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The Ultimate Guide to Eating Chocolate!

Study every little thing you want to find out about chocolate to have the most effective eating expertise. Find out how chocolate is made, how to determine good high quality chocolate, recommendations on tasting chocolate (like wine!) and get some delicious flavour pairing concepts too!

Adorable Easter Chocolates made by David Chow in Toronto | InSearchOfYummyness.comEasily probably the most cute Easter goodies that I’ve ever seen. I would like that purple egg!

Editor’s Notice: Should you’re a chocolate lover, I feel you’re really going to take pleasure in this text by Pastry Chef and Chocolatier, David Chow. You may keep in mind him from the All The Greatest event that I wrote about a number of years ago.

David’s passion for chocolate might be seen in each facet of his work, from his hand-dipped candy bars to his playful season creations (just take a look at these Easter treats!).

David H. Chow, Pastry Chef and Chocolatier, shares his best tips for selecting, storing and tasting chocolate. You won't believe what flavour combinations he enjoys!

Whether or not it’s a hidden candy stash tucked away in your cubicle desk, or the jewel-like haute couture bonbons from chocolatiers in France and Belgium, chocolate enjoys a universal attraction that only a few other meals have achieved.

Crossing all cultural, geographic and financial boundaries, chocolate is what we grab for that candy pick-me-up – regardless of the time of day.

Listed here are my ideas for selecting, storing and (in fact) tasting chocolate. It’s a troublesome job however somebody’s received to do it!

Sweet confections made by David Chow in Toronto | InSearchOfYummyness.comOnly a tiny sampling of the treats that David could make.

How to Select Good Quality Chocolate

It’s best to attempt chocolate plain and unadorned to have the ability to style the differences in not just their cacao percentages and terroir but in addition how they soften in your tongue and coat your mouth. Nuts, fruits and spices are superb for flavour and texture however can get in the best way of the pure style of chocolate.

The proportion printed on the packaging truly refers to the share of cocoa solids (cocoa powder, cocoa butter, chocolate liquor, nibs…) which are in the bar. As an example whenever you buy a 75% darkish chocolate bar, it signifies that 75% of that bar by weight has been derived from the cacao bean and the rest of the 25% is usually sugar with some emulsifiers and vanilla thrown in if they’re used (plus milk if it’s not a darkish chocolate bar).

This is necessary since in US (the place plenty of our chocolate is manufactured) cacao solids solely want to make up 10% for it to be labeled chocolate. Just think about what makes up the other 90%!

David H. Chow chocolate | This chocolate has freeze-dried mango, ginger and lime in it!

Attempt to avoid generic chocolate chips when conducting a tasting, as they are truly designed and manufactured in order that they hold their shape when baked like in chocolate chip cookies. Most of the time a portion of the cacao butter in these goodies is changed with less expensive hydrogenated fat.

Good-Quality Chocolate Isn’t Arduous to Find

Many grocery shops these days carry a large number of chocolate from totally different brands. Just attempt to purchase chocolate bars from a retailer that you understand rotates their stock typically!

My favorite sort of tasting is a dark chocolate tasting where I buy all the same proportion dark chocolate bars (say 70%) from totally different corporations and examine the subtleties of their flavour and texture. The bars all include pretty much the identical elements, however their variance in flavour is usually astounding.

This is able to be comparable to tasting 5 Chardonnays or Cabernet Sauvignons side-by-side. The grape and ensuing juice is strictly the same but the place the grape is grown and how it’s handled, processed and aged afterwards will end in drastically totally different wines!

You need to begin with lower proportion goodies first and move your approach up since a few of the high proportion goodies may have a flavour that can be overpowering.

Dragee process to make David Chow's hazelnuts | InSearchOfYummyness.comDavid provides us a glimpse at the process involved in making these hazelnut treats.

Rules for Tasting Chocolate

These steps will provide help to benefit from the strategy of tasting chocolate, whether you’re enjoying a sq. alone or throwing a tasting get together in your pals!

  1. Take a look at the chocolate

    Since well-made and tempered bars shall be shiny and shiny and could have an audible snap when broken. The look of a delicate white layer indicates fat or sugar bloom means the chocolate was both saved of tempered improperly. Do not worry, because the chocolate continues to be utterly edible! Even the color variation in chocolate is superb from deep purple to virtually pitch black in darkish goodies.

  1. Odor the chocolate

    Take in the array of various aromas, and check out to single out any specific ones like purple berries or nutty notes. Should you detect a burnt aroma (like in sure coffees) it in all probability means the beans have been over-roasted in order to disguise the presence of lower quality beans.

  1. Let it sit on the tongue

    Don’t chew! The fat in chocolate, the cacao butter that is rock strong at room temperature, melts precisely at body temperature. Let the cacao butter utterly soften and coat your whole tongue and mouth. The chocolate ought to have silky clean texture.

