Monday, March 3, 2014

5 items to pair dark chocolate with

It is (almost) common knowledge that dark chocolate is good for your health, as cacao beans contains nutrients such as iron, potassium and fibre, as well as antioxidants. Additionally, dark chocolate is good for your heart and brain because it can help lower your blood pressure, blood sugar and improve blood flow.

However, the health benefits of dark chocolate can only be enjoyed if you consume chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa; the higher the better. This ensures that the chocolate is void of unnecessary sugar and is higher in flavonoid antioxidants.

Not everyone can take the characteristic bitterness of darker chocolate, which is why pairing it with complementary flavours can help you best appreciate the finer qualities dark chocolate. Bear in mind though, that dark chocolate should be consumed in modest amounts, approximately one ounce a few times per week, as it contains fat.

                                                                         5 items to pair dark chocolate with

 1. Fruit
Eating fruits with chocolate is nothing new, so try pairing sweet fruits such as strawberries, bananas and peaches with melted dark chocolate to neutralize both flavours. If sweet fruits are not to your liking, you may also pair dark chocolate with citrus fruits such as oranges and lemons for an added edge.

2. Nuts

Nuts are another class of edibles that are recognized for their health benefits. Adding nuts into melted dark chocolate or recipes such as chocolate bark and chocolate truffles give the confection added taste (nutty) and texture (crunch).

3. Cheese

Fight fire with fire or in this case, bitterness with another strong flavour such as cheese. Go for aged cheddar such as Gouda, Havarti and Parmigiano-Reggiano because they have a strong enough flavour to balance the tart sweetness of chocolate perfectly.

4. Wine

Enjoy your dark chocolate in a classy way by pairing it with wine. Much like food, pair your dark chocolate with wine according to the darkness of the chocolate; the darker the chocolate, the darker the wine. Red wines like Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon are ideal, but you can also take them with white wine, which is sweeter, if you so prefer. If you prefer beer instead, dark chocolate pairs well with dark beers, like Guinness.

5. Coffee

Dark chocolate may be the answer to coffee since the former also contains caffeine, but that does not mean that they won't go well together. After all, caffé mocha is a coffee beverage prepared with espresso, chocolate, and hot milk. Dark chocolate goes well with a bold coffee such as Italian roast. Consume small chunks of dark chocolate with freshly brewed coffee for a sweet and satisfying end to a meal.