This post is brought to you by Ghirardelli Intense Dark™ Chocolate.
Things have been busy over here.
And by busy, I mean that my usual teacher’s schedule of “in by 7, out by 3″ has turned into “in by 7, out at 5.” Plus a commute. By the time I get home, I’m exhausted, and in desperate need of some serious quiet time. Usually, I’ll cook dinner (something simple these days) and then, just as much as I needed quiet, I then need dessert.
Well, need isn’t exactly the right…wait, who am I kidding. Yes. I need dessert. Usually, I have some low-fat ice cream or pudding in the fridge, but on these super-long days, a square of chocolate is just what the doctor ordered.
Imagine my glee when nearly a 5-pound box of Ghiradelli Intense Dark chocolate was delivered to my door, courtesy of DailyBuzz Food and Ghiradelli? To say I was excited is an understatement.
The challenge: pair some of the new Ghiradelli Intense Dark chocolate bars with inventive flavors.
So I started simply. Coffee and chocolate are a given match-up, so thats where I began.
I made myself a strong (4-shot!) latte, and enjoyed a square (or four) of the Hazelnut Heaven bar. Heaven indeed. I was glad to see that there were real pieces of roasted hazelnuts instead of a nut-butter like substance, and the flavors paired perfectly. The slightly bitter coffee, the buttery and roasted hazelnuts, and the perfect dark chocolate made for a lovely combination.
Next, I went with another classic, but went a little “weird” with the chocolate choice. We all know that fruit and chocolate make an amazing combination. Honestly, I’m sure we’ve all drooled over chocolate covered strawberries at the local market, dipped pineapple in melted chocolate at a chocolate fountain, or even enjoyed a chocolate-covered orange peel or two.
Now, something you may not know: salt, in small amounts, can make sweet things actually sweeter. This is why some people salt their watermelon (try it!), why salted caramels are so amazing, and why this Sea Salt Soiree bar is so perfect. Dark chocolate, large grains of sea salt, and bits of roasted almonds are delicious on their own, but paired with a slightly tart yellow raspberry? No words. A juicy section of clementine tangerine took it all over the edge.
The plate of fruit and the chocolate and I did an odd little dance… bite of chocolate, fruit, eyes-closed mmmmm-ing, bite of chocolate, fruit, eyes-closed mmmmmm-ing…. you get the picture.
I was most excited about the next pairing. My mind did it’s little spinning thing that it does at times when I saw the Cabernet Matinee bar. I mean, really, dark chocolate, blackberries, and cabernet? In one bar? Yes please!
This is where the mind started spinning… Cabernet is a kind of wine. Wine goes with food. More specifically, wine goes with cheese. And my mind zipped back to a delicious goat cheese that I had at a party last year. Midnight Moon is a 6-month aged semi-hard goat cheese in a beautiful black wax coating… and its slight tang promised to be a perfect match for the Cabernet Matinee bar.
I’m so glad I was right about this one. The delicate sharpness and slightly gritty texture of the cheese paired darn near perfectly with the Cabernet bar.
In all, the fruit, cheese, chocolate, and latte I had was probably the best breakfast I’ve had in a while. Yes, chocolate for breakfast. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
But here’s what I’m realizing. No matter how crazy the day is, how nutty things may get, there’s always time for chocolate. It takes just a minute, and can seriously change my mood.
What’s your favorite thing to pair with chocolate?
The chocolate was provided to me by DailyBuzz Food and Ghiradelli. The chocolate obsession, opinions, and pairings are all my own.