Beer and Chocolate Pairing with Yards Brewery and John and Kira’s Chocolates
If wine and cheese is the classic food and booze pairing, then the up-and-coming favorite ought to be beer and chocolate.
Both rich and boldly flavorful, beer and chocolate have never been better complements than when Yards Brewery partnered with John and Kira’s Chocolates for an extraordinary tasting at Reading Terminal Market on Thursday, sponsored by Fair Food Philadelphia.
Philadelphia-based John and Kira’s is a small chocolate factory that was born from what John calls the “art of flavoring.” The company uses high-quality chocolates that are often harvested and fermented in Madagascar before they’re processed in France and turned into confections right here in the Philadelphia factory on 5th and Wyoming.
To warm up our palettes, John let us sample some of their Valentine’s Day fare: heart-shaped chocolate truffles stuffed with pistachio ganache and yellow flower-shaped chocolates filled with rum-pecan caramel.
Enraptured and salivating from the first tastes, we were ready to pair the company’s rich, decadent chocolates with beer from Yards, a Philly-based brewery that makes some of the best brews in town.
The pairings began with Yards Rye, the winter seasonal IPA. The beer is boldly hopped with a touch of citrus and spice. It offered a perfect complement to John and Kira’s chocolate oranges, a brightly colored confection filled with white chocolate ganache infused with orange rind, Cointreau, and Tahitian vanilla bean.
Next, we sampled Yards General Washington’s Tavern Porter, named for what they claim is George Washington’s own recipe. It nods to a history when Washington’s troops, lacking in barley, fermented molasses to make beer. The Porter is dark and smooth with undertones of caramel — which brought out the sweeter notes of John and Kira’s chocolate marshmallow chocolates. Their handmade marshmallows are topped with a layer of caramel and enrobed in Valrhona dark chocolate before they’re topped off with a sprinkle of rock salt. They wowed the crowd — which made it all the more disappointing when John announced that they won’t be released for sale until the fall of this year.
Something just as good (and available to purchase!) came next: John and Kira’s drunken chocolate figs. Whole Spanish figs are filled with whiskey-infused chocolate ganache before they’re hand-dipped in dark chocolate. The result is silky smooth and melts in the mouth. Yards paired them with the Old Bartholomew, an American Barleywine described as a “winter warmer” for its hefty alcohol content.
We then got a taste of Yards’ Chocolate Love Stout, an ultra-rich stout with notes of chocolate and coffee (since it was released last year, it remains one of my top five favorite beers). It washed down John and Kira’s chili urban garden chocolate bars, which combine freshly pickled Guajilo chili peppers with an almond chocolate bar. (The chilis are grown from six urban gardens around Philadelphia, DC, and Chicago, and 5% of the sale prices go back into supporting the gardens and educational programs.) The chocolate was extra dark and rich, holding its own next to the bold Chocolate Love Stout.
We finished the evening sampling John and Kira’s not-yet-released marshmallow truffles, including ones topped with fresh mint and chocolate and one sandwiched between a layer of peanut butter and jelly.
– Arielle Pardes
One thought on “Beer and Chocolate Pairing with Yards Brewery and John and Kira’s Chocolates”
I wanted to go to this so badly! Great review and photos (good job CJ). I’m going to have to try the Yards’ Chocolate Love Stout. Also sad they don’t sell the marshmallow chocolates.