Created by Monica, this cheese board pairs our Esmeraldas bar with a gorgonzola.
Single origin chocolate is similar to fine wine in many ways. The flavors are influenced by many of the same factors: genetics, terroir, fermentation methods and the unique approach of the maker to the chocolate making process. Like wine, the complex flavors of single origin chocolate lend themselves to an infinite number of flavor pairings. Below you’ll find suggested cheese pairings from some of our favorite cheese shops and cheese makers.
Chocolate Tasting Sheets
To guide you in your single origin chocolate discovery, we’ve created downloadable Tasting Sheets so that you can host your own chocolate tasting event with friends and family!
Signature Line Collection Tasting Sheet
Central America Collection Tasting Sheet
South America Collection Tasting Sheet
Each chocolate bar on these lists is from our Signature Line and has only three ingredients: single origin cacao, organic cane sugar, and freshly-pressed, single origin cocoa butter from the same cacao origin. This is intentional, as it means you’ll taste the true flavors of the cacao used to craft that bar- no additional flavors will get in the way of the single origin tasting experience.
Feel free to mix and match the chocolate bars on our tasting sheets with any of the suggested pairings below, or make your own pairings. This is all about the joys of discovering new flavor combinations!
The pairings below represent suggestions from some of our favorite cheesemongers and cheese makers. Keep in mind these are just starting points – once you try them for yourself and get a sense of how the flavors blend together you can experiment with your own pairings, too!
Bedford Cheese Shop, Manhattan
Our chocolate is available in-store at Bedford Cheese shop, and you can also order their cheese online. To order these cheeses for delivery email firstname.lastname@example.org and ask for the Goodnow Pairings.
1. Esmeraldas & Stilton
– Stilton has a beautiful interior, streaked like marble, and the texture is crumbly and almost soft – relatively delicate compared to its stout and bold flavors. Intense and rich, the taste is complex, opening with creamy and nutty specks, followed by a salty finish that sticks to your palate.
2. Ucayali & Piave Vecchio
– Piave Vecchio (blue label) is pasteurized cow’s milk cheese named after a river by the same name. It is DOP protected and the only authentic Piave Fresco is produced in the Dolomites area of Belluno province of Veneto. The aroma harks of yogurt and milk with an approachable flavor. The soft paste of the cheese is ivory white in color while the rind is soft and light.
3. El Carmen & Walden
– Similar to Dancing Fern, Walden is an approachable, pasteurized alternative to a soft-ripened Reblochon style cheese. There is a flavor profile of buttered mushrooms and walnuts on the palette with a velvety texture.
4. Asochivite & Wilde Weide
– Hard-pressed, uncooked, raw cow’s milk cheese has a straw yellow paste with small well-shaped eyes and speckles of amino acid crystals. It has a characteristic texture on the palate, crumbling into fine flakes before melting completely. Wilde Weide flavour profile is creamy and mildly sharp with notes of sweet bourbon and/or whiskey. This is contrasted by the wonderful aroma of hazelnut, butter, whey and bourbon. Our chocolate-making team also highly recommends pairing this with our Esmeraldas chocolate!
5. Almendra Blanca & Alex
– Produced from only the hay-fed milk of Brown Swiss cows, ALEX is an herbaceous semi firm cheese that’s faintly washed in local herbs, which make the rind smell great and deepens the complexity of the toothsome paste. It’s a firm cheese, however, with meaty flavors and a little hint of fruit.
6. Boyaca & Brabander
– Made from the pasteurized milk of Saanen goats in the Brabant region of southern Holland. This gouda is creamy and earthy with a caramel-y finish.
The Cheese Store of Beverly Hills
When we lived in Los Angeles this cozy shop right in the heart of Beverly Hills was one of our favorite places to buy and discover incredibly unique cheeses, as well as a wide variety of gourmet and specialty food from around the world. These pairings focus on our Special Reserve bars. All four of these cheeses are available for purchase on their website. Or, of course, if you stop by the store you can find not only these cheeses but our chocolate bars as well!
1. Special Reserve, Brown Butter with Comte
– This classic French cheese from Franche-Comté in Eastern, Alpine France is firm, nutty, salty and has a long-lasting finish. This cheese pairing pops the flavors of the Brown Butter.
2. Special Reserve, Putnam Rye Whiskey with Etorki
– This sheep semi-hard cheese is from the Basque country of France. A perfect match for the Rye Whiskey, its silky texture and almond, nutty flavor, complement the whiskey overtones of the bar.
3. Special Reserve, Las Palomas Coffee with Sottocenere
– This black truffle semi-hard cheese, covered in ash, is from the Veneto region of the Northeast Italian Alps. Truffles plus chocolate coffee? You cannot miss with this pairing.
