Learn how to pair gourmet chocolates with your choice of beverage from Hyderabad-based chocolatier Aparna Gorrepati
When you think about gourmet chocolates, one of the first enthusiasts who come to mind is city-based Aparna Gorrepati. She along with Chaitanya Gorrepati helm Zuci Chocolates known for their artisanal varieties of chocolates. Aparna has been a chocolatier for more than 10 years and has trained in Belgium and France. So we asked her about the hot beverages one can pair it with this monsoon. “Some connoisseurs may not be pleased with the idea of pairing chocolate with coffee. But, I have to say that sometimes chocolate is known as a great pairing agent with coffee, tea or even cheese. It can accentuate the flavours in both the groups,” enlightens Aparna.
She has curated around six combinations for our readers that she believes are perfect to appease the Indian palette:
Express with espresso
Aparna says that a cuppa of espresso or americano with dark chocolate (54%), milk chocolate (41%) and caramel dark chocolate could work wonders together. She further mentions that depending on whether one wants a complementary note or a contrast, one could pair an espresso (an americano alternatively) with a rich blended 54% dark chocolate that adds to the strength of the dark coffee. A second alternative is a mild contrast with Zuci’s single-origin Columbian Heliconia 41% milk chocolate. A complete contrast would be a blended dark chocolate and caramel centre filled chocolate allowing a bittersweet combination.
Into the dark
Cappuccino with blended dark chocolate (54%) and hazelnut crunch is apt together. The mild coffee blends well with the rich and creamy hazelnut crunch and dark chocolate.
Say it with cinnamon
Not in a mood for coffee? Maybe then you would want to pair a cup of hot chocolate dark chocolate, cinnamon and chilli or dark chocolate and mint. Aparna mentions, “A decadent hot chocolate made with our in house chocolate ganache and milk would blend with cinnamon and chilli would offer a contrast pairing with this indulgent drink is our inhouse mint chocolate, creating a nice refreshing peppermint aftertaste.”
Tea time treat
If tea is your chosen beverage, then maybe go with their white tea with chocolates comprising notes of lavender, caramel and lime chocolate or their matcha sesame chocolate. “This is a connoisseurs’ combination, with the subtleness of the white tea complimenting the very unique taste of lavender,” says Aparna.
Time to go desi
Indian Spice tea with Dark Chocolate & Orange & Sea Salt go well together. Paired with dark chocolate infused with orange, orange peel and a hint of sea salt, is a great combination of the spicy team with a refreshing orange flavour and aftertaste.
Hint of almond
Kashmiri Kahwa or Kehwa Chai is often flavoured with cardamom and infused with cloves, cinnamon, and saffron. This concoction is traditionally served with a drip of honey and topped with almond shavings. Ideal pairing with this dark chocolate fused with roasted almonds. Alternatively, it could be paired with our in house Marzipan, a dessert crafted with ground almonds.
Here are a few tips:
Pairing is ideally done based on one’s sensory preferences – between a combination of bitter, sweet, sour, nutty and salt. We learn that coffee and chocolate pairing can be customised depending on the complexity of the coffee (acidity, notes, roast type, origin) and the character of the chocolate (dark, milk, white, single-origin, nuts, flavours, fruits and so on.)
To complement: Select a tea/coffee and chocolate that may not have the same characteristics, but are still compatible.
To contrast: Choose a tea/coffee and chocolate that have entirely different flavour notes to accentuate the differences.
To enhance: Pick a tea/coffee and chocolate that share similar characteristics and tasting notes for balanced flavour combinations.