I’ve done quite a few events where we’ve presented interesting pairings – bugs & beer (yes, bugs!), champagne and soft cheeses, whiskey and local fare. I was excited to pair my favorite fall beverage with my favorite dessert to see what I would discover. Cider and chocolate. Little did I know, cider used to be considered a very classy and popular aristocrat drink, and gorgeous flutes were designed to serve the cider (similar to how we now serve wines). I may have to reconsider drinking mine from a mug!
I read somewhere that if a dish goes well with a Chardonnay, it will most likely pair well with a cider. I used this as my starting point. I also thought to lean back on my wine tasting days of pairing sweet with sweet (matching similar flavors).
When choosing a cider (alcoholic or non-alcoholic), you want to choose one that is not incredibly sweet. Or if you’re making the cider at home, cut back on the sugar suggested in the recipe. If there is too much sugar in the cider, this will overpower the flavor notes of the chocolate.
When pairing these two items, you want to take a bite of the chocolate first and slowly bite through it. Take in the flavors of the chocolate completely and then sip a small amount of the cider. Focus on how the flavors combine and mix together. Be sure to take your time, this is fun!
I decided to pair my apple cider (non-alcoholic) with our limited edition 3 oz. Chocolate Turkeys available in dark, milk and white chocolate. I thought I would start with the darkest chocolate and the one with the highest cocoa content. What I enjoyed about this pairing was that the rich dark chocolate melted evenly on the palette that when combined with a sip of cider, it meshed together wonderfully. Some dark chocolate can taste a little bitter to me, but Delysia’s doesn’t have that bite.
Next I tried the cider with a milk chocolate turkey. The milk chocolate melted faster in the mouth but still slow enough to enjoy. I had to follow up the bite with cider a bit faster due to the faster melting rate, but I can assure you, it was a delicious combination! I am sure this was the inspiration for Delysia’s apple cider truffle, available in their limited edition Autumn Truffle Collection. (The nine piece set features apple cider, pecan pie, and pumpkin spice for the best of this season’s flavors!)
Last I sampled the white chocolate with the cider. I was curious about how the white chocolate would complement the liquid. I expected the white chocolate flavor to be too light, but was happy to see it stood nicely on it’s own. When I followed up with the warm cider, the white chocolate turned out to be a sugary compliment.
Of the three pairings, I enjoyed the dark chocolate the best because of the slower melting rate mixing with the warm cider. But honestly, all three turned out surprisingly well!