The after dinner Scotch whisky.
Wine is someone showing up with flowers at the door. A good scotch is tumbling under a blanket in front of the fire and "the dog just stole my socks!"
Wine is often paired with cheese. Scotch and cheese? Uh. . . no thanks.
Scotch and chocolate pairings are not an invention of the Range but it's not something I'd tried, until my best gal friend came back from the West Coast with some of the most incredible artisan chocolate, TCHO - New American Chocolate and rumors of such late night hook ups.
I have admitted I am new to Scotch, only trying it well into adulthood. At first I was a typical "I don't have a clue what I'm sipping or what I'm tasting" but with another novice pilot friend, we branched out in learning the various nuances of a dram.
Soon, I was hooked on the wonderful world of good Scotch. Pair that with the finest chocolate? I'm game.
Not all pairings will work and single malts are definitely the way to go as they have very particular flavor profiles, as do single origin chocolates (chocolate that’s grown in a particular place for specific flavor qualities.) They can be herbal, grassy, fruity or smoky.
Adding to the confusion, whisky has not only many different personalities, a single dram can have many distinct notes. You start with the nose, then progress to the palate, and finally, the finish. Chocolate too, is similar. There's the snap as you break it, the subtle aroma under the nose and then the rich complexities of taste, fully released from the cacao butter as it melts, at perfect mouth temperature.
To truly get a combination you love, you need to learn your own palate, what you like and then experiment. If you're just used to wine tastings, be prepared for a wonderful surprise. Scotch has so much more of a greater mouth feel than wine, so get ready to grab your bits of fine chocolate and exploit the taste to its fullest potential.
Until then - I'll leave you with a few of my own findings - a quick Brigid primer on Whisky and Chocolate Pairings.
Cu Dhub (bastard offspring of Loch Du and WD40) and Hersheys (like eating a cocoa Yankee candle)
Edradour 10yo (burn a gummi bear with an acetylene torch) and Coconut M and M's (choco/sunblock)
Tullibardine 10yo (endorsed by soccer hooligans everywhere) and Nestle's Crunch (asphalt and gravel)
Tamnavulin 10yo (rated "OK" by drunken Australian Infantrymen) and Venchi Cuor di Cacao 85% (ever stick your tongue on a frozen metal girder?)
Cragganmore 12yo (gentlemen prefer blands) and Pralus Venezuela 75% (the dark roast deflowers any delicate flavorings this chocolate once had)
Bowmore 15 and Lindt A Touch of Sea Salt Dark Chocolate
Laphroaig 18 and Lindt Madagascar 65% Chocolate
Ardbeg Uigeadail and Picaro Salt and Nibs
Glengoyne 23 year and L’Artisan du Chocolat: Madong 70%
Glenlivet Master Distillers Reserve and TCHO Dark Chocolate with Subtle Nutty Notes. (Outstanding, coffee, a hint of nut, becoming sweeter as it melts)