Chocolate and Spice Pairing Guide: 10 Pairings that May Surprise You

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chocolate and spice pairing

From bold and tangy to bitter and spicy, chocolate pairs well with most types of spices⁠—even those you wouldn’t expect. Adding a sprinkle of a particular spice to a chocolate dessert, like a brownie, can enhance the flavor profile and provide an even greater depth of flavor. Chocolate is extremely versatile and can be used in a variety of different types of desserts, from the cloyingly sweet to the decadently savory. However, not all types of chocolate pair well with every spice. Specific spices go best with certain types of chocolate. Read on for more chocolate and spice pairing tips.

How to Pair Chocolate and Spice

The next time you’re feeling adventurous, add a dash of your favorite spice to your chocolate dessert. The sweet and rich flavor profile of chocolate pairs well with practically any spice. Whether you opt for creamy milk chocolate, bittersweet dark chocolate, or sweet and subtle white chocolate, you’ll find a spice that compliments it perfectly. Combining interesting flavors and spices with a versatile food like chocolate will allow you to attain a whole new level of creativity in your dessert making. Just keep in mind that, especially when it comes to the more fragrant spices below, less is more. A small dash of a certain spice can have a powerful effect in enhancing the flavors and bringing the dish together in a whole new way.

Chocolate also pairs well with the sweet and slightly sour taste of strawberries. Dive right into this combination with our Chocolate Dipped Strawberries Box. It includes a dozen strawberries dipped in semisweet chocolate. Or, opt for our Confetti Berry And Chocolate Bouquet. Not only does it contain chocolate dipped strawberries, but it also includes white chocolate dipped strawberries topped with crispies for even more delightful flavor combinations.

Top 10 Chocolate and Spice Pairings

If you’re looking to make an unforgettable treat, consider pairing chocolate with some interesting spices. Here are ten tips on pairing chocolate with some of your favorite spices:

1. Sea Salt

Sea Salt

Best paired with dark chocolate, sea salt features a crispy crunch that pairs so well with the smooth texture of chocolate. Plus, the salt offsets the sweetness of the chocolate to bring balance. Sea salt also balances the bitterness of dark chocolate and increases the depth of flavor. Sprinkle some on top of a dark chocolate bar for a quick treat.

2. Cinnamon

Cinnamon

The sweet and woody taste of cinnamon elevates the flavor profile of milk chocolate while providing a little extra depth and flavor. These two flavors are especially delicious paired together in hot chocolate.

3. Ginger

Ginger

The bitter notes in chocolate nicely complement the slight peppery heat from the ginger. The peppery highlights of the ginger also provide a rich contrast to the creaminess of the milk chocolate. Try the gingery notes of chai tea paired with creamy milk chocolate.

4. Clove

Clove

Cloves are a pungent warm spice with an intense flavor and aroma. Make a cup of coffee that combines chocolate with notes of clove and vanilla for a unique combination that tastes delicious.

5. Anise

Anise

A less expected pairing, the distinct licorice flavor of anise nudges chocolate toward a more savory flavor profile. Try an anise biscotti covered in a layer of melted chocolate for an interesting combination.

6. Saffron

Saffron

The subtle and light flavor of saffron pairs especially well with creamy white chocolate. Consider pairing them in a torte or mouse. Or, make chocolate bark out of a small amount of saffron and white chocolate for a decadent dessert.

7. Curry

Curry

In Japan, curry and chocolate have been paired together for centuries. The spicy and savory flavor profile of the curry pairs perfectly with the richness of the chocolate. Try curry and chocolate cupcakes or add curry to a warm cup of hot chocolate.

8. Cayenne

Cayenne

Sweet and spicy is a quintessential flavor combination. Cayenne and chocolate bring out each other’s richness. Consider dark chocolate and cayenne to balance that richness and make it more complex. Try spicy cayenne cookies or chocolate bark for a truly remarkable treat.

9. Bay Leaf

Bay Leaf

Bay leaves add a refreshing liqueur-like quality to chocolate. Cook bay leaves in chocolate pudding and remove them right before serving. The result is a wonderful pudding with a decadent fragrance that’s simply decadent.

10. Cardamom

Cardamom

Cardamom shines when paired with chocolate, such as chocolate chip cookies or a cake with a dash of cocoa powder. Cardamom features a complex flavor that is difficult to describe with hints of menthol, floral, and honey.

If you’re looking to elevate a simple chocolate recipe, consider adding in one of these spices to kick things up a notch. These spices provide an interesting depth of flavor that turns a boring dessert into something truly spectacular.