Chocolate & Cheese! A melt-in-your-mouth combination

Cheese and chocolate have more in common than the first two letters of their names. They each have similar characteristics - rich, sweet, creamy - that can combine for some surprisingly great taste sensations.

If you're wondering about this match-up, keep in mind that chocolate cheesecake or chocolate cream cheese brownies have been longtime favorites. So read on...

You've probably heard the term terroir as it applies to cheese and wine. Did you know that the term can apply to chocolate as well? Chocolate has the ability to reflect its own regional and varietal characteristics.

Whether you prefer soft or hard cheese, milk or dark chocolate, you're certain to find a combination that suits your taste. Here are a few suggestions to get you started on your gastronomic journey.

Soft-ripened cheeses:

· Brie and brie-like Goat Cheese and are perfect with dark chocolate

· Try either milk or dark chocolate (Chocolate-Glazed St. Andre Napoleon is a case in point)

· Cocoa nib chocolate - nibs have the purest chocolate flavor, magnifying the natural harmony between chocolate and more pungent cheeses such as Livarot or Pont-l'Évêque.

Blue cheeses:
(Bleu d'Auvergne, Roquefort, St. Agur, Fourme d'Ambert):

· The sweetness and tanginess of blue cheeses can make a nice complement to dark chocolate

Pressed cooked cheeses:
(such as Gruyère, Emmental)

· Their hint of saltiness works well with white or dark chocolate and chocolate mousses

Many restaurants, wineries and cooking classes offer tastings - including cheese and chocolate events. Check your local establishments - and your calendar - for an event near you.