Photo by Jaime Woo.
Two weeks ago, kids got their fair share of chocolate: milky, sugary, fairly generic kind of stuff. For adults, we’ve found a chocolate that’s a little kinkier: chorizo chocolate at Xococava (1560 Yonge Street, north of St. Clair Avenue). Just writing the words feels like a gauntlet has been thrown down. Meaty. Chocolate. Isn’t the obvious progression for chocolate: nuts, fruits, crisped rice, caramel… Spanish cured sausage?
Chocolate has long been used in cooking to complement savoury dishes. In fact, pairing chocolate with chorizo isn’t entirely new—Google “chorizo con chocolate” as proof. What’s new is the reversing of the pairing: instead of the addition of chocolate to a chorizo dish, we have an infusion of meat flavour into the chocolate.
We grabbed a foodie friend and gave the chorizo chocolate a try. The chorizo and chocolate flavours are well-balanced and the meatiness never overwhelms. The ganache is also surprisingly light—we’re guessing a substitution of sorts was made for the cream typically used. Our foodie succinctly described it as: “Rich. Surprising. Porky. Spiced.”
The idea for the chorizo chocolate came from Xococava co-owner Chris McDonald, of Avalon fame. (McDonald and his business partner Doug Penfold run both Xococava and tapas restaurant Cava, which sits next door.) And he’s keeping mum on the recipe, instead cryptically noting: “There is no chorizo. It’s my trick. I will only say that they are not entirely suitable for vegetarians.”
For the less adventurous, Xococava also offers more traditional flavours, such as mountain cranberry or mint. Other sweet alternatives include ice cream, cookies, and churros. But try the chorizo chocolate, if just to say you have.
By the end of our taste test, we and our foodie were still trying to describe it. “Delicious?” While the chocolate was delicious, it didn’t conjure up the normal connotations associated with delicious. “Lardy?” wondered the foodie as we pressed for more descriptions. (Lardy in a good way, we’d add.)
Finally: “It tasted like pork fat and chocolate…” he concluded, “What can I say?”
Photos by Jaime Woo.