Chocolate together with smoked chiles? Chinese five spice? Curry??? Well, yes, yes and yes! But before we plunge into flavor adventures, let’s back up a bit.
As you know, there’s nothing else like chocolate. It is great in both sweet and savory applications; it can be melted, chopped, grated and pulverized into nibs and powder for a multitude of uses; it can be used straight up and intense or blended with sugar and milk for a lighter taste. And best of all, its deep, universally-loved essence blends beautifully with so many other flavors, each enhancing the other.
For me, the experimenting all started with truffles. The first truffle flavors I developed professionally for my chocolate business, Dear Coco, were the most familiar: espresso, toasted coconut, salted caramel, peanut, banana, peppermint – classic pairings. Then came the next level of flavor combinations: green tea, Mexican cinnamon and almond, smoked paprika, chai tea, lime – interesting and a bit different yet still very approachable. Some unusual, off-the-beaten-path flavors became part of our rotating monthly truffle collections to spread the exotic and fun throughout the year: sesame, apricot anise, passion fruit, lavender, coconut jerk, balsamic vinegar. Amazing – all these beautiful flavors (and more) blended with chocolate, and they all work – a testament to the beauty and versatility of chocolate.
Even after I developed 38 flavors of truffles, there were still possibilities on my idea list that I hadn’t yet explored. Since I love making caramel I decided to detour from truffles and try something completely different: blending new spices and aromatics with toffee and then making all of it taste even better by adding chocolate. And this is how our new Toffee Chocolate Bar line was conceived, developed (after tons of trials and refinements) and finally born. And am I ever proud! These unique, textured bars are loaded with flavorful handcrafted toffees, fresh roasted nuts and seeds, smooth premium dark chocolate and a sprinkle of sea salt to balance all the flavors. With eight different globally-inspired flavors (like our truffles), there is a toffee bar (or several) for everyone.
This dessert is inspired by one of our toffee bars: Madras, which combines sweet curry toffee with roasted sunflower seeds and sea salt in premium Belgian dark chocolate. Curry and chocolate together might sound strange, but don’t wrinkle your nose – it is surprisingly delicious. I took the flavor profile of this toffee bar (chocolate, caramel and curry) and added creamy, nutty coconut to create this “4C” double-decker tart (gluten free, dairy free). This tart features a layer of fragrant, curry-infused caramel topped with a layer of smooth, luscious dark chocolate ganache, all encased in a chewy coconut crust and sprinkled with sea salt.
Try my recipe for this Curry, Caramel, Coconut and Chocolate Tart.
I hope you’ll embark on a delicious chocolate journey and try this wonderful tart – let me know how you enjoy the chocolate adventure!