A second serving of chocolate

May 1st, 2015 | Posted by greg in Daily life... | Travel

Second trip and second serving of chocolate cultivated and made in Vietnam!

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After travelling to Vietnam, I tested the different chocolates in several recipes, including this (very smooth) chocolate cheesecake that I glazed with an olive oil and chocolate glaze. The base of the cake (or tart) is made of sweet dough and black olive chunks, finished by a thin coating of cocoa butter chocolate mixture. I added caramelized pecan nuts around the tart to link all the flavors together and it turned out to be very delicious. The caramelized sticks on the top are made with black olives that were roasted and dried in a low temperature oven. Working with black olives and chocolate is not new, but wow, what a difficult balancing act in flavor. The wrong size of olive chunk in the sweet dough base and you’ll feel like you’re having a spoonful of tapenade with your chocolate cheesecake! :)

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Broken Cocoa Pods

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10 tons of drying cocoa beans!

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Dried bean

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The drying beans at different stage from fresh on the left to fully dried on the right

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The different stages of drying, a very important step defining the flavor of chocolate.

We couldn’t take photos on the site of the chocolate factory (due to confidentiality of the installations), but we could see every step of the making, including the critical and highly secretive conching of the chocolate which is the magical part, affecting the final taste of the chocolate. For instance, we were told by the director of production that the amount of air injected in the conching chamber during the process had a direct effect on the final flavor. The new facilities for the expansion of the chocolaterie were already planned and well underway which was very good to see. A perfectly fine chocolate success story in a country that holds a really promising future in the chocolate world, and that’s the least to say!

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The Ben Tre region

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The cocoa flowers and pods are growing directly on the trunk of the trees

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Trinitario cocoa pods

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Cocoa beans fermenting in the wooden crate (wonderful smell!)

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iPod :) lol

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