Saturday, March 22, 2008

talking chocolate...

In contrast with my earlier emphasis on healthy food, I'm going to go with the Easter flow and talk chocolate... What's your favourite? I love a good quality, high cocoa solid dark... and yes, it is partially for the health benefits. Chocolate that contains over 70% cocoa solids (I prefer 85%) is super rich in anti-oxidants and will give you a prolonged boost rather than a transient sugar rush.

Did you know that good quality chocolate is also rich in the mineral magnesium, that for many of us today is significantly lacking in our diets. A lack of this important mineral will leave us feeling tired and lack-lustre. That's not an excuse for eating poor quality chocolate though...! When you eat the real dark stuff it's much more satisfying, especially if you don't chew but rather allow it to melt sensuously on your tongue...You'll get far more of the real qualities and true taste notes that way. The reason why many (women) crave chocolate is not only hormonal but because chocolate is rich in phenylethylamine (PEA) which creates a similar impact on the brain as being in love...

London has the most marvellous chocolatiers... Not cheap, these guys, but a little goes a long way and provides a good excuse to treat yourself to an award winner. A particular favourite of mine is William Curley. I love his sweet shop in a pretty lane - off Richmond's main shopping street. William was chocolatier of the year in 2007; many of his products and individual items have won top industry awards. It's a sensory experience to visit here, both visually and on the olfactory level. The staff are patient and helpful; well used to visitors finding it hard to make their choice, then opting for just one single chocolate. When the quality is this great you'll be surprised how satisfying just one flavoursome chocolate can be.

Another chocolatier of note is Marc Demarquette. He produces his splendid products in his 'lab' in Notting Hill and has a lovely shop on Fulham Road. His products are also sold in Fortnum and Mason. Like William, many of his products have won industry awards. He is passionate about his work and fascinating to watch when he demonstrates his skills. The ganache selection are the stars of the show here with an array of unusual flavour highlights.

Whatever you do this Easter, enjoy!

No comments: