Earlier this week we attended the FoodTalk Awards and we were invited to showcase some of our chocolates at the drinks reception before the awards ceremony at Oxo2 at Oxo Tower in London. We received a Gold award in the "It's All In The Taste - Food" category.
The awards were organised by FoodTalk Show which works in partnership with the FoodTech group of Tech London Advocates, and the ceremony coincided with the start of London Tech Week. There were many very interesting winners and finalists from various innovative businesses related to the food industry. To name a few of the winners here: milk vodka by Black Cow Vodka, beer made from surplus bread by Toast Ale, a smart food expiry label called "Bump Mark" etc.
You may now be wondering what our chocolates have got to do with food technology, especially when we don't use large shiny machines to churn out millions of chocolates every day, but we insist on making all our chocolate products by hand?
One of the definitions that I have come across on Food Technology by The Food Rush: "a branch of food science that deals with the production processes that make foods.”
Although many customers do comment that our chocolates look like pieces of art, we often apply food science and knowledge in the development of many innovative flavours in our filled chocolates. Adding soya sauce to caramel in order to create our award-winning "Hong Kong" (soy caramel chocolate) may sound crazy - after all, soya sauce is associated with savoury food and not with sweet caramel. However, this is just the next level up from the popular salted caramel. The soya sauce works in the same principle - the saltiness brings out the sweetness, but the umami flavour in the soya sauce adds an extra dimension to the flavour of the filled chocolate. Understanding the subtle differences in various soya sauces also helps us in deciding which one to use.
It is this appreciation of the ingredients that have helped us in creating many of our award-winning savoury chocolates, including "Meaux" (whole grain mustard ganache), "Sydney" (mint & miso) and "Cape Town" (curry & raisins).
Even our "New York" (apple & calvados caramel chocolate) has several elements of food technology in its development. Apple does not have a strong flavour in relation to chocolate, and as we do not use flavoured oil or artificial flavourings in our chocolates, it is difficult for the apple flavour to come through without alcohol. Another interesting part is in the shape of the mold for the chocolate - our first choice would have been a triangular or rectangular mold, but when we bit into the chocolate, the mouthfeel just did not seem right to us. So in the end we settled for the current half-round mold.
Hope this has given you an insight on some of the thoughts that have gone into our chocolate creations, and you can appreciate how food technology is applied in our chocolates.