(THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - There is just something about rum and chocolate that makes them go perfectly together.
According to Mr Terence Thiang, The Rum Bar's restaurant and bar manager, rum and chocolate pairings are quite common, just like whisky and cigar pairings.
"Rum is made from sugarcane and most have a bit of caramel sweetness in them, with some spices as well. So, it pairs very well with chocolates, where the bitterness of the cocoa complements the rum," he said. "You can enjoy the rum while having the chocolate oils lingering on your palate. They just go well together."
With that in mind, The Rum Bar have engaged Diplomatico Rum and Malaysian artisanal chocolate makers Chocolate Concierge to come up with a pairing of Venezuelan rum and single origin chocolates, which will be available throughout the month of December. The pairing consists of four Diplomatico rums and three chocolates.
"These are all 65 per cent cacao single origin dark chocolates from Venezuela's Sur De Lago," Mr Thiang said. "But we have added some Malaysian flavours in there as well. There's mango in the first one, coconut in the second one and Malaysian honey in the third."
According to him, the chocolates are best enjoyed in two bites. This way, you get more flavours from the chocolate. The best way is to take a sip of the rum, then a bite of the chocolate and repeat.
Venezuelan rum, or ron de Venezuela, is one of only two rums in the world that has a denomination of origin classification (the other being rum from Martinique), meaning that any rum that wants to put "ron de Venezuela" on its label has to adhere to a strict criteria. To call itself a Venezuelan rum, the spirit has to be at least two years old and producers cannot apply the solera process or refill those barrels for two years.
Diplomatico Mantuano, paired with Mango Passion fruit Chocolate with a touch of Pepper
"Mantuano" means nobleman, which is in tribute to Diplomatico founder Don Juancho, whose picture is present on each of the Diplomatico rum bottles. Aged for up to eight years, Mantuano is a blend of Column, Batch Kettle and Pot Still rums and made from molasses and sugarcane honeys.
"We chose the mango and passion fruit flavours because these fruits have a bit of acidity that goes very well with the Mantuano," said Mr Thiang. "The chocolate is a bit salty and the passion fruit gives a bit of sourness. On the second bite after taking a sip of Mantuano, you'll get more of the fruity mango and passion fruit flavours coming through, then the pepper will come out at the back of the palate."
Diplomatico Planas, paired with Smoked Coconut Chocolate and Almond Cream
Don't let the clearness of this rum fool you. It may look like a white, unaged rum, but it contains rum that has been aged up to six years, then charcoal filtered up to six times, removing all the colour from the rum.
On the nose, it has a mellow coconut-y sweetness, which carries forward to the medium-bodied but oily palate, with hints of herbal grassiness balanced with coconut cream.
"For the first pairing, the evolution is more in the chocolate. But here, the evolution is in the rum. The richness of the rum comes out more and the floral notes of the Planas comes out more on the second sip," he said.
Diplomatico Exclusiva Reserva, paired with Honey and Caramel Chocolate with a touch of Sea Salt
Diplomatico's flagship rum, made almost entirely from sugarcane honey and comprising a blend of 80 per cent pot still rums is aged up to 12 years. It is a complex dark rum that is brilliant for sipping, with a lovely bouquet of aromas ranging from fruit cake to root beer. On the palate, it is similar to sweet raisins with lots of ripe banana notes.
"The vanilla notes and the local honey flavours will go well with the Exclusiva. The altiness in the chocolate helps to reduce the sweetness of the rum a little and bring out more of the barrel influences in the rum," he said. "This is a a richer pairing compared with the others because the honey and caramel lift up the chocolate more."
Diplomatico Single Vintage 2002
This is the third release of Diplomatico's single-vintage rum. From the 2002 harvest, this has been aged for around 12 years in bourbon and single malt whisky casks before being finished in sherry wood.
With a delicious nose of banana fruit cake and cinnamon spice and a palate that has rich, dark fruit and nuts, ripe bananas and Christmas fruit cake, this is a wonderful rum to end the flight with.
"We wanted to highlight the fact that it is a single vintage. It's something special to end the flight with," Mr Thiang said.
The Venezuelan rum and chocolate pairing flight costs RM88 (S$29).