Tea and food pairings can be a fun and delicious experiment. There are many items that can go well with tea, but my personal favourite is definitely chocolate. I can’t think of many things that are better than drinking a warm cup of tea while nibbling on extraordinary chocolate. You can find teas blended with chocolate, or chocolates infused with tea, but the art of tea and chocolate pairing can be simplified. Just by taking a sip of your favourite tea with a bite of your favourite chocolate, you can see how well (or not so well) the flavour profiles go together. With a little experimenting, you’re bound to find some pairings that agree with your taste buds!
Essentially, you would pair tea and chocolate similar to pairing the beverage with cheese or other food, whether sweet or savoury. Curious to learn more and give this delightful pairing idea a try yourself? Here’s a quick how-to with tips and even an example of a tea and chocolate pairing I did recently.
How to Pair Tea with Chocolate
Begin by drinking a sip of your tea, letting it spread entirely across the tongue before swallowing. This simple step is important because it will warm your tongue and prepare your taste buds for the melting chocolate that is to come their way.
Then, take a bite of your chocolate and see how it accompanies the flavours that are now on your tongue.
You can keep repeating these two steps, or you can then take another bite of your chocolate, and before swallowing, take another sip of your tea and let both the chocolate and tea flavours coat your tongue.
However, as this tasting guide suggests, if you’re using chocolate with high percentage of cocoa, you would eat the chocolate before sipping the tea. That way the rich cocoa will be softened by the warm tea and ensure that all flavours and tones are heightened.
Tea and Chocolate Pairing Tips
– Use any chocolate you like, but the most successful pairings are from chocolates that offer you pure and true cacao tastes. Therefore, something with minimal and high quality ingredients can produce more wonderful pairings. The same can be said for high quality tea, too.
– Don’t be afraid to try using a tea or chocolate you usually don’t enjoy too much. Pairing might change your mind about one or the other as when paired you are creating new flavours.
– When pairing tea and chocolate, focus on complementing, contrasting or enhancing flavours:
To complement: Look for a tea and chocolate that may not have the same characteristics, but are still compatible. For example, a honey-sweet oolong tea with a citrus infused chocolate.
To contrast: Look for a tea and chocolate that may have completely different characteristics, allowing the flavours to accentuate the differences. For example, a spicy black tea with a plain, creamy milk chocolate.
To enhance: Look for a tea and chocolate that may share similar characteristics. For example, a green tea with nutty notes and a chocolate with nut ingredients or qualities.
– A successful pairing will allow you to be able to taste the tea and the chocolate at the same time and not have flavours from either be washed away.
Tea and Chocolate Pairing with Giddy YoYo
Giddy YoYo specializes in dairy-free, raw chocolate. I never expected myself to be a huge dark chocolate fan, but I am definitely leaning more towards it these days. Giddy YoYo is one of my favourite raw chocolate brands in Canada and can find it paired with my cups of tea often, so I will be using five of their bars to show a tea and chocolate pairing example.
Giddy YoYo Sweet Vanilla + Genmaicha & First Flush Darjeeling
This chocolate bar is labelled as their “transition bar” for those who may not be used to raw, dark chocolate as it’s only 69% cacao, the lightest in their collection. For this reason, I find it pairs well with nutty notes from a genmaicha green tea, to offset any bitterness in the tea. The strong muscatel undertones from a Darjeeling complements the sweet chocolate, and makes it extra creamy.
Giddy YoYo Mint + Second Flush Darjeeling & Fermented Puerh
This 76% dark chocolate does a great job at keeping the mint and cacao well-balanced. The gentle muscatel from the Darjeeling complement the powerful and refreshing mint in the chocolate. I’ve had a few chocolate puerh blends before, and quite enjoyed them so I thought to sip some with this chocolate. The earthy puerh contrasts the mint chocolate, however, there were some sips I thought the fresh peppermint masked the puerh.
Giddy YoYo Chai Spice + Lapsang Souchong
This 77% dark chocolate bar is infused with true cinnamon, fennel, ginger, cloves, cardamom and black peppercorns. The warm, spicy bites and a smokey tea like Lapsang Souchong may seem like an unusual combination, but the contrast flavours work together and was well-balanced. I found this dark chocolate bar bitter compared to some of the others, but the bitterness complemented the smoked tea.
Giddy YoYo Vanilla Bean & Salt + Ceylon & Jasmine Green
This is Giddy YoYo’s best selling chocolate bar. I love it on it’s own, but its especially a delicious treat with a bold black tea like Ceylon or even a light floral green tea. The vanilla bean and salt flavours complement Ceylon really well. The full-bodied tea couples nicely with the smooth chocolate texture and hint of salt. The floral notes from the Jasmine Green tea brings out natural floral notes from this 82% dark chocolate. Also, the delicate, grassy green tea enhances the deep chocolate.
Giddy YoYo Xtra Dark + Earl Grey & Bai Hao Oolong
The citrus notes from the classic Earl Grey tea enhance this 89% dark chocolate beautifully because the chocolate doesn’t overpower the strong citrus from the bergamot oil in the tea, or vice versa. The Bai Hao oolong and the extra dark chocolate were an incredible aromatic combination. The honey-sweet taste from the oolong was the perfect contrast to the intense cacao. I don’t find this extra dark chocolate bitter on its own, but with the oolong, it was much sweeter for its high cacao content.
Do you have a favourite tea and chocolate pairing? Let me know in the comments below!