Welcome to the Chocolats Passion blog. A few days away from the official start of this little adventure, forever in the making!
One of my earliest food-making memories was when I was 10 and standing at our kitchen stove in Clermont-Ferrand, France. My brother Bernard was at camp, in need of a home package, so I was cooking a dark caramel that would cover hazelnuts in a brittle/rock candy of sorts. It was a miracle he didn’t break his teeth on it, but to this day caramel and hazelnuts are among my favorite ingredients.
After I moved to the States at the age of 20, chocolate truffles became my offering of choice at Christmas time. But they had to be refrigerated or would gently deflate into little ovoids, and their shelf life was woefully brief. At its peak, and I was pretty proud of it, my holiday production was 600 truffles.
In 2009 I discovered tempering! And molds! That year I made 1600 chocolates of 8 different varieties. Greweling and Schotts became my gurus. By 2013 I was making 5000 chocolates between Thanksgiving and Christmas for gifts to clients, family and friends. I was on my way.
When two favorite clients wrote a rhapsodic two-page letter describing their tasting journey through my chocolates, with highly nuanced comments, I knew I needed them as tasters. And so I chose a little group that has been assessing several chocolates in need of tweaking, all in time for the 2014 Passion Collection debut.
Their task with the chocolates pictured above was to decide on the best 2014 version for the Pistachio, which I like to pair with a fruit. The 2013 production had pear in half, and mango in the other half. Opinions were so split, I decided to move to different fruit combos and test two this time:
- Pistachio with candied lemon and raspberry
- Pistachio with raspberry.
Pistachio is one of my favorite nuts, but it can be cloying. The acidity of the raspberry or lemon may be just what it needs to balance it out. My jury decided overwhelmingly on the raspberry with the candied lemon, and so it will be.