Potato, Cacao, and Something Very New
Posted: May 02 2013
There are a great many experiments in chocolate that use salt to enhance the flavor. We've covered many tasty salted treats in the past, but there is certainly more to be said on the topic. Often salt enters into a chocolate alongside an ingredient like caramel or nuts. Salt has a very strong flavor, and, as such, combinations help to dial back the sharp bite that salt can have. A careless chocolatier could very easily overpower the flavor of the chocolate with salt, and leave very little for the discerning palette.
Salt, in just the right proportion, can reveal the depths of flavor within a cacao bean, and when you layer the salt into the flavor profile with a secondary taste, you can create some really special chocolate. One wouldn't expect it, but in this case, the potato chip provides just the right ratio and creates the perfect salted chocolates.
Keep in mind, not every potato chip is created equal, and only certain types are good for chocolate. Thick cut, overly crisp, oily potato chips are a sure way to spoil a chocolate experience. Talented chocolatiers select the right combination of textures and flavors to ensure the chocolate and chips work together as a whole.
Chuao Potato Chip Bar
One of my favorite chocolate companies, Chuao has done excellent work in crafting a Potato Chip Bar. They use an especially rich milk chocolate, a 51% cacao, mild enough to blend the tastes in the bar, but dark enough for the salt to play off the richness within the cocoa bean itself. It is both complex and accessible. The potato chips they use are kettle cooked, with a touch of caramelized sweetness built in. The chips are dry, crisp, and flaky, creating a texture like a gossamer toffee. The thin pieces of potato crack and fall apart against the moisture on your tongue, releasing their flavors without disturbing the smooth texture of the chocolate.
Neuchatel Swiss Chips
Chef Albert Lauber is a fifth generation Swiss Chef, and he leads the way for Neuchatel's various chocolate lines, they specialize in gourmet chocolate snacks: chocolate covered animal crackers, chocolate covered pretzels, and most recently, the chocolate covered potato chip. The "Swiss Chips" are enrobed in a silky smooth milk chocolate. With a Swiss Chocolatier, a major emphasis is put towards a high quality creamy taste. Lauber uses chips that are light, fluffy, and that crumble quickly in a chocolate mixture of salted sweetness. The potato chips are puff cooked, and match the chocolate perfectly for texture. The extra nutty, buttery flavor the chip adds has a way to distinguish the chocolate and give it strength over and beyond what a sea salt or almond would.
When you're considering a summer picnic snack, or an unusual addition to a dinner party, think potato and chocolate. It may raise an eyebrow or two, but the combination is sure to delight. This humble tuber deserves a space alongside every other artisanal ingredient in a chocolatier's pantry.