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Chocolate and Cheeses from Switzerland

Like Swiss Cheeses, each chocolate is different: Peruvian is bitter and fruity, while Venezuelan is caramelized ... Enough to multiply alliances and gourmet experiments!

Origin and history of chocolate

Native to the tropical forests of Central America and consumed since prehistoric times, the cocoa tree, considered the tree of the gods (the Latin name of the botanical genus of the cocoa tree, "Theobroma", means "Food of the Gods") was cultivated by the Mayans and the Aztecs. These people consumed cocoa beans in the form of a nourishing drink called "chocolatl" (bitter water). It was made using roasted cocoa beans crushed on hot stones. The resulting paste was heated and mixed with water and added vanilla, pepper, cinnamon, chili and even corn flour.

Christopher Columbus does not understand the value of cocoa beans; it was not until Hernan Cortes, who drank it at the court of the Aztec emperor Moctezuma, that they crossed the Atlantic. The King of Spain loves it, he drinks his thick, almost syrupy chocolate. When she married Louis XIII, the Infanta of Spain required to bring the delicious drink with her. Louis XIV will have it adopted by the whole court. It was also in the 17th century that sweet chocolate appeared in Catalonia, before establishing itself throughout the world. In the 19th century, plantations developed throughout the world, particularly in Africa and Asia. Industrialization enabled democratization, with the invention of the tablet in England (1847), milk chocolate in Switzerland (1875) and chocolate bars in the United States in the 1920s.

The great fruit

Cocoa beans are produced by four main varieties of cocoa trees.

  • Forasteros: 80 to 90% of world production. Native to the Amazon, it is cultivated in West Africa, Brazil, Central America, Ecuador and West Africa. Forasteros are often bitter and very astringent, they give off a powerful taste
  • Criollos: 1 to 5% of the production. It comes from Venezuela, is cultivated in Latin America, the West Indies, Cameroon and Ecuador. Very fragrant, this cocoa gives off many aromas and a subtle taste.
  • Trinitarios: 10 to 20% of the production. It is a cross of Foresteros and Criollos created in the 18th century on the island of Trinity, hence its name. It grows in the same countries as Criollos, in Ceylon and Indonesia. .
  • Nacional: it is a variety of Forasteros which has been cultivated in Ecuador since the 19th century.

Each variety gives cocoa beans of different aromatic qualities, these also depend on the country of production and the plantations, this fine cocoa gives off delicate aromas scented with jasmine and orange blossom.

The different qualities of chocolate are determined by the National Institute of Origin and Quality.

Original chocolate: produced from cocoa from a single country.

Raw chocolate: from a specific geographic region and even from a single plantation.

Grand cru chocolate: one whose cocoa has a particular character, uniquely identifiable.

Among the grands crus, we note the Chuao, the most intense, the Puerto Caballo which is almost as intense, followed by Trinidad, Ecuador, Ceylon, Madagascar, Ivory Coast.

Great pairings with Cheeses from Switzerland

Combining Swiss Cheeses with chocolate, or vice versa, not only allows for a unique tasting experience but also, as in any pairing between two dishes or drinks, to leave a lasting mark on the spirit of this memory. More simply, when we taste two products at the same time and their association is attractive on the palate, our brain will not forget it.

Each combination will be accompanied by a fruit or a spice.

  • An Appenzeller® cheese will go perfectly with a dark chocolate from Indonesia, with woody aromas and long in the mouth, of a beautiful intensity, and with some peppermint leaves.
  • With a Gruyère AOP Réserve, a magnificent association with dark chocolate from Venezuela with the aroma of toasted butter and liquorice, with a few raspberries for a touch of acidity.
  • A Vacherin Fribourgeois AOP will be pleasantly accompanied by dark chocolate with bean chips, a few pistachios will make this pairing even more delicious.
  • A Gruyère d´Alpage AOP and its grains of salt will be a delight accompanied by intense dark chocolate mousse, vanilla, with grains of cardamom.
  • With Tête de Moine PDO Rosettes, a raw Trinidadian chocolate with floral and herbaceous notes and blond tobacco will be perfect with a redcurrant jelly.
  • Espelette chilli chocolate will be delicious with a Swiss PDO Emmentaler.
  • With a soft and creamy Tomme Vaudoise, a beautiful harmony of flavor with a dark chocolate from Madagascar with naturally spicy and fruity notes.
  • For a gourmet brunch, with a hot chocolate, very slightly sweet and unctuous, you can taste a Sbrinz AOP. Absolutely delicious.
  • With the Swiss Raclette melted with a crème fraîche, served in verrines, you can add powdered chocolate.
  • A spicy dark chocolate fondue, with diced Swiss Gruyère AOP and a few strawberries.

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