Friday, April 16, 2010

French to English: Chocolate, Part 3

Did you know that you can make truffles at home?  I had no idea until I came across some truffle recipes.

This white chocolate truffles recipe is from Ghirardelli's chocolate cookbook.  I mentioned this book in my last post when I talked about Domingo Ghirardelli, an Italian who settled in San Francisco and became a successful chocolatier.

I envy people who can make homemade chocolates; next to bread, the smell of chocolates can liven up the atmosphere of any home.  Imagine a condo right in the heart of downtown giving off chocolate aromas from the 18th floor!  (That might increase the value of your real estate).

The wonderful thing about this recipe is it has only 4 ingredients and  the method for making truffles is described in less than 10 sentences!

Here is the recipe for those who want to try their luck with white chocolate truffles (from The Ghirardelli Cookbook, ISBN:  9 781580 088718):

You'll need these ingredients:
* 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
* 1 tbsp unsalted butter
* 8 ounces Ghirardelli white chocolate baking bar, chopped into small pieces
* 1 cup shredded coconut or chopped almonds


1.  In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a simmer.  Add the butter and stir until melted.  Add the white chocolate.  Stir until completely melted and smooth.  Remove from the heat and pour into a shallow bowl.

2.  Cool, cover and refrigerate the mixture until firm, at least 2 hours.

3.  Using a mellon baller or small spoon, roll the mixture into 1 inch balls.  Roll each ball in the coconut or almonds.  Enjoy immediately or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

And voila!  That's it - straight from the Ghirardelli company.

Your final batch of chocolate words:

certifié équitablefair trade certified
chocolats fourrésfilled chocolates
poudre de cacaococoa powder
graine de cacao décortiquéecocoa nib
mise en moulespanning
pralineburnt almond
pressurage de la pâtepressing

I wasn't sure what gianduja meant so I looked it up.  It's a European style chocolate that's made of chocolate and nut paste.  Many use hazelnut paste, but almond paste is also popular.

chocolate filling What about ganache?  Think of icing, filling or glaze - the one that"crowns" pastries and cakes.  It may have started in France or Switzerland.  It is made by heating heavy cream (35% and higher) and then pouring it over semi-sweet chocolate pieces which together are blended until smooth.  Sometimes, people add liqueurs or a variety of extracts.  Chocolate experts say that to make ganache, the usual ratio is 2 parts chocolate to 1 part cream (that will of course depend on the kind of texture you want to obtain).

If your supermarket does not sell Ghirardelli chocolates, I don't see why you can't use any other white chocolate.  In fact, those white chocolate chips sold in supermarkets might be good substitutes.  Remember, though, that to make excellent chocolate, you have to spend a few extra dollars for good quality ingredients.

Friday, April 9, 2010

French to English: Chocolate, Part 2

The name Ghirardelli is Italian in origin but say that name out loud and North American chocolate lovers will tell you that it's America's premier chocolate maker.

I was lucky to have stumbled upon The Ghirardelli Chocolate Cookbook (Ten Speed Press, Berkeley, ISBN: 13: 978-1-58008-871-8) because it not only narrates the history of Ghirardelli but it also contains 80 enticing and decadent recipes, some of which are simple to follow.

Domingo Ghirardelli was initiated into the chocolate world by working as an apprentice chocolatier in a small Italian town in Rapallo, Italy.  He studied under Signor Romanengo and learned to make premium chocolate delicacies, sugar loaves and Italian fudge candies. 

Why would an 11-eleven year old boy spend his time in a chocolate factory when he could be out playing with his friends?  It probably had a lot to do with his father's travels to Sumatra and Peru.  Listening to his father's exotic tales, his fertile, chocolatey imagination sprung forth! 

Barely 20 and already married, he set out with his wife Bettina  to Uruguay and then settled in Lima, Peru where they started a small store.  But Bettina died and Domingo re-married a widow, Carmen Alvarado.  Soon the couple were friends with an American cabinet maker, James Lick, who also had that entrepreneurial bent.  Later, they decided to pack their bags and head straight for San Francisco. 

