A Dark Art

I have been enjoying a new desert recently: A glass of quality rum, and a square or two of chocolate. We currently have a large quantity of premium Monbana chocolate in the house, and I also brought back some Max Brenner chocolate truffles. Both are wonderful products. The Monbana comes in 53%, 60%, and 70% cacao. Meanwhile, as far as Max Brenner goes, the guy is slightly crazy. He is trying to create a whole “chocolate culture” with hot chocolate ceremonies similar to East Asian tea ceremonies. With that said, he makes darn tasty chocolates.

Now, for me, pairing a pleasant rum or whisk(e)y (or brandy, of course, but I don’t really have any of that on hand) with a square or two of chocolate is a wonderful desert, not to mention quite possibly one of the healthiest deserts I can imagine. Scientists have found that about about 20 mL of ethanol per day (the equivalent of a beer, a glass of wine, or an ounce and a half of spirits) helps convert bad cholesterol (HDL) to good cholesterol (LDL), as well as help prevent cancer and Alzheimer’s and other bad things. . Meanwhile, a high cacao dark chocolate is full of anti-oxidants, and other healthy nutrients.

You, my reader, however, did not come here to read random health babbling however, and, to be honest, as long as it wasn’t a major health risk, I would continue doing it regardless of the risks. Now, you may ask, what have I learned? Well, first off, a good pairing can make a borderline decent rum quite pleasant. I especially recommend the Max Brenner truffles with Appleton V/X. If you take a few sips of the rum right after a nibble of the truffles, you could swear you were drinking a rum twice as good, and while I am not the greatest fan of neat V/X, with the addition of the chocolate, the rum is a pleasure to sip. On the other hand, the Monbana 70% was a bad idea. The rum turned all bitter in my mouth as well as becoming surprisingly rough.

This brings me to the biggest thing I learned this week: The darker the chocolate, the the darker the rum required to enjoy it. This is obviously not necessarily a hard and fast rule, but I think it is fairly applicable. While I enjoyed the Monbana 53% with the Cruzan Estate Light, it was clear to me that had I tried anything much stronger it would have killed the rum. On the other hand, a glass of Pamapero Aniversario was an excellent good pairing with the 70%, though it was better with the 60%.

Without a doubt though, the standout pairing was the Appleton V/X with the Max Brenner. I think, based on tasting, that the truffles contained some amount of amber spirit in them. However, the most interesting thing, to me, was how the flavours of the chocolate stayed with the you over several sips of rum. For me, the small nibble lasted a good six or seven small sips. This brings me to my next point of interest. I am not sure whether this is considered molecular mixology, or simply good pairing. However, I would be interested in baking a “cocktail cookie” or perhaps using other solid, eaten ingredients to “mix” cocktails in the mouth. Perhaps a mint leaf dipped in lime syrup and bruleed paired with a nice rum would make for an interesting take on the mojito. Hmmm…Something to try…

The Scribe