Tobacco-flavored chocolates part of the brave new world of sweets

Like dedicated oenophiles, chocolate lovers are making an elite sport of the latest ingredient to go haute cuisine, with chocolate tastings and food pairings creating a league of passionate experts.

Chocoholics are becoming increasingly sophisticated, says chocolatier Paul Young, owner of eponymously named chocolate boutiques in London and an award-winning author.

Like the complexities of wine, the subtle flavors of chocolate are being appreciated on a whole new level. Consumers are asking more questions about the provenance of the beans, who's growing them, how they're being roasted, and whether or not they're organic or Fair Trade, Young said.

"Globally, a lot of people are becoming micro-experts in chocolate and are looking for authenticity," he said in an interview with Relaxnews.

It's part of what he'll be discussing at the Speciality Chocolate Fair this weekend, part of the Speciality and Fine Foods Fair in London, the gathering place for some of the best artisan and gourmet producers in the UK.

Young, whose book Adventures in Chocolate was named the Best Chocolate Book in the World by the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards, said he's seeing a surge of interest in understanding the nuances and mysteries of cocoa. It's also leading to more adventurous palates and a growing breed of bold chocolatiers who are experimenting with cacao as a vehicle for exciting new flavor pairings. Like patisseries and restaurants, chocolates are also being made fresh with local, seasonal ingredients

Young's 'Smoky' chocolates, for example, are part of his fall and winter range and are spiked with a 16-year-old Lagavulin whiskey, black Cavendish tobacco, a Chinese Lapsang Souchon tea, cinnamon leaf and black cardamom. The result is a smoky, deep, earthy warm ‘autumnal' bonbon that summons the smells of a log fire under a blanket of cocoa.

His Roquefort, walnut and celery chocolate also challenges palates to open up their senses and suspend preconceived notions. Aptly named 'The Cheeseboard' for conjuring up all the aromas and tastes found on a cheese platter, Young said that, like a fine wine, sometimes it's not just about the taste alone.

"It's experiential. It's about how it can provoke thought, and be sentimental."

Other flavors for fall include wasabi, coriander and apple and Worcester sauce.

The place of origin also makes a huge difference when it comes to taste profiles. Because Ecuadorian chocolate is grown under banana and mango trees, chocolate from that country takes on the same notes. Madagascan chocolate, meanwhile, is highly acidic and pairs well with red fruit - important factors when developing a new flavor pairing.

Meanwhile, flavors that started out in the fringe world have become commonplace in mainstream chocolate shops. British brand Thorntons, for instance, has a chili spiked flavor, and also sells an orange cardamom range. The chocolate brand will also make a presentation on "The Best of British Flavors" at the fair this weekend.

The Speciality Chocolate Live is a new addition to this year's Speciality and Fine Food Fair in London this year. The demonstration theater runs September 4 to 6.

http://www.specialityandfinefoodfairs.co.uk

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Recruitment Genius: Car Sales Executive - Franchised Main Dealer

    £30000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...

    Recruitment Genius: Group Sales Manager - Field Based

    £21000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Located on the stunning Sandban...

    Guru Careers: Email Marketing Specialist

    £26 - 35k (DOE): Guru Careers: An Email Marketing Specialist is needed to join...

    Recruitment Genius: Tour Drivers - UK & European

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity to join a is a...

    Day In a Page

    Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

    Isis hostage crisis

    The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
    Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

    The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

    Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
    Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

    Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

    Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
    Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

    Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

    This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
    Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

    Cabbage is king again

    Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
    11 best winter skin treats

    Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

    Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
    Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

    Paul Scholes column

    The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
    Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

    Frank Warren's Ringside

    No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
    Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

    Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
    Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
    Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

    Comedians share stories of depression

    The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
    Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

    Has The Archers lost the plot?

    A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
    English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

    14 office buildings added to protected lists

    Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee