Pairing cigars with chocolate?

Pairing cigars with chocolate

We often discuss what is the best way to pair cigars with a drink. For my part, I've found a lot of different combinations that I like - they are red wine, cognac and port (as well as variations of port such as banyuls or riversaltes). There is less information however about pairing cigars with food. The House of Grauer has created the concept of chocolate and cigar combination and introduced the "Aficionado Collection" which is supposed to enrich the ties between the cacao bean and the tobacco leaf. Thierry at Grauer was kind enough to send me a sampler of the chocolates - I tried the pairing out.

This is definitely a high-end product. The chocolates are 'grand cru', which means that they originate from delimited geographic areas (similar to wine labels). The products are crafted and wrapped by hand. Of course, the good life comes at a certain price, the 'petite aficionado collection' (110 g, 14 pieces) is sold at $65.

A leaflet that comes with the box guides you through - it actually indicates what strength and flavor profile of a cigar should be paired with different chocolates. I found that the indications worked for me - for example, I really felt that French Organic Bee Pollen chocolate gave a lot of roundness to my full-bodied smoke (it was a Montecristo Edmundo) whereas Italian Lime (a chocolate stick filled with lime) acted as a counterpart because of its acidity - a very special experience.

I feel that it can be a nice gift idea to somebody who is a seasoned cigar smoker. I had a lot of fun reading descriptions for different chocolates and trying to detect what resulted from those pairings. A special product for a special moment.

You can browse and order the chocolates at the House of Grauer website.

Disclaimer: this is not a paid review.

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3 Comments on “Pairing cigars with chocolate?”

  1. I’ve paired cigars with chocolate on occasion, especially when I’m trying to peg down some specific flavors.

    I start out smoking a cigar with water and take some notes, then I may try it again with what I thought the dominate flavor might be or what I’d consider a good compliment to the flavors in the cigar.

    Though I’ve found nuts can make cigars taste overly bitter. That and salty foods don’t work real well.

  2. I have had varied experience with chocolate and cigars. often I just find the flavors clash unless perfectly paired. I have found that chocolate and various alcohols pair better to me.

  3. The challenge here are not the aromas, but the textures.
    Smoke is naturally ethereal. Chocolate against this is creamy in the mouth, with some fat.
    At the end, it really depends on the connoisseur: If you want to have a pairing experience, but you are not so concerned about the cigar aroma spectrum, I think it is a great thing to do.

    However if your emphasis is more on the taste of the cigar, chocolate is a no go, as it is altering massively the palate.

    Another point to consider is the strength and taste of the cigar.
    If a cigar is still very young and/or has still a lot of ammonia coming through, chocolate can take the rough edges of – you are trading in some aromatics with a more enjoyable experience.
    If the cigar is good age and perfect in its profile, it is almost a crime to pair it with chocolate or even coffee…

Please share your experience...

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