While some chocolate pairings are a product of a recent time and place in food innovation, chocolate and orange are a pair that seems to be so naturally matched that its origin is rarely considered. We asked Lindt Maître Chocolatier Thomas Schnetzler to share the story behind this coupling and explain why this duo has such a beloved place in the palates of chocolate connoisseurs.
A brief history
Chocolate and orange is a match of exotic and highly sought after equals from the old world. Orange trees first graced village landscapes in Southern China and North Eastern India. By the 1400s, oranges became a staple on the trade route between China and continental Europe, a celebrated commodity among privileged and wealthy Europeans.
Chocolate was initially embraced by Spanish Royalty, who sweetened cacao powder with rare sugar and spices, and then mixed it with orange flower water. (Chocolate was consumed as a beverage for hundreds of years before the invention of solid chocolate.) This chocolate orange flower water cocktail was the first in a long line of citrus and chocolate pairings that now have an iconic place in the world of chocolate.
Lindt creates a new flavour
In 2003, Lindt created Lindt Excellence Orange Intense Dark Chocolate. The true magic of the chocolate and orange combination is in its contrast: the chocolate is rich, intense, fatty and lush, and it’s balanced by the fresh, fruity and zesty tones of the orange, creating an overall experience that is equal parts nostalgic and exhilarating. The citrus plays off the incredibly aromatic quality of the chocolate. Revel in the textural complexity of the fruit pieces integrated into the silky cocoa, and slowly chew a piece to appreciate the contrast of melting chocolate and soft fruit.
Other ways to enjoy chocolate and orange
Chocolate and orange are also delicious in desserts like cheesecake, or as a decadent sauce over pancakes or French toast. Make or buy candied orange peels and dip them in smooth, melted dark chocolate for a luxurious snack. You can also try pairing a piece of dark chocolate with a citrus-infused Italian aperitif like Aperol. The possibilities are endless.