Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Abanico- Chocolat de Création

My problem with birds of the feathered variety seems to be continuing. Not only do they wake me at 4am with their lovely bird song but they're now using me for target practice. It was probably my mistake as I spooked a Wood Pigeon this morning and for my troubles it promptly deposited a little gift on my shoulder! I've been told it is good luck so, I'm off to buy a scratch card. If I never blog again you'll know I've either died or won the lottery!  

Abanico - Chocolate de Creation - When it comes to patisserie and chocolate delights the French are up there with the chocolate Gods. Agreed. I know the French scoff at our English cuisine but you have to admit they are pretty good at the sweet stuff. Well, when Chloe from Abanico offered me the chance to sample some of their chocolate I jumped at the opportunity.

History: Victoire Finaz is the creator behind the label and Abanico was launched over a year ago. A brave step in these difficult times. Their range of chocolates have been designed to awaken the senses for an enhanced tasting experience. To quote, "Meaning "fan" in Spanish, Abanico's chocolates open up a world of flavours. Our exquisite selection offers something for every taste; from crispy and delicately crunchy pralines to our salty caramel-filled palets. We take pride in developing recipes that bring together different tastes in perfect harmony". They also have their own blog page, Pas un Jour sans chocolat, where they talk about their passion for chocolate. 

To produce their fine range of chocolates they procure cocoa beans from Costa-Rica, Tanzania and the Islands of Vanuatu (east of Australia) and from Papua New Guinea. Apparently Victoire selected these regions because of the aromas produced by their cacao beans. In fact, they use all three types of cacoa to give their chocolates their unique taste. The Trinitario beans are sourced from Papua New Guinea and the Island of Vanuatu, Forastero from Tanzania and the Criollo from Costa Rica. 

The Chocolate: Typically the English weather sent temperatures sky high and then spiralled out of control as the heavens opened! I'm afraid the fine selection of ganaches and pralines are slightly dull, possibly due to temperature fluctuations over the weekend. 

From top left Caramel Ganache; Blue Flower Tea;
Ali Baba; Praline Feuillete and Moroccan Mint
These are particularly delicate and the chocolate casing is wafer thin.  For the benefit of doubt this is the definition of a praline:

Praline - Praline refers to two different confectionery products: either almonds cooked in boiling sugar, or a thick chocolate candy filled and coated with chocolate.  Praliné - A paste ground more or less finely, composed of powdered sugar, almonds and/or hazelnuts, oven-toasted and caramelised.

Caramel Ganache flavoured with delightfully fruity raspberry. The texture of the ganache is 'jelly' like and it reminds me of a Jaffa Cake centre. It is delicious. The dark chocolate works really well with the raspberry.

Caramel Ganache
Blue Flower Tea - Described as a dark ganache with a romantic blend that conjures up images of lazy summer afternoons. A good dark ganache but lazy summer afternoons, no. I don't get this one at all. The flavour is so delicate and subtle that I can't describe it at all.

Blue Flower Tea
Ali Baba Praline - I love the name. Adorned with tiny shards of sesame seeds and boasting caramelised nougat. Soft milky ganache with toasted sesame seed is fantastic and I wish there was more.

Ali Baba Praline
Moroccan Mint Ganache - Described as a creamy and refreshing dark ganache with hints of Moroccan mint. The dark ganache has a lovely tobacco aroma and the ganache is certainly creamy. Brush your hand through fresh mint and this is the taste sensation. Excellent! 

Moroccan Mint
Praline Feuillete - Last but not least. This little praline is described as offering almond and hazelnut with a laced crepe. Not sure about the crepe maybe this is lost in translation? A truly nutty, crunchy and concentrated almond ganache. They've maximised the nutty flavour in the praline which works really well. 

When I saw that the chocolate was a bit dull I thought this is going to be disappointing. However, ignoring the finish the flavours were excellent and I enjoyed tasting and experiencing them. If you want to stuff your face then these little beauties are not for you. They're sophisticated, delicate and definitely something that you should savour and contemplate. Great for that special occasion.

Wearing my 'green' hat the packaging was a bit over the top however they were beautifully presented. Overall 7/10 for taste and presentation. I definitely want to taste more. Prices based on 15 chocolates, 60g, expect to pay 10.50€ which equates to £9.26 including taxes and dont'f forget to add delivery. Abanico are heading to the UK so expect a boutique to open soon! If you can't wait until then they will deliver to the UK.

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