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Cigar Pairings

Cigars and Chocolate Pairings

Shane K. K's picture

Shane K.

Chocolate and cigars share much in common. We associate both with pleasure in its purest form. Cigars and chocolate transfix our senses and are the source of undeniable cravings. We indulge in them – at least most of us – in moderation. Today, there are endless choices at our disposal for cigars and chocolate. Let’s investigate the parallels between the two and sink our teeth into some savory cigar and chocolate pairings.

History is Sweet

Both tobacco and cacao plants originated in Mesoamerica thousands of years ago. The chocolate and cigars we enjoy today are the result of the evolution of cultivation and fermentation techniques. Today’s chocolate and cigar varieties are far more refined than the primal substances native populations consumed.

Mayans and Aztecs widely relied on cacao for a variety of holistic and medicinal purposes. It was consumed in beverage form often from ornately decorated pots – an indication only the upper classes had access to it. 

Although early versions of chocolate were a far cry from the sweet and milky bars available at nearly every convenience store we enter, they were no less desirable. Cacao beans were used as currency and cacao was considered by many to be an aphrodisiac. Aztec emperor Montezuma was so taken with a liquid cacao concoction which included honey and hot spices, he drank it from a golden chalice before he entered his harem. Never using the same goblet twice, he tossed them from his balcony overlooking the lakes of Tenochtitlan. Divers would hunt for the discarded relics for generations after the dissolution of the Aztec empire.    

Chocolate Comes to Europe

If the story sounds familiar to tobacco, well, that’s because it is. On his fourth voyage to the New World, Columbus and his crew seized a native canoe full of tradable goods in August of 1502. Included in the loot were cacao beans which Columbus’ men observed created great distress among the natives should any fall or be dropped, and they immediately stooped to grab them. Though the precious beans made the voyage back to Spain, their importance laid dormant for years.

Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés first witnessed the consumption of chocolate in 1519 in the court of Montezuma and noted the natives’ use of it to treat abdominal maladies. As such, the Spanish quickly became covetous of chocolate despite its bitter and unpleasant taste. Over the course of a century, the Spanish added sugar and honey to chocolate to refute its bitterness. Soon, chocolate achieved a grip on Europeans. The lucrative and sought-after substance was enjoyed exclusively by the ruling classes.

The Industrialization of Chocolate

Several advances in processing methods beginning just prior to the Industrial Revolution and lasting throughout led to chocolate’s emerging footprint in Europe. The first milk chocolate was created in 1875 by Daniel Peter who blended a powdered milk developed by Henri Nestlé. Throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries, the availability of solid chocolate increased exponentially as companies like Lindt & Sprüngli AG, Nestlé, Cadbury, and Hershey’s established factories for making boxed chocolates and chocolate-covered confections.

Chocolate & Cigar Pairings

Chocolate is among the most tasteful creations since the dawn of man. Its immense gourmet potential makes it a sublime companion for premium cigars. Here are five excellent cigar and chocolate pairings you should consider the next time you’re craving a good smoke to go with your dessert.

1.  Dark Chocolate Truffles & Ashton Aged Maduro

Dark chocolate truffles like those made by Godiva and Lindt coat the palate in an unbelievably decadent manner. Creamy, rich, and intriguing textures convey the silky taste of chocolate mousse or a gooey ganache in a box of voluptuous truffles. They’re an amazing dessert when you’re having coffee after dinner, especially with a cigar.

Ashton Aged Maduro is an ideal match with its intricate blend of premium tobaccos from the Dominican Republic and a shimmering Broadleaf wrapper patiently sown in the Connecticut River Valley. A mild to medium-bodied profile of dark chocolate, molasses, coffee beans, and black pepper harbors the perfect degree of signature Dominican spices before a luxurious finish kicks in. Consider Ashton Aged Maduro with a handful of dark chocolate truffles when your sweet tooth is acting up.

​2.  German Chocolate Cake & Arturo Fuente Anejo

Though it’s commonly mistaken as a dessert from Germany, German chocolate cake is actually named for English-American chocolate-maker Samuel German who developed a hedonistic formula for a chocolate by adding extra sugar in 1852. It became known as German’s Sweet Chocolate. The first official recipe for German chocolate cake, however, premiered in 1957 from Mrs. George Clay in the Dallas Morning Star. Today, few desserts compare to the dense marriage of chocolate and coconut icing a towering slice of German chocolate cake delivers. Its overwhelming richness is greeted with wide-open mouths when executed in the kitchen of a great baker.

An equally decadent cigar is required. Arturo Fuente Anejo is blended from an opulent and rare profile of Cuban-seed Dominican tobaccos and a lustrous Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper aged in a cognac barrel. Tasting notes of dark chocolate, cognac, fresh ground coffee, and buttery spices defy convention with mouthwatering fluctuations between sweet and zesty flavor. Serve Arturo Fuente Anejo with a big piece of German chocolate cake to elevate the palate in otherworldly ways.

3.  Chocolate Fudge & La Aroma de Cuba Mi Amor

Nothing compares to the sweet, old-fashioned taste a piece of chocolate fudge offers. Some like fudge with nuts, others swear them off. Either way, sheer elation greets your tongue the second it’s in your mouth. Chocolate fudge can be so sweet that it’s best swallowed in small doses. Nonetheless, a good cigar will enhance the natural savoriness of chocolate fudge.

La Aroma de Cuba Mi Amor is a nice match because its complex profile balances the sugary texture of fudge with a welcome spice. Medium to full-bodied transitions of flavor include notes of almonds, cocoa, fresh espresso, and black pepper. An oily San Andrés wrapper is blended over vintage Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos by award-winning cigar-maker Jose ‘Pepin’ Garcia.

4.  Chocolate Soufflé & San Cristobal Ovation

Taken straight from the oven, a chocolate soufflé glazes the palate with smile-inducing goodness, especially when your spoon scoops its creamy chocolate sauce from the center. A great soufflé is finished in a crusty, brownie-like exterior with a molten chocolate core resembling the texture of cake batter in the middle. It’s hot.

Brace your senses for San Cristobal Ovation with its full-bodied but luscious profile. A toothy San Andrés Oscuro wrapper conceals a well-aged blend of select Nicaraguan long-fillers in an enticing display of hickory, dark cocoa, and leather notes. Its big, intense taste is heavenly with the chewiness of a chocolate soufflé.  

5.  Chocolate Ice Cream & Flor de las Antillas Maduro

The icy, creamy sensation a mouthful of premium chocolate ice cream creates is worth the brain freeze it creates when you need to savor it a few extra seconds. We all know the craving for chocolate ice cream is unavoidable on a hot summer day. We satisfy it with ice cream cones or an overflowing malt or shake, or even by dipping our spoons into a fresh gallon like gluttonous fiends.

Hot and cold textures fuse marvelously when you fire up Flor de las Antillas Maduro with a scoop of chocolate ice cream. Its unique Cuban-seed Maduro wrapper leaf conceals a beefy blend of well-aged Nicaraguan tobaccos. Tasting notes of cocoa, spices, and wood tantalize the palate in a complex finish.

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