Pleasure induced sunday

For any of you who love chocolate, you must have checked out Chocolate Unwrapped at Vinopolis in London last weekend. I’m no chocolate connoisseur but I love my chocolates! So I was there for some amazing chocolate experience. What is better than spending the whole of Sunday tasting chocolates from the few top chocolatiers, all under one roof!

Chocolate Unwrapped’ by Chocolate Week

The minute we enter, there’s a section about cacao beans and then the many chocolatiers showcasing their chocolates. We were so distracted by the beautiful displays of chocolates. In no time, all three of us girlies started tasting chocolates. We were obviously too engrossed with the many chocolates we were surrounded by that we missed the scheduled ‘Chocolate Tasting’ talk by Seventypercent. But we managed to catch the last bit of the session and learn a little something.

The three important steps for when you taste chocolates.

  1. Smell – Always smell before tasting. It smells different from the taste.
  2. Melt – Let it melt on your tongue and identify the flavour.
  3. Length – The better the chocolate the longer it lingers in your mouth. The taste changes through time.

There were a few chocolate brands that I would like to mention. I was so happy that Cacao Sampaka was here. I was looking for the main shop the second time I was in Barcelona but could not find it. I was probably distracted by the other activity my dear friend had in place for me. And my excitement still remains after tasting their chocolates; chocolate coated raspberry, blackberry chocolate bar and ‘gin & tonic’ chocolate bar. All were wonderful.

Melt‘s ‘smoke’ chocolate bar is worth mentioning. They are made from cacao beans grown near a volconic region. It has a subtle smokiness with a little hint of bacon. Bacon tasting chocolate? Try it and you’ll know what I meant.

Then there is Nicky Grant’s pretty and skilfully decorated cake. I want that cake!! It’ll be perfect for a wedding. It is the sort of cake any girl would want to have for their wedding.

For those of you with bumps on your tummy, there is also something for a baby shower. Patchi does the cutest little boxed chocolates. Of course, they don’t only do that for baby showers. They are perfect for all sorts of events as thank you gifts; boxed and adorned with any flower or deco you wish.

For baby girl

For baby boy

Too much of writing about chocolate is making me feel like going for a chocolate spa. That’ll be bliss!! In the mean time, I’m set to finding my favourite chocolate bar; ‘THE ONE’. Going to stock up some good chocolates soon.

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Chocolate cupcake surprise with rose chantilly

This cupcake was initially made as a surprise birthday treat for a dear friend but I ended up being ill. So it wasn’t much of a surprise anymore when we had it. But it was still as yummy as ever. I’ve named it a cupcake surprise not because it was made as a surprise gesture. There is actually lychee in the middle of the cupcake, well hidden for a surprise bite. This was inspired by my favourite Ispahan from Ladurée. The heavenly Ispahan was initially created by Pierre Hermé for Ladurée. It is a perfect combination of rose, raspberries and lychee. I have yet to taste the Ispahan from Pierre Hermé so you would have guessed where my first stop will be when I am in Paris next.

These are the photos I’ve got for this batch. I forgot to cut up the cupcake for a picture revealing that hidden surprise, but will definitely add on that missing picture the next time I make this again.

CHOCOLATE CUPCAKE SURPRISE WITH ROSE CHANTILLY

adapated from Béa’s Cupcakes au chocolat, à la lavande

For the rose chantilly

  • 2 tbsp rose flavouring (i used..)
  • 240ml (1 cup) double cream
  • a tiny drop of red colouring (optional to give it a light pink colour)
  • icing sugar (added to your sweetness preference)

Method:

  1. Add the rose flavouring and colouring into the double cream
  2. Whip the double cream while slowly adding some icing sugar to your sweetness preference until it reaches soft peak

For the cupcakes

(makes 12 medium sizes)

  • 57g (2oz) dark chocolate (70% cocoa)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 82g (6tbp) butter
  • 98g (1/2 cup) sugar
  • 30g (1/4 cup) flour
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder, unsweetened
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • 3 large lychees cut into quarters
  • 12 raspberries to decorate

Method:

  1. Preheat oven at 180°C (350°F)
  2. Cut the butter in small pieces and chop the chocolates coarsely. Place them in a bowl and melt them in a bain marie
  3. Put the bowl away from heat once melted. Add sugar and mix gently until dissolve. Let rest for few minutes
  4. Continue to mix for about 5 minutes
  5. Add one egg at a time and mix until well blended
  6. Sift flour, cocoa powder and baking powder and add them into the mixture with the salt
  7. Mix well but not too much
  8. Take cupcake moulds (paper or silicone) and fill them 3/4 to the top.
  9. Add a quarter of lycee and push it in to the centre, making sure the mixture covers the lychee.
  10. Cook for about 25 minutes (the cupcakes are cooked when the blade of a sharp knife comes out clean)
  11. Remove from the oven and let cool down.
  12. Decorate cupcakes with the rose chantilly. Use a piping bag. If you don’t have one, just carefully scoop them onto the cupcakes.
  13. Finally, top the chantilly with raspberries.

NOTE:

Keep these cupcakes well hidden as one will not be enough. I had my friend bring some home and he finished all three of them in one go. For that reason, I was accused of making him fat! =)

Cupcakes au chocolat, chantilly à la lavande