Our latest pairing endeavor started when we took a recent tour of Sequoia Sake’s small microbrewery at the edge of San Francisco. We realized pretty quickly that there were many parallels between Sequoia Sake and Dandelion Chocolate, and the idea came to us in a flash: let’s do a pairing!
The most obvious similarity between the bean-to-bar process and Sequoia’s sake is the fermentation step, which is a key flavor developer in both products. Secondly, we both take a minimalist approach to our ingredients: Sequoia’s sake is Junmai, meaning it only uses water, rice, koji, and yeast, and Dandelion’s chocolate has only two ingredients: beans and sugar. Finally, Sequoia’s thoughtful choices at each step of the process were focused on creating the highest quality product rather than taking shortcuts, which reminds me of the way we sometimes do things the hard way to keep our product’s integrity and improve quality.
At first, when I asked some friends to taste the sake and chocolate together, they agreed because they liked one or the other but none of them thought the tastes would mix well. Surprising ourselves, we soon found that both products had layers of complexity that made it hard for us all to agree on our favorite combinations because they were all so interesting. It was really fascinating to see how pairing Dandelion’s Madagascar chocolate with Sequoia’s Genshu sake brought out the more vegetal notes that would usually be overshadowed by Madagascar’s strong, tart, fruity notes. But when paired with the more subtle Nama sake, it brought out elegant fruity and floral notes from Madagascar’s flavor range. Neither was a bad pairing, but each allowed us to more clearly taste notes that aren’t as evident when tasting the bar alone.
Inspired by all the parallels we found between our process and product and everything that Sequoia does, we decided to develop new class which will take place at Sequoia Sake’s Brewery starting Thursday May 26th at 6:30pm. Find tickets on our classes page, right here.
Our class will start with a tour of Sequoia Sake’s factory to explore sake processing, and then we’ll taste samples from various parts of the process along the way. We’ll end with a flight of Sequoia Sake, then move along to learning about chocolate production with tastes from different steps of that process, culminating with a chocolate flight. Finally, we’ll leave participants to pick and pair as they please, exploring the range of flavor possibilities inherent in bringing these two crafts together.