Whether a fancy five-course social event, a laid-back barbecue or a progressive dinner party, what separates average from impressive entertaining is innovative and original ideas. One way to surely catch the attention of your guests while tempting their taste buds is to feature chocolate pairings in your entertaining itinerary.
Fine chocolates add decadence to any event, but they are relatable and broadly enjoyed. Chocolate platters have replaced cheese platters at soirees, but what's really on trend for 2018 is chocolate pairings. This interactive offering is a conversation starter that will delight guests — the perfect way to conclude a meal with friends or family.
While the idea of chocolate pairings might seem complex, it's actually quite simple. These tips from the expert chefs who create Kohler Original Recipe Chocolates will make it virtually effortless to pair fine chocolates with beer, wine and spirits so you can impress guests at your next event.
Offer an array of flavors
To ensure you have something for all guests no matter their preferences, opt for a variety of chocolates. Selections from the white, milk and dark chocolate categories offer an array of flavors. Some guests may gravitate to one over others, while other guests may choose to sample all three varieties. Suggest sampling from light to dark to balance the palate.
Pairing 1 suggestion: White chocolate
White chocolate is sweet and buttery, integrated into numerous types of confections, many of which feature fruit. The Kohler Cranberry Terrapin showcases cranberries and white chocolate with its signature smoky caramel. Cranberry and white chocolate are delicate flavors and this piece is crafted so that those flavors balance well and are not overpowered by the smokiness of the caramel.
With that in mind, consider serving with a a stout beer that will bring out that buttery goodness. If selecting a wine pairing, opt for a zinfandel or another variety that won't overpower those delicate flavors. Spirits can be a nice pairing addition, too. A classic bourbon complements the smoky caramel perfectly.
Pairing 2 suggestion: Milk chocolate
Americans adore milk chocolate and expert chocolatiers can transform this delight into virtually endless tempting flavors. The Kohler Butterscotch Hop is one such example. The smooth, creamy butterscotch filling is enhanced by a custom blend of premium chocolate to elevate this flavor combination. It's velvety on the tongue with a light finish, plus the beautiful mold impresses the eye.
Milk chocolate is smooth and sweet, and drink pairings should complement that element without overwhelming. A light crisp beer or a refreshing chardonnay brings out the buttery undertones of silky-smooth milk chocolate. If you decide to serve butterscotch, it's sure to be unique as it's a pretty rare find in the chocolate world. A honey whiskey is the perfect pair for butterscotch chocolates.
Pairing 3 suggestion: Dark chocolate
Rich and undeniably decadent, dark chocolate is the ideal final pairing to offer guests. The flavors of coffee and dark chocolate are often fused together as they mingle together well. For example, the Kohler Caffé and Cream has dark chocolate coffee ganache with a layer of creamy mascarpone in a dark chocolate shell. This multi-layer chocolate is meticulously crafted and offers a burst of satisfying richness.
A bold, rich beer or heavy ale matches dark chocolate well. A tawny port that isn’t too fruity can be a nice complement to coffee flavors while bringing out the dark chocolate elements. Finally, a sweeter bourbon with a smoky finish pairs nicely with the dark chocolate, which in turn brings out the barrel notes of the spirit.
You can serve chocolate pairings in a variety of ways. If you prefer to set up a beautiful buffet, you can display chocolates on a platter and place drink pairings nearby, each labeled appropriately. Guests can help themselves at their leisure. You may also opt to serve guests by bringing out each pairing one by one and offering guests their choice of beverage to pair with the featured chocolate. No matter how you choose to serve, it's bound to be a memorable moment at a fantastic event.