I know that chocolate makers are supposed to be snooty and ‘its not really chocolate’ about white chocolate – but sometimes white chocolate is what you need to set off a particular flavour. Some time ago a very lovely HB Ingredient lady suggested I try El Rey ICOA chocolate and my eyes were opened to a much more interesting white chocolate world.
White chocolate is chocolate with cocoa butter but without any of the other cocoa solids. Cocoa beans are 50% fat – this glorious cocoa butter is what gives chocolate all its magical physical properties – its body-temperature melt and its well-tempered snap. To get the cocoa butter, the cocoa beans are pounded and then pressed – to separate the butter from the other cocoa solids. For some reason, the cocoa butter then goes through some weird ‘de-odorising’ process to create a flavourless white fat. And this is then what goes into white chocolate.
So, what was great about El Rey’s white chocolate was that they did not de-odorise the cocoa butter and you definitely taste this in the white chocolate – yes it was sweet and a wee bit sickly – but there was also this interesting floral flavour – something else there. It tempered to the sharpest snap as well – and made a wonderful canvas for the wild flower flavours that I was using.
However, HB then told me that they were discontinuing El Rey products – the import of their products had been too haphazard. I had come across a Columbian company at the Paris‘Salon du Chocolat’ last October, Luker, who also did not use de-odorised cocoa butter. HB Ingredients sent me some samples with some others – Belcolade, l’Opera du Chocolat, etc. At first I did not like any of them, but after persevering decided that the Luker Sierra would do. I have since grown to love it – again it tempers beautifully and works well with the flowers.
However, DISASTER – HB Ingredients now tell me that they will no longer be importing Luker Sierra. Back to the search all over again. They have sent more samples: Luker Nevado, Belcolade, Spanish.
I have been tasting these – but nothing seems to fit the bill. I have tasted them together, then one after the other – but they all seem like Milky Bars; I try taking them by surprise – popping a callette in my mouth as I walk past the shelf – but no – still Milky Bar. The little lad with the round glasses and cowbay suit is haunting my workshop.
Back to HB Ingredients and a visit from their Scotland rep and a long phone call with David at their office and I am a lot wiser but no nearer a batch of Sierra. David tells me that this was made for the Japanese market, has low milk contact (and so higher cocoa butter content) and low vanilla. So this is clearly why it doesn’t taste like Milky Bar.
So, used the last of the Sierra today and very very sad. I think I will have to go for the Nevado – very interested in the Luker story so would be happy to use this. But it is not perfect, and I will continue to nag about the Sierra!