Coups de Coeur

  • Drum to the Trinidad and Tobago cocoa beat

    Drum to the Trinidad and Tobago cocoa beat

    Our cacao adventure in Trinidad and Tobago started about 2 years ago when asked to help cacao farmers on the island to find new routes to sell their precious beans. Trinidad (where the first Trinitario trees were planted) is holy grounds for cacao, an integral part of its history, culture and economics.For legal reasons, farmers can not export their beans directly. The wet beans are sold to an organisation that gives little incentive for the farmers to sustainably continue to grow. In 1920, cocoa was the highest contributor to the National Treasury with over 35,000 tonnes of fine beans harvested. Today the production has shrunk to fewer than 1,000 tonnes. Various problems, including a dwindling farming population and inefficient cultivation methods that yield a low price for cacao crops, are putting the future of this incredibly rich heritage in danger. trinidad-images  photo_19 It takes madness, vision and dedication to change agriculture with decades of decline. I have plenty of both but met my match in madness in Ashley Parasram, British, born in Trinidad, expert in forestry, horse mad and founder of the Trinidad and Tobago Fine Cocoa Company www.ttchocolate.com. He had a dream and his dream was to  built the first bean to liquor factory on the island. I flew to paradise (except for the mosquitos) to meet him, to visit farmers as well as syndicate the idea to the government that TT chocolate could be sold internationally. At times it felt like we were going nowhere. Eventually exhausted by a day of running around, we sat in a functional Chinese shack (seems to be more of these in Trinidad than anywhere else) and came up with the idea of the "steel pan" packaging with chocolate sticks representing the flamboyant flavours of carnival.

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    These tins are now in our boutiques and online, a testament that when farmers, artisans and entrepreneurs collaborate despite all the hurdles, the resulting chocolate is sensational and worth every effort and mosquito bite.

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  • Alice in Chocolate Land

    Alice in Chocolate Land

    Home   /   Our World   /   Coups de Coeur   /   Alice in Chocolate Land
    alice-in-chocolate-land At Artisan du chocolat we like to think of ourselves as artists who use chocolate as delicious medium of expression. We are proudly engaged in supporting young British artists, especially the chocoholic ones. Alice Turner is a talented debutante who is also addicted to our chocolates and who has illustrated our creations beautifully. Born in 1989 she graduated in 2012 with a B.A. in Fine Art Painting from City and Guilds of London Art School where she was awarded one of the graduate prizes. She currently lives in Brixton and her emerging work is featured in several private collections including in the collection of internationally celebrated artist Thomas Hirschhorn. She also participates to Arts Facilitation work with children with www.coolitschools.com orange-peel-2-300x300After a brief stint in our Chelsea boutique, her love of art claimed her back. She traded her tailored dress for her Oliver Twist lookalike charcoal covered overall and went back to the drawing board literally. Her deep knowledge of our creations (acquired from selling and eating many) inspired her to paint poetic water-colours and pencil illustrations of our chocolates. These are proudly featured on our website. Can you guess that each drawing illustrates? To find out, click on it. truffles-150x150salted-caramel-N1-milk-chocolate-150x150liquid-salted-caramel-sauce-150x150death-by-hot-chocolate-150x150cannonmalts-150x150giandija-almonds-150x150
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  • Be a Salted Caramel Goddess (or God)

    Be a Salted Caramel Goddess (or God)

    Home   /   Our World   /   Coups de Coeur   /   Be a Salted Caramel Goddess (or God)
    nigellaNigella Lawson's love of salted caramel is heady and passionate. We at Artisan du Chocolat have to take a small amount of responsibility and pride for introducing her and the rest of our customers to our salted caramels originally created for Gordon Ramsay at Claridges: a sweet liquid caramel with a pinch of Noirmoutier island’s grey salt captured in a cocoa dusted shell of intense dark chocolate. The pure untreated grey salt, harvested by hand from clay marshes, holds a wealth of minerals and trace elements that enrich its taste. It is the balance of flavours - sweet, saline and mineral - and of textures - crunchy, liquid and velvety - that make these salted caramels our most famous creation and such a bestseller. Nigella-extract1-238x300The trend for salted caramel is still raging, having percolated from our atelier to other chocolatiers and eventually to sweet sections of multiple retailers. Whilst we are flattered to have ignited this love for all things salted caramel in Britain, we have to give credit due to its birth place, Brittany. Breton Kouign Amann names a round crusty cake layered with salted butter and sugar baked to puff up the dough and caramelise the sugar. This heart- attack- in-a-cake sparked the wide use of salted butter in Breton pastry and confections. To balance the sweetness of the caramel and chocolate for our truffles, we chose unsalted butter and added grey unrefined salt. A decade on, our original liquid salted are still the bees' knees. To be a salted caramel God or Goddess, splash our sauce, the dinner party best kept secret, on any humble dessert to make it magnanimous. Or serve some of our festive spiced figs salted caramels. In Nigella's own words:

    "I do not want to merely experience pleasure, I want to wallow in it."

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