We are constantly looking for ways to deepen our understanding of our work, and challenge ourselves to grow. Re-engineering our ganache recipes into plant-based versions started as an experiment designed to understand how different ingredients influence a recipe’s outcome. Our first tests were promising, and we quickly became excited about the possibilities. A simple dark chocolate ganache became a collection of 5 unique plant-based chocolates inspired by some of our favourites from Award-Winning Trademark Collection.
Traditionally, a ganache is considered to be a mixture of cream and chocolate, finished with a bit of butter to create a creamy mouthfeel. The idea of substituting the cream and butter go against everything we’ve been taught, with the resulting product seemingly unrecognizable as a ganache. If we taking a deeper look, and breaking each ingredient into its component parts, we quickly realize that a ganache is just an example of an emulsion between fat (cocoa butter) and water (cream).
Building off of this realization, we started experimenting with alternative sources of water - water (obviously!), nut mylks, fruit juices - and found that with the correct balance of fat and water, we were still able to create a rich, creamy emulsion without the use of cream. Butter could then be substituted with a variety of different plant-based oils - coconut, grapeseed, almond - and while the resulting mouthfeel was slightly different, the experience was very similar to that of a traditional dairy-based filling.
One of the problems we faced was the fact that we love playing with white chocolate for it’s neutral flavour profile that really allows the bright flavours of fruits (and vegetables!) to shine. Thanks to some recent innovations from the chocolate wizards at Valrhona, we’ve had a new world of possibilities opened to us. Over the past couple of years, we’ve been able to play with their revolutionary ‘Inspiration’ range of chocolates that are built around fruit powders. Each variety is similar to white chocolate in its composition, with the milk powder replaced entirely by freeze-dried fruit powders. The result is a chocolate that’s packed with fruit flavour and completely plant-based.