Italians on Italians
Beyond Toscano
Il Sigaro della Sera
Like so many experiences based on flavor, the enjoyment of a cigar can often be influenced by the pairings made with it. And while the combinations of cigars with a good wine, cognac or even beer are relatively well understood, there are some more unlikely pairings you may not have considered. Like chocolate, for example.
Pairing chocolate and cigars may at first seem like a strange thing to do, one being sweet, the other being more bitter and refined, but you’d be surprised how well it can work. The trick is to subtly balance the flavors, with chocolatiers making more and more adventurous chocolates, it’s an exciting time to be experimenting with what works best on your palette.
We’re not talking about simple milk chocolate here, but lovingly-crafted artisan chocolate. Due to its natural bitterness, dark chocolate works well as a base – the higher the cocoa content, the more bitter it becomes. This bitterness can be offset by including ingredients like vanilla, herbs, spices, coffee or even chili, each adding a new dimension to the flavor and having a different influence on your tastebuds. Some prime them for the complex flavors of a cigar, others enhance lingering flavors between puffs. The richness of the chocolate also effects the mouth-feel of a cigar as the oil in the chocolate coats your saliva in different ways. Nuts too work well with cigars, echoing the toastiness of the tobacco.
It’s all awaiting your discovery. So if we’ve piqued your interest in chocolate and cigar-pairings, be sure to have a look online and see what intriguing match recommendations you can find.