We’re back at it again with resident Sake Samurai and connoisseur of all things food + drink, Elliot Faber. And this time, we’re pairing sake with Japan’s latest convenience store artisanal chocolate.
Chocolate is often paired with whisky or wine, but it turns out that sake and chocolate are a match made in heaven. As Elliot says, sake really does go well with everything. Under Elliot’s recommendation, we picked three of our favorite bottles to pair with three of Meiji’s The Chocolate bars.
Meiji Framboise with Daishinshu Inabikari
This chocolate bar has a bright, raspberry fruit flavor and a refreshing tartness that isn’t common in most chocolate. The tartness is similar to that of a single origin coffee, so we chose to pair it with Daishinshu Inabikari from Nagano. The rice used to make this particular sake has a lot of its fat and protein polished away and, therefore, a lot of starch is left over. This results in a sake with strong fruit forward characters and notes of field berries, both of which compliment and enhance the chocolate bar’s raspberry flavor.
Meiji Gianduja with Sunday’s Junmai Nigori
Gianduja is an Italian chocolate spread made with 30% hazelnut paste, so this chocolate bar tastes like a combination of Nutella and chocolate. It has a pure hazelnut taste with a grainy, ground texture that brings out its nuttiness. We paired this chocolate bar with Sunday’s Junmai Nigori, an unfiltered sake that’s bottled with its kasu (on its lees) to bring texture and richness. When tasted together, the toastiness of the sake cancels out the hazelnut flavor of the chocolate, but they compliment each other in texture.
Meiji Elegant Bitter with Ohmine Junmai
“Elegant bitter”, in this case, really means bitter to the point of only having an essence of sweetness. Therefore, we paired Ohmine Junmai with this bar because anything high in fruit character would be overbearing. Ohmine Junmai is a delicate sake with slight fruit character. The bitterness in the chocolate canceled out the bitterness in the sake, but brought out a surprisingly bright orange flavor. This pairing reminded us of Terry’s Chocolate Orange or Tiger ice cream.
Out of the three pairings, our favorite was the Meiji Framboise with Daishinshu Inabikari. This was the most complimentary pairing as the prominent field berry flavors in both the chocolate and the sake were only enhanced when enjoyed together.