How to make delicious savoury chocolate dishes

12 Jan 2021

Chocolate Knowledge

Expand your cocoa horizons by adding chocolate to your favourite dishes

What do you think of when you picture a chocolate dish? We can’t help but imagine gooey chocolate brownies, indulgent chocolate tortes or simply an assorted chocolate box. But you can also enjoy chocolate in savoury dishes…

You may be slightly wary about trying out this flavour combination, but we promise you it’s a revolutionary concept! The deep, multi-layered notes of high-quality chocolate adds a unique richness to foods unlike anything else. Chocolate-lovers can now get their cocoa fix by trying chocolate savoury dishes. Why wait till dessert?

Is chocolate sweet or savoury?

Typically, dark chocolate is made with sugar, an emulsifier, cocoa butter and cocoa solids. However, this doesn’t mean that you should only eat it for a sweet treat.

Chocolate that is made from 100% cocoa solids is the perfect option for chocolate savoury dishes. This is because 100% cocoa Chocolate contains no sugar, meaning you won’t be adding any additional sweetness to your savoury meal. Bold and punchy, this dark has a distinctive savoury flavour profile, allowing you to taste each delicate note of the cocoa bean. Given the depth of flavour that 100% dark chocolate adds, it is the perfect ingredient for when you need to add a certain richness to a meal. 

Dark chocolate for cooking in a bowl

Don’t worry if you’re still uncertain; we’ve looked at what you can do with cooking chocolate to give you some more confidence before you start concocting your chocolate savoury dishes.

This doesn’t mean that sweeter chocolates are immediately off the table for your chocolate savoury dishes. A small amount of white chocolate adds a subtly-sweet creaminess that goes beautifully in white sauces, although make sure you’re cautious about how much you add.

What meat goes well with chocolate?

Given the richness of 100% dark chocolate, red meats are a great match. Venison has a particularly gamey flavour which holds up to the deep flavour of high cocoa chocolate. However, if you’re not such a fan of this meat then beef works equally as well. We also think the richness of lamb goes beautifully with the fruity savouriness of chocolate.

Sliced meat to go in a savoury chocolate dish

If you’re thinking about adding white chocolate to a savoury chocolate dish then we suggest opting for fish or shellfish to pair it with. White fish – such as halibut, sea bass or cod – works beautifully with a small amount of white chocolate. The delicate notes of scallop or lobster also works well with the lightness of white chocolate, helping to bring out the naturally sweet flavours of shellfish.

What spices goes with chocolate?

Chocolate and chilli might be the most obvious combination for your savoury chocolate dish, but don’t stop there. The type of spices you use depends on the type of chocolate you’re using. For the deep and bitter notes of 100% dark chocolate, choose punchy spices that can really hold their own against the bold notes of cocoa.

Black peppercorns, wasabi and fiery ginger adds a certain kick to your dish, bringing out the multi-layered flavour profile of the cocoa bean. Cayenne pepper and paprika add to the savoury notes of cocoa, and cumin and turmeric offer a subtle spice that blends beautifully with the natural fruitiness of the cocoa bean.

For white chocolate, you want to make sure you don’t choose anything too overpowering. Subtle, fragrant flavours of lemongrass adds an aromatic edge to your white, and the floral, earthy notes of saffron add delicate and complex undertones.

Spoons with spices

If you’re new to the combination of chocolate with spices, we suggest to go carefully! Add it little by little, slowly building up spice as you taste.

Savoury chocolate dishes

You can easily elevate a classic chilli con carne by adding a few squares of high quality dark. Simply wait until it’s ready for eating and then stir in your dark, making sure it’s evenly melted. This adds an extra depth of flavour to your savoury chocolate recipe and works well with both lamb and beef mince.

Dark chocolate

Savoury chocolate recipes may be a new concept for British cookery books, but not in Mexico! The Mexican mole is a common dish in Mexico and it has chocolate at the heart of its ingredients! This savoury chocolate sauce is the perfect topping for stewed red meat or fajitas. It bursts with aromatic notes of allspice, cinnamon, cumin, cloves and – of course – cocoa! Once the chocolate has melted in and the cocoa aromas have released, you’ll discover you have an irresistible savoury chocolate sauce.

If you’re after something a little less spicy, try mixing dark chocolate into a classic British stew for a hearty, indulgent savoury chocolate dish. Or, if you’re pondering about making savoury chocolate starters, then why not try pairing it with earthy flavours. Try a light drizzle of melted chocolate on mushroom or chicken liver paté and serve with croutons for your own twist on a classic starter.

White chocolate

For a savoury chocolate sauce that adds an extra sense of indulgence to your dish, trying melting dark chocolate into a rich red wine sauce. Or, for a non-alcoholic option, add into a blackberry reduction. The natural red berry notes from a good bottle of burgundy help to release the natural fruity flavours of chocolate. Why not try it yourself with our Red Wine Selectors?

seafood risotto for a white chocolate savoury dish

If you’re making a savoury chocolate dish with white chocolate then opt for something a little lighter. Melting white chocolate into a cream or white wine sauce makes for a delicious savoury chocolate sauce, ideal for pairing with white fish. Alternatively, mix into a seafood risotto for a sumptuous finish. Don’t exclude white chocolate from your starters, either. The salty tang of smoked mackerel pâté balances out the natural sweetness of white chocolate effortlessly, resulting in an elegant savoury chocolate starter.

100% cocoa savoury chocolate

Dark chocolate made from 100% cocoa solids is a completely unique chocolate tasting experience. Many expect chocolate to be sweet, but in its natural form the cocoa bean has a bitter, savoury taste. This is why 100% dark chocolate lends itself to savoury dishes so effortlessly.

Because we add no additional sugar to our 100% dark chocolate, it isn’t like your typical bar of dark. Ours boasts an intricate flavour profile, with both smokey notes and red fruit flavours running through. If you’ve never experienced this bar before, then we suggest trying some before you start making your savoury chocolate dishes with it. Simply break off a small piece and let it sit on your tongue. It will slowly melt to release its distinctive cocoa notes. 

Although chocolate isn’t a typical ingredient in savoury dishes, we think that it should feature more often. A bar of 100% dark chocolate adds a richness to a recipe like no other. Creamier chocolate promises a delicate sweetness that shouldn’t work with savoury, but does. Of course, we would eat chocolate for breakfast, lunch, and dinner if we could – but who can blame us?