“WHAT GROWS TOGETHER, GOES TOGETHER!”
Easter is just around the corner and seeing as chocolate is synonymous with this time of year we wanted to celebrate all that is cacao! In true North Star style we thought we’d rejoice by pairing some of our favourite brews with a range of bean to bar chocolate that align strongly with our values from both an ethical and quality standpoint.
Pump Street Chocolate had us hooked on first taste with a range of bars that exhibit the same unbelievable depth of flavour and interesting flavour profiles as our coffees. This teamed with a sourcing model that sees them pay prices greater than fairtrade, revenue that is paid directly to the growers ensuring a lasting impact for farmers and their communities makes Pump Street our go-to when it comes to that choccy hit.
Even though there is no direct biological relationship between coffee and chocolate, the similarities between the two are undeniable. They are both seeds of tropical plants, both are fermented and dried, both need some level of roasting. Probably the most uniting characteristic is the bittersweet flavour notes and sheer range and depth of perceivable flavour inherent to each seed. Coffee and chocolate really is a match made in heaven, which is why we so often find ourselves reaching for a bar once we’ve made a brew and why coffee and chocolate combos are so prevalent in the wonderful world of desserts.
There is an age old saying, “What grows together, goes together.” It’s no surprise that many of the world’s biggest and most successful coffee producing countries are also the most productive growers of high quality cocoa. And we thought what better way to celebrate these flavour pals than to put some super tasty choccy bars to the test with some of our truly amazing coffees. These were our findings:
BRAZIL RAINA DA PAZ NATURAL – ECUADOR RYE CRUMB, MILK & SEA SALT (60%)
Turns out that the beautiful nutty tones of our Fazenda Rainha Da Paz tastes exceptionally good with milk to slightly dark chocolate. The rich, hazelnut notes in the coffee add a nice balance to the sweetness and creaminess in the chocolate. The Ecuador’s intensity, beautiful deep rye richness and honey/treacle sweetness paired with the coffee’s nutty tones gave us sticky, candied hazelnut feels. It’d be a crime not to mention the addition of rye bread from Pump Street’s Bakery too which transforms this bar into both a flavour and textural masterpiece.
ETHIOPIA YELLOW HONEY – MADAGSCAR WHITE (44%)
We found that coffees with strong fruit and floral tones tend to compliment chocolate with a lower cocoa content. The gentle, bright, delicate fruit and floral notes of the Malawo Yellow Honey could be easily overpowered by a richer darker chocolate so the Madagascar White’s lightness/sweetness compliments the bean’s natural, bright and elegant flavours without overwhelming them. The chocolate carries beautiful hints of vanilla that pairs like an absolute dream with the apricot notes of our Ethiopian. Think sweet stone fruit and custard!
COLOMBIA LOS ROSALES WASHED – MADAGASCAR MILK (58%)
Our Colombia Los Rosales has a citrus-like acidity that complements the zesty finish present in the Madagascar Milk chocolate. In addition, the contrasting nature of juicy fruity flavours from the coffee and milky creaminess of the chocolate work wonderfully on the palate. In the same way that this versatile coffee works so well as a milk –based beverage on espresso.
GUATEMALA LA BOLSA WASHED – GRENADA CRAYFISH BAY (70%)
The great balance and natural dark chocolatey notes of the coffee pair perfectly with the extraordinary/standout mouth watering berry notes of this Crayfish Bay Organic Estate 70%. This chocolate is so complex that it requires a coffee that doesn’t fight for you palate’s affection when it comes to flavour. We experienced a whole host of epic flavours reminiscent to that of a tasty black forest gateau.
Why not give coffee and chocolate pairing a go next time you sit down to your favourite brew. We had a lot of fun exploring what worked, what didn’t work and what surprised our palates. You’ll find that some flavours compliment and some flavours contrast, both yielding amazing results that can leave your tastebuds reeling from an onslaught of incredibly unique and tasty flavour combinations.