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CFM Asks: Dessert

As Chicagoans and well, human beings, we don’t need an excuse to drink beer or eat chocolate. So, we asked Master Chocolatier Elliott Callahan at Chicago-based, Fannie May, why these two unlikely pairings could actually be really great together: 

“Food is one of humanity’s foundations. Beer is equally as interesting as chocolate. Why not explore them together? You’re right, we don’t need any excuses. Beer and chocolate share a lot in common. They both are special foods that come to us from the dawn of civilization, and we have spent thousands of years perfecting the processes that produce them. If you happen to be passionate about them, enjoy them together.” 

Callahan has been dedicated to the world of confectionary chocolate for 25 years, initially starting out as a pastry chef until Fannie May recruited him in 2011. With his culinary background, Callahan has earned his title of Master Chocolatier, getting to “explore chocolate on a level that most pastry chefs don’t get a chance to.” From the origin of the cocoa bean to the particle distribution of the chocolate itself, the job of a Fannie May Master Chocolatier is to create a fusion of science and art. Now, he wants to pair his chocolatey confections with beer and thinks you should too.

Normally, we are likely to find chocolate more naturally paired with wine. When shopping for and paring wine, common characteristics from the fruit, its acidity and tannins all come in to play as we look for contrasting or building blocks of flavor. However, Callahan believes there is much to be learned and fun to be had discovering which beer goes best with which chocolate confection. 

Below are a few of his recommended beer and Fannie May chocolate pairings.  

  • Match Dark Beer (like a Guinness) + Fannie May Pixies or Sea Salt Caramels 

  • White Beer + White Chocolate (Trinidads or Easter Exclusive, Easter Crew) 

  • Belgian-Style Fruit Beers (like a Raspberry Lambic) + Fannie May Raspberry Creams 

  • IPAs + Fannie May Lemon Creams 

  • Stouts + Fannie May Trinidads 

Ultimately though, it really depends on what kind of beer and chocolate you prefer. 

“The point of pairing food and beverage is about exploring the synergies that naturally exist between certain organoleptic (sensory) experiences. A great pairing reveals certain flavor notes that we don’t normally detect without the pairing. It’s a method for exploring food. Sometimes a bad pairing is just as revealing as a good one! Have fun with it and learn,” he added.  

With the hopes of a beer and chocolate pairing trend potentially on the rise, Callahan didn’t say no to Fannie May hosting future tasting events at locations in and around the city. For now, start your own trend. Whether you are hosting a Cubs Opening Day Cookout or Game of Thrones Premier Watch Party, be sure to pair chocolates with your favorite beer.  


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