At first Domingo tried to participate in the Gold Rush which was at its fever pitch in California, but somehow he always returned to the craft he grew up with and loved most.

Ghirardelli wanted to make his own chocolate so he imported equipment from Switzerland and Peru.  It was only natural for the business to thrive:  soon, Mr. and Mrs. Ghirardelli opened stores in Oakland, Stockton and Sonora.

Domingo Ghirardelli is credited with the discovery of the Broma process in 1867 and is still used today.  This process involves leaving a bag of cocoa beans hanging in a warm room for a long time.  When the beans melt, cocoa butter drops to the floor.  The bag contains the leftover cocoa which doesn't have any trace of cocoa fat.  It now forms the base of the company's Sweet Ground Chocolate and Cocoa.



chocolat non-sucré unsweetened chocolate
bain-marie (bain d'eau) double boiler
mélange blending
brisures de chocolate chocolate chips
mousse au chocolate chocolate mousse
roulé au chocolat chocolate Swiss roll
chocolat de couverture chocolate topping
cachuète enrobée de chocolat chocolate covered peanut
conchage conching
coulis coulis
chocolat noir dark chocolate
désodorisation deodorization
dragée dragee (sugar-coated candy, nut or pill)
granulés de chocolat chocolate cake decorations

Monday, April 5, 2010

French to English: Chocolate, Part 1

Chocolates must be coming out of your ears, now that Easter weekend is almost over.  My brother and I received chocolates and jelly beans from our kind neighbor.  To reciprocate, I made chocolate muffins and sent them over with fresh strawberries.

Client work kept me on my toes and away from my blog, and that's the reason I haven't posted anything since the 19th of March.  My bad. 

I was thinking about what lexicon to give you this week and I decided that since I had just completed some chocolate articles for a client who owns a cookie cutter business and with Easter celebrations in full swing, I thought, why not do a chocolate lexicon?

But first, here's your treat to a chocolate video.  I reviewed many chocolate videos and I picked this one especially for you.  Ever wondered how those chocolate bunnies are made?  Check this out!
Quite an involved process but if you've got the right machines and equipment, you don't need to be bending over hot coals and looking at the timer.  Those epoxy sheets are interesting.  Would making your own homemade chocolate tickle your fancy?

What comes to mind when someone says "chocolate?"  I think of Switzerland, France and Belgium.  I love American chocolate (especially Mars), but every now and then I wouldn't mind spending money on fine, European chocolates. 

It might surprise you that chocolate didn't originate from Switzerland, France or Belgium.  History books tell us that chocolate was first "discovered" among the Aztecs in the 14th century in a place called Tenochtitlán, now known as Mexico City.

It all started when Hernando Cortés went to Monteczuma (Montezuma) to conquer the Aztec empire but instead of stumbling on vast wealth as he had hoped, he discovered the cocoa bean which the natives were very fond of.  It was later used as a trading currency.  When Cortés presented the bean to the Spanish court, the king and queen didn't like it because of its bitterness.

Many, many years later, Cortés made a cocoa drink which changed the minds of royalty.  All of a sudden it was coveted by the upper European classes and only the wealthy could afford it. From then on, the dynamic development of this seductive and mouth-watering delicacy took off.

Here's your first set of chocolate terms:

after taste
chocolat artisanal
artisanal chocolate (home made)
beurre de cacao
cocoa butter
thermomètre à sirop de sucre
bavarois au chocolat
chocolate amer
bitter chocolate
blanchiment gras
matière grasse butyrique
mouleuse à chocolat
chocolate moulding machine
pâte de chocolat
chocolate paste
rapeuse-effileuse de chocolat

One intriguing term is "bloom."  According to a chocolate book I was reading, bloom is what happens to the surface of the chocolate.  It can be in the form of dullness, streaks, graying or discoloration.  When bloom occurs, that means that the chocolate was not tempered properly; it can also mean that it was  stored in a place where there were fluctuating temperatures or moisture. While it is unattractive, bloom on chocolate is safe to consume.