Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Eggs, Tea, Chocolate

Contrary to what the light speckling of snow in my garden might suggest, Easter has come, layed its annual batch of chocolate eggs, and gone. This, to me, marks the end of my first 'chocolate season'. Starting in Summer '12  and going through Chocolate Week, Halloween, Christmas, Valentines and finally Easter where chocolate consumption rockets to its final peak before the summer lull.  It has been a great season, full of challenges and I genuinely feel like I have learned a lot about working in a production kitchen, the industry and of course, chocolate. Always chocolate.

So much chocolate

Just before Easter weekend, the winners of the Acadamy of Chocolate awards were announced and amongst the gold medal winners were three of our newly developed ganaches from the season: salted chocolate toffee and crunchy praline, kalamansi lime caramel and passion fruit and rosemary caramel. It's been great seeing these chocolates right the way through from development to chocolate counter to awards! They are all tasty deserving medal winners. Other Rococo winners can be seen here and a full list of acadamy winners here

Away from chocolate, my mind has been rather preoccupied with tea recently. Drinking tea, trying new tea, using tea infusions. My go-to tea day to day tea is black Earl Grey with a slice of lemon if I'm feeling fancy. I've been trying to work these flavours into an edible treat, resulting in a lemon and Earl Grey s'more which I have to say is pretty yummy. I've also been making sweet, smoky lapsang souchong caramel sauce and I'm keen to get started on a popcorn green tea ganache. I had spent a fair amount of time day dreaming about a proper builders tea chocolate truffle until I went into Paul A Young and found that, not only had he pipped me to it, but he has cleverly rolled the truffle in buttery biscuits. Tea and biscuits all in one chocolate, heaven. There are so many teas and ways to use their flavours to enhance or reinvent dishes that I have a feeling this infusing obsession could continue for a while.

  I want s'more.

Tea, biscuits, chocolate.

In other imporant tea based news, kickstarter Good and Proper Tea are now out and about in London town. I'm yet to try it but the brew bar combines a perfect cuppa with another of lifes pleasures: great street food. I've got a few days off work to go and hunt the van down and get myself a proper brew. Hope you're all as excited as I am. 

The end of the season means the start of a summer of planning and developing new ranges and seasonal specials which I am really looking forward to. I also have a few personal projects in the pipeline giving me plenty of blog based ammo.  In the mean time, hope you all had a wonderful Easter and found eggs hiding around every corner.