Chocolate season is fast approaching – this year’s annual chocolatemaking rampage is scheduled for Nov 16-20 – and I’ve started contemplating flavors. Some are no-brainers – I’ve been making the jasmine vanilla honey caramels for twenty years now and ain’t about to stop. Some are relatively easy – Mike is really fond of the coconut tequila lime fudge, my mom loves white guava, and I’m personally fond of the fig-cognac. Those and the top five flavors from the previous year usually fill up half of the box without much agonizing.
But deciding between the remaining ones is atrociously difficult. It’s like choosing which friends to invite to your birthday party every year, in a restaurant that will only hold twenty-eight people. Do you choose the dear friends that you’ve been looking forward to seeing all year? Or do you open up a space for the new people you’ve met? Either way, this is your only chance to see them until next year’s party…so choose wisely!
So I spent this morning going through my chocolate sourcebooks – books written by professional chefs, with detailed technical information and procedures, but also full of recipes for mouthwatering (and unusual!) flavor combinations. I scribbled down a bunch of ideas, and also caught a couple that had been wandering through the top of my head, and came up with these ideas for new flavors (the ones in red are the ones I’m planning to trial first):
- Apple cider caramels with mulling spices, dipped in chocolate
- Kaffir lime, lemongrass, ginger (coconut milk?)
- Cranberry something?
- Beer truffles?
- Mint-lime, mint/kaffir lime?
- “pure” mint?
- Lime, bay leaf, pink peppercorns
- chipotle pepper and something fruity? elderberry? boysenberry?
- orange blossom water and caramel
- cherry (with sour cherry jam)
- passion fruit banana?
- rhubarb and calamansi
- cardamom rose?
That’s 20 flavors. Then there are the “old friends”:
- Chocolate macadamia fudge
- white chocolate, lavender, lemon fudge
- Coconut tequila lime fudge
- Coconut almond fudge
- Chocolate dipped stuff:
- Chocolate covered candied rangpur lime, Meyer lemon, bergamot, grapefruit peels
- English toffee
- Jasmine caramels
- Chocolate-covered dried apricots
- Chocolate-covered candied ginger
- Black currant Cointreau
- White guava
- Strawberry balsamic vinegar
- Fig cognac
- Apricot buttercream with orange blossom honey and cognac
- Prune, honey, and port
- Sesame gianduja
- Jasmine tea
plus the on-the-fence flavors:
- Irish coffee
- MacAllan 12 whisky
- Caramelized banana
- Peanut butter gianduja
- Vanilla latte
I can only fit 28 into a box, so I will have to eliminate a lot of flavors. This is tough because I love most of them! I’ve been at this for twenty-two years now, so I’ve had a lot of time to experiment with flavors. But I love trying new things, too, so….oh, decisions!
Anyway, part of tomorrow is going to be spent experimenting with stuff. I bought rhubarb, lemongrass, and elderberries this morning, and have a kaffir lime tree with ripe kaffir limes in the back yard, so there are plenty of materials to experiment with!
Off to weave some more! I’m about halfway through the first dark panel, and promised myself I’d weave one panel today and one tomorrow. Tomorrow I’ll play with chocolate, but today I’m hard at work on weaving.