Chocolate & Tequila
Tequila is made from the harvested core of the agave plant, also known as the “piña.” It is typically produced by steaming the agave inside industrial ovens before distilling it several times in copper pots. Once cooled, the agave is crushed in order to release the juice or “aguamiel” (honey-water) that will be fermented.
Tequila has vegetal, earthy and semi-sweet spicy notes. To be labeled “tequila,” the spirit must be distilled in Mexico. There are several different kinds of tequila and it is the added ingredients, or lack thereof, as well as the duration and method of aging that distinguish one type from another.
Silver tequila (also called “blanco,” “white,” or “platinum,”) is aged for just a few weeks in glass bottles or steel tanks.
Golden tequila, also known as “Joven” or “Oro,” comes from distillers adding sugars and caramel prior to distilling to create a golden hue.
Reposado (which translates to “restful”) is aged for two to twelve months in oak barrels.
Añejo (meaning “vintage”), is aged for one to three years and possesses a darker hue and a smoother, richer, more complex flavor. Extra añejo is aged for more than three years.
The finest tequilas are the añejos, and they happen to be the ones that would pair most harmoniously with exceptional chocolate. So, put aside your lime as a chaser, and instead try a beautiful añejo alongside one or more of these creamy chocolates in my collection. Each one possesses an ideal mouthfeel and compatible flavor profile to pair with añejo. These bars are very chocolatey but also have fruity notes that are particularly well-suited to pairing with tequila. You may not be surprised that I included one bar with salt!
Friis Holm: any of the 70% bars would be lovely: particularly Nicaliso, Indio Rojo
Kahkow: La Esmeralda 67% or La Magdalena 70%
Soma Chocolatemaker: Bachelors Hall Jamaica 70%
Castronovo: Lost City Honduras 60% Dark Milk with Fleur de Sel
Follow these steps for the ultimate tequila and chocolate experience:
Serve the tequila neat. Serving it on ice will dull the flavor of both the tequila and the chocolate, and ice numbs the palate, so even water with ice as a beverage is not recommended for intentional chocolate appreciation.
How to Savor Chocolate with Tequila:
- Taste the chocolate by itself. Notice the aroma and flavor notes.
- Cleanse your palate with a plain cracker, piece of crusty bread, or a thin wedge of tart green apple.
- Now taste the tequila by itself, paying attention to its aroma and flavor notes.
- Take another taste of the chocolate, biting into it and then allowing it to melt slightly in your mouth. This can take anywhere from 5-10 seconds.
- Take a sip of the tequila as the chocolate continues its melting process. Notice the commingled flavors and sensations in your mouth and body as you unite these two distinct tastes.
- Swallow the tequila while the melting process of the chocolate is still underway, and marvel at the unique flavor arc that blossoms and unfolds in your mouth. Enjoy the full effect as the chocolate completely melts.
Do you have a favorite añejo or other type of tequila that pairs beautifully with fine chocolate? If so, I’d love to hear all about it!