I Found a Golden Ticket! Chocolate Induced Endorphin Rush … The Lindt Experience

9 Nov

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What a gift … 2 vouchers to a Lindt Chocolate Experience … Thanks Sis.

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It all started in a pretty orderly fashion. Neat tables laid out with all the tools needed to make your own block of chocolate, samples to get the juices flowing and an apron.  I guess the apron should have been a warning of what was to come …

First up a quick hello from Lindt’s Master Chocolatier in Australia, Thomas Schnetzler. Thomas is one of those guys that has a real passion for what he does. You can see it in the glint in his eye and the curiosity for finding new chocolatey flavour combination. Given my winemaking background I can really relate to how wonderful it can be to create something that delights the senses and that can be enthusiastically shared with others.

There was no messing around with Thomas, who put us straight to work … if you could call it that!  Like kids in a candy shop, pardon the pun, we were given a chocolate mould filled with molten chocolate and given the mission of creating our own special block of Lindt Chocolate.  With a pallet of treats to sprinkle on top like good and happy little Oompa Loompas we went to work.  There were plenty of ingredients to choose from: crisp crepe wafers, liquorice, chilli and salt to roasted almonds, honey coated macadamias, candied rose petals and yes even that old child-hood favourite hundreds and thousands,

I think M’s grade 1’s could have probably done a neater job then me! M & P’s looked very professional, but more on that later.

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Thomas’s passion for the product came through again as he guided us through first tasting, then making chocolate from Pod to Bar, with samples of each raw ingredient to play with along the way. There’s something about the 100% cocoa liquor that pushes the right buttons for me.  Kinda like my love of good Barolo, when you get to the extremes they can be intense, crazy experiences that are very pure.

Tasting in a nutshell 1. Look at it … you want a matt finish, not too shiny, no bloom and no bubbles (unless it’s an Aero Bar) 2. Feel it, by rubbing it between your fingers and melting a bit hoping for no gritty bits 3. Snap it – looking for a clean break, no splinters and the sound of a good snap 4. Sniff it, smelling for yumminess 5. Gobble it … go slow a couple of little munches and then roll it around your gob letting it melt so you can appreciate the flavours and texture. Lindt’s website has some fun tasting videos, but, there’s nothing like learning from the professionals.

From bottom right a couple of broken up Cocoa Nibs, a pile of roughly crushed cocoa, a splodge of cocoa liquor, the white cocoa butter, some cocoa powder and some of the end product.

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It’s interesting that like wine and coffee, terroir is starting to receive growing appreciation for chocolate. Single origin chocolates have been around for a while, but, we’re not really seeing estate chocolates. Can’t wait to see more of those. Just like tasting wine it’s great to try more than one at a time, gives you something to compare against. Lindt has been trialing single origin chocolate. Sampling Lindt’s 70% Madagascar alongside the standard 70% bar, I could see more depth and length of flavour, along with a more lucious mouthfeel from a little more Cocoa Butter. It seemed just that little bit more expressive. It was funny to see that the 70%, a good chocolate in any line up, appeared sugar sweet rather being rich in flavour by comparison. Reminded me of wines that are tricked up with sugar to fill out the palate, not that it was.

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The other relatively new offering from Lindt was a Sea Salt chocolate using proper Fleur de Sel.  Man it rocks, like salted caramel, the salt brings out the flavour and adds a real savouriness.

I wish Kennedy & Wilson a rocking local producer of Chocolate, based in the Yarra Valley, were still doing their Bergamot Dark Chocolate Stars … ORGASMIC!

By this stage I Started buzzing a bit, cocoa coursing through my veins, with more on the way in the form of a silky chocolate mousse! Then the next challenge some hardcore flavour blending, making ganache fillings for Macarons.  Thomas let us loose on another palate of flavours!  After three attempts I had one win, one OK and one, well let’s say it needed some work.  The winner Pistachio and Salt, the OK Rose Water and Candied Rose, the one that needed work Lemon, Hazelnut and Salt.  The lemon essence in alcohol had a killer bitterness, I reckon with the right raw material the combo could work.  Sort of like Frangelico and Lime.

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Judgement Day … I’ll be back! … Thomas to the floor.  Casting his eye over our chocolate bar creations from the beginning of the night to choose a winner, his choice, none other than my Sis who walked away with an autographed book full of Chocolate Yumminess Recipes from Lindt’s Maitre Chocolatiers around the world.

The night ended with all of us in a … CHOCOLATE INDUCED ENDORPHIN RUSH … the Lindt Chocolate Experience was just that a great experience.  Thanks to Thomas and the staff at Lindt on Chapel Street for looking after our mess and the bag of goodies to gobble on the way home!

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