4. Special Reserve, Lawley’s Rum with Beemster XO Extra-Aged
– This Gouda is from Holland. This hard cheese with its salt crystal crunch and caramel finish perfectly suits the rum chocolate notes of Lawley’s Rum.
Rubiners, Great Barrington, MA
We’re proud to count Rubiner’s as one of the very first shops to carry our chocolate! Owner Matt Rubiner is a towering legend in the world of cheese, and is also personally responsible for everything good in the world. You can stop in to try these pairings, or order online!
1. El Carmen & Fumaison
– This dusty baton of smoked sheep milk cheese is made from the raw milk of lacunae sheep that graze the worn green volcanoes of France’s Massif Central. It is smoky, lamby & meaty.
2. Esmeraldas & Gorgonzola DOP Dolce
– This is messy perfection. This gooey northern Italian cow’s milk blue is aged in caves below the streets of Novara in Italy’s Piedmont. It is sweet, milky, mellow and funky.
3. Classic Milk & Brabander Reserve
– This hard, crystally, pineappley, brown buttery goat milk Gouda is from the southern Dutch province of Brabant. It is aged fourteen months(ish) in Betty Koster’s warm, humid cellars and dipped in black wax to mark its age.
4. Putnam Rye Whiskey & Robiola de Bufala
– This little, velvety, white pillow of water buffalo milk cheese is made in the Camembert style near Bergamo in Northern Italy. It’s bright and slowly flowing with the milky tartness of mozzarella di buffala.
5. Asochivite with Maple & Hoch Ybrig
– This earthy, nutty, edgy, pungent, apple cider washed raw cow’s milk cheese is from the central Swiss canton of Schwyz. It is made by Joseph Werder in the manner, more or less, of Gruyere.
Jasper Hill Farm, Greensboro, VT
Our friends at Jasper Hill make some of the best cheese in the world – they’re one of a handful of cheesemakers to have won Best in Show at the prestigious American Cheese Society Conference. You can order all their cheese online, or better yet sign up for their Cheese Club!
1. Almendra Blanca with Whitney
– This raw milk cheese is made from Jasper Hill Farm’s own grass-fed cows. While wheels ripen in the cellars they are washed with a mixture of morge (a naturally cultured brine) and spent yeast from the tanks of La Garagista, a terroir-driven natural winery in Vermont.
2. Esmeraldas with Bayley Hazen Blue
– Named for an old Vermont military road commissioned by George Washington during the revolutionary war, this whole raw cow milk cheese is a Jasper Hill original. It has a fudge-like texture, toasted nut sweetness, and anise spice character. The usual peppery character of blue cheese is subdued, giving way to the grassy, nutty flavors of the milk.
3. Lawley’s Rum with Harbison
– This pasteurized cow’s milk cheese is soft-ripened with a rustic, bloomy rind. Young cheeses are wrapped in strips of spruce cambium, the tree’s inner bark layer, harvested from the woodlands of Jasper Hill. It’s woodsy and sweet, balanced with lemon, mustard and vegetal flavors.
4. Ucayali with Sherry Gray
– Sherry Gray is Jasper Hill’s newest cheese! It’s a double-cream, ash-ripened medallion made with grass-fed pasteurized cows milk and cream. The ash coating on this cheese plays a part in tempering the surface pH and fosters the development of a thin, even bloom of flora. Flavors of cultured cream dominate, with subtle hints of fresh button mushrooms and a warm, nutty finish that lingers on the palate.
The Grey Barn & Farm
We’re huge fans of The Grey Barn and Farm on Martha’s Vineyard. One taste of their Bluebird bleu paired with our Esmeraldas chocolate absolutely blew our minds! That first taste is what started us on our cheese pairing odyssey. Now you can try it for yourself! We’re also happy to share they’re a fellow 2022 Good Food Award winner, with the award going to their washed-rind Prufrock – see below for the perfect pairing! All of their cheeses can be ordered through DiBruno Brothers.
1. Esmeraldas with Bluebird & Bluebird Reserve
– This salty and buttery blue cheese is made with raw, grass-fed milk, and aged at least 90 days. A great pairing with the sweet, berry jam flavors of the Esmeraldas.
2. Almendra with Eidolon
– This soft, cream cheese has a delicate outer rind and creamy interior. The bright flavors pair perfectly with the bright, creamy citrus of the Almendra.
3. Boyaca with Prufrock
– These two 2022 Good Food Award winners are the perfect pair! The Prufrock is also a World Cheese Award winner. The nutty, yeasty notes of the gooey interior are perfect to spread on our Boyaca bar, which has notes of toasted marshmallow and graham cracker.
4. Asochivite with Bon Anniversaire
– This cheese was created to celebrate Grey Barn’s 10th Anniversary. Sweet cream and summer peach pair well with the acidic, bright fruit notes of our Asochivite from Guatemala.
Check back soon for pairings from more awesome cheese shops and cheesemakers!