Home LifeStyleFood & Recipes Rooibos and chocolate pairings to delight your senses this Easter

Rooibos and chocolate pairings to delight your senses this Easter

by Tania Griffin

Make this Easter a feast for the senses by elevating your celebrations with a decadent rooibos and chocolate tasting.

Pairing tea or herbal tisanes with chocolate is a culinary delight, which can help unlock the more subtle flavours and aromas you may not pick up when you enjoy tea or chocolate on its own.

Adele du Toit, spokesperson for the SA Rooibos Council, says rooibos and chocolate make excellent Easter companions. “Both rooibos and chocolate are associated with comfort, indulgence and reflection, which align with the spirit of Easter. Enjoying a cup of rooibos and chocolate together can enhance these sentiments.

“They also share many similar characteristics: from the fruity, floral and nutty aromas to the slight levels of astringency – making them an ideal match.”

In addition to rooibos being used in chocolate bars and truffles, innovative chocolatiers from around the world are also experimenting with the tisane in chocolate drinks, which appeals to consumers looking for alternatives to traditional hot chocolate or coffee-based drinks.

Du Toit says rooibos-based chocolate drinks vary widely, incorporating different blends such as matcha and chai, and combining them with chocolate in various forms such as cocoa powder, chocolate syrup or chocolate chips. “These drinks can be found in specialty cafés, tea shops and artisanal chocolate shops, catering to consumers interested in exploring new and exotic flavour combinations.”

Without any further ado, let’s get you started on your rooibos and chocolate journey. The below guide is meant to walk you through the tasting experience at home so that you’re able to get the most out of the flavours of each rooibos blend and chocolate, both on their own and experienced as a pair.

Getting started:

  1. Ensure the flavour profiles are well-balanced. In other words, aim to find a match that both enhances the flavour of the chocolate, as well as the rooibos blend you have selected.
  2. Choose good quality chocolate with varying amounts of cacao, which include a variety of white, milk and dark chocolate.
  3. Select rooibos blends that have both complementing and contrasting flavours to heighten the flavour and aroma of the chocolate and vice versa.

Milk chocolate is the most versatile for pairing with rooibos. It’s creamy, milky consistency can help balance the flavour of various blends. Plain Rooibos, Rooibos Cinnamon, Rooibos Berry and Rooibos Vanilla all pair beautifully with milk chocolate. 

Rooibos’ smoky undertones complement the nuttiness of milk chocolate, while its smooth, sweet caramel notes naturally match and balance the flavours of the chocolate. These blends also work well with sponge cakes, custard and other sweet tarts.

Rooibos’ fruity, floral and nutty aromas pair well with the bitter taste of dark chocolate. Experiment with Rooibos Mint, Rooibos Chai, Rooibos Berry, Rooibos Orange and even Rooibos Ginger. The bold flavours and rich aroma of these rooibos blends make them ideal with anything chocolaty i.e. chocolate mousse or pudding, chocolate fondant etc.

Pairing dark hazelnut chocolate and Rooibos Chai is a must! The spicy tea flavours are enhanced by the nuttiness of the chocolate, which makes for a winning combination.

Plain Rooibos and Rooibos Vanilla pair particularly well with white chocolate, as its citrusy undertone cuts through the richness of white chocolate. Its herbaceous flavour is divine when blended into creamy white chocolate – think truffles, pralines, fudge, mousse and meringues.

The earthy taste of Rooibos Mint/Peppermint also gives white chocolate a refreshing lift.

Tasting tips:

  1. We’d recommend you take your rooibos without any milk or sweeteners, as adding an extra layer of creaminess or sugar often mask the nuanced flavours in chocolate.
  2. Start by taking a small bite of chocolate and allow it to melt slowly across your tongue.
  3. Then slurp some rooibos into the back of your mouth so it reaches your taste buds. Rather slurp than sip as the former will draw air into your mouth, allowing for more intense flavours and aromas to be released.
  4. Then, take another small bite of chocolate and you’ll notice how rooibos has influenced the flavour, aroma and mouthfeel of the chocolate compared to the initial bite.
  5. If you want, you can cleanse your palate with a sip of water and either reverse the process or move onto another chocolate and tea combination.

As you experiment, make sure to jot down some notes and share your personal preferences and/or photos on Facebook and Instagram, or check out some delicious rooibos and chocolate treats here.

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