Easter season frequently drives folks crazy for chocolate – both foodies and kiddies alike. At a recent event at All the Best Fine Foods, newly re-opened at 1101 Yonge Street after a long renovation and relocation, palates were tempted and satisfied with a novel pairing for the season: chocolate and cheese.
Chef Chris McDonald of Cava, Toronto’s premium uptown tapas restaurant, and XocoCava, the exciting chocolate and gelato shop next door, devised an ingenious series of cheese and chocolate pairings and was sampling them on Saturday, April 23rd at All the Best. Judging by the buzz when we visited, and based on our experience tasting the matches, this was an exciting approach to this particular chocolate holiday season.
The four pairs that Chef McDonald devised were based on finding flavours in the chocolate that compliment the traits of four typical types of cheeses. For soft-ripened cheese, like the brie we had on Saturday, McDonald made a white chocolate with fennel pollen. Chef noted that this was his favourite pairing, and indeed, we loved the unique spice that the fennel added to creamy sweetness of the cheese and white chocolate. For goat cheese, McDonald paired a milk chocolate with black olive, an interesting match that was full of warm umami-type flavours. For blue cheese, McDonald created a dark chocolate with rosemary and black walnut. Our relationship with stinky cheese is tenuous at best, but the herb freshness of the rosemary seemed to soften the pungent nature of the blue. The last pairing was the most exciting for us, dark chocolate with cumin designed to go with firm and washed rind cheese, in this case, an aged cheddar. Cumin is our favourite spice, and we loved the balance of this smokey seasoning with the dark chocolate and sharp cheddar.
The chocolates are sold in sets of 4 tiles of each flavour, ready to go for your next entertaining event. We think the exercise of chocolate and cheese pairing would make for great conversation, and just might add some interesting flavours to your next seasonal celebration party or dinner.
All the Best Fine Foods
1101 Yonge Street, Toronto
Yonge Street and Price Street (south of Summerhill Station)
1560 Yonge Street, Toronto
Yonge Street north of St. Clair Ave West