Exotic Chocolate & Beverage Pairings For Winter
Do you feel that less than frigid breeze? Could it be we’re entering the final stretch of winter?! Yes indeed, only one more month to go until we can officially declare spring fever (even if we’re sweating for a little sunshine right this minute).
A lot of people say that March is the hardest of the season to get through…especially so in the Midwest, where climate constantly fools you into thinking it’s warming up and then burying you under a foot of snow over night. Not so much here in Southern California…then again we’re all freaking out with how wet everything is lately – rain? What is this rain!? But seriously, we’ve had a lot of rain.
Regardless of locale, it’s time to celebrate the last of the season with something truly unique: An exotic chocolate and beverage pairing that is probably (in my opinion) the most ultimate form of self-care you can indulge in. So get a clay mask ready and heat up the kettle, because we’re staying in, snuggling up and don’t have to share any of this chocolate if we don’t want to!
First off, let’s talk about choosing the right chocolates for our bevvy pairing. One of the easiest ways to find exciting gourmet chocolate is over at Simply Chocolate. The site includes the very best chocolate from iconic chocolatiers and innovative artisans, along with exclusive product offerings (even better it gets delivered right to your door – hello perfect gift…in this case, for you!). There’s also a pretty cool “Explore Chocolate” section on the site, which features information about top chocolate shops, profiles on featured chocolatiers, the latest chocolate trends and decadent recipes.
For our pairing I selected the Simply Chocolate Colossal Truffles (which comes in both a 6pc & 12 pc collection) . The flavors are to die for – peanut better sea salt anyone!? Oh, and did I mention some of them are also painted with edible gold? This box is almost to gorgeous to eat…almost. But more importantly The Simply Chocolate branded collection only ranges from $20 to $100 which means you can treat yourself on a budget or go big depending on your mood.
Let’s get some drinks made…
Chai Lemongrass Latte + Dark Chocolate Truffle
Yes, the name suggests it…but these truffles are indeed colossal. As in, give me a minute and five bites to devour this beauty, colossal. And truly you should take your time to savor these, that’s what the pairing is all about. A little quality time with yourself and appreciating some awesome flavor combos.
Speaking of combos – Dark Chocolate goes well with a lot of things, but the beauty lays in the quality of chocolate, where we start getting a lot of other flavor notes to enjoy. This truffle is exceptional, creamy and rich with a slight roasted nutty note. Which is why we’re pairing it with complimentary Chai spices: Cinnamon, Clove, Cardamon and black pepper. Then throwing in a little exotic curve ball with an infusion of lemongrass. Make this latte with a dash of coconut milk for extra lusciousness and an instant tropical getaway even on the coldest of evenings.
Chai Lemongrass Latte
3 green cardamom pods
4 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
1 (1/4-inch) piece ginger root, peeled and thinly sliced
1 1/4 inch piece of lemongrass, slightly smashed
6 black peppercorns
3 cups water
2 tablespoons Darjeeling tea
1/2 cup milk
In a small saucepan bring whole spices, tea, ginger and lemongrass to a boil in water. Simmer for 5 minutes and remove from heat allowing to steep for an additional 10 minutes. Strain out solids and pour into a mug, top with milk or warm foamed coconut milk for an extra decadent sip.
Saffron Milk Tea With Rose & Cardamom
+ Caramel Truffle
I know what you’re thinking, what doesn’t pair well with caramel!? Trust me there are a few things – but this particular truffle has the most delicate floral notes floating in the velvety filling that you’re really going to want to accentuate it!
Rose and caramel are fast friends and truly an underrated pairing. Rose gets a bad rap for being overbearing in a lot of applications, but if you’re light handed with it and accompany its vibrance with other complimentary floral-like spices such as cardamon and saffron, you’re going to have quite a stellar creation on your hands. This pairing is incredibly special and perfect for those who really enjoy a complex yet delicate palate.
Saffron Milk Tea With Rose & Cardamon
1 1/2 cups raw milk
1 cup water
2 T. loose rooibos tea
15-25 saffron threads
3 cardamom pods
1/4 – 1/2 tsp rose syrup
Place water and cardamom into a small saucepan and bring to a boil, simmering for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add the saffron threads, steep for 5 minutes. Strain and serve with warm milk adding a small amount of sweet rose syrup to taste.
White Hot Chocolate with Basil Infused Foam
+ Raspberry Truffle
Get ready for a jammy raspberry punch! This particular truffle tastes like freshly made raspberry preserves wrapped up into a creamy chocolate tart. Unbelievably fruity while not overwhelmingly sweet.
What to pair with raspberry you ask? Basil is a hero accompaniment to this slightly tart slightly floral fruit. And we’re going to infuse it into a decadent frothy foam to put on top of a warmed hot white chocolate that will have you feeling sophisticated and like a kid all at the same time. In a word, bliss.
White Hot Chocolate with Basil Infused Foam
2 cups of milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 oz. white chocolate, chopped into small pieces
1 small bunch fresh basil, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup whole milk or whipping cream
In a saucepan, stir together milk, vanilla and white chocolate cooking over over medium-low heat. Stir occasionally until chocolate mixture comes to a simmer, not a boil. Remove from heat.
For basil infused foam or whipped cream,add fresh herbs to whipping cream in saucepan and bring to a simmer, immediately remove from heat and allow to steep covered for 20 minutes. Remove herb solids and strain milk.
For foam, use a milk frother until you reach desired consistency. For whipped cream, follow the directions on your foaming canister.
There you have it – three incredibly exotic chocolate and beverage pairings to get your creativity flowing and your mouth, well watering. Obviously these truffles can be enjoyed beautifully on their own, but creating a little event out of it paired with a delish warm bevvy makes the occasion feel that much more special. Especially if there’s a bubble bath involved…or just a really amazing lit candle while watching XYZ Netflix of your choice. However you like to relax, this is a really fun way to treat yourself and take a little TLC time out on your own (or if you get the larger box, with a friend).
Here’s to making it through the last of winter friends!
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Visit SimplyChocolate.com to find the latest and greatest in chocolate offerings, and discover information about top chocolate shops and featured chocolatiers.