An Afternoon Of Indulgent Chocolate Making At Foodhall

The man of the moment; Chef Olivier Vincenot

For the love of all things chocolate, Foodhall was kind enough to organise an event with Chef Olivier Vincenot, to give a whole audience, how chocolate can be made more divine. Chef Vincenot was the same person, who had given everyone a masterclass on dealing with pistachios, last August. Just as informative and elaborate, he gave the audience lowdown on good chocolate making, and shared some recipes, ideas, on how to best enjoy this 'brown gold', so to say. The delicacies that the chef chose this time, included the likes of Truffles Mocha: (Ganache), Fruits & nuts Mandian, Chocolate mousse and Chocolate almonds. Needless to say, Foodhall's corporate Chef, made them divine for the tongue. 

Laying the mousse

Chocolate mousse:
Caster sugar 100 gr or 1/2 cup
Water  30 gr or Table spoon
Whole eggs  90 gr or 3 No’s
Egg yolks  60 gms or 2 No’s
Dark chocolate 70% 240 gr or 1 cup + 1 table spoon (Couverture chocolate)
Whipped cream 35% 320 gr or 1 cup + 1/4 cup (Elle&Vire)
- Melt the chocolate over a bain-marie and keep warm aside. (36C to 40C degrees)
- In a mixing bowl, whisk both whole eggs and yolks till slightly fluffy; while doing that also have the caster sugar and water come to 118C into a sauce pan over medium heat and pour over the whisked eggs; carry on whisking until the mix has cooled down. (Sabayon)
- Whisk the whipping cream to a soft pick, and pour a fifth into the warm melted chocolate which at this stage should be removed from the bain-marie, mix together nicely.
- Then fold in the sabayon into the chocolate until nicely mixed, do not beat, and fold in the whipped cream.
- Pour the mousse into glasses, cup, and bowls and set in the fridge.
- Can be decorated with fresh strawberries or any other fruits, or just cocoa powder, icing sugar, or even small heart made of icing.
Working the cream and chocolate
Some handy tips
- Heating the chocolate in the microwave oven is not a good idea. Spoils the chocolate.
- The melting temperature for the chocolate should be around 40-45C.
- While wetting the sugar, avoid using the spoon. There will be uneven mixing otherwise. Also, ensure that there is no caramelization.
- When the ingredients are being mixed, do not do it too quickly, or else the mousse will go flat.
- The duration for setting the Mousse is ideally around 1/2-hour.
- The cream used should have 35%, and not the rich creme. Will destroy consistency otherwise.

Laying the chocolate out for setting

All the ingredients for the Fruit & Nut Mandian

Fruits & nuts Mandian:
Dark compound chocolate 250 gm
Roasted whole almond  50 gm
Roasted whole hazelnut  50 gm
Green roasted whole pistachio  50 gm
Cashew roasted  50 gm
Dry apricot  50 gm
Orange peel  50 gm
Lemon peel  50 gm

- Melt a quantity of dark compound chocolate over a bain-marie until warm, 36C degrees.
- Have dry fruits and roasted nuts ready, such as apricots, cherries, orange peel, lemon peel, almond, pistachio, pecan, cashew, etc. (Dry fruits should also be cut into small dice pieces)
- Have a tray ready with a grease proof paper on top.
- Using a table spoon, pour a quantity of chocolate over the paper to form a round disk of about 5mm thick.
- Before the chocolate set, stick either dry fruits, nuts or a combination of both, and leave to set. (Not in the fridge, but a cool place)
- The same can also be done using white or milk chocolates compound.
The choco discs being set out
Some handy tips
-This is ideal for the hands that aren't the biggest experts in chocolate making.
- The use of compound chocolate can be handy, since it takes just a bit longer to set. This would be handy during the stage for garnishing each choco disc with the fruits and nuts.
Setting the garnishes after 
the choco discs have taken shape

Stirring the coated almonds

Chocolate almonds:
Whole almonds 185 gm or 1/2 cup + 2 tea spoon  
Caster sugar  75 gm or 1/4 cup
Water  30 gm or 1 table spoon
Butter unsalted    8 gm or 1 tea spoon
Dark chocolate 54% 185 gm or 1/2 cup + 2 tea spoon (Couverture chocolate)
Cocoa powder as required
First roast the almonds in an oven and let them to cool down.
In a sauce pan place both caster sugar and water and bring to boiling point until it reaches 110C to 115C over medium heat.
Remove from the heat and add the roasted almonds, stir them into the sugar syrup using a hard spatula until crystallization starts to happen.
At that point, return the pan over a medium heat and stir until caramelization starts to happen. (Watch out not to get them too dark)
Remove the pan from the heat, add the butter, stir until melted and pour onto a nonstick tray; while they are still hot, separate all the almonds and let to cool down.
Melt the chocolate, drop the almonds into the chocolate, and remove them one by one to then roll them into the cocoa powder. Shake the excess and place the almonds onto a tray to set, not in the fridge but a cool place still.
Separating the coated almonds
Some handy tips
- As the sugar is melted in the process of heating, do not let the setting of the almonds and sugar go on for too long. In fact, one should keep stirring gently while coating the almonds with sugar.
- Avoid icing sugar for this dish. Caster sugar is a better option, as mentioned in the ingredients.
Sugar and chocolate powder coated almonds
Any experience with Chef Vincenot around, and there is indeed some indulgence involved, and something to satisfy the taste buds the right way. While the season wrestles into a new form outside the venue, an afternoon dedicated to one of life's best indulgences, was much welcome. The creaminess is sure to stay in 'licking memory' for quiet some time to come.


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