The Reason Some People Add Cheese To Their Hot Chocolate

Culinary history is filled with iconic duos: beer and pretzels, milk and cookies ... and, of course, cheese and a mug of hot chocolate. That's correct, though it may seem like an unconventional taste pairing than our taste buds may be used to, this sweet-and-savory beverage is quite common in places like Colombia, where they've enjoyed chunks of cheese in their cocoa for ages. In fact, Colombians have the saying, "Chocolate sin queso es como amor sin beso," which translates to "Chocolate without cheese is like love without a kiss." That's pretty high praise!

The reason for the pairing ultimately boils down to achieving the alluring clash of salty and sweet that can only come from these two unlikely culinary cohorts. Sure, the unfamiliar partnership raised the ire of incredulous Americans all over Tiktok, but the subtle combination of bittersweet chocolate with rich, melted cheese must be tasted to be believed. Once you do, any preconceived notions about the fusion of salty and sweet you might have should melt away ... not unlike a few cubes of fromage in a piping-hot mug of cocoa.

How to prepare hot chocolate and cheese

There's really no better way to understand the reason cheese and chocolate work so well together than to hit the kitchen and give it a try. Though the combo sounds simple enough to assemble, one must do a bit more than dip a block of Velveeta into some Swiss Miss. Traditionally, to make Colombian hot chocolate, it's necessary to use a bar of dark, unsweetened chocolate. You can, of course, use milk chocolate if you want to take the sweetness to the next level. Melt the bar into some water, or milk of your preferred variety, on medium heat by gently stirring. If you're feeling extra flavorful, adding sugar, cinnamon, or cloves can be a gripping spice boost to the already heavenly elixir.

Then, the reason we're here: the cheese. Drop a few cubes of firm mozzarella (even a cut-up tube of string cheese will work) into the bottom of your mug, and pour over your hot chocolate, being sure to melt the cheese in the process. After a minute of steeping, the intermingling saltiness and sweetness should begin to shine through, and you can begin to eat the long strands of melted cheese, now infused with decadent chocolate. Like when you first tasted the mixture of peanuts and M&M's, or brown sugar and chicken salad, you'll wonder where this sweet and savory blend has been hiding all your life.

Selecting what cheese to add to your hot chocolate

Once you've acquired the taste, it might be pretty easy to wonder if different cheeses might constitute different taste sensations in your hot cocoa. While fortune favors the bold, it's recommended to keep to firm, white cheeses such as Oaxaca, and mozzarella. As tempting as it might be to experience it with, say, some authentic parmesan, you'll need a cheese that will properly melt and not simply flake off and clump at the bottom of your cup. Furthermore, choosing a cheese with too much bold flavor would be a disservice to the chocolate. You'll want to balance the sweet and the savory, and not let one overpower the other.

Much like any successful marriage, a perfect cup of hot chocolate and cheese has a generous balance of give-and-take. And, speaking of marriage, once you've tasted Colombian hot chocolate, you'll surely be answering "I do" to the question: "Would you like seconds?"

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