Whisky and Chocolate

A Match made in Heaven: Whisky and Chocolate

Chocolate and Whisky – two things for the connoisseurs and gourmets amongst people. It is not something we need to survive, but definitely something for enjoyment. So why not combine these two things? And especially since this pair seems to be made for each other:

Most Whisky is matured in Bourbon casks. Those are charred on the inside. Through the charring, the oak particles caramelises, setting free something you can call sugar, or vanillin. The Whisky then will adopt this aroma during the maturing. That’s where the sweet flavour is coming from. And vanillin is also in most chocolates. This means, they have a common ground in taste.

After that, the tastes of Whisky and Chocolate varies immensely. Just like Whisky has many variation in taste, Chocolate is made with all kinds of ingredients, also resulting in a wide range of aroma. With so many different possibilities, is there even a chance to pair them right?

What Chocolate with which Whisky?

Well, that heavily depends on the personal taste. Taste is a very subjective matter. And to make it even more difficult, not only is this question concerning the personal taste in chocolate, but also the personal taste in Whisky.

But there a still some advice from gourmets around the world. One is, that heavy flavours should be matched. If a Whisky has a strong and intense flavour, it can easily overpower the taste of mild milk chocolate. Therefore to still taste both components, it would be better to pair those Whiskies with a powerful chocolate flavour. And is the Whisky delicate and complex, it is better enjoyed with a mild chocolate. But of course, everyone is different. And for some connoisseurs the rule is: the more complex the Whisky, the more mild and settled the chocolate should be.

Lagavulin 16 Years & dark chocolate
Lagavulin 16 years & dark chocolate
Glenfarclas 10 years & milk chocolate
Glenfarclas 10 years & milk chocolate

Side Note: The Physics of Chocolate

The percentage of cacao is determining what kind of chocolate it is. Low percentage? Milk Chocolate. Above 70%? Dark Chocolate. But not only the type, but also the texture is defined by the proportion of the cacao. The more cacao the bar contains, the more solid and hard it becomes. This can already be seen, by opening the package. Dark Chocolate is shiny and reflects light, while Chocolate with less percentage of cacao is more matt and soft.

And even in the mouth the texture is making a difference. Because of the change of the aggregate conditions, a “cooling”-effect is happening in the mouth. To change the aggregate from solid to liquid, the chocolate is using the energy, the temperature in the mouth. That stimulates the salivation. This results in a range of perfect temperature, in which the chocolate melts with the right amount of salivation. Most chocolates on the market are based on this fact.

Find the right Pair for your Taste:

There is only one right combination: The one you made on your own. Nobody but yourself knows, what Whisky and Chocolate combination will taste good. Because what gourmets and critiques can commonly claim as good, can be the worst thing you have ever tasted. And while the process of finding the right mix can be long, the journey itself is the goal, right? Maybe you will find new flavours in Whisky, or maybe you discover more of your own taste. One thing is certain: Your tongue will discover many new tastes.