Back in November, I was browsing through David Lebovitz’s blog & stumbled upon a recipe for Milk Chocolate & Black Pepper ice cream that he swore would make sense on your taste buds, even if the initial thought of pairing the two sounded a bit odd. I was intrigued, so on a walk-by of Heather’s Heat & Flavor during Thanksgiving in Cleveland, I stuck my nose into no less than eight jars of peppercorns, trying to sniff out which one could possibly have undetectable chocolate notes to complement chocolate ice cream.
Failing this, I asked advice of the shop’s proprietors, & although they thought I was more than a little crazy to even consider peppering chocolate, they happily sold me three different kinds of pepper, in addition to two different kinds of cinnamon & one pouch of cocoa (you can never have too much cinnamon or cocoa, really).
I smuggled the drugs through airport security, no problem, & recently found myself back at my stovetop in Boston with a saucepan-full of hot & beautiful chocolate custard & freshly ground Grains of Paradise pepper in a small bowl, which I almost couldn’t bear to toss in. Even as I gave the grinds a final sniff, revealing an earthy scent & a mellow but present zing, I was hesitant. But never fear. Even if this combo originated from a clumsy cook elbowing a jar of pepper into chocolate, the result was a very happy accident. You’ll love it.