Split decision on my new chocolate bonbon

February 24th, 2012 | Posted by greg in Daily life...

Watching the occasional (good) movie at home and munching out of a rough paper bag on hand rolled truffles, freshly made with the best chocolate is definitely quality time that I enjoy very much!


When I started baking 20 years ago, I remember folding the butter gently in the almost cooled ganache, to later roll them by hand, chill them a little and roll them in cocoa powder. I was truly astounded to find out how easy it was to produce what I was seeing as a complicated confectionery from specialized stores. Back then, chocolate molds were rare and expensive. We had to take very good care of the molds and as far as I know, they still use the same molds today, at the chocolaterie where I worked as an apprentice. A true way of life.

Twenty years on, technology changed everything. Machines are now available to produce custom made molds with challenging design in small scale. It allows us to create virtually anything and I found it very fun to challenge the limits of what is possible. Yet, the machine doesn’t design molds. People do.

I first drew countless sketches on paper, but nothing was really popping out. When you intent to create something, your subconscious memories always bring back things you have seen before. You draw them and then get reminded where you saw that before. On that day, the light above my head switched on,  I stepped out of the office for a few minutes, got back and drew the following sketches.

The first sketches

I wasn’t sure if any of this was possible. I thought, wow… straight angles, lots of surfaces (meaning a lot of plain chocolate for the shell), 2 different fillings and a tiny 2 mm bridge to hold the parts together. Would it work?

The hard plastic rendering

Of course, the rendered models in hard plastic looked good. There was no actual molding of chocolate here, but I was already getting very excited!

The first pieces made of full chocolate!

We then received the actual molds and tested them out with plain chocolate to see how they would come out. It was very satisfying to see the chocolate being done. It worked as plain chocolate block, now we had to test it with the actual fillings to complete the course.

We produced two samples, one of which is in photo here. This particular one is milk chocolate, hazelnut and passion fruit. The hazelnut filling is a praline ganache with a whole roasted Piedmont hazelnut in the middle and the other part is filled with passion fruit juice cooked with glucose to obtain a certain viscosity.


The other praline which we made a sample of (that we’ve eaten too fast before thinking of taking photos) was dark chocolate with the large compartment filled with a smooth ginger ganache and the small compartment (listen to that) filled with Chinese sweet vinegar (八珍甜醋 – cooked with glucose to obtain the same viscosity as with the passion fruit). You might have heard about or tasted the traditional pork knuckles cooked in this vinegar, at the occasion of child’s birth. The result in the chocolate is very good. The vinegar blends beautifully with the 71% Venezuelan chocolate. When you bite the bonbon and you know the flavors, you might be skeptical, but then the magic works.

It’s really great to see your very own designs becoming reality!

Stay tuned as we still need to finalize finishing touches of our new collection before rolling them out! And yes, this is just one of the bonbon – you should see the others! ;)

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14 Responses

  • Nicely engineered. Those prototyping systems are so seductive in allowing all sorts of ideas to be tried out then fail in the real world because the tiny bridges can’t take the strain. Yet you contrived a workable design and proceeded to fill it with thought-provoking fillings that prompt surprise at first and then a quick pause, as if mulling it round in the mouth, before deciding it sounds like an intriguing structure and set of tastes.

    That said, I’m not familiar with Chinese Sweet Vinegar, I had black vinegar in mind when you mentioned pork knuckles. However, I’m now fairly sure that I need to track some down just so I can round out the imaginary tasting session :)

    • I wish this commenting system would have another option than ‘Like’ for comments like yours. I simply love it!

      The vinegar is also referred to as black vinegar, thus I think we are talking about the same thing. It’s yet another extraordinary ingredient that can be utilized in many ways. Again, it’s all about balance, ratio and sensitivity! :) 

  • Wow, this looks absolutely amazing. If you ever need someone to taste test your creations, you know where to find me… :-)

  • Daisy says:

    Ohh yum!!! These look great :) I didn’t know chocolate moulds use to be expensive because I think now hehe people like me just take these technologies for granted.

    I really like the bridge in between the chocolates! And the use of some unique ingredients the Chinese Vinegar! my sister used it when she gave birth her son lol and for the pork knuckles with ginger :P When are you they going to be for sale at Four Seasons? Let me know ASAP ~

  • Having the slit in the bonbon provides the exact place to sink the teeth in and break it up. Two fillings is an ingenious idea. Now, onto serious business, I will pay for these. Can you ship to Singapore? PLEASE???

  • Having the slit in the bonbon provides the exact place to sink the teeth in and break it up. Two fillings is an ingenious idea. Now, onto serious business, I will pay for these. Can you ship to Singapore? PLEASE???

  • Jodi says:

    The idea of Chinese Vinegar AND Ginger in Chocolate is just too good to be true.  I’m a vinegar fan and go around hunting down people that have just had babies to eat their pork knuckle in vinegar (drinking the vinegar but leaving the pork knuckle).  When will these be available???

    • Wow! Craving for vinegar?! That’s awesome!
      We are now awaiting the molds so that we can sustain a good level of production for the new bonbon. Will post the news as soon as they are here! Thanks Jodi! :)

  • Jodi says:

    The idea of Chinese Vinegar AND Ginger in Chocolate is just too good to be true.  I’m a vinegar fan and go around hunting down people that have just had babies to eat their pork knuckle in vinegar (drinking the vinegar but leaving the pork knuckle).  When will these be available???

  • Will they be ready in May? Cos that’s when I will be visiting!!! 



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