Who said that chocolate, in cooking, is only suitable for preparing sweet recipes? There are alternative combinations that can bring out the flavor of the cocoa together with fresh pasta or with meat. Sure, it’s not always easy to find just the right balance, but that’s precisely why after having suggested what to combine with hot chocolate , we’re now going to take a look at “power couples” based on cocoa and savory foods. So what are the best combinations with chocolate?
The best (savory) combinations with chocolate!
Originally, cocoa was consumed, crumbled, in some drinks which were anything but sweet, actually they were enriched with chili pepper. And still today, this is one of the most striking and appreciated combinations for dark chocolate. Another ingredient which is often combined with chocolate is salt, which transforms the taste of any bar of chocolate. Let’s take a look at some other combinations for enriching savory dishes using chocolate, from traditional recipes to new ideas.
Bread and chocolate
Bread and chocolate is a great classic, to the extent that it was even suggested as the theme for an episode of Masterchef Italy (2019 edition): the challenge was to create a savory dish using this ingredient. Among the most gluttonous and enticing of the ideas put forward by the contestants, we find bread gnocchi dressed with a chocolate and cheese sauce, or the use of bread to cook meat in a crust.
Chocolate with red meat
Speaking of meat, the combination of chocolate and game meats is another classic combination of gourmet cuisine which is directly linked to tradition. Actually, initially, cocoa was considered as a spice and it was used to dress game meats and, in particular, wild boar. There is one recipe which has survived which sees wild boar cooked in a casserole with aromatic herbs , carrots, dried fruit, cinnamon, onion, oil, celery, red wine and bitter or dark chocolate.
Fish with chocolate
Even pairing fish up with chocolate is not such a recent discovery. The origins of the recipe for capuchin cod (baccalà alla cappuccina), actually dates back to medieval times and an era in which the distinction between sweet and savory dishes was less clear than it is today. This dish was mostly prepared in the Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia regions during the period of Lent and used, cinnamon and dark chocolate: these ingredients were used to season the fish cooked in the oven.
Dark chocolate paired with fish is a combination which the chef Carlo Cracco also likes very much, and among his many recipes he even proposes one for turbot in a chocolate crust. In this case, it is the flavor that makes the difference without being either too strong or too light.
Chocolate pasta, filled and plain
Also in traditional fresh pasta recipes for both filled and plain (non-filled) pasta, we can find some preparations using chocolate. It is possible to create delicious chocolate tagliatelle to dress with a walnut and gorgonzola sauce, or prepare tortelli filled with parmesan cheese, raisins, candied peel, mint candies, mostaccino spiced biscuits, egg yolk, marsala or mistrà wine, broth and breadcrumbs. These ingredients are those used to make Tortelli cremaschi, a typical preparation from the city in Lombardy with strong Vento influences: chocolate has to be a part of the recipe because the secret ingredient of the recipe is the typical amaretti Gallina with cocoa.
Even the Venetian tortelli are prepared with a fresh chocolate pasta. In this case, the filling is based on spinach, butter, onion, cinnamon, stale bread, raisins, eggs, sugar, parsley, salt and pepper as well as bitter chocolate drops. Remaining in the North East of Italy, in Carnia, they make cjarsons, a type of gnocchi with a sweet and sour filling: it depends on the recipe but often there is bitter chocolate in these.
Eggplant and chocolate
Meat, fish, pasta, but also vegetables. The tradition of combining chocolate and eggplant is typical of the Amalfi Coast where, it is said that it was the nuns of Santa Maria della Misericordia di Maiori who put these ingredients together for the first time. But that is not the only version of the story, in fact, other sources attribute the invention to the monks of Tramonti. In any case, the combination of egg plant and chocolate is now consolidated.
Bacon, cheese and the others …
And finally, let’s take a look at the information design created by Chocolate Lover’s Princeton where alongside chocolate, we also find honey, fruit, coffee, but also chips, wine vinegar and meat. People also seem to like the combination of chocolate with cheese. Indeed in Australia, they apparently go totally crazy for blue cheese, like gorgonzola for example, covered in a rich chocolate cream.
The coupling of chocolate and bacon was brought to the fore by a real king of pastry, Ernst Knam. He actually appeared on television preparing a cake decorated with lollipops made from crispy bacon and dark chocolate. It’s hard not to trust the taste of an expert.
And you? Tell us what your favorite combination of savory foods and chocolate, perhaps using some of our Filicori Zecchini products!