    Please observe that some small batch artisanal bars might have a barely grittier texture, because it takes large industrial conching equipment to grind the chocolate into tiny particles.

    When you discover that the soften and texture is type of waxy it might indicate a substitution of fat in a decrease high quality chocolate. What new flavours have arisen? Toasty or floral? Is the feel or dense?

  1. Breathe deeply while the chocolate melts

    Odor has a huge effect on taste. Word how the style of the chocolate totally different from beginning to the center to the top.

  1. Swallow

    Word the aftertaste. Does it linger on the palate or does the style disappear instantly. I find that I really like consuming chocolate with an enduring aftertaste as I only need to eat a bit of bit to hold the flavour happening and on.

  1. Refresh

    It’s necessary to refresh your palate by consuming water (unflavoured glowing is greatest) before reaching for the subsequent piece! Even a wedge of apple or piece of plain bread will do.

Making Chocolate with David Chow in Toronto | InSearchOfYummyness.comDavid enjoys using freeze-dried fruits in his candies!

My Favorite Flavour Combos and Pairings

Be happy to experiment together with your meals and beverage pairings with chocolate. When having company over lay out an assortment of goodies together with your cheese board at the finish of the meal. By mixing and matching with the various nuts, preserves, and dried and recent fruit to see what works and what doesn’t.

Dark chocolate:

My favorite sort of chocolate to eat straight up. I really like a very good high quality additional bitter (no less than 65%) darkish chocolate with a single malt whiskey or zinfandel.  I additionally throw in a handful of that additional bitter darkish chocolate into the pot when making basic chili. You gained’t truly taste the chocolate however it adds a lovely depth and earthy richness to the stew! Chocolate is definitely very versatile in both sweet and savoury cooking. Don’t restrict your self to utilizing it in simply desserts!

Milk chocolate:

I really like a milk chocolate bark studded with sesame brittle paired with a genmaicha (green tea with roasted brown rice). Even with out the sesame brittle, the milky creaminess of the milk chocolate plays towards the tannic astringency in the tea with the roasted nutty notes tying the two together. The green tea and milk chocolate combo is for my part comparable to how pickled ginger refreshes your palate between bites of sushi! Makes you need to go back for extra!

White chocolate:

I really like a creamy square of (not too sweet) white chocolate studded with dried black olives. Candy, salty and funky at its greatest! Sounds bizarre but an awesome combo. For those who’re not a fan of white chocolate like many individuals I know there are lots of brands at present that have decreased the sugar and increased the milk contents of their proprietary blends so the final bars are very totally different from the sickeningly sweet chocolate you had if you have been youthful. Give it a attempt to you’ll be stunned especially when paired with a espresso porter or stout that has deep chocolatey notes!

Not all the pairings will probably be a hit and some will in all probability be downright dreadful! Nevertheless a few of my favorite pairings at first seemed initially downright unusual to me like white chocolate and caviar or bitter dark chocolate with blue cheese and port. Experiment and have enjoyable!

Lastly, please don’t overlook that like with tea, espresso, beer or wine, a better worth doesn’t vital mean a better quality product.

As properly, at the finish of the day simply eat what you take pleasure in as each individual’s palate is totally different. Plus everybody will perk up on the mention of a “chocolate tasting party”! So go forward and decide up that bar…. your style buds (and brain and heart) will thanks!

Hazelnut Caramel Bar | David Chow David’s Hazelnut Caramel Bar

Bonus: How to Retailer Chocolate

Whereas chocolate does have an extended shelf life, you must all the time attempt to take pleasure in it when it’s most recent! Listed here are some ideas to enable you to hold your chocolate at its greatest till you’re prepared to take pleasure in it.

  • Store chocolate at room temperature in a place with low humidity and away from direct daylight.
  • Be sure that to verify the expiration date! Chocolate is shelf-stable, if correctly saved, however the brisker the chocolate is the better it’s going to style.
  • Strong dark chocolate bars have a shelf lifetime of a few yr, while strong milk and white candies bars will keep recent for about 6 months. If the chocolate bar incorporates nuts, or fillings containing cream or butter, they will go rancid in a short time.
  • Freshly made chocolate bonbons and truffles often have a shelf life of two weeks, at most!
  • As with all of your foodstuffs, please all the time ask the chocolate maker how you need to retailer his/her product, and skim the ingredient label.
  • Attempt your best possible not retailer chocolate bars within the fridge or freezer as it is going to degrade its flavour and texture. As nicely there’s a excessive danger of the chocolate will take up unwanted odours and condensation.

David's Chocolates and Buckwheat Honeycomb Toffee | InSearchOfYummyness.comDavid’s Candies and Buckwheat Honeycomb Toffee

Where Does Chocolate Come From?

