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Valentine’s Day may be over but that doesn’t mean our chocolate indulgence has to end. Is there even such a thing as too much chocolate? We think not. For true chocolate lovers, every opportunity to sample a new artisanal chocolate is reason to rejoice. With so many wonderful regions in the world growing cacao beans and so many ways to create this dark, magical edible, every chocolate maker is creating a deliciously unique product.
Pairing your chocolate with other accompaniments like hoppy brews, spicy spirits, or tart ciders will bring out the best flavours in both. Add in a charcuterie board (or two) and you’re off and running for a deliciously adventurous food pairing you can fall in love with.
Sample your way through the offerings from these Ontario’s Highlands’ chocolatiers and find new flavours and new inspiration for this decadent treat. These chocolates and craft drinks are all available for online sales to make this an effortless edible exploration.
Chocolate with Beer
Pairing a truly fine chocolate with a rough and tumble brew gives you a nice juxtaposition of flavours to explore. Fine Chocolates by Ludwig’s Dark Chili & Maple is so rich at 72% that you’ll be ready for the hint of maple and the heat of ground chili flakes. If you’re not feeling like a dark chocolate, J.J.’s Chocolate Sensations can be your go-to for chocolatey perfection with their gourmet s’mores or pecan chews.
Pair either of these chocolates with Stalwart Brewing Company’s Big Papa, at 5.8% this brew has a flavourful and juicy, hoppy flavour that will pick up the sweet heat of the chocolate just beautifully. On the other hand, 7/62 Craft Brewer’s Hastings Canadian is a light, layered, and fragrant brew that will add a lighter accompaniment to Ludwig’s biting flavours. If you are really feeling adventurous, the sweetness of Haliburton Highlands Brewing’s Honey Brown Ale (5% ABV) will add some additional nuances to your palate.
Savoury Pairing: Seed to Sausage in Sharbot Lake sells handcrafted and cured meats (and they ship across Ontario); try their house cured ham, genoa salami, or duck prosciutto. If you’re in the area, 7/62 Brewery has a delicious “Taste of Hastings” cheese board that will fill you up.
Chocolate with Cider
It’s cider’s acidity and tartness that makes it perfect for savouring with a bite of chocolate now and again. Let the warm flavours of Hummingbird Chocolate Maker’s Extra Hot Mayan spice up your life and pair it with the sour and slightly funky flavour of Ugly Apple’s Wild Cider for a unique twist on both chocolate and cider.
If life is like a box of chocolates you can have the full life experience by purchasing a box of Perth Chocolate Works’ assorted chocolates and pairing it with Kings Mill Cider’s Strawberry-Rhubarb carbonated cider (750 ml, 9% ABV).
Savoury Pairing: Make your own epic charcuterie board with an Italian twist by ordering handcrafted Italian cured and cooked meats, artisan breads and buffalo milk cheeses from The Barn Chefs in Coe Hill, Ontario.
Chocolate with Spirits
A rich, warm chocolate pairs well with the heat of a craft cocktail (or spirit on the rocks). The Village Treats chocolatier hand molds decadent chocolates in the tiny village of Lanark. Forget cookies and milk, try pairing their Dark Chocolate Caramel with Sea Salt with Dairy Distillery’s cream liquor and delight in the varying textures and flavours.
I Like Chocolate’s Dark Chocolate (70%) with Black Cherries is the perfect balance between bitter and sweet. Pair it with Top Shelf Distiller’s Reunion Ontario Cherry Moonshine to rev up the cherry flavouring. If you’re looking for a bit more of a kick to your pairing, you’ll love combining a rich chocolate with O’Kenny’s Craft Spirits’ mocha moonshine made using coffee from the Ottawa Valley Roast House.
Savoury Pairing: Order a charcut-a-cone to go from The Pickled Pig in Smiths Falls and you’ll be set for a light, refreshing meal, dessert, and beverages to go with it.