The Chocolate Weekly 35 - 2015

What does chocolate mean to you?

We have asked this also some of the most exciting international chefs. Here are their answers (part 1):

Sven Elverfeld (Aqua), Germany:

For me chocolate is very sensual and calming. It is fun and you can be very creative with it.

Rosio Sanchez, Hija de Sanchez (Denmark):

I don’t use chocolate very often, but when I do, I really try to use it in a way that people haven’t had it before. Someway to excite the mind without discouraging the palate.

Elena Arzak, Arzak (Spain):

Chocolate is for me something marvelous because almost everybody likes chocolate. I like to see it as an artisanal product which is alive and requires to be handled with care and love.

Paul Cunningham, Henne Kirkeby Kro (Denmark):

Chocolate, for me, has always played a most important part of my life, culinary-speaking.
From childhood, all things sweet appealed to me, chocolate in particular.
I have no gastronomic childhood to speak of. Growing up in Essex throughout the 70’s, chocolate for me was I suppose Cadbury’s at best. Things have gladly changed since then, organic & fair trade dark chocolates adorn all supermarket shelves …. I still have a rather naughty addiction for Creme Eggs though! :)
Chocolate, for me represents perfectly the motto of my career as a chef & restaurateur, ‘tradition over trend’. Chocolate for me evokes family, friendship & happiness, a warmth, a product with soul.

Najat Kaanache (USA):

Chocolate represents a world of possibilities.  My first encounter with tempering chocolate came at the formidable hands of Mateu Casañas at el Bulli.  He poured 8kg of chocolate on a marble work top and asked “Do you know how to temper chocolate?” I was frozen with fear so he looked at me and said, “Watch and learn.”  I spent the rest of the day working chocolate and learning the fluid dance of hand-tempering.  I gained an acute sensitivity for chocolate’s composition and chemical properties, which formed the base for getting creative with new possibilities of texture and flavor.

Michele Farnesi (Paris):

Pleasure! I usually use it for the last dessert in the tasting menu because it leaves a better memory for the guest.

Enrico Cerea, Da Vittorio (Italy):

For me it’s about the memories from my childhood when I was waiting to break the big chocolate Easter eggs to get the surprise hidden inside. The perfume that filled the air.

It also reminds me of my schooling at the Richemont in Lucerne.

Andres Lara, Cacao Barry Asia Pacific:

Chocolate is nurture. it’s an elixir… It’s both healthy and blissful (in moderation of course). It’s one of mother Earth’s gifts to us… it’s precious…

Mark Welker, Eleven Madison Park (USA):

In many ways, chocolate is like wine. It is heavily influenced by terroir and the chocolatier who makes the chocolate. In many ways, it is an Artisan craft in its purest form. As chefs, it’s our responsibility to use it wisely and not ruin the integrity and flavor of the chocolate. Also, creatively we can manipulate chocolate to create many different forms, shapes and textures.

Rodolfo Guzman, Borago (Chile):

“Well I could say I like chocolate a lot! It is easy for me to eat it during the cold months in the winter.  Memories come to my mind from the time I lived in Switzerland when I was 4 years old – I still have in my mind that fabulous smell of the Swiss chocolate.”

Part two will follow next week.