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Issue 150 - A pairing challenge

Whisky Magazine Issue 150
April 2018


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A pairing challenge

In response to Davin de Kergommeauxís column in the last edition, the chocolate reviewer muses about pairing whisky and chocolate

If someone were to tell you they like whisky, you might respond, "What kind?" You know how diverse the world of whisky is, and without specifying their preferences, youíd be left clueless. Similarly, if you were to tell me that you like chocolate, after 12 years of reviewing and writing about it, my first response would be, "What do you mean by ëchocolate?" Okay, I know what the general public means if referring to some combination of flavours that include sweetened cocoa powdery-tasting-butter-like melty stuff, supported by a spine of imitation vanilla. If referring to dark chocolate, there may be bitter notes; if a milk chocolate, milkfat and caramel. Welcome to industrial chocolate!

Containing usually less than 55 per cent cacao, mass produced chocolate is made from commoditygrade cacao beans sourced from monocultural estates in CÙte díIvoire or other West African countries. A remnant of colonialism, this type of cacao production carries the legacy of worker exploitation and forest defoliation. Commodity cacao is primarily cultivated for high volume and disease resistance, with some doubtful results regarding the latter.

Inherent flavour deficiencies are covered up, standardised and stabilised. The end product is cheap chocolate, the ubiquitous bars by NestlÈ, Cadbury, Hershey, and others, that, in actuality, costs us way too much. Whether from a standpoint of economics, human rights, or ecology, the Big Chocolate model is unsustainable. Industrial chocolateís ...

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