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Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Salon du Chocolate Show

If you have ever wondered what chocolate heaven might look like, it could just be the Salon du Chocolate show in London. This was the finale of Chocolate Week, which took place at the National Hall, Olympia. Exhibits from the UK's top chocolate companies and many international brands were on show, including Artisan du Chocolat, Paul a Young, Rococo, Hotel Chocolat, Paul Wayne Gregory, Marc Demarquette, Divine, Prestat, Lindt, Valrhona, Pralus and Bonnat. There were also interactive workshops from well-known chocolatiers and chefs, plus dreamy chocolate sculptures which would even make Willy Wonka do a double take.

The highlight of the 3-day event was the chocolate fashion show, with outfits made from and inspired by chocolate, designed by the country's top chocolatiers and some of the UK’s most exciting fashion designers.

Salon du Chocolate Invitation

It was great to discover so many new brands of chocolate and get to sample them, after all, each bar is quite different and you only know what you will like by trying it. Next year I'm going to take plenty of money with me, good chocolate isn't cheap and you can't buy some of the unique chocolate/sweets on show here at your local sweet shop!

Some of the flavour combinations I spotted included chocolate and... candied fennel seeds, orange & coarse black pepper, lassi, matcha, black olive & pink peppercorn, orange-chilli-cinnamon, passion fruit, and salt & pepper.

The fashion show was interesting and all of the dresses were beautiful in their own way - but I'm not giving up the jeans for one just yet!

Anyway, here are some photos to drool over, please wipe your screens after!

chocolate shoes from Désir du Chocolat IMG_9778
Yes, these shoes are made from CHOCOLATE, by Désir du Chocolat 

chocolate pyramid from Maison Pralus IMG_9782
Tropical pyramid from Maison Pralus

chocolates from the chocolatier IMG_9729
No cream, butter, eggs or gelatine - chocolates from The Chocolatier

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Sparkling chocolate spread, caramel & more from Charles Chocolartisan

chocolate conkers IMG_9761
Chocolate conkers! From Choco France

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Cookies in a jar, French style from Mon Kit Cookies

Chocolate Eiffel Tower IMG_9740
A little bit of Paris, from Chocolate Benoit

chocolate Eiffel Tower IMG_9746
Another Eiffel Tower, from Le Canele De Bordeaux Lemoine

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And some cute chocolate guards, also from Le Canele De Bordeaux Lemoine

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Cocoa pod from Lindt, also the biggest samples!

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Fancy a chocolate bath??

And here are a few of the couture outfits.

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chococolate dress IMG_9805 R

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My favourite outfit!

Disclosure: I was invited to the Salon du Chocolate show as a guest. I was not asked to write this post and all views are my own.

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This content belongs to Nic at Cherrapeno. All writing and photography copyright N Fowers © 2007-2013 unless otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Tried and Tasted!

A selection of foodie nibbles for November.

Jack Daniel's Barbecue Sauces

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I know the BBQ season has disappeared without a trace, but that doesn't mean you can't enjoy these sauces from Jack Daniels®. They are made using real Jack Daniel's® Tennessee Whisky, which comes directly from the distillery in Lynchburg.
I tried the 'Full Flavour Smokey' - which had a rather nice warm hickory flavour, and the 'Hot Pepper' sauce - a delicious bbq sauce that has been blended with jalapenos for a spicy kick.

Both the sauces can be used as dipping sauces, or try brushing them over vegetables and meats before cooking. The 'Full Flavour Smokey' is probably the bbq sauce I would go out and buy, as we all enjoyed it and it's not too hot for children either.

The sauces can be found in most of the major supermarkets and sell from £1.99.
More information on the sauces can be found on the Jack Daniel's website. 
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Unearthed New Products

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I was pleased to see that Unearthed® have had a large product launch, 28 new lines which formed part of their Autumn Bay promotion. The range includes meats & sausages, olives & antipasti, special reserve range, seafood and twin dip packs. I tried:
  • 'Prosciutto del Poggio' - a dry cured ham with an intense flavour, rather fabulous on pizza.
  • 'Olives & Gouda' - pimento stuffed green olives with cubes of Gouda cheese. We all liked the cumin seeds and thought the flavour went really well with the cheese. It comes with a lid to keep any leftovers fresh.
  • 'Broadbean Houmous & Quinoa Houmous' - a twin pack of dips that complement each other. You can serve straight from the smart black plastic containers. The quinoa houmous had a generous helping of black olive tapenade, and (our favourite) the broad bean dip had a lovely taste of sesame and garlic.  
Unearthed new products IMG_9696 R

Did you know that Unearthed makes a donation from every pack they sell to support Action Against Hunger?
More information on the Unearthed® website and Facebook. They are also on Twitter.

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Madame Oiseau

Madame Oiseau chocolate chillies IMG_7458 R

I had a little gift given to me recently. My sister spotted these chocolate covered chillies and was kind enough to get me some. The chillies have been cut into strips and look like they have been given the sugar treatment that results in a candied/crystallised chilli (much like a candied orange peel). Then they have been dipped in dark chocolate - chilli and chocolate - wow! There's this warm glow that you get after eating one, not overpowering at all, just leaves you with a very happy mouth!

More information on the Madame Oiseau website and Facebook page. Also on Twitter.

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Thanks for all the products I was sent. I was not paid to write this post and all views expressed above are my own.

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This content belongs to Nic at Cherrapeno. All writing and photography copyright N Fowers © 2007-2013 unless otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Chocolate Delice - Oh Yes!!

