Special Episode: Cheese & Chocolate Pairings with Vanessa Chang ACS CCP

An absolute joy to bring to Well Tempered the incredibly food-geeky and fun Vanessa Chang. A writer, consultant, and Certified Cheese Professional® she's energetic and serious about her craft with slice of snark, and it's near impossible not to fall in love with both cheese and chocolate with her informative and novice-to-experienced-friendly approach to enjoying and teaching about food. She leads many classes in food education surrounding the trilogy of her favorite things: specialty cheese, craft chocolate, and charcuterie, and writes on these subjects for national publications when she's not off hiking or getting outside. 

photo credit: Vanessa Chang

photo credit: Vanessa Chang

Themes discussed in this episode:

  • Vanessa recommends a suggested order for cheese and chocolate pairings

  • How do you taste each cheese and chocolate pairing? Understanding texture, melt speeds, and temperature

  • How does one pair dairy with dairy? (i.e. white or dark milk chocolates with cheese)

  • Culinary approaches to fine chocolate & specialty cheese pairings

  • Where to find high quality products for a successful pairing; boutique artisans

  • Digital applications for cataloging tastings

Related links from this chocolate podcast episode: 

On Food and Cooking by Harold McGee  (recipe for Harold's goat cheese truffles also found in Maricel Presilla's formidable cacao & chocolate book 'New Taste of Chocolate' )

Dave Selden 33 Books Co. (tasting journals)

Hazel Lee's 'Taste with Colour' map

In pairings...don’t be afraid of residual sugar when you have a stronger cheese...” (example: oloroso sherry with a washed-rind cheese) - Vanessa Chang

Vanessa mentions local specialty food retailers* in various cities: 

Bay Area: Bi-rite Market, The Cheese School of San Francisco (where Vanessa teaches some classes)
SLC: Caputo's Market & Deli (multiple locations)
Austin: Antonelli's
Philly: Di Bruno Bros.
* not only are these retail outlets, but ::insider tip:: is this is where you can geek out with other cheese and ::some:: chocolate nerds

Pairings from this episode of the Well Tempered Chocolate Podcast: 

::You don't have to follow our lead; the senses can become quickly saturated, we recommend no more than 4-5 pairings for your chocolate tasting event.::

Chocolate: Solstice Camino Verde 70% (notes: nutty, chocolate-y) 
Italian Toma cheese or a US version from Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company, Trillium from Vermont
Look for: soft ripened cheeses (brie or triple cream), alpine cheeses, cheese with brown butter notes

Beau Cacao, Serian 72% Malaysian estate cacao, made in London (notes: molasses, dark dessert wine, charred barrel) 
Cheese: aged goat cheese such as a
Valencay (or domestically found Vermont Creamery's Bonne Bouche
Look for: ash rinds, Loire Valley styles

80% Mashpi 'tree to bar' single farm chocolate from Ecuador (notes: wet earth, pour over coffee grounds)
Cheese: Comté or a double aged gouda (think
crystals), US gruyere
Look for: think adding milk to coffee, a
Spring Brook Farms Tarentaise type cheese

Perla Organic Chocolate, Olives & Sea Salt (notes: balanced sweet and savory tastes, buttery Nocellara olives), made in Quito, Ecuador
Cheese: sheep's milk,
pecorino Toscano (various ages; 30 day is the most mild and might be great with inclusion chocolate bars), the Basque variety of Ossau-Iraty, or sheep's milk ricotta is also an interesting choice
Look for: nutty, butterscotch-y semi-hard cow's or sheep's milk (Manchego will also do)

Fruition 43% Brown Butter Milk Chocolate (notes: toffee, roasted hazelnuts, caramel)
Cheese: pungent washed-rind cheeses & blue cheeses like
Caveman Blue by Rogue Creamery, as well as mixed milk Valdeon (Spanish blue cheese)
Look for: saltiness and bite to cut/balance the brown butter sweetness, a Taleggio (known since Roman times) is OK too

Willie's Cacao 'El Blanco' (notes: sweet cream, sugar cookies)
Cheese: chèvre
Look for: fresh cheeses, or cultured dairy such as crème fraîche

Easy recipe: Melt white chocolate over a double boiler, mix with mascarpone or chèvre (to create a mock pudding)

More Links: 
Matt Caputo heralds Vanessa as the impetus for his decision to start learning more about and stocking great craft chocolate at his markets and delis

More from Vanessa: 
Website: www.vanessachang.com
Instagram: @vanessajchang
Twitter: @VNess
Vanessa's Facebook Page

More from Lauren, host of Well Tempered and chocolate maker at WKND Chocolate
Instagram: @wkndchocolate @welltemperedpodcast 
Facebook: WKND Chocolate 
Email: podcast at wkndchocolate.com

Submit a nomination for future women in chocolate podcasts: https://goo.gl/forms/vzhbiUoxTCu3G55H2


Lauren WKND