Rarely does a cheese and charcuterie platter not happen at one of our gatherings. Sure, we’re creatures of habit and need a bit of inspiration to go beyond this personal party favorite. When Ghirardelli reached out to partner with us on sharing ways to pair their delicious line of Intense Dark chocolates, it wasn’t only an inspiration, but a refreshing new way to amp-up our party platter to a level beyond our comfort zone. Sometimes our favorite ways to try new things are when others reach out to us to see and taste different. Keeping an open mind is one step to an enriching culinary experience!
Ghirardelli has a Savor the Dark Book Club which is right up our alley. It’s a celebration of words and chocolate. If you’re a book lover, or book hoarders like we are, the moment when new books arrive is like Christmas 365 days of the year. Add chocolate to nibble on while you’re curled up with a great book and you’re in hobby/culinary heaven. This particular subscription is Terry McMillan’s latest novel, I Almost Forgot About You. She’s a New York Times best-selling author with multiple award-winning books to her credit. And this newer one is paired with three delicious Ghirardelli Intense Dark chocolate bars: 72% Cacao Twilight Delight Bar, Cherry Tango Bar and Cocoa Nibs Bar. It’s a perfect treat for yourself or the ultimate gift for the book/chocolate lover. You can purchase the box here, through Quarterly’s literary subscription services and discover more about Ghirardelli’s Intense Dark chocolate line on Ghirardelli’s website.
Over the past couple years our non-stop work lives have led us to become social recluses. It seems like we hardly see our friends and family and we miss them. So we’ve started making a concerted effort to change that and make time for those we enjoy spending time with. Simple things like having the neighbors over for dinner or a drop-by afternoon lunch.
During these gatherings we all have our favorite moments. For us it is the end. No, not when everyone goes home, but after we’ve eaten and everyone is sitting around, sipping on a post dinner beverage and nibbling on dessert. However nowadays it often isn’t a dessert, at least not by itself. Giving a nod to several international cultures, this is the cheese and charcuterie platter’s time to be shared.
This is when we can savor and enjoy the platters the most. The day’s events are washed from our minds, we aren’t famished and eating just to get anything of substance into our mouths, or are preoccupied with getting the meal finished and ready. We’re relaxed, enjoying the conversations, and can sip and savor on the platter’s delights in front of us. And don’t forget to add chocolate to the platter.
Chocolate on a cheese and charcuterie platter? Oh yes, we say, it is a perfect addition. Particularly when you are talking about delicious dark chocolates. A great platter has different taste elements which can play off of one another, making each nibble and sip of accompanying beverage a chance to experience and discover different pairings and sensations for the palate. Especially when you also add in what everyone might be drinking at the end of the evening.
The Intense Dark Cocoa Nibs Bar was a bit of a revelation for us on the platters. The cocoa nibs give the chocolate the little twist in texture and extra touch of bitterness. Often times this isn’t our first choice when eating chocolate bars solo, however it was amazing paired on the platters. For those having a sweeter evening beverage like port, it was a perfect counter point. Offset against a smokey scotch, quite tasty. Nibbled alongside a sweet, caramel-aged gouda, yes please.
Perhaps someone in the group is winding down the evening swirling a fruit-forward wine like a Cab or maybe sipping a caramel-nosed Cognac. The slight bitterness and sweetness of Ghirardelli’s Intense Dark 72% Cacao Twilight Delight, the saltiness of a Manchego cheese, and some nice smoked almonds might just set them off on a culinary journey their palate never expected. A personal favorite – toasted pumpkin seeds. The nutty, salty and crunchy texture really highlights the rich chocolate nicely.
One of our favorite chocolates to add to a platter is the Intense Dark Cherry Tango Bar. It is easy to envision the sweet tang of the cherry and chocolate going well with its platter mates. Balanced out with some salty nuts, maybe a nice sparking rose or alongside the evening coffee. Absolutely delicious.
After having our chocolate pairing revelation, a platter will never seem complete without some form of chocolate alongside the cheeses, nuts, and meat. For other great pairing ideas, Ghirardelli has put together a great pairing guide for their Intense Dark chocolates. The combinations and chances of delicious taste explorations are endless. Then the really fun part of this book club happens right here: all the awesome pairings with dark chocolate that has rocked our world alongside Terry’s book as part of the book club!
todd and diane
This post is in partnership and sponsored by Ghirardelli. All opinions about our obsession with chocolate, cheese, charcuterie, booze and books are our own. Thanks for your readership and helping make this site possible and our creativity continue.