Have you ever considered pairing your favorite SBK flavor with chocolate?
It may sound too adventurous, but we recently experimented with Springfield’s local piece of chocolate heaven—Askinosie Chocolate—and we were quite pleased with the results!
As kombucha increases in popularity, so grows an opportunity for creative collaboration in the world of food pairing. While wine has a reputation for being the “go-to” pairing beverage, some consumers have begun seeking a non-alcoholic option for social gatherings or events. Kombucha offers bold flavor and a unique experience without the less desirable effects of alcohol. It is known to pair well with cheese and other fermented foods like kimchi, pickles, and sauerkraut; but what about chocolate? We thought the tart, semi-sweet effervescence of our favorite living beverage would pair perfectly with the buttery texture of our favorite sweet indulgence.
Kombucha + Chocolate
I often tell people that no two batches of kombucha are ever the same. It is a living beverage that changes with the seasons, the weather, the humidity, or the day of the week. No one really knows because we can’t ask the yeast and bacteria how they are feeling or what they are doing. We can only gather that knowledge from our individual physical senses; and combining those senses with the individuality of the brew ensures no two experiences will be alike. That’s part of the fun!
Pairing kombucha with high quality chocolate is an easy choice because of their similarities. Both are products of fermentation and at their core are comprised of simple ingredients. While decadent, neither are fussy. Still both provide a uniquely complex flavor experience, which often leaves the taster guessing what s/he is tasting. Cinnamon? Citrus fruit?
Kombucha and chocolate are both open platforms for infinite flavor combinations and infusions. What makes Askinosie Chocolate unique in their industry complements our product quite well. We both use whole ingredients with no additives. Askinosie Chocolate even makes their own cocoa butter from their cocoa beans, which are purchased directly from cocoa farmers around the world. They can tell you exactly what goes into each bar they produce, and their bean to bar process creates a savory indulgence unlike any other.
A Collaborative Experiment
While inexperienced in the art of food pairing, I have been a fan of Askinosie Chocolate for years. I have seized many opportunities in my kitchen to pair Askinosie Chocolate with Spring Branch Kombucha! So when I reached out to the Askinosie team, I had a decent amount of personal research to back up my pitch. I felt fairly confident this would be a hit with our overlapping consumer base. I was thrilled to discover they shared my opinion and enthusiasm for the experiment! We scheduled the pairing class, which sold out so quickly we added another. The added bonus was getting to spend half a day in my favorite chocolate factory!
We tossed around thoughts on the pairing menu and landed on the following combinations:
SBK Cucumber Jalapeno Mint (seasonal) + Askinosie White Chocolate (Davao, Philippines)
SBK Lavender + Askinosie Coconut Milk Chocolate (San Jose del Tambo, Ecuador)
SBK Raspberry Basil + Askinosie Dark Chocolate (Mababu, Tanzania)
SBK Lemon Hops + Askinosie Limited Edition Zeke Bar (Chinchipe, Ecuador)
We received positive feedback on all four combinations across both classes! One guest (whose sense of adventure I admire) had never tried kombucha before the event. Great news for us: he enjoyed it! He remarked that he would’ve preferred trying the kombucha before tasting the chocolate, because his palate wasn’t ready to capture the intricacies of the lavender kombucha after the potency of the chocolate. Going forward, a pre-pairing kombucha sample may be in order for guests who are unfamiliar with the beverage. My personal favorite was Lemon Hops with The Zeke Bar, and I encourage anyone who loves chocolate to order this limited edition bar before they run out (and know that I am increasing demand by stockpiling my own supply).
Overall the experiment was a huge success that has inspired additional ideas for kombucha pairings. We hope to share some of those in the near future! Until then, what are some of your favorite foods to enjoy while sipping (or gulping) SBK? Are you interested in a kombucha pairing class? Let us know in the comments here and on our social media pages!