It’s hard to imagine February going by with at least indulging in a few pieces of chocolate.
I know, for me, I always seem to enjoy an influx of those little Dove chocolate hearts as we move past Valentine’s Day and inch closer to Spring and warmer weather.
Every year, Hershey’s Chocolate Covered-February takes this love of their most notable export and features it in a month-long series of events and specials.
One event, in particular, should be on your radar every year. The Spirits and Chocolate Pairing at Hershey Lodge takes top-shelf spirits and pairs them with some of the best chocolate Hershey has to offer.
But first, food.
Before getting into the spirits, we needed a bit of food. Chef Dimitri of The Bear’s Den whipped up a Meatball Slider Sandwich topped with a Chocolate Balsamic Bacon Jam.
It was delicious.
Now, with a full semi-full stomach, it was time for the main course.
Chocolate and Spirits Pairings
The Balvenie 14 Year Caribbean Cask
Scharffen Berger Mocha Dark Chocolate
When it comes to Scotch, you can essentially go two very different ways. Either peaty or non-peaty.
The Balvenie 14 Year is one of those whiskys that does not use peat smoke. Without the peat, you get a light and sweeter sip with an extra spice at the end of the Caribbean cask finish.
Pairing: With real bits of coffee laid in the chocolate you get a mouthful of coffee and cocoa in every bite, which pairs with the caramel and vanilla that comes from the whisky.
Scharffen Berger Smooth Milk Chocolate
Casamigos, one of the best tequilas out there, starts smooth and sweet with a citrus punch on the back end.
While tequila is a spirit that makes people turn up their nose at times, it seemed to be a favorite among everyone in the crowd.
Pairing: I love tequila, but I haven’t tried pairing it with food outside of the taco and nacho variety. The smooth and creamy chocolate was subtle enough to add just a hint of sweetness to the spirit.
Hershey Lodge’s Cacao-Infused Maker’s Mark Bourbon
Hershey’s Kisses Deluxe
For this one, think a decadent bourbon with deep cocoa notes. Hershey Lodge steeps whole cacao nibs in traditional Marker’s Mark bourbon for a few days to infuse the most chocolate flavor into this spirit.
Pairing: Hershey’s Kisses Deluxe is a ginormous Hershey’s Kiss with bits of crisps throughout and a whole hazelnut in the middle. The nuttiness of the chocolate and the cocoa of the spirit went together perfectly.
Ron Zacapa 23 Year Rum
Ron Zacapa 23 Year shows that not all rum is created equal. I’m not usually one for rum, but there’s something about aging a spirt for 23 years that makes it hard to resist.
It’s a smooth, full-bodied spirit featuring all the flavors you’d expect from a spiced rum.
Pairing: Cadbury Caramels are one of my favorite chocolate treats. Who doesn’t like creamy sweet caramel wrapped in classic milk chocolate?
Bauchant Orange Liqueur
Scharffen Berger Milk Nibby Milk Chocolate with Roasted Cocoa Nibs
Chocolate and orange is a classic pairing. The Bauchant is a cognac with a zesty orange flavor and underlying notes of cinnamon.
Pairing: The Milk Nibby bar is a chocolate overload but in a good way. The full cocoa nibs lend a big burst of chocolate with every bite which combined with the spirit gives the perfect orange and chocolate pairing.