Tuesday, December 9, 2008

What (Truly) Goes With Chocolate

The food blog Method is featuring this recipe for strawberry-chocolate chip cupcakes. I can't decide if that's too weird or not. I like Neapolitan ice cream, but I must admit that the idea of combining chocolate with strawberry in a cupcake just sounds slightly strange.

But why is that?

I guess it's really just a matter of what we're used to eating or seeing on menus.

Chocolate is often paired with cherries. Or raspberries. Occasionally orange. But few other fruits seem to make the cut when it comes to what we'll match with chocolate. Ever heard of a dessert featuring chocolate and apples? Or chocolate and peaches? Of course not -- and for good reason.

But does strawberry deserve to make the cut? The foodie-caterer at the blog Bash! could have made this chocolate cake with a strawberry ganache, but instead she made it with a raspberry ganache. (She even went to the trouble of substituting the raspberries for a recipe that originally called for strawberries.)

Looking beyond fruits, it can get even trickier. The chocolatier Richart of Paris is pretty blunt about its assessment:
One of the most interesting aspects of fine chocolate is that it doesn't much like company.
Richart has a web page entitled "Chocolate Harmonies" that offers advice on which wines, liqueurs and other drinks go well with chocolate. They correctly recommend pairing port with chocolate.

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