Archive for June, 2011

Beer and Chocolate!

Posted in Uncategorized on June 27, 2011 by Brian

We have to admit, this isn’t unfamiliar territory to us at Kakao. We’ve offered a Stout Truffle — made with a reduction of stout beer blended into a creamy ganache and dipped in bittersweet chocolate — since the very beginning. In fact, because of its rich and complex taste, it’s one of Brian’s favorites. And we paired some old favorites and new confections side-by-side with an assortment of Schlafly Beers at a fundraiser for the St. Louis Art Museum earlier this year.

As part of our Peculiar Pairing series (if you didn’t get any of our Cheese and Chocolate Confections in June, you really missed out), we’re going to take things to another level with Beer and Chocolate in July. And we’re really excited about our partners in this venture.

First, we’re going to be working with Evan Benn, the Hip Hops columnist from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Evan will be our Celebrity Beer Pairer and Pourer for the evening. Yes, that means we’ll have beer TO EAT in the chocolates as well as beer TO DRINK in glasses.

We’ll introduce our new confections at a special VIP tasting on Thursday, July 7 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $25 and all of the ticket proceeds will go to our second partner of the evening, Operation Food Search. OFS distributes more than 2 million pounds of food and necessities to 265 local food pantries, soup kitchens, and homeless shelters, feeding 120,000 people — nearly half of them children — every month.

Seating is limited to 12 people, so don’t wait — the Kakao Maplewood shop at 7272 Manchester is taking reservations at 314.645.4446.

 

 

Introducing…Chocolate and Cheese Confections

Posted in Uncategorized on June 10, 2011 by Brian

Last night we introduced the first in our series of Peculiar Pairings: our chocolate and cheese confections, at a special fundraiser for Slow Foods St. Louis. All the cheese/chocolate confections are available — starting today, at both shops — for $2 each. Supplies are limited, but I’m guessing if you like them we’ll make more.

 

We sampled six amazing confections, each made by a different Kakao team member, and each using a different type of cheese. Here are the artists’ notes on their creations:

Local Goat Cheese and Sundried Fig Bon Bon
in Milk Chocolate –
Kate

Creamy, milky goat cheese and sweet figs are two of my favorite things- so I knew that I had to make a goat cheese bon bon! I tried doing a blended ganache with figs and goat cheese, hand rolled in milk chocolate, but the taste of the goat cheese and fig was too intermixed. So instead I made a European-style butter ganache with white chocolate, and substituted goat cheese for butter. The rich flavor of the ganache is nicely cut with sweet fig.

Brie Mendiant with Dried Pear and Walnut – Margaret

As I chose a French cheese, I decided to pay homage to that with a French confection. Brie with walnut and pear are such a delicious combination, so I wanted to experiment with a specific type of chocolate that would compliment all of the flavors. I feel like the high cacao content of the bittersweet chocolate balances the rich, creamy flavors of Brie.

Farmhouse Gouda in Dark Chocolate – Brian
When I first tasted a chocolate bark made with Gouda cheese, I was immediately disappointed – there wasn’t enough cheese! To get the perfect balance of cheese and chocolate, I chopped the cheese into large enough pieces. I used Farmhouse Gouda, which is made from raw cow’s milk from a single farm, and has a smooth butterscotch flavor that adds salty-sweetness to the dark chocolate.

Kerrygold Cheddar in Semisweet Chocolate with Raw Walnut – Brian
For this confection I wanted everything to be as smooth as silk. I used a mild English cheddar with a semisweet chocolate and a raw walnut to create a confection with a singular – but unique – flavor that simply melts in your mouth.

Blue Cheese Truffle with Prosciutto Brulée – Jess

I always try to take a savory approach or at least incorporate something in candy that’s not usually there. For the cheese and chocolate pairing, I immediately wanted to do something really odd because I thought it would be rewarding to make a weird combination actually work.

I did a lot of tasting just the cheese with a button of chocolate and a piece of prosciutto, and the flavors complemented each other. It was more challenging choosing a method – Make the cheese into a ganache? Butter ganache or cream ganache? Or just dip the cheese? Although I feel like I’m taking the easy way out, just dipping the cheese is the best way to showcase the flavor and texture of the confection. When making something, I always strive to mess with the ingredients as little as possible, and in this case it works.

I used St. Agur blue inside the “truffle.” It’s a cow’s milk cheese, enriched with cream, and contains 60% butterfat. It’s dipped in 61% chocolate and topped with a piece of prosciutto brulée (also available vegetarian).

Gjetost and Lingonberry Dark Chocolate Butter
Ganache – Jenny

Being a huge fan of Scandinavian cuisine, I wanted to experiment with gjetost, an intense goat cheese that merges the irresistible qualities of rich, sweet, and slightly bitter caramel with tangy and nutty overtones. When you unwrap a cube, you uncover what seems to be an oversized caramel. Gjetost, in fact, is produced in a way similar to caramel or dulce de leche; as the mixture cooks and reduces, the milk sugars caramelize, leaving you with golden brown goodness. In my opinion, gjetost should be a staple in every home because it satisfies both the savory and sweet tooth. I often enjoy the cheese with wine, beer, or even coffee.

That being said, it was a challenge to find the right method to merge gjetost with chocolate, since it is typically served in thin slivers and is naturally sweet. I tinkered with a caramel recipe, and then a white chocolate butter ganache, substituting gjetost for butter. Eventually, I found that gjetost was best represented in its pure form – it already exhibits the velvety texture of a creamy ganache. Paired with a dark chocolate butter ganache made with tart lingonberry jam, the salty and nutty notes characteristic of gjetost are pronounced and well balanced in the truffle presentation. Hope you enjoy my creation!

 

We’ll be selling these creations through the rest of the month, even as we start preparing for the next Peculiar Pairing — Beer and Chocolate! Mark your calendars for July 7, when we’ll introduce these confections at a special fundraiser for Operator Food Search. See you soon!

Chocolate, Cheese and Beer

Posted in Uncategorized on June 2, 2011 by Brian

We’re excited about the Peculiar Pairings we have planned, and we’ve got some news for you about the tasting schedules. We’re also pleased to announce the not-for-profits you’ll be supporting when you attend our special Peculiar Pairing Unveiling.

First up is Chocolate and Cheese, in honor of National Dairy Month. We’re working on some great confections that pair cheeses — ranging from locally made goat cheese to sharp English cheddar to creamy blue to caramelly gjetost  from Norway — with chocolate in some truly unique and wonderful confections.

The first people to taste these confections will be attending a special tasting event next Thursday, June 9, at 7:30 p.m. at Kakao Maplewood (7272 Manchester). The price of admission is a suggested $25 donation to Slow Foods St. Louis, the local chapter of an international group dedicated to promoting fresh, local, and sustainably-produced food, biodiversity, and the preservation of food traditions, as well as celebrating the pleasures of the table.

We have 10 seats available for this tasting, which will include a sample of each cheese and chocolate confection, along with wine selected especially for the pairings. You’ll also get to hear the stories behind the chocolates, directly from the confectioners who created them.

Call the Maplewood shop at 314.645.4446 to reserve your spot.

After the June 9 tasting, we’ll have all the confections available for purchase at both Kakao Maplewood and Kakao on Jefferson (2301 S. Jefferson) throughout the month, while supplies last.

And mark your calendar for July 7, when we’ll have a special tasting of our beer and chocolate confections (have you ever had our stout truffle?). Same limited seating, same suggested $25 donation, (we’ll have beer instead of wine, don’t you think?) but in July we’re helping to raise money for Operation Food Search, a St. Louis area food bank that distributes food free of charge to feed the poor and hungry.

Stay tuned for more information as July approaches!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.