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TASTING NOTES, ORANGE SEASON CHOCOLATE TASTING BOX #16
MILK-&-DARK

 

 

When the days are short and dark and Spring is not quite around the corner, oranges bring joyous rays of sunshine.

They are in season in the northern hemisphere from December until late spring, although you have to be pretty speedy to catch some varieties, Seville oranges are gone by mid-February, almost as soon as they arrive.

This is the time to get sticky making marmalade (mine is super dark and treacly), to treat your friends with fragrant Blood Orange Panna Cottas, or to conjure up the Mediterranean with Orange and Almond cake. Too busy? Can’t face wiping stickiness off every surface? Don’t despair! You can simply eat some of my January Magnificent Creations.

When the days are short and dark and Spring is not quite around the corner, oranges bring joyous rays of sunshine.

They are in season in the northern hemisphere from December until late spring, although you have to be pretty speedy to catch some varieties, Seville oranges are gone by mid-February, almost as soon as they arrive.

This is the time to get sticky making marmalade (mine is super dark and treacly), to treat your friends with fragrant Blood Orange Panna Cottas, or to conjure up the Mediterranean with Orange and Almond cake. Too busy? Can’t face wiping stickiness off every surface? Don’t despair! You can simply eat some of my January Magnificent Creations.

TASTING NOTES

One New Year’s resolution could have been to suck not chomp your chocolate! Easier said than done! I’m a chomper and always have been. What I would seriously suggest though, is that you make sure to eat your chocolate at room temperature. That way, when you put it in your mouth and breathe, the chocolate starts to melt and unfold its layers of flavour straight away.

Both Chulucanas 70 and Sambirano 71 are on the fruity side of the flavour spectrum, but taste really quite different. Concentrate hard when you are eating the Sambirano… what flavour notes do you pick up? My summer fruits description is purposely very broad. It captures the spirit of the chocolate, bright, bold, and full of sunshine. It’s astonishing to think that a chocolate can have all these juicy, citrusy notes quite naturally. Fine cacaos are wonderful things.

I’d go next to the Pistachio Date, made with 100% Rio Maranon cacao, without using any sugar. It gets all its sweetness from the fruit and nuts. Try it next to Almendra, which is made with a 70% Sur del Lago chocolate. In essence both are nutty bars, but one is sweetened with dates and the other with raw cane sugar. Whichever you use it is a matter of getting the right balance. Too much sugar and you mask the other flavours, too little and you don’t evoke them.

Ginger Lime comes next. It is  made with the same Baracoa beans that I use to make all my chocolates containing citrus. Imagine yourself in the kitchen, some ingredients go together and some don’t. That’s the beauty of making chocolates with fine cacaos with distinct flavour profiles…pairing them with other ingredients.

Milk of the Gods is a classic, but take an extra moment to enjoy Passion Fruit. This is one of the last few bars, and as you can see we have run out of its original box. We used to get passion fruit juice specially freeze dried, as all commercially available ones contained maltodextrin. Sadly this is no longer possible, but we will keep looking.

Matcha is equally special, made with a ceremonial grade drinking matcha - not something you often find used as an ingredient! I chose it in an epic tasting with the tea master who grows it in Uji near Kyoto. Having tasted the best, I could not bear to use anything less. This is an emerald green jewel of a chocolate. 

 

MAGNIFICENT CREATIONS

Meet my chocolate rays of sunshine…

Oranges & Lemons. Baracoa 65 dark chocolate with oranges and lemons

The exquisite honey notes of these Cuban beans were simply born to be with citrus. As the chocolate melts the flavours roll from one to another like the notes in a song.

 

Blood Orange Crème. White chocolate with blood orange.

One of my favourite winter desserts is a Blood Orange Panna Cotta. It is a ray of fragrant brightness in the short, dark days. Here it is in chocolate form. Pure pleasure.

January 2022

 

Published: 25/01/2022

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