Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Beer And Chocolate - Yeah it's A Thing

For the last couple of years, we have celebrated February as Chocolate month at Paradocx Vineyard. After all, chocolate deserves an entire month. Our wine maker selects PDX wines and pairs with local handmade truffles from Nuechatel Swiss Chocolates.

Last year, as we were rolling out craft beer for the first time, I was asked to pair beer with chocolate truffles.

When I mentioned I would pair craft beer with chocolate, I got a few puzzled looks like "is that a thing"? or "I never heard of beer and chocolate". Well, I am here to tell you, not only is it a thing, but it pairs better than wine. What a bold statement-don't tell Gabriel!

Let me explain why. First, it's not just chocolate that pairs so well with beer but all foods, even those challenging wine pairing foods, such as asparagus and eggplant. Oh, and don't let me get started on cheese. I will save that for another post.

Before you understand why beer pairs so well with foods, especially chocolate is to understand a few tasting characteristics of beer. Remember there are over 100 beer styles, not to mention the ever changing amount of sub-styles. 

What difference does this make? Well, the many styles are so diverse in flavor, color, body, aroma, that for every single food, there is a beer to accompany it.

Think of the many flavors and textures of food. Take the 5 tastes. Salty, Sweet, Sour, Bitter and Umami. You have foods that are acidic like citrus and vinegar, you have spicy foods like jalapeno and horseradish, sweet foods like caramel and cake, salty foods like popcorn and chips, savory foods like mushrooms and eggplant and tomatoes,  poultry, lamb, beef, game, fish, shellfish, greens, herbs, spices, milk, yogurt, candy and potatoes, etc.

Now with beer, You can have sour beers, fruity beers, wheat beers, dark, smokey beers, creamy beers, spicy beers, pumpkin beers, chocolate beers, coffee beers, toasty beers, dry beers, sweet beers. bitter beers, light beers, strong beers, and it goes on and on. Beers that range from 3.5 % abv to 21% abv..

I am not going to get too nerdy, but here are a few good examples. 

Pair strong bitter chocolates with big strong malty beers such as barley wines and Belgium Doubles. Go with a salted caramel with a brown ale. Hoppy beers are a challenge. Try a chocolate with Grand Marnier or a citrus flavored truffle with an IPA.

Also, try a rich dark chocolate with a sweet Lambic Framboise. Here is one I like, Dark chocolate with Smokey Rauchbiers. And finally a pumpkin beer with a cinnamon chocolate truffle.

One Final Thought

You don't Say

How many times have you heard or said to yourself. "I was wrong the whole time?" well apparently I was too, or shall I say I just didn't know.

No Germans were harmed in making this 

Did you know that the German Chocolate Cake has no German (country) origins whatsoever? Neither did I. So in 1852, an American named Sammual German, who worked for the Baker Chocolate company, developed a dark chocolate for the company and later was branded as Baker German's Sweet Chocolate.  

In 1957, a homemaker, Mrs George Clay developed a chocolate cake she called German's Chocolate Cake using Baker's German's Chocolate. The recipe became a hit and Baker chocolates became a huge success.

I'm The King Of The World

Milton Hershey, the founder of Hershey's Chocolate almost met his demise aboard the Titanic. Thankfully, he and his wife had important business matters to attend to, and canceled their trip. Would that have been the end of Hershey Kisses, or would his status as a chocolate giant have secured his seat in one of the not so many life boats. 

Chocolate Love

In Mexico and Central America, Cocoa beans were so luxurious they were once used as currency. 4 beans would get you a pumpkin, 10 beans would get you a rabbit and another 10 would get you a lady for the night.

Wife: Where were you all night? You were supposed to bring home dinner.

Husband: Sorry, they were all out of rabbits. 

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