It all started with a chocolate grilled cheese sandwich, complete with gooey white cheddar cheese, rich dark chocolate and crisp, caramelized bread.
No, I wasn’t dining at a café. I devoured this salty-sweet indulgence in the middle of my kitchen on a Friday night—just moments after I stumbled upon a promo for the chocolate-themed Puerto Rican restaurant, Chocobar Cortes. As it turns out, the eatery is best known for their mouth-watering chocolate grilled cheese. So naturally, as a bonafide chocolate enthusiast, I just had to try my own rendition of this popular treat.
Within minutes, I’d demolished the sandwich, but as I enjoyed my final bite, I thought: What if I experimented with other savory recipes by including a bit of chocolate? Could this work with, say, mac and cheese? Or bacon strips?
After three months of experimentation, I came up with four tasty recipes, proving that salty and sweet are indeed the best combo when it comes to chocolate. As for why they work so well together, Top Chef alum Malika Ameen, who's an expert at pairing sweets with savory foods, said it's because the salt “minimizes sweetness” and “sharpens flavors,” while the sugar balances it out.
She told Eater, “Salt is a flavor enhancer, and when it’s correctly combined with something sweet, it creates flavor layering.”
So, if you’re partial to salty-sweet pairings that involve all kinds of chocolate, keep reading to get the best of both worlds, from chocolate-covered bacon strips to Cheez-It pretzel bark.