With Easter fast approaching, the supermarket shelves are piled high with chocolate eggs of all shapes and sizes. One of the different eggs I have already spotted this year and that has stood out from the usual Cadburys, Lindt, Kinder, Ferrero Rocher, and bags of mini eggs offered are the Waitrose Chocolate Avocado. Exclusive to Waitrose the dark shell and ‘stone’ are made with 70% cocoa Belgian chocolate, while the white chocolate middle uses natural colouring to imitate the green flesh of the fruit. They are on sale for £8 each and I would like to try, don’t worry they contain no avocado!
Now going back to chocolate as you know I went through a massive learning curve a couple of years ago when Discover Cacao took me through my chocolate journey. Until then I didn’t really understand the complex process of making chocolate and what all the difference in cocoa content was about. I learnt how to taste chocolate properly and I will say its a real art, and similar to wine tasting and wrote various articles explaining the experience. Click here for my beginners guide. “Like fine wine, the taste of cocoa changes from region to region. In wine, this is known as the ‘terroir’. While there is no term for this in chocolate, we are starting to see the origins of chocolate bars written on packaging, helping us to better understand the complex, intriguing and interesting flavours that each region has to offer. As a chocolatier, and for you as a chocolate lover, this is where it gets exciting, because like tasting wine, when you select chocolate properly you discover all its different tastes, experiences and feelings”. Will Torrent from his book Chocolate at Home.
I enjoy making my own chocolate and have experimented a few times, sometimes more successful than others. This is a fun kit if you have time to experiment in your own kitchen, actually a great gift for Easter. Click here for more information about the Pachanka Chocolate Craft Kit.
I have met some fantastic English chocolatiers and learnt and sampled their products, its changed my whole opinion about ‘good’ chocolate and what I bought last Easter and will continue to buy this year for my family. This year Discover Cacao based just local in Godstone, are running their annual Chocolate fairs one at St. Mary’s Hall in Oxted
As my experience and interest has grown people have asked me what is raw chocolate? I have had to ask the same question so I thought I would explain…. the short answer the beans are not roasted before making raw chocolate!
Making chocolate is complicated. Cacao beans have to be picked before being fermented, roasted, ground down, pressed, mixed with fat and sugar and turned into bars and other sweets.
Several companies in Europe, the US and Asia have decided to alter one of the processes and no longer roast the beans. They insist that growers in Africa and South America leave them outdoors to dry naturally instead. The resulting product is called “raw” chocolate.
Manufacturers claim that avoiding exposure to oven temperatures allows the preservation of nutrients such as iron, zinc, magnesium, copper and vitamin C, in a similar way to uncooked vegetables. It’s also claimed that uncooked cacao contains higher levels of antioxidants than the roasted variety used in most chocolate.
So making my own raw chocolate has been my next challenge and with the snow coming down this weekend (in March) it could be the best time to have a go!