As we are right smack bang in the middle of National Chocolate Week, it’s only right I do this post now, and as the phrase goes – a chocolate a day keeps the doctor away – that’s the right use, right?!
I am SUCH a chocolate lover. Dark, Milk, White, with Caramel, Nuts, Biscuits – over Ice-Cream, in Brownies, you get the picture – if it has chocolate on it, it is going in my mouth.
So when I got the chance to attend the Guittard event, I couldn’t say no. Guittard was actually a brand I was really familiar with, even though they had only just launched in the UK. We used the brand in most of our desserts when I was working in France as it was well-known across Europe before its launch here, so I already adored the high quality of their products and the smooth, silky and intense flavour profiles they offered.
Attending the event were panellists who all adore the product and use Guittard in their everyday chocolatey creations, and I’m not even ashamed to admit I was completely fan-girling over getting to meet the genius that was Paul a Young. You may be familiar with his gorgeous, delectable and melt in your mouth creations from his shop in Soho. You can also see his Gin and Tonic truffles mentioned here.
Along-side Paul was Great British Bake Off Winner John Whaite.
Arriving at the gorgeous loft venue we were greeted with the scent that I can only describe as the inside of Willy Wonka’s Factory. Lined up against the window were bowls of different percentages of chocolate all screaming to be nibbled, and paired with different wines to match the tasting notes of both and three different Paul a Young truffles each more delicious than the first, on the bar you could find Smores Bites and Salted Caramel brownies that were sticky, gooey and mouth-watering in all the naughtiest of ways.
Guittard Chocolate has been around for over five generations starting back in 1868. They only choose the best quality origins, chosen because of their exclusive flavours, attributes and customisable blends to deliver a premium chocolate experience every time – which they do, easily.
As a trained chef and avid lover of good food and pastry in particular I always love finding like-minded people who have the same passion as I do and that is exactly what I found in both Paul and John. Their love for their craft and desire to excel and push the boundaries of pastry and chocolate work really just set that little spark inside alight once more.
Paul a Young who become a chocolatier by complete accident explained how he always needs to tell a story, he needs to understand the truth, and he needs all the facts and figures before choosing a producer to create his award-winning and mouth-watering chocolates. “Guittard deliver a completely different experience through this chocolate journey, that is completely supported through their ethical values”
He continued to say that “Chocolate has always played a huge part in my life, I just didn’t know it at the time. Because chocolate, is just chocolate, its an every day thing” He went on to say that “Using chocolate inside a business has been able to create a professional memory a remarkable one, one that is playful and childish like my childhood and something that I am thankful for everyday”
He creates his collections by finding character within each chocolate, and uses each ingredient to the best of its ability by transforming and excelling their notes.
The 85% and 72% are his favourite dark chocolates to work with, for being well balanced and roasted gently and giving you that warm blend on the tongue.
When questioned about his creational process he replied with: “Sometimes chocolate inspires the product, sometimes the product inspires the chocolate choice. You just need to trust your brain and gut feeling”
John Whaite: Best known for winning The Great British Bake Off in 2012 said that: “chocolate is like cheese, our taste buds mature as we get older – we start out with milky buttons and advance to black magic. Our want and need for good quality and complex flavours is something that develops as we do.”
His love for Guittard comes from his passion for local produce. He grew up as a Dairy Farmer’s son and the fact that Guittard has been produced by the same family, spanning across generations gives him the same locality of heart that he has grown up alongside.
His favourite bar would be the 55% which is sweet in its depth without being too pungent, while explaining that the – “33% brings back memories of nostalgia – like the sour ripe taste of cream giving the subtle hint of fresh rain on a cow’s back”.. Must be a Dairy Farmer thing!
I, for one – can’t wait to get my hands stuck in creating some gorgeous chocolate creations and sharing them all with you.