A Chocoholic’s Dream…

…Or a culinary student’s nightmare.

This evening, I realized that none of my “foodie” friends live near me.  While I’ve held two tastings with my local friends, their palates and tastes aren’t very adventuresome. One doesn’t like mushrooms, one doesn’t like nuts and another won’t eat sour cream or yogurt on hot food. So, tonight, I find myself staring down eight chocolate-spice mixtures that need tasting.  I’m not sure I’m up to the task and I’m slow to begin.  This sounds like an average woman’s dream, but I have promised myself better eating habits this week while off from culinary school. Tonight, I set aside my promise for my research. The chocolate flavors I have concocted are:

Saffron
Cumin
Preserved lemon
Aniseed
Coriander
Smoked Paprika
Ras el Hanout
Tamarind

The saffron infused chocolate leaves a odd taste in my mouth.  I quickly rule this one out. The cumin dominates the chocolate flavor in the second sampling.  This one is a ‘no’ as well.  I’m intrigued by the preserved lemon and chocolate combination.  I’m not sure if the pickling liquid from the lemon brings too much salt into the final product.  Aniseed isn’t bad, but I’m reminded that many people don’t like licorice.  For me, the flavor is reminiscent of Good and Plenty candy.  I don’t mind it, but I decide against this one as well.  Next is coriander. Out of the first five I’ve sampled, the coriander and chocolate combination is my favorite.  It reminds me of chocolate and lavender. I would not be disappointed if I purchased a truffle with this flavor.  I also like the chocolate and smoked paprika, but it needs another layer of flavor as well – perhaps cinnamon?  I also like the ras el hanout, but I would need to make the spice blend with much less cayenne.  It currently gives the chocolate too much bite.  Last is the tamarind.  The tamarind’s tartness is a nice foil for the creamy chocolate.  So, here I am with five possibilities.  My first thought is a possible tamarind/coriander combination.

My second thought is to get a second opinion.  I’m wonder if my brother would allow me to pop by his store tomorrow to taste a few truffles. 

Once the flavor is nailed down, my hope is to develop a dense dark chocolate tart (with spice to be determined) with an almond and pistachio crust and crystallized ginger garnish for my menu.  This would be my first desert of four that need to be created.

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