I do consider myself very lucky to have the job that I absolutely adore. Making handmade artisan chocolates from my chocolate workshop in Surrey really is a dream job. Watching people enjoy these labour of love chocolates, is the best job satisfaction one can ever wish for! The question I get asked so often is where I get my inspiration from. Well, the truth be told most of my flavours are actually the foods that I love, pecan, cardamom, raspberries etc. Apart, from the odd one which could be due to general market trend or customer demands for example I am not a big fan of chilli in chocolate but highly recommend chocolate in Chilli con carne.
I am very pleased to announce the 2018 new addition to the AuBel Selection range: Fig and Red Wine Caramel. The inspiration comes from a trip to Paris some 10 years ago when I was still working for one of the multinationals. Whilst waiting for our Euro Tunnel Shuttle back to UK from Gard de nord my colleague took us to a quaint little Perisian Café called Chez Michel near Gard de nord. For the second time I had snails as an entree, first time was in the Fat Duck – snail porridge, absolutely scrumpcious, but this time these yummy gems were sautéed in garlic butter. Unfortunately, I don’t remember my main but I do remember my dessert – Pouched figs in red wine.
This dessert literally brought tears to my eyes and the memory of the place, smells and senses have stayed with me ever since. I have tried to make this dessert at home and can safely say I have managed to somewhat replicate the taste.
As I am always looking to add new flavours to my range I was very keen to try to see if it was possible to have figs and red wine chocolate. So the development work began last September which continued through October. At one point I was going to introduce it to the 2017 Christmas Selection Box but I wasn’t completely happy with the recipe.
So, firstly, all I had to do was to select some lovely succulent fresh figs. Since I wanted the wine to actually display some character and not get lost in the figs I thought a full bodied Shiraz would go nicely. Also I wanted that nostalgic poached fig dessert flavours too so I wanted to experiment with some spices. I made some caramel with just the figs and red wine and some with figs in red wine with some cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves etc. Some with seeds removed and some with left in. Using different types of wine, single grape varieties and some blends. Finally after a number of batches I finally found the nest wine and spice mix for the caramel.
After perfecting the caramel, all that was left was to select the chocolate for the shell. So now the real tasting began where my Chief Taster No. 2 (my husband) and I tasted the caramel with eight different types of chocolates, some milk and some dark. White chocolate would have been too sweet, hence not considered. After deciding just the perfect match, with a rich dark Chocolate, the chocolate production commenced and here is the final result. If you would like to taste these, they can be found in the Valentine’s and Mother’s Day Caramel Selection Boxes. The Caramel Selection Boxes will form the one of the new additions to the selection boxes. In this box of 12 indulgent caramel chocolates, alongside the new Fig & Red wine caramel there will be the other 3 award winning caramels: Academy of Chocolate 2016, silver award winner Chai Spice Caramel, International chocolate silver award winner 2016, Sea Salt Caramel with Pecan and Academy of Chocolate 2015, bronze award winner Caramel with Rosemary.
And if all this talk of chocolate is making you hungry then have a browse around my online shop and taste some for yourself!