Sometimes something comes my way that is different, exciting, and needs special attention. Spring of 2019 I received a jar of chocolate from my friend Trish. Trish is a chocolate blogger (@myic2016 – Eating the Chocolate Alphabet) and she eats even more chocolate than I do. She sent a small jar of her 2018 Chocolate Solera my way, and I promptly put it up on a shelf to admire it awhile.
So, this Chocolate Solera is quite the thing. This little jar contained a fraction of the contents from her large jar of Solera. Over 2018 she kept a piece of every single origin bean to bar chocolate bar she ate and put it into a jar. That’s a lot of pieces of chocolate. It included 245 non inclusion chocolate bars, 43 cacao origins, and 136 different brands of chocolate. So like I said, not just any jar of chocolate. Solera is a process of aging liquids by fractional blending, making the finished product a mixture. This Solera was made with chocolate, not boozy liquids. So, like I said, not just any jar of chocolate.
I looked at this jar on the shelf above my desk thinking about what to do with it, and how it needed to be fun, tasty and unique.
Then one day, not too long after receiving it I doodled a little picture. A bonbon, a hot chocolate shot, a brownie and some ice cream with chocolate sauce on top. I put the doodle up beside the jar on the shelf and pondered about it.
I kept looking at it… for like months! I had decided that yes it was a good solid plan. I just needed to execute it. I kept trying to find time that I was free, and hubby would be around for photos and help. Sometimes you just need two more hands. I tried some recipes and altered them a bit to make them work for what I envisioned. Then a new job, class in Toronto, life all got in the way. I was hopeful my mom might help me with it when she visited for Christmas but again that didn’t happen as we were to busy having all sorts of fun.
I had decided I would do it the day before my birthday, as a reward for finishing my packing early for a trip I was going on and a birthday treat. Because chocolate!
Then COVID-19 happened. My trip was cancelled and then I was just not in a “so happy lets make chocolate mood”.
The day I was supposed to spend 15 hours travelling to Maui, I cooked this up as a distraction. To find some good in a day I knew I would want distractions.
I made sure we had everything I needed, and I set out a schedule to ‘sorta’ follow so things would all be done at the same time. Enlisted hubby’s participation, which meant if I call come take a photo or help and got started.
The first step was dividing the jar up into four different bowls, to make each of the four different items. SO my kitchen scale came out and I began to create.
I started with the Truffle For One, it needed at least an hour of time to sit in the fridge. Yes, I had figured out a truffle for one recipe. The truffle was just a simple ganache, rolled in cocoa powder. Not too difficult but I did have the experience of being a chocolatier (many, many year ago) behind me. Once I melted the chocolate and added the cream, I put it in a tiny bowl and set it in the fridge to cool.
Then it was onto making the Brownie for One. Okay, this made two brownies, only because I couldn’t find a pan the size I wanted, they were too big or too small. So I got two tiny brownies out of my recipe. Also, we can debate if it is really a blondie and not a brownie, since it’s kinda blonde in colour. This is because I did not put cocoa powder in it. I melted half the chocolate bits allocated for the brownie and mixed it into the batter (not enough to make it brown in colour, but definitely added chocolate to the flavour). The rest of the bits of chocolate were added at the end, mixed in before the brownie went into the oven for baking.
While it was baking I had a little break with a glass of water and waited. Once the brownie was done and had cooled about 10 minutes it was time to get on with the rest of the tasting plate. Then it was time to roll the truffle after it had chilled in the fridge.
I melted (in a double boiler since it was such a small amount) the chocolate designated for the sauce for the ice cream. I stirred it gently and waited until it was thick and set it off to the side, where hubby then took over.
While he waited for the sauce to set and thicken up a bit, I got to work on adding the remaining chocolate to the double boiler and warming it to create a drinking chocolate. I stirred it as it melted and knowing it wouldn’t be enough to fill my shot glass, I added a small amount of almond milk and incorporated that into it. By small I mean, tiny bit, maybe a few teaspoons (yeah, I don’t measure so much as to use my eyes and make it work).
As I was pouring the thick drinking chocolate into the mug, my helpful husband was scooping ice cream and drizzling the chocolate sauce on top of it. He made an amazing drizzle, super artistic and everything!
Then I obviously set up my tasting plate, took many photos, of everything together, and everything separately, and then sat down to enjoy my beautiful tasting plate made with Trish’s chocolate solera.
I began with the ice cream, followed by the drinking chocolate, then half the truffle and half the brownie, then a bit with truffle on the brownie.
It was such a fun project. Planning, creating something special, then eating it. Tasting it, thinking about the flavours, and finding lots of flavours in it. The fact that it had so many different chocolate bars it in made it unique and so enjoyable.
If I had to pick a favourite it’d be the brownie, as it brought some crunch and chewiness in the same bite.
This was such fun! Here’s a few more photos of each of the finished pieces. Click here for recipes.
I think making this chocolate tasting flight has encouraged me to cook and bake with chocolate more often. Maybe I will even share some of those adventures with you in the future.
Which of the four items would you enjoy the most?