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I admit, I usually want to scream "why?" when I hear of yet another special day or week to commemorate different foods, there's national cucumber day, walnut, gummy worm, celery day month (no kidding). I could go on - just google (insert food) + day - you might be rolling your eyes too!

But... this week it's 'chocolate week'!! And I don't care who thought this one up, I love them!

A whole week of

C H O C O L A T E !

delice IMG_9663 R

Here is my contribution, a wonderful chocolate delice that I spotted on MasterChef Australia, where the contestants had to make it as one of their challenges. I made this for my son's birthday dessert, he wanted something with chocolate that was a little different to the usual birthday cake offering. It's one of those desserts that looks quite complicated, but each layer is easy to make and assemble.
It is comprised of:
A shortbread base
Topped with a layer of crème brûlée
Smothered with chocolate mousse
Cover the whole thing with ganache
Drizzle with white chocolate and decorate with roasted almonds
Serve with a salted caramel sauce!

chocolate delice IMG_9659 R

Here is the link to the original recipe by Eamon Sullivan, Chocolate Delice with Salted Caramel. I did make a few changes, the amount in his recipe is for 4 individual ones, I made a single large one using an 8" cake tin for the shortbread base and crème brûlée. I cut the ingredients down as it seemed rather a lot for 4 people and my chocolate mousse was gelatin free. As the delice is very sickly rich, serve small portions.

Here's a rough guide which may help if you want to attempt it.
Make the shortbread base and the crème brûlée first. I used cake tins (8") for both and my crème brûlée was a 5 egg yolk one. Freeze the crème brûlée once cooked and cooled. 
Make the choco cream - I simplified this by making an easy chocolate mousse using 350g dark chocolate melted with 100ml double cream, then folded this into 300ml of lightly whipped double cream. 
Put the shortbread round onto a large plate and top with the frozen crème brûlée. Put an adjustable cake ring round the shortbread, making it about half an inch bigger (or you can use a ring from a cake tin that is about 8½" wide)
Pipe or spoon the chocolate mousse down the sides of the shortbread/brûlée (in the bit of space around it) and onto the top. Smooth it out using a spatula and put the whole thing into the freezer until frozen.
Make the chocolate ganache - 200g dark chocolate to 150ml double cream. Remove the delice from the freezer and carefully remove the ring. Pour over the chocolate ganache, spreading it around the sides and smooth the top. Lift the delice onto a serving dish or cake stand.
Drizzle with melted white chocolate and decorate the sides with roasted flakes almonds. Refrigerate until needed.
Make the caramel sauce and pour a little onto the serving plates, top with slices of the delice.

chocolate delice IMG_9661 R

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This content belongs to Nic at Cherrapeno. All writing and photography copyright N Fowers © 2007-2013 unless otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Pasta Workshop at Millennium Hotels

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I am a big fan of fresh pasta, and even though I have a pasta machine I don't use it as often as I should. My enthusiasm was renewed after attending an enjoyable pasta workshop given by a lovely Italian chef at the Millennium Hotel London Mayfair.

My problem with making fresh pasta is that it always seems so time-consuming and messy, but this demonstration was neither! We were shown how to make fresh pasta from scratch and, after making the pasta, turned it into noodles, spaghetti and ravioli.

chef at Millennium hotel IMG_9570 R pasta IMG_9587 R
pasta IMG_9574 R fresh pasta IMG_9588 R

As I couldn't bring the chef home, I dug out the pasta machine and made my own. I tried to remember his recipe, which I believe to be 50g of egg for every 100g of double '00' flour (found in most supermarkets). Add a splash of olive oil, a couple of pinches of salt and, with a little mixing and kneading, you have the perfect pasta dough.

P-IMG_9680-R P-IMG_9683-R
My pasta, tortellini with ricotta, Parmesan and spinach filling.

Millennium Hotel Mayfair IMG_9567 R

The Millennium Hotel London Mayfair is a fabulous 18th century London mansion, which was originally built as a stately townhouse, and overlooks Grosvenor Square Gardens in the heart of fashionable Mayfair. After the workshop, we were treated to dinner at the hotel's Italian restaurant, AVISTA, which has been awarded two rosettes from the prestigious AA Food Guide. The head chef is Michele Granziera, who won the award for his wonderful mix of rustic and refined regional Italian cooking.

bread IMG_9595 R bread sticks & canapes IMG_9599 R

I started with marinated salmon cerviche, which was served with a lovely sauce and crisp red onions. As we had been making pasta, I chose a pasta main course of penne arrabiata, which is penne with a sauce of tomatoes, chillies and garlic. This dish was good but rather mild, I would personally have preferred a bit more heat! I chose a tiramisu for dessert (one of my all-time favourite desserts) and it was gorgeous; the mascarpone cream was soft and the coffee flavour perfectly balanced.
I had a great evening and hope to get my pasta machine out a little more often!

salmon cerviche IMG_9603 R
Salmon cerviche

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Penne arrabiata

Tiramisu IMG_9627 R

salmon with spinach IMG_9613 R Ice cream selection IMG_9624 R
passion fruit brulee IMG_9628 R IMG_9637-R
Some of the other dishes on the menu were salmon with spinach, ice cream selection, passion fruit brulee and we finished with coffee and Italian dolce.

Millennium Hotel Mayfair IMG_9639 R

Disclaimer: I was invited to this event but was not paid to attend or write this post, all views are my own.

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This content belongs to Nic at Cherrapeno. All writing and photography copyright N Fowers © 2007-2013 unless otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.