What a week to be talking chocolate with Easter just round the corner! This year will be another, different sort of Easter holiday but already thinking about the chocolate and there is certainly no end of choice available.
There are not many foods that people feel so passionate about as chocolate. Just thinking about chocolate, can produce a pleasurable response in certain individuals. We have discussed before, in previous blogs, the benefits of chocolate. The dictionary definition of a chocoholic is a person who craves chocolate choc(olate) + (alc)oholic.Many would agree that the name Theobroma cacao, the name Linnaeus gave to chocolate meaning ‘food of the gods” could not be more appropriate.
There is a feeling of well being that accompanies the consumption of chocolate and it has been considered an aphrodisiac since it was first introduced to us by the Aztecs. Using chocolate combined with herbs and spices that have been known for their aphrodisiac properties-to excite our tastebuds and increase our sensory pleasure.
I was lucky enough to speak with Aneesh Popat (The Chocolatier) and have a virtual tour round his chocolate factory as he prepares for one of his busiest times of year. Aneesh Popat is an award-winning chocolatier and an ambassador of fine chocolate. His clientele includes royalty, Michelin starred restaurants, luxury hotels, department stores and leading global brands. The Chocolatier maintains wellbeing as a core value creating handmade indulgent chocolates with a selection of the finest single origin cacao in the world, using natural ingredients without any cream or butter. His scientific background and passion for fine chocolate has led him to become renowned for his unique and experimental flavour combinations.
The Chocolatier mission is to ‘change the world one chocolate at a time’. Every chocolate expertly made and savoured, makes a positive difference by contributing to the education and materials for children in India. The Chocolatier also focuses on carefully sourcing ethical cacao from plantations to support the conservation of nature and wildlife.
Aneesh believes that the next flavour trend in chocolate is the revival of spices. We have seen lots of salted caramel and tropical flavours but Aneesh is excited about spices making a comeback! "Some of my favourites are pineapple with cardamom and raspberry with star anise. Using spices to season rather than just salt, brings a completely new flavour dimension to the chocolate!"
As far as combining spices with chocolate, they can be ground fine and added to the chocolate. Spices are so intense with essential oils that they should be used in small amounts-more of a hint or suggestion-you don’t want them to dominate the chocolate. Whole or crushed seeds, sticks of cinnamon, ginger root, mace blades, and vanilla beans can be used in cream or milk infusions and syrups, and then strained out.
Herbs that partner with chocolate:
Basil-Anise, Cinnamon, and Genoa green
Mints-Orange mint, peppermint, and spearmint
Scented geraniums-rose, coconut, mint, nutmeg, and orange
Spices that partner with chocolate:
Candied edible flowers that partner with chocolate:
As we have all been locked away for so many months, so many foodies ’working away’ on their latest creation. Not only in the chocolate industry but we can’t wait to see all the new flavours, products and food trends that will emerge…
Visit Aneesh Popat's website here: https://www.the-chocolatier.co.uk