I was being interviewed for a magazine article and one of the questions asked was, “what five things make a great chocolate?" As our business specialises in filled chocolates, this was the perfect question. However, a chocolatier has many considerations to take into account so it was hard narrowing it down to just five.
It is about the flavours, but there are other factors involved. So, I thought I’d share my answer with everyone.
Know your couverture from your cocoa beans.
1. Quality of the couverture used - the couverture, or actual chocolate used, is the basis of any filled chocolate. A high cocoa content does not necessarily mean that the chocolate is of a good quality. This depends on the quality of the cocoa beans used, how they’ve been processed, percentage of cocoa butter, texture, and melt in the mouth quality.
That Extra Oomph!
2. Quality of ingredients used for the filling – sourcing the ingredients used in a filling is a vital part of the process. Using the best ingredients available will give your chocolates that extra oomph! They will add to the depth of flavours and the whole experience of having a luxurious chocolate.
Freshness is key.
3. Fresh ingredients - The fresher the ingredients, the better the experience of biting into a filled chocolate. To achieve that burst of freshness, we always use fresh fruits and herbs, freshly ground spices and coffee. We then infuse them in fresh cream. Where oils are used, for example in our Rose and Cardamom chocolate, using pure organic rose oil gives a lingering taste on your palette.
A match made in heaven
4. Ingredient pairing – there are certain flavour combinations that work, and others that don’t. Coming up with new flavours for the fillings is always an exciting part of the work we do, but we try to keep things simple. Putting in too many ingredients makes the filling very complex, and we believe in purity and simplicity of flavours. Limiting flavours to one or two key ingredients works best.
The exciting part!
5. Balancing the ganache – Using a limited number of ingredients has two benefits. 'Clean label’ is a buzz word going around and more producers are trying to reduce the ingredients used in their products. Keeping things simple from the start means you always have a clean label, with nothing artificial added. For example, raspberry and rose, or lime and ginger. The second benefit is that you have a balanced ganache, where you can clearly taste each flavour.
This is important, so when you bite into a chocolate, it’s like a journey into the different flavours. You can taste first one flavour, then the next, tasting the chocolate used in the shell and ending up with the predominant flavour left as the aftertaste. There really is that much thought put into the resulting taste and whole experience happening in the mouth.
Customers send us messages and reviews about the taste and quality of our chocolates. Some stating that they are even “too good to eat” and “the best tasting chocolates ever”.
The quality of our chocolates is critical to satisfying our customers and retaining their loyalty. Their loyalty is what makes our social enterprise grow, thus enabling us to employ more autistic adults. Our customers make an important contribution to the Harry Specters long-term social mission (see more about our social cause here).
So, by supporting a great cause makes our customers feel good not only by making a social impact, but by enjoying the very finest artisan chocolates too - what’s not to love?!