You probably know that even the strangest special-edition British Kit Kats have nothing on their ker-azy Japanese counterparts. That country has even cooked up a ‘Baked Potato’-flavoured bar; but now it’s presenting bars you can actually bake. A most pleasing prospect – you can see the results over on Chocolate Mission here. The notion of having the white chocolate one under the cheese on a pizza, however, does not fill me with joy…
I discovered the joys of baked white chocolate entirely by accident by burning a batch in the microwave. Having had this serendipitous culinary catastrophe leads me to speculate that perhaps some hapless Kit Kat employee did just the same with a two-finger bar on his break and found that it made a brilliant biscuit, too.
Baking white chocolate has become a bit of a ‘thing’ on t’internet, and commercially, Valhrona has capitalized on the trend with its ‘Dulcey’ – a blonde chocolate whose caramelised flavour is like a Caramac bar all grown up, dressed in its gladdest rags.
Paul A. Young’s also into that buttery burnt-sugar sweetness; and is currently bestowing his California Prune and pecan praline blondie upon the chocoholics of Central London. The fine flavour is sure to have you going back for more, but beware – regular consumption of the prune-packed treat will keep you just that.
The bright-red livery of Bournville may be a regular sight on sweetshop shelves in the UK, but over in India the brand has donned a killer ‘little black dress’- the wrappers going all dark and handsome. The chocolate has gone up in the world, you see; now positioned as premium, and upping its cocoa content along with its game from 44% to 50%. India is also upping its cocoa production – 16,000 metric tonnes for the year ending Sept 2014.
The number of chocolate brands available at Selfridges has also increased substantially, with the brand-new ‘Chocolate Library‘ comprising 400 bars – a heady mix of the surprising and the familiar. Neatly displayed in rows that beg you to bag one of everything, the carefully-curated collection is pick’n’mix for the plush of pocket. If yours are a little less well-lined, fear not – the dedicated ‘Chocolate Librarian’ will help you choose.
I’m biased, but seeing as I’m both a Cocoa Nut and The Spice Scribe, I’d have to choose something Indian-inspired from The Chocolatier (who has commanded prime position in the Chocolate Library with his top-shelf status), or perhaps Cocoa Hernando’s Pink diamond Himalayan salt or Masala chai chocolate.
The Chocolatier’s wares will also grace the London edition of the terrific travelling Chocolate Festival on April 11-13th . Aneesh will offer bars and more bounty besides; enrobed fruits and nuts, luxury drinking chocolate, and his legendary water ganaches. With up to half the calories of many dairy-based truffles and just as decadent, they’re any thinking Cocoa Nut’s choice.
This Cocoa Nut has been thinking about trends following a podcast from Flavour Horizons, revealing that ‘floral’ and ‘ethnic’ choc flavours will be big business. It’s easy to scoff at future forecasting, but with my dual consuming passions being Indian food and chocolate, this is one prediction I’m very happy to gobble up.
And the ‘Vishneaster Egg’, an ‘interreligious treat’ created by restaurateur Asad Khan of India Dining in Surrey, certainly fits the bill. The decadent dark chocolate ovoid mixes in mango, sea salt, and Indian spices to the shell. Crack into this egg and chocolate coins, auspicious items and scrolls featuring both Biblical verse and Vedic scriptures spill out – a cracking way to celebrate both Easter and the Hindu festival of Vishnu.
Meanwhile, South America’s guarana was cited as a hot new ingredient to get chocolate lovers all excited and hot under the collar. But surely it’s not so innovative? I, for one, clearly remember bouncing off the walls as a child after chomping a Boost bar; the retro treat packing a whack of energy with that very ingredient. And I can’t be the only one?
I may, however, be the only one who decided the premise of pork scratchings smashed, bashed, and set into dark chocolate was worth putting to the test. My scratchings-studded bar may not convince any Dragons to invest, but thus far it’s had a ‘Yes from me’ from everyone brave enough to bite in. The combo even inspired Food Urchin Danny Kingston to create a bacon-chocolate tart for the Godiva Challenge.
And lastly, something else every bit as earth-shaking emerged in the world of chocolate; the new information certain to challenge everything we thought we knew. Yes, it was of course the terrible revelation that we’d been eating choc digestives wrongly since time immemorial.
Clearly we are a nation of deviants. Do let me know if the news has changed your life (or at least, your daily break-time cuppa)…
And whilst you ruminate, click here for some excellent responses from the good biscuit-eaters of Manchester.