Right here comes the engineer in me…

The chocolate plant’s genus, theobroma cacao, actually means meals of the gods, which is a becoming identify considering that chocolate is sought out, worshipped and devoured around the globe.

First celebrated all through Mexico and South America, the plant at this time is grown principally in tropical climates close to the equator. The cocoa bean goes by means of a mess of steps earlier than it is reworked into the chocolate you’re conversant in.

The beans themselves are the seeds of the gorgeous brightly coloured fruit, which are extracted and fermented along with the white pulp for several days. The beans are sun-dried and then packed to be shipped off for processing.

These are the identical beans which might be further cracked open to remove the inside nib portion, which is then roasted to convey out its characteristic flavours and aromas that started to develop during fermentation (comparable to how inexperienced espresso beans are made palatable and develop their coffee flavour by roasting).

David-Chow-Fine-Gold-BarsDavid’s High quality Gold chocolate bars

How is Chocolate Made?

The roasted cocoa nibs are then pulverized remove a papery skin and floor up. Via the appliance of continual friction and warmth it becomes a thick dark brown liquid often known as cacao liquor or paste. The paste can then be subjected to extreme strain that extracts liquid cacao butter while abandoning a strong block of compressed cocoa (referred to as a presscake) that’s additional pulverized to make cacao powder!

Lower quality chocolate is actually made by combining the presscake with vegetable fats which are much cheaper than the super expensive cacao butter.

To make the chocolate bars that we know and love on retailer shelves the totally different parts made through the process are recombined and normally:

  • dark chocolate = cacao liquor + additional cacao butter + sugar
  • milk chocolate = cacao liquor + additional cacao butter + sugar + milk
  • white chocolate = cacao butter (no liquor!!) + sugar + milk

Each chocolate firm, from small-batch makers to giant multi-national firms, has their very own ratios for his or her particular blends.

These mixes are then sent although machines referred to as conchers the place the liquid chocolate is constantly combined and additional floor in big rollers from a number of hours to a number of days to make certain it has a wonderfully clean consistency and remove any remaining acidic flavours that could be current. This process is tremendous necessary to the final flavour and texture of chocolate so most corporations are tremendous secretive about their conching (how and the way lengthy).

The superbly fluid and mellow-flavoured chocolate is then tempered the place the chocolate is heated and cooled successively to very particular temperatures to encourage the formation of cocoa butter crystalline construction (Beta V crystals to be actual). These crystals in the chocolate be sure that the final product sets up firm, is shiny and has a snap when broken (all signs of a good-quality chocolate).

Custom bonbons made by David Chow in Toronto | InSearchOfYummyness.comHow fairly are these pink bonbons?

Why Don’t All Goodies Style the Similar?

The concept of the terroir or character of chocolate is analogous to that of espresso and wine.

The setting the place a cacao plant is grown alters a few of its natural compounds leading to surprisingly totally different flavour profiles from floral and acidic to woody and nutty. These variations in flavour could be muddled when mixing beans from totally different areas and nations however the emergence of small-batch or bean-to-bar chocolate makers everybody are helping to protect and intensify the bean’s particular person character!

Many bigger chocolate producers (comparable to how blending is completed with larger tea producers) typically mix chocolate from many sources to be sure that their chocolate’s flavour profile is uniform and consistent regardless of where you buy it the world.

Chocolate is Good for Your Physique and Soul

Antioxidant-rich chocolate is usually referred to as addictive since it accommodates constructive mood and romance enhancing compounds like serotonin and endorphin-releasing chemical compounds and alkaloids like caffeine and theobromine (which is definitely toxic to cats and canine, so don’t allow them to sneak chocolate!).

The purported well being benefits of a wise (sure, smart) consumption of chocolate embrace upkeep of a wholesome cardiovascular system, discount in ldl cholesterol and danger of stroke, and even the potential boosting of mind functionality.

About David H. Chow:

David developed his ardour and curiosity in cooking from his early childhood in the Nation’s Capital and acquired formal training at Le Cordon Bleu Ottawa Culinary Arts Institute.  He attracts inspiration from his lengthy tenures as Government Pastry Chef on the Drake Lodge (Toronto, Canada), Albany Luxurious Resort Group (Nassau, Bahamas) and TRUMP Worldwide Lodge & Tower Toronto (Toronto, Canada) and from his few line prepare dinner jobs thrown in for good measure. He hopes to continue to be a driving pressure in the Canadian pastry scene via schooling and helping the business and public alike to re-imagine chocolate and all issues sweets.

To study extra about David, go to his website: You can even comply with him on Instagram (to see more lovely photographs!) or Twitter.

This is not a sponsored submit.
David has given me permission to publish his pictures.