Michael Lowe is a very talented member of the Melt team – here, he has described some of the inspiration behind our latest collection of fresh chocolates for Winter 2010, designed by Michael. Intrigued?? Come and try them for yourself, launching this week at Ledbury Road and Selfridges, they really are sublime…
It’s always an exciting time when you get to create some new recipes, epically when you have the freedom to experiment and with whatever tastes and textures you like. Sometimes you can have ideas in the back of your head for a few months just waiting to come out. The seasons are a big inspiration of the flavours. What I eat at home is generally what I try to combine into a chocolate.
For this range I have created a few of my favourite flavours.
After eating a lot of plums over autumn, and a nice simple dessert I always like are baked plums with hazelnuts. So this was the idea behind the Plum & Hazelnut. It’s using Mirabelle plums and a very tasty hazelnut oil. I love the nuttiness and richness of the hazelnut oil with the slight sweet plum flavour.
The second one in the range was fresh mint ganache. To tell the truth I have never been a big fan of mint and chocolate (too many childhood memories of bad mint chocolates). But I do love the flavour of mint and the freshness it can bring to sweet and savoury dishes. I use a fresh mint that is infused with water for a few hours to extract as much mint taste as possible. I wanted to stay away from using a cream or milk infusion to to give it was much fresh flavour as possible. It is combined with a Madgascan 64% chocolate to pick up on the citrus/fresh notes.
The quince ganache is a very simple one made with quince, chocolate, butter. I tried to infuse the flavour in the first few tests with cardamom, but we felt that the cardamom flavour overpowered the lovely quince taste. After tasting this with some of the shop staff today we think this would go very well with Montgomery Cheddar. Cheese and chocolate, it can work!
My only other favourite thing than chocolate in life is coffee. More of an addiction actually. This is why I had to do this coffee caramel. Infusing the milk and cream with a very strong coffee, so when you bite into it you get a big release of coffee flavour, then the balance of the sweet caramel. In this chocolate you already have coffee, milk and sugar. No need for your morning coffee. Just have one of these gems.
Another confession is I haven’t been a big fan of ginger in chocolate. I love fresh ginger but hadn’t really found it in a chocolate. I got this idea when I was thinking about different types of ginger. When I eat Japanese food I love the pickled ginger you always get. Was thinking if this flavour would work in a chocolate. I think it works well. The ganache is made with milk chocolate so the pickled, vinegar flavour really cuts through the sweet milk taste. It is using a combination of fresh and pickled ginger to get the ginger flavour on both levels.
The last one is a pear tatin. A simple but beautiful dessert if done correctly. That's basically what it is. Though at Melt, in the chocolate form. Pear puree is combined with a dark caramel, dipped in dark chocolate. A simple chocolate that has a nice finish.