It’s funny that every time we go out for dinner and we get to the dessert stage we have a big discussion about chocolate. See the type of chocolate person I am and will openly admit to being is one that is anti-cake, anti-dessert and especially anti-chocolate ice-cream. This seems totally bizarre when considering my love the dark stuff but people like me get this completely. Desserts, cakes and biscuits are too heavy and rich and chocolate ice-cream is just too sickeningly chocolately.
To explain then, my gripe with restaurants around chocolate is – where is it? I do not care for it as an ingredient, in liquid form or frozen. I do not want a cheese board because its not the sweet finish to a meal us Irish have been brought up with and groomed for. I would love nothing more than a piece of chocolate with my Americano post main course. Can we get on it people?
When it comes to chocolate, profiling definitely exists and there is definitely a spectrum of chocolate enthusiasts, with a place for each and every one of us – from extremists to the more savoury palette. Over the last two years of taste testing our first product I have met only 4 out of 3400 that said these horrible words to me when asked the question, “would you like to try it?” … “No sorry I don’t like chocolate.” WHAT! And I actually, quite possible shouted that at them in disbelief (probably, because, and I am totally stereotyping here, they were women. I thought it was a given that all women would kill for the stuff; that it was in our blood. Clearly for some, it is not). Still don’t get it.
That number is good though right – 4/3400? That seems like a good enough reason to develop a raw cacao healthy indulgent elixir? See the problem for me has always been saying no. I have said to my husband (bearing in mind I am 38 years old) “please hide it from me,” to which he replies, ‘for god sake you’re an adult!” I am but being an adult and a chocoholic are two different things. I have control as one and not the other. This is me – the woman who bought a packet of Toffees in the petrol station, had 4 and threw the packets into the boot so I could not get to them while I was driving. I have tried ‘hiding’ chocolate in the glove compartment but it does not work – I am aware how ridiculous that sounds!
Going back to chocolate itself. On the cacao thing, that’s another interesting debate. Is your palette accustomed to the dark stuff or like Guinness (its funny that’s called the dark stuff too) did you have to force yourself to acquire the taste?
When we began developing Juspy Nourish I had many debates with our product developer over it. Eddie with his seasoned palette, and one I absolutely clearly respect, believed cocoa would give a better taste profile over cacao (cocoa, cacao what’s the difference – that’s a story for another blog post, for now lets say cacao is on the more natural side). I fought to keep cacao, which is bitter tasting, in there. We then worked tirelessly to find the right complementary ingredient to balance the raw cacao.
What was so interesting during this initial development stage was that when we did taste testing, there was a clear distinction between the response of the sexes – men when they tasted it would say things like ‘wow that’s strong or bitter or intense or seriously chocolaty. Women would just make groaning noises! I know hilarious right – who needs sex when you have chocolate. But as we went further and further with our development trials and we messed around with dates and honey and maple syrup and stevia and lastly coconut nectar, it was the latter that brought it to another place altogether. It was smooth but not overly sweet. It was balanced with an appeal now to both of the sexes. Its come a long way!
Now back to the restaurants – the only way I would have a dessert in a dining establishment is if they poured Juspy Nourish over two scoops of Nobo Ice-cream! Now that’s an idea ….