A ‘fruit’ful approach to chocolate

The other day we went to reach into our purse for our house keys and noticed that they were a bit sticky, fragrant – and tasty. Our emergency piece of chocolate had melted in the handbag.

Yes, summer is not exactly chocolate’s friend. But here’s a healthy new chocolate collection – and no, that is not an oxymoron – from La Maison du Chocolat that’s worth braving the temps (and storing it in a cool place, though you might just want to gobble it down). This is what the company has to say about it:

“Bien Être is a gluten-free, dairy-free and sugar-free collection of five new recipes of dark chocolate ganache. You would think that ganache is impossible to execute well without cream, butter and sugar, but chef Nicolas Cloiseau used fruit purées, fruit juices and nectars to give life to these silky chocolates, with honey and maple syrup as natural sweeteners, hazelnut oil for creaminess and natural chicory fiber for substance. Using ingredients with dense nutritional values, the collection boosts the antioxidants, polyphenolic compounds and vitamins in chocolate. Mango, turmeric, aloe vera, propolis (bee glue), squash seeds and pomegranate are the key players in this collection, which boasts a minimum of 45 percent fruit content, sometimes up to 74 percent. 

“This collection took 18 months to perfect and it was made possible thanks to a long-lasting collaboration with Dr. Thierry Han, a nutritionist doctor for more than 30 years. Han shares his scientific expertise of cuisine and health with corporations and well-known chefs to promote gourmand, balanced nutrition. Cloiseau has been interested in his research on the role of pastry in nutrition by taking a qualitative nutritional approach without impacting the taste and texture.

“Bien Être comes on to the market at a time when prolific, scientific evidence shows that cocoa is good for the heart. Tthe cocoa bean contains flavanols, which work by stimulating production of nitric oxide, which relaxes vessels and improves blood flow.) But most chocolate is still packed with unhealthy sugars while Bien Être uses natural fruit purées and juices.”

La Maison was kind enough to send us some samples and all we can say is that this is one fruity collection in which the fruit is as much of a player as the rich chocolate. And who doesn’t enjoy fruit, particularly on a hot summer day?

Says the company: “Basically, Bien Être is the new way of enjoying chocolate’s benefits without the empty calories” – and, we might add, the guilt.

For more, visit here

For those who prefer their chocolate frozen, there’s the New York City-based A La Mode, a nut-, egg- and sesame-free, handcrafted, artisanal brand of ice cream that began as a local creamery and is devoted to retaining old-fashioned ice cream parlor virtues and flavors. Our staff tried the classic vanilla bar dipped in chocolate and Speed Bump (deep chocolate with marshmallows and white and dark chocolate chips). Reaction ranged from “interesting” to “good,” with everyone thankful for a cool treat in the summer heat. See for yourself at dessurtcorp.com.

And for more on all things food, including food allergies, check out WAG’s July issue of “Tasteful Inspirations.”

– Georgette Gouveia

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