Even in the food-and-drink mecca of Brooklyn, you’ll find very few experiences like the chocolate and beer pairing at Nunu Chocolates Cafe & Tap Room. Eat their heavenly chocolates paired with New York’s finest craft brews, and you may shed tears of joy at how your two favorite flavors meld together in such perfect harmony.
The second location of chocolatiers Andy Laird and Justine Pringle, Park Slope’s warmly lit Nunu Chocolates rocks the laid-back asthetic. Walls and tables are crafted from recycled packaging pallets, while artwork from Laird’s family and neighbors hangs around the shop. Peer behind a counter full of luscious bars, brownies, and barks, and you see chocolatiers hand-dipping caramels.
All that stuff looks amazing on its own, but you and your date want the full experience. Request the five-pairing menu at the counter, and a server brings you each a black slate platter with five glasses of brew, comprising an amber scale from blond to coffee; each one has a different whimsical chocolate before it, crafted from farm-sourced Colombian cocoa beans.
To get the most out of your tasting, take a lingering sip of the beer first, enjoying it on its own. Then take a nibble of the chocolate and do the same. Alternate sips and nibbles, and you find that new flavor notes emerge in both the beer and the chocolate, and then a heady and unexpected flavor fusion comes together from the combo. Laird recommends you start with the Leipziger gose from Germany, brewed with salt, pepper, and spices, to accentuate the savory notes of a chewy sea salted caramel. You and your date lapse into silence, savoring each bite, before you both launch into wholly inadequate attempts to describe the flavors to each other. But no matter, because it’s time for the next sample.
You move on to a wheat beer – Ballast Point Wahoo white, perhaps – with notes of citrus and banana. Paired with a cashew caramel, it creates a banana-nut-ice cream combo that’s totally raveworthy. Each of the five samples has a new, surprising twist to it, like the Barrier Nunu Bru — a special-made beer that brews Nunu Chocolates’ own cacao nibs in a hoppy amber from Barrier Brewing Co. Drink it with a bowl of cacao nibs on the side, and you introduce a lovely crunchy texture into the mix.
To finish off the tasting, you reach for the Short, Dark & Handsome stout from Other Half Brewing Co., and then try a butterfly-shaped chocolate filled with soft golden caramel. Paired with the beer, aromas of dark chocolate and caramel fill your nostrils, as silky caramel coats your tongue. Yes, it’s official: You saved the best chocolate and beer pairing for last.