Portions Of Each
The first thing to think about when pairing cheese and chocolate is how much of each item you want to have on hand. Remember that chocolate will easily overpower other flavors and because of this, you will want to make sure there is significantly more cheese than chocolate. Most experts suggest serving twice as much cheese compared to the amount of chocolate you have on hand when making a pairing.
The next thing to keep in mind is texture. Since both cheese and chocolate are food items, they will both have physical textures, something that is not true when pairing cheese with a beverage. Your goal should be to find chocolate that has a texture which contrasts with that of the cheese. If you have a cheese which is crumble or soft, for example, then find chocolate with a crunch, such as toffee, espresso beans, or caramels covered in chocolate.
General Rules Based On Cheese
When you are just starting off with pairing cheese and chocolate, simply knowing the above information is not always enough. To help you, there are some general guidelines based on the type of cheese you are serving. Soft ripened cheese (from any type of milk) is usually more aggressive, acidic, and pungent, making it better for milk or dark chocolate. Aged cheeses tend to have a crunchy texture and less acidic, nutty flavor, meaning they go well with chocolate filled with honey, maple, or almonds. Because blue cheese is sharp and pungent, it can help enhance the undertones in dark chocolate. If you want a range of cheeses, opt for caramels or truffles as their butter and dairy tones make them work with most cheeses. Remember that experimentation is key to finding the perfect matches.
If you are truly lost, then it can help to have a few specific pairings of particular cheeses with their ideal chocolates. Try pairing a dark chocolate English toffee with some aged Gouda. Another good choice is aged Cheddar with caramel apples dipped in chocolate. If you want to really show off your pairing skills, take aged Parmesan and some dark chocolate and then find a nice oatmeal stout to drink.