TIPS AND HINTS FROM CHEFS
Whatever the manner used, in a bain-marie, oven, microwave, or in a pan, chocolate should never be overheated when it is melted. Remember that the melting temperature of cocoa butter is around 30°C. By heating chocolate too much, you greatly disrupt its structure, even if it is not obvious to the naked eye. Make sure that the container in which you melt is perfectly dry.
Adding ingredients to melted chocolate
Always start by adding butter or cream and only then egg yolks, when necessary. Remember that chocolate is an emulsion and as such, it is very sensitive to water (even that contained in egg yolk) which can make the chocolate “compact” into an unusable tight ball.
Stirring in egg whites beaten into a foam
Always minimise mixing time: The more you mix the preparation to incorporate the whites, the more they let out their micro-bubbles into the chocolate.
Using chocolate that is very finely grated, crushed or chopped accelerates the melting process and reduces the risk of lumps.
Cooling chocolate cake
Take it out of its mould while still hot to allow the water vapour to escape without softening the cake.
Using bitter cocoa
Always take the time to sift cocoa through a fine strainer because it tends to settle and agglomerate into small lumps during storage.
RULES FOR CHOCOLATE STORAGE
Bars and Blocks
Chocolate does not like temperature changes, heat, extreme cold, light or moisture. Knowing this, find the ideal place for it in your home. Well preserved, it is does not spoil and can be kept for many months. Once opened, wrap well in foil and store in an airtight container.
Rich in fatty matter, mousses are cursed with absorbing the flavours and smells around them. Once prepared, cover them tightly with plastic wrap so that they are not in contact with the outside.
As for mousse, keep truffles in an airtight container to prevent them from absorbing surrounding flavours.
To better preserve a cake, never let it cool in its mould. Instead, remove it from the mould once cooking has finished and cool on a wire rack. When cooled, cover tightly with foil and plastic wrap.
Bitter cocoa powders are very sensitive to changes in humidity. As they are very dry, they cant rap humidity and form into lumps. Place the cocoa pack in an airtight container and store away from sources of moisture. [/toggle]
[toggle title=”SOME CHOCOLATY COMBINATIONS”]
Who said chocolate doesn’t go with anything? In terms of flavour, with the advent of aromatised and spiced chocolate, novel and more refined flavour combinations are emerging. Coffee, wine – chocolate has found some worthy partners. In cocktails or savoury dishes, chocolate is now found at all the right tables, where it continues to delight modern palates.
Coffee and chocolate
A sacred union
Biting into coffee beans while sipping hot chocolate, enjoying a piece of chocolate with your steaming hot coffee .. A splash of strong coffee in your chocolate mousse.. A few drops of coffee liqueur in a chocolate cream pie.. A traditional coffee-flavoured tiramisu powdered with cocoa.. In desserts, these sister flavours, with their seeds and pods in matching colours, have been united for a long time.
Chocolate or coffee? Coffee or chocolate? Both are prepared, melted and combined in a subtle blend of flavours. Actually, coffee and chocolate have a similar history and botanical make-up. There is no better way to speak of the association of coffee and chocolate than to evoke the care afforded to their respective preparations.
In sub-tropical climates, appropriate fermentation and special drying processes are vital. This is followed by very careful selection of the rarest grains and a slow roasting process that provides the ultimate touch and reveals the depth, quality and finesse of the aromas. The wonderful aromatic combination of chocolate and coffee can be found naturally in some vintages.
How wonderful to discover a hint of chocolate aroma in the woody notes of Indonesia’s Java, in the gentle aroma of a fine Yrgacheffe of Ethiopia, in the magnificent fragrances of Papua New Guinean Tagari? Bite into a chocolate and the cocoa fragrance, discerned over the dried fruit of Brazilian Mogiana or Sul do Minas, will be revealed in all its glory!
Wine and chocolate
The secrets of a complicated relationship
Many think that the combination of wine and chocolate is impossible, or is limited to port wine. Indeed, with age, the flavours of port transform and take notes of prunes and raisins, as well as cocoa, coffee and the aroma of roasting. This type of fortified or dessert wine would naturally attract the chocolate lover. But in France, for example, there are naturally sweet wines, similar to port, such as the Maury, which comes from the grenache vintage and is aged in glass cylinders.
And there is of course the Maydie, a Tannat wine developed from the liqueur of the Aydie estate in the Madiran territory of the south-west. In general, choose mature wines that contain roasting aromas: for example, the Maury, aged for 20 years, aged Banyuls (20-30 years) or aged Rivesaltes. Some chocolates also marry perfectly with certain wines. Indeed, the proliferation of chocolates flavoured with fresh fruits, herbs and spices has encouraged the creation of several new wine-chocolate combinations. A dark chocolate with candied ginger may, for example, go very well with an ice wine, while a dark chocolate with a little orange is the perfect accompaniment to an Italian raisin Muscat. Dark chocolate rich in cocoa (70%) will balance perfectly with an excellent Spanish Pedro Ximenez.
For those who prefer caramel chocolate, the addition of an aged, slightly caramelised Madeira could result in the perfect union. To fully appreciate the alliance of wine and chocolate, use wine glasses designed specifically for wines like Muscat, Pedro Ximenez or Ice wine.
partner in crime
Dark chocolate liqueur, white or dark crème de cacao, chocolate ice-cream, chocolate chips, and even chocolate powder – all delicious ingredients to shake-up an original cocktail! Playing with its creaminess, aroma, colour and unique taste, bartenders, the inventors of cocktail recipes, blend chocolate into countless recipes for vodka-, whiskey-, coffee liqueur- or rum-based cocktails.
The most popular cocktail is the “Alexander” and its many variations. This cocktail was invented in 1910 in New York and was described for the first time in Hugo Ensslin’s book of recipes in 1915: gin, white crème de cacao and cream. Many books about cocktails tell elaborate stories about the origins of the “Alexander,” but the truth is that the creator, the place and the context remain a mystery … The “Brandy Alexander,” meanwhile, has become very popular since its invention 28 February 1922 in London, at the wedding of Princess Victoria Alexandra Alice Mary and Earl Henry George Charles Lascelles. Based on the “Alexander”, gin is replaced by Cognac and dark crème de cacao brown replaces its white counterpart.
The recipe became very popular in underground bars during prohibition. Later, in 1950, three authors of several books on cocktails renamed the Brandy Alexander just Alexandra, in a tribute to the princess whose wedding gave rise to the cocktail. The Alexandra- Cognac, dark crème de cacao and cream, was the favourite drink of John Lennon, Ringo Starr and Harry Nilsson. John Lennon drank it like a milkshake …
For the Amaretto Alexander, amaretto, cream and chocolate melted in hot milk were shaken, not stirred! Chocolate punch combined whipped cream, coffee liqueur, sugar, instant coffee and chocolate powder with an exotic touch of cinnamon.
A gourmet alliance
The combination of chocolate in savoury dishes is a sumptuous example of French palates starting to appreciate sweet and savoury combinations.
However, this tendency is not new in French gastronomy. For a long time, chefs have added chocolate to their savoury dishes. For example, a square of chocolate added to Grand Veneur game sauce gives it a silky feel, whereas coq au vin with a few squares of chocolate added at the very end becomes smoother and richer. It’s the little secret of the Cordons Bleus.
Constantly looking for new and exotic flavours, French chefs have introduced cocoa as the new spice to season meats, poultry, seafood and cheeses…
GOURMET SELECTION OF CHOCOLATE-BASED ALCOHOLIC COCKTAILS
Enjoy responsibly- alcohol abuse is dangerous for health.
- Chocolate Soldier: Crème de cacao liqueur, dry vermouth, orange bitters and brandy.
- Abyssinia : Dark crème de cacao, cognac, grapefruit juice.
- Klimt Special: Champagne, Dark Crème de cacao, rum, vodka, Angostura bitters.
- Chocolate Flip: Crème de cacao liqueur, port, egg yolk, sugar and cinnamon.
- ASAP: White crème de cacao, mandarin vodka, whipped dairy cream.
- Deaf Knees: Chocolate cream, Grand Marnier, crème de menthe.
- Chocolate Vice: Dark rum, whiskey (bourbon), Dark crème de cacao, chocolate milk, whipped cream.
- Chocolate Monk: Kahlua (coffee liqueur), Bailey’s Irish Cream (cream of whiskey), Frangelico (hazelnut liqueur).
- Absolute Trappy Tea: Dark crème de cacao, mandarin vodka, tea, lemon juice.
- Ninja: Dark crème de cacao, Frangelico, Midori (melon liqueur).
- Chocolate Martini: Dark chocolate liqueur, dark crème de cacao, vodka, light cream.
- Milky Way Martini: Dark chocolate liqueur, Baileys Irish Cream, vanilla vodka.
- Little Pampering: White chocolate liqueur, gin, amaretto, cherry cream.
- Dirty Banana: Dark rum, bourbon, dark crème de cacao, chocolate milk and whipped cream.
- German Chocolate Cake: Malibu, white crème de cacao, Frangelico, light dairy cream.
- Red Lady: White chocolate liqueur, strawberry liqueur, brandy, condensed milk.
- Golden Cadillac: White crème de cacao, Galliano (vanilla liqueur), light dairy cream.
CHOCOLATE AND HEALTH
An invigorating and stimulating natural anti-depressant Without doubt, chocolate is a pleasure food. A 100-gram block of chocolate contains around 500 calories. Chocolate contains three types of organic materials – carbohydrates, lipids and proteins – as well as several minerals: potassium, magnesium and phosphorus in large quantities, calcium, iron and sodium in small quantities. In addition to the many vitamins it contains (A1, B1, B2 …), the analysis of a chocolate bar reveals the presence of several substances with tonic, stimulant, and anti-depressant properties:
- Theobromine, which stimulates the nervous system and facilitates muscular exertion
- Caffeine, which increases resistance to fatigue
- Phenylethylamine, which exhibits psychostimulant properties,
- Serotonin, which can compensate the loss of certain nerve cells in depression
The percentage of protein remains relatively constant regardless of the variety of chocolate (between 7 and 10%). By contrast, the proportions of carbohydrate and fat change depending on chocolate type. A chocolate bar contains more carbohydrate than melting chocolate (64% versus 52%) and, conversely, less fat (24% versus 38%). Among all the food we consume, chocolate is also the richest in polyphenols. The levels are 500 and 840 mg/100 g in milk and dark chocolate respectively. About 13% of polyphenols in our diet come from chocolate. Many researchers now believe that polyphenols have beneficial effects on health by reducing the oxidative stress that our tissues are constantly subjected to, thereby reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer and other chronic diseases.
Chocolate is not more fattening than other foods: in reality, it depends on what you eat before and after. Its consumption must be a part of an overall balanced diet. A few sweets or a few squares of chocolate may integrate very well into our daily diet, without consequences on our body weight. However, an excessive consumption can of course lead to weight gain. Indeed, although cocoa itself is not very high in calories, it is the cocoa butter and sugar that contribute to chocolate’s caloric value.
It is a false belief that the chocolate has an impact on cholesterol. Cocoa, without milk, does not contain cholesterol. In addition, it has been proven that “its fat lowers total cholesterol blood and increases the good cholesterol that protects the arteries”.
Chocolate does not cause spots or blemishes. Acne is not particularly influenced by diet.
Chocolate does not cause cavities. Indeed it is the contrary, provided it is not too sweet: the tannins, fluoride and phosphate chocolate contains protects teeth. [/tab]