Chocolate and chips? How un-savoury!

Blog SavouryAt Chocolat Chocolat, we love hearing stories from our customers about their quirky chocolate-eating behaviours and rituals. For example, we know a customer who just cannot make it through any day without five (never more, never less) of our white chocolate buttons, enjoyed at 8:30pm every evening on the sofa with a cup of Earl Grey.  And another Chocolat Chocolat fan who simply has to have some of our Caramel and Sea Salt whenever she’s in Cambridge. Whichever way you like to enjoy your chocolate is completely fine by us, and it’s always interesting to hear of different chocolate and drink combinations (perhaps there’s another blog post in that!) and when, where and how people like to eat our favourite foodstuff. However, even we were startled to hear of a recent consumer poll, Blog Sav 2which claimed that a growing number of Brits are choosing to consume chocolate in an altogether different way, creating a new taste sensation by (wait for it)…melting chocolate over their chips! Hmmmm. We’ve yet to try it ourselves so cannot pass judgement – but let’s just say it’s not necessarily a delicacy we’re in a rush to replicate for our next dinner party! The story did make us start thinking though, about how chocolate has historically been used as a savoury food ingredient with potentially more palatable results than French fries avec chocolat…

 

Olé for Mole!

Blog Sav 3If, like us, you’re a fan of the film Chocolat, you’ll recall how Juliette Binoche’s character Vianne knocks the socks off birthday party guests with a roast chicken in chocolate sauce, which is devoured in stunned silence by those lucky enough to be tucking in. Dark chocolate can be added to garlic, onion, tomato sauce, chilli and spices to make a fantastic barbecue sauce for chicken and indeed all types of meat. The sauce – and variations on it – is known as mole (pronounced mole-ay), which originated in Mexico early in the colonial period. Legend has it that upon hearing that an archbishop was going to visit, convent nuns in the state of Puebla went into a panic because they had nothing to feed him.  After bringing together what they did have, chilli peppers, spices, day-old bread, nuts, and chocolate, they killed and cooked an old turkey and smothered it in the sauce they’d made from the thrown-together ingredients. The archbishop loved it and mole has been enjoyed ever since as one of the most respected ceremonial dishes in Mexico.

A subtle touch

It’s worth pointing out that, unlike the chocolate and chips combo we mentioned at the start, mole and dark chocolate in most cooked dishes provides a subtle silkiness, rather than the strong cocoa taste that you’d expect from your favourite chocolate bar. Which we think is much easier on the palate!

We’d love to know your thoughts on savoury chocolate combinations. Have you tried chocolate with chips? Do any other savoury chocolate dishes hit the spot for you, or do they get your tastebuds in a twist? 

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Our Favourite Chocolate Books and Films

We don’t know any other food that gets people as excited as chocolate, every Saturday we hear a customer say on entering the shop something along the lines of:romantic-movie-chocolat_thumb

“Just like the shop in the film Chocolat”, or “It’s like a real Willy Wonka shop!”

It really makes us smile as we used to live in the next village, just outside Paris, to Johnny Depp, who starred in both films.  We even shopped at the same supermarket as his wife, but despite our best efforts we never bumped into the famous couple.

charlie_and_the_chocolate_factory__2005__johnny_depp__freddie_highmore

Recently, we were talking with a customer about not meeting Johnny, when we realised that we had also lived near our favourite chocolatey author, Road Dahl, when we lived close to Aylesbury.

That got us thinking about what our favourite chocolate-based books were, and it’s no surprise that that there only two books that make our chocolate lovers shortlist:

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald DahlCharlie

Written in 1964 this classic novel is such a beloved story that it’s been made into a film twice, and later this year into a West End musical.

Roald Dahl’s love of chocolate, possibly stems from Cadbury using his school for market research and to test new products; they sent samples to the pupils so that they could get feedback from the eager pupils.

We don’t know of any school that does this anymore so it’s no good trying to find one for your children, but perhaps you might want to go to see the musical instead.

Chocolat-bookChocolat by Joanne Harris

Chocolat was first a best selling book written in 1999 and then into a film in 2000.  It’s the story of young, single mother, played by Juilette Binoche, who arrives in the French village of Lansquenet and opens a chocolate boutique directly opposite the church at the beginning of Lent.  Initially met with opposition, the shop proceeds to gently change the lives of the villagers who visit her chocolaterie with a combination of sympathy, subversion and a little magic.  An amazing story that is testimony to the magic of chocolat!

It’s a short list, but we hope you agree that each book and film has it’s charms.  Perfect for snuggling up with on a cold, wet weekend with a few chocolate buttons to make you feel that you are really part of the story.

Finally, we often get asked which of the two Willy Wonka films we prefer, for the moment that’s a secret, but which is yours?