In IWFS London Blog by ashepherdiwfs

February 2021

We paired fine chocolate and different kinds of alcoholic drinks at this exceptional tasting via Zoom.

A pack of six types of chocolates, separately identified only by number, was posted to each of us beforehand.  Groups of generic types of alcoholic drinks were specified in advance, for us to select and provide for ourselves.

Chantal Coady OBE, an internationally renowned chocolate expert, led the tasting Her OBE is unique “for services to chocolate making”.  She focuses on sustainable chocolate that keeps value within the local economies where it is made, such as Grenada.

Chantal told us about each numbered chocolate in turn, linking it to one of the following groups, for us to pair with the particular drinks we had got:

A – Gewurztraminer from Alsace/ Muscat Beaumes de Venise/ Moscato Asti/ Sauternes

– Tawny Port/ Australian Sparkling Syrah/ Spanish Muscatel

C – Vintage Port/ Pedro Ximenez (PX) Sherry/ Rum/ Armagnac

D – Banyuls/ Argentina full body Malbec/ Beaujolais Villages

E – Pedro Ximenez (PX) or other sweet Sherry.

The delicious luxury chocolate pieces were:

  • Grenada Special Cuvée 85% Broken Dark Chocolate flavoured with sea salt and dusted with gold.
  • Madagascar 63% menacao
  • Grenada 60% Organic Chocolate with Roasted Cocoa Nibs, containing a high amount of cocoa butter, with a nutty crunch.
  • Silver Ox very dark milk chocolate (sea salt) 61% 
  • Golden Sea Salt Wafer Thins, 40% cocoa milk chocolate, flavoured with sea salt and dusted with gold.
  • Foraged Fennel & Cardamom Wafer Thins, white chocolate, its sweetness cut through with fennel and sea salt, and dusted with gold.

We also contrasted the taste of a bar of “mass-produced” Cadbury’s Bournville dark chocolate  with “single estate” chocolate, to the great benefit of the latter.

Overall, we found that whisky, port, PX sherry and oloroso sherry were the best matches for all the chocolate. Red wine was not so successful. Sweet white wine sometimes went well.

Chantal’s favourite pairings with chocolate are white tea, port, whisky and rum. She says, “Alcohol goes very well – the higher the alcohol level, the more it will make the chocolate sing”.

Thanks to Roger Ellis for organising this excellent and unusual tasting.