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Raw Chocolate

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  • Posted April 11, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Stunning Flavors Created by Effort

    Raw Food reaches past trendiness into a normal part of life these days. Restaurants, cookbooks, and even most kitchens are equipped to produce raw dishes that satisfy the palate and your hunger. Most cooks have a food processor, definitely needed to get the best results from “Raw Chocolate.”

    Preparing raw recipes involves some challenges. For example, many require advance planning. A home primarily eating a raw diet has the usual nuts soaking on a daily basis. Those exploring this approach to food or the raw-curious must handle the “Raw Chocolate” cookbook with deliberate intention.

    Read the cookbook first—from getting oriented to ingredients, techniques and timing—to choosing a couple of initial recipes that inspire you, I don’t recommend plunking the book down on your counter and diving in. I love jumping into a new recipe; here, you are likely to end up doing a header into the muck under the lake. Although paralysis is unlikely, the “now” scenario makes success equally elusive.

    Take the time to understand the special ingredients, add them to your pantry, and plan ahead for these recipes. The time and effort is worth the investment.

    A good starting place is the Macadamia Brittle. Once you’ve created a batch of tempered chocolate you may feel impatient to complete a recipe. Consider starting with the brittle. The combined powerful presence of the chocolate base, rich macadamia nuts and swarthy smoked salt reminds my mouth of a dinner party with my best friends. The flow of great conversation, interesting dishes, and the comfort of friendship resides in the flavors of each piece.

    One recipe I tested demonstrated the planning needed to complete the recipe. Fortunately, the authors made sure to tell you in the recipe it takes three steps. We found “Blueberry Bliss” to be a rewarding effort. Purity of chocolate flavor is one of the joys of raw chocolates. In many cases we’ve become accustomed to eating chocolate vastly changed by heavy processing. When you get the specified ingredients and follow the instructions, chocolate reveals a different personality. The bigger, stronger flavors pair with a more delicate touch on the tongue rewards the home cook who commits fully to these recipes. Blueberry Bliss combines this different chocolate reality with health-boosting, flavor-happy blueberries.

    Despite the surfeit of chocolate joy, a white chocolate recipe tore up the tracks and stopped the train dead in place. Part of the fascination with this recipe is the transformation that occurred. Everything was in the food processor, doing the raw food NASCAR routine. Stop the machine, check the texture, taste the results, start the engine and repeat. And repeat. All of a sudden, something changed. The color lightened, the texture lost any tiny remaining graininess. Then the taste: the component flavors disappeared into a deadly blend that dropped me to the kitchen floor in a full-on swoon. I thought only Victorian women swooned, until I tasted “White Chocolate Fudge.”

    The ingredient list is pleasantly short for a raw recipe. Clearly soaking the nuts makes

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