, which has a creamy mouthfeel. The milky sweetness of the chocolate combined with the strong toasted notes of the cheese results in a caramel-like flavor.
Parmigiano Reggiano + Chocolate Balsamic
True Parmigiano Reggiano comes only from the provinces of Parma and Reggio Emilia in Italy, where it is produced under Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) rules and often served with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. The sweetness and acidity of the vinegar play off the sweetness and acidity of an aged Parmigianino Reggiano (the riper, the better). The addition of strong chocolate intensifies the salty flavor of both ingredients and gives them a creamy texture. Try a 36-month aged Parmigiano Reggiano drizzled with a chocolate balsamic dressing or with dark chocolates with balsamic vinegar. Enjoy with a glass of Domaine Saint Gayan Gigondas Cuvee.
Alpine Cheese + Peanut Butter Truffle.
Alpine cheese is known for having nutty notes as part of its distinctive flavor profile. So when combined with something nutty, its nuttiness is enhanced. Using peanut butter truffles for this chocolate cheese combination is just plain fun.