A: Try some of these perfect dark-chocolate-with-food-and-drink pairings; we believe you’ll be pleasantly surprised by some of these combinations:
• Fruit. Known for its bitter bite, dark chocolate helps neutralize very sweet fruits such as strawberries, bananas and dried apricots. However, its properties also create a combo with citrus fruits that pack an edgy punch for true chocolate connoisseurs.
• Nuts. Nuts in chocolate desserts make an interesting addition from both taste and texture points of view. Add roasted hazelnuts, almonds and/or walnuts to a chocolate bark recipe for added crunch and a delicious nutty bite.
• Cheese. The sweetness of chocolate can sometimes overwhelm the palate, which is why aged cheddars, Gouda, Havarti and Parmigiano-Reggiano have a strong enough flavor to balance perfectly. Spread toasted baguette slices with melted chocolate and sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano.
• Coffee. Dark chocolate goes well with a bold coffee, such as Italian roast. Serve small chunks of dark chocolate with freshly-brewed coffee for a sweet and ultimately satisfying end to a meal.
• Wine. Pair chocolate and wine according to the darkness of the chocolate. Like food, follow the general rule of wine pairings: the darker the chocolate, the darker the wine. Red wines (like Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon or Zinfandel) are ideal for dark chocolate.
Information provided by Molly Muchow, Hy-Vee Dietician, 4815 Maple Drive, Pleasant Hill, 515-262-7944.