Chocolate should really be declared the official food of February, since at some point long ago someone decided it defined love, or professed it, or otherwise made people feel as good as love does. It’s always chocolate season, of course – but in the weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day I tend to want it more. The power of suggestion is strong with me.
Of course Valentine’s Day is all about sharing the things you love with the ones you love. The folks at Green & Black’s asked if I’d play around with some of their bars and make a fondue for two, and I was more than happy to oblige. You hardly need a recipe for chocolate fondue, but a little guidance helps, and the ratios of cream:chocolate vary from bar to bar. Once you get the formula down – heat cream, add chopped chocolate, stir – you can play around with it a bit, adding a shot of booze to the cream, or infusing it with flavours. Of course Green & Black’s has already thought of this, and come up with bars spiked with mint, salt and ginger on top of a wide range of cocoa percentages. It’s a bonus that the chocolate is delicious, and ethically sourced.
When making something like chocolate fondue (or chocolate chunk cookies, for that matter), it’s important that the chocolate itself be the best kind you can find. I take after my dad, and always have a stash of good bars on the shelf for baking and nibbling. I decided to take the usual chocolate fondue a step further and do a sort of yin-yang thing with dark and white chocolate, thinking it would make an interesting contrast of flavours and colours – bitter dark chocolate and sweet white. (Try eating a square of each at the same time – truly.)
But I was surprised by – and more than a little smitten with – their white chocolate. I’m not generally a fan, but the Green & Black’s Organic White Chocolate Bar is made with Madagascan vanilla, giving it a particularly smooth, creamy taste and turning it a few pleasant shades off-white.
This is how easy it is to make fondue, or ganache: heat your cream until it’s steaming, pour it over a bowl of chopped chocolate, let it sit for a minute or two, then whisk until smooth. SO easy.
Their white chocolate melts easily, and won’t require as much cream – about half as much, or less – than the dark chocolate to achieve a fluid, dippable texture.
In my mind, the two would have similar textures swirled together in the bowl, but when in reality the dark chocolate was thicker, I actually loved the dichotomy of liquid white chocolate pooled around a smooth, super soft dark chocolate almost truffle that was still soft enough to dip into. It was divine. And when the two became more intermingled, I popped the bowl back in the microwave to warm a bit, then whisked the two together, which was equally fantastic.
No, I don’t own a chocolate fondue pot. With limited storage space, I’m happy to make fondue in a regular bowl – I sometimes pour the mixture into a thick glass bowl that will stay warm longer, but it has never been a problem to eat enough of the chocolate before it starts to cool, and it takes a few seconds in the microwave to warm it up if it does. And here’s a huge bonus: when the chocolate mixture cools completely, you can scoop up little spoonfuls and roll the soft chocolate into balls to make truffles; roll them in chopped or sliced almonds, coconut or dark cocoa to coat. Talk about usable leftovers!