From time to time here on Cupcake Project, I pause from my regularly scheduled baking to tell you about some of the ingredients that I love. Often, these posts involve chocolate and often they involve chocolate that is sent to me for free. You will see, though, from the first section of this post, that I just don’t take it for granted that the chocolate is good because it’s free – the fact that a lot of it happens to be amazing is just a lucky perk of this blogging hobby of mine.
Patric Baking Chocolate
I’ve told you about Patric Chocolate before. After interviewing Alan McClure, Patric chocolate’s owner, he asked if I would help him test a top secret new product he was working on. I was not allowed to blog about it until it was released. This was all very exciting to me. My friends were equally willing to play along and be chocolate guinea pigs.
The chocolate that he let me try was a single-origin baking chocolate made from Madagascan cacao. Alan believes it to be the first single-origin baking chocolate of its kind. My task was to find out if it was any better than other baking chocolates out there.
Remember when I made the chocolate cupcakes with bourbon and pecan? The picture showed three cupcakes each with a different colored wrapper. The reason that the wrappers were different was so that I could tell which chocolate I had used in each one. I made one with Green & Black’s baking chocolate, one with organic baking cocoa, and one with Patric baking chocolate. I did not tell my friends which was which.
While I really wanted to tell Alan that his was the best, the result was that there was no difference at all! I wondered if that could be because the bourbon and the pecan diluted the high quality chocolate. I decided to do a second test – molten chocolate cake.
Footnote: Jonathan would like it to be noted that he could taste a difference and tell which chocolate was which (even though no one else could) and that you should hire him as a super taster!
I made three unlabeled varieties of molten chocolate cake – one with cocoa powder, one with Green & Blacks’s baking chocolate, and one with Patric baking chocolate. I again made my friends try all three and let me know which one they proffered. The Patric chocolate one was the overwhelming winner! One of my friends said she would go back to a restaurant just to get the one with Patric chocolate again and again and that she wouldn’t even order the other two a second time.
My conclusion is that if you are going to combine baking chocolate with other strong flavors, it doesn’t really pay to spend the money for the good chocolate – you can’t detect much difference. However, in something like a molten chocolate cake, fudge, or a ganache that is all chocolate, go for the good stuff.
BTW – Alan is including the molten chocolate cake recipe with a purchase of the baking chocolate. How cool is that?!
I’ve written about Amano Atrisan Chocolate before and even interviewed owner Art Pollard. I was happily surprised to receive two Amano chocolate bars in the mail the other day. Amano has a new bar out called Jembrana with cacao beans from Bali. I didn’t have any of his other bars sitting around to do a side-by-side comparison, however, I can wholeheartedly recommend that you try this new bar if you like Amano’s other products or single-origin chocolate in general.
The Jembrana seemed to me to be heavier and richer than some of the other bars, but equally complex and satisfying.
TCHO keeps sending me chocolate – seriously. It’s like they want to be sure that I never forget about them. Believe me, I have not forgotten about them! They did not send me all the stuff in that photo, but it sure feels like it.
My favorite thing that TCHO has sent me has been the chocolate drenched treats. These are macadamia nuts, cashews, mango, and cacao nibs all covered in their Fruity chocolate. First of all, their Fruity chocolate is my favorite of all of their chocolate bars. I love it! Then, when you take this amazing chocolate and wrap it around a nut or a mango it makes for a far too addicting snack. Give it a try, if you dare!