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Posted on 25th Feb 2019
With a robust symphony of comforting and indulgent flavors, coffee and chocolate are the Bonnie and Clyde of the dessert course. And there’s a reason...
According to top gourmands and foodies, certain types of chocolate and coffee taste heavenly together, and it’s because of several factors. For one thing, flavor and aroma are intrinsically interdependent on the other, which is why a successful food pairing must share at least two of the same flavor compounds. In the case of coffee and chocolate, they both have hints of bitterness and a rich, velvety mouth-feel.
Following the food-pairing hypothesis explained by Dr. Tiago of the University of Cambridge, flavor compounds are determined by the flavor profile, which includes not only taste but also the aromas. These basic flavors--sweet, salty, bitter, sour--can be either subtle or pronounced, and in the case of chocolate and coffee, their nuanced layers lend complexity and depth to the overall flavor and finish.
When it comes to pairing the best chocolate and coffee varieties, it is both an art and a science. Of course, it always comes down to personal preference, so go ahead and start experimenting with your favorite brews and chocolate treats. When you take the first bite followed by a sip of freshly brewed coffee, you’ll know right away if the combo works or not.
If you need a solid starting point, coffee expert and blogger Nathan Smith from Coffeenate.com suggests combining the richest desserts like dark chocolate with bold and intense coffee roasts, which offers an elegant balance of sweet and bitter.
For coffee expert Spencer Turer, director of Coffee Analysts in Vermont, the goal is to find flavors that are pleasing together. Referred to as harmony, these flavors can also be contradictory, another reason why coffee and chocolate are a match made in heaven; the sweetness of chocolate helps to balance the bitter intensity of coffee.
Another factor to consider when pairing coffee and chocolate is the acidity of the beans, which depends on how they were roasted, the altitude where they were harvested, and growing conditions. This is why experts recommend only using the freshest, top quality coffee beans, which are available from Supermarket Italy; the fresher the coffee, the brighter and more straightforward the acidity.
You should also consider the level of complexity in your coffee, especially since different brews can produce a wide range of subtle notes like chocolate, baked goods, vanilla, fruit, spice, and more. Look for flavors that complement each other, such as bitter balancing out sweet and salty and tartness harmonizing with spice and sweetness.
The world’s favorite food and beverage pairing, coffee and chocolate is the perfect way to enhance a romantic evening. From the foodie experts at Supermarket Italy, here are the best coffee and chocolate combos for a satisfying and indulgent experience:
Dark Roast + 88% Dark Chocolate
The bold and intense notes of Italian dark roast coffee like Lavazza Gran Filtro helps to enhance the complexity of a dark chocolate bar with a high percentage of cocoa and a lower sugar content than any other variety. The earthy and spicy notes of a Sumatra roast also work well with dark chocolate flavored desserts.
Medium Roast + Dark Chocolate with Dried Fruit
The full-bodied Illy Medium Roast Espresso has notes of chocolate and caramel, which delightfully complement the bright pops of fruit flavor in the chocolate. If the dark chocolate and medium roast coffee are too intense for your palate, try adding creamer by Walden Farms, which will soften the bitterness of the brew while elevating the creaminess of the cocoa.
Light Roast + Milk Chocolate
The key to this pairing is simplicity. Similar to the other pairings, look for equal levels of intensity, such as a light coffee roast with creamer, which gives your taste buds an extra kick with creamy and smooth milk chocolate. Light roast brews can have a range of subtle notes such as fruit, spice, and vanilla, which help bring out all the varied flavors of milk chocolate. In order to maintain all the delicate flavors of a light roast coffee, experts recommend using a french press for the best results.
Flavored Coffee + 55% Milk Chocolate
The creaminess and silky-sweet flavor and texture of milk chocolate is perfect for enhancing flavored coffee, whether it’s pumpkin spice or hazelnut. In fact, hazelnut coffee gets a major boost with milk chocolate and nuts, which brings out the nutty and buttery flavors found in both.
Cappuccino + Chocolate Nut Bark
For robust dark roast coffee, the frothed milk of a cappuccino gives you the perfect balance of bitter and creamy. When you pair it with chocolate nut bark, the notes of earthy, bitter, and sweet will marry together in an epic merging of complementary flavors.
Chocolate is already seriously addictive, but when you pair it with the perfect coffee roast, it takes it to another level of deliciousness that is simply to-die-for!
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