Thursday, August 22, 2013

Hazelnut and Chocolate - A Perfect Pairing for your Delicious Creations

I spent a year in France nearly eight years ago and while there, I saw a world of hazelnut-and-chocolate that I never knew existed. Aside from seeing the wonders of Nutella in its full European glory, chocolate flavoured with hazelnuts could be found in commercial candy bars, fine chocolate bars and chocolate shops all over the country. Having grown up in Canada, where peanut butter is the king of all nut-butters and just hearing the phrase 'chocolate-peanut butter' makes people instantly salivate, I had no idea that hazelnut was the revered nut in other parts of the world.

I recall grocery shopping during my first week in France and being hard-pressed to find a jar of peanut butter. But Nutella lined the shelves of grocery stores like nobody's business (and at a great price too compared to the high price of a jar of Nutella in Canada at the time). Also, Bueno, a candy-bar with a hazelnut filling, was being advertised non-stop and all the packaged gift chocolates seemed to be focused on hazelnut and praline fillings.  There were no Reese Peanut Butter Cups and crunchy peanut fillings to be found!

The world of chocolate in North America has changed a lot since then; the market now has a greater focus on hazelnuts and more natural tasting hazelnut-chocolate combinations.  And since I started my chocolaty business a four years ago, I have been experimenting with hazelnuts and pure hazelnut butter in my chocolate creations.

The only problem has been access to reasonably priced hazelnuts. In the rural town where I now live, I could only find hazelnuts sold raw and in small bags. The roasting, shelling and grinding hardly seemed worth my time.

Then I found a brand of hazelnut butter that was sold in the health food section of a major grocery store chain. It was good, but the price was $12 per 500g jar - a little too steep for my budget! I've been searching for a website, or the manufacturer, to contact them and get a better wholesale price, but nothing has worked out.

Finally, I hit the jackpot when Cacao Barry sent me a sample of the nicest hazelnut butter (or 'meat' as the package stated) that I have ever come across. It is dark in colour, rich in flavour and ground until perfectly smooth.

So last month, I made chocolate-hazelnut truffles (or 'meltaways' as some call them because I included organic coconut oil in my truffle creation).  Then I made hazelnut TOFFLEs - my signature product which normally has a cream-based milk chocolate centre inside of a rich, dark chocolate toffee.  The hazelnut TOFFLE was delicious - as good as the original TOFFLE!

Finally, I dipped pieces of Cacao Barry's origin chocolate in it to see which one it best paired with. It turned out that the Cacao Barry's Madirofolo (Madagascar) 65% dark chocolate paired beautifully with it. And I also discovered that this was a great breakfast too (chocolate with hazelnut butter is much better than toast with hazelnut butter).

So if you are looking for hazelnut butter to add depth to your chocolate creations, check out Cacao Barry's pure hazelnut butter:  http://www.cacao-barry.ca this website will enable you to search by your country and find a supplier in your area. If you are in America, they can be found on Twitter: @ and in Canada, their Canadian sale team can be reached at: @CacaoBarry_CA.

4 comments:

  1. Great post! Oh my gosh! Huge fan of hazelnut here! I'm going to have to buy some of your hazelnut TOFFLEs!

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