An Artisanal Beer and Chocolate Pairing during Paris Beer Week
By Monique Y. Wells

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Our favorite neighborhood chocolate boutique, Mococha, and favorite beer purveyor, Brewberry, teamed up for this year’s Paris Beer Week festivities to present a self-guided beer and chocolate pairing. It took place from 6 – 10 p.m. on Wednesday, May 27 at Brewberry. Reservations were required but there was no set time for participants to arrive.

The lovely proprietors, Marie Gantois of Mococha and Cécile Delorme-Thomas of Brewberry, worked together to select beer and chocolate pairings based on complementary or opposing notes between the products they carry. During this process, they found that most of the ganaches and pralinés that Marie stocks did not work well with Cécile’s beers.

Marie Gantois, Proprietor of Mococha

Marie Gantois, Proprietor of Mococha
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

Cécile Delorme

Cécile Delorme, Proprietor of Brewberry
Photo by www.DiscoverParis.net

Undeterred, Marie decided to test some of her chocolate bars with Cécile’s beers. She and Cécile were much happier with the resulting flavor combinations. In the end, they paired three artisanal beers with five artisanal chocolate bars and one ganache for the event.

Five Bars and One Ganache in Search of Three Beers

Five Bars and One Ganache in Search of Three Beers
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

Participants received an fact sheet containing gustatory details of each beer and each chocolate presented during the evening. Each beer was paired with two chocolates, as follows:

• Beer #1 – Naparbier Barley Wine white wine BA (12°) with Kochi (Johann Dubois) and Cuba (François Pralus)

• Beer #2 – TOOL Black Maria (8.1°) with Mélissa (François Pralus) and Brésil (François Pralus)

• Beer #3 – Omnipollo Hypnopompa (10°) with Tonka (Benoit Nihant) and Lait d’amandes (Benoit Nihant)

I’m not a beer drinker but am always willing to try pairings organized by Marie because I find her taste in chocolate to be exquisite!

Three Beers Paired with Six Chocolates

Three Beers Paired with Six Chocolates
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

The first pairing was my favorite, by far. I tasted the beer before the chocolate — and loved it! I learned that Barley Wine is a style of beer, like IPA or stout. It is aged for 15 months in oak barrels that were previously used to age white wine.

At 12°, Naparbier’s alcohol content is quite high for beer. With its notes of caramel and stewed fruit, it tasted like an after dinner drink. I would buy this beer to enjoy on its own, without chocolate!

I then sampled the chocolates, with and without tiny sips of beer. Kochi, by Johann Dubois, was the only ganache that “made the cut” for the Paris Beer Week tasting. It is made from milk chocolate (40%), hazelnuts and yuzu (a Japanese citrus fruit). Cuba, a dark chocolate bar (75%) made from Cuban chocolate, was quite spicy and potent. The information sheet indicated that this bar, made by François Pralus, likely represents the last opportunity that Europeans will have to taste chocolate made from Cuban cocoa beans. No explanation was given as to why cocoa beans from Cuba would be banned in Europe.

Of the two chocolates, I liked the dark-chocolate Cuba bar the best — with and without the beer.

My next favorite pairing was the Omnipollo Hypnopompa beer with the Lait d’amandes bar. I described the aroma of this brown, Swedish beer as slightly funky and animal-like, though later, I could detect notes of coffee. I did not like it on its own but found that it accompanied both chocolates nicely.

I did not like the TOOL Black Maria at all, but loved both chocolates that were paired with it.

I found the format for this tasting to be quite agreeable — I much prefer being able to arrive at my convenience, then taste, take notes, and ask questions at my own pace.

I hope that Marie and Cécile will organize a tasting for Paris Beer Week next year!

Mococha
89, rue Mouffetard
75005 Paris
Tel: 01 47 07 13 66
Hours: Tuesday through Sunday 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Metro: Place Monge, Censier Daubenton (Line 7)

Brewberry
18, rue de Pot-de-Fer
75005 Paris
Tel: 01 43 36 53 92
Hours: Tuesday through Saturday 2 p.m. – 11 p.m.; Sunday 2 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Metro: Place Monge (Line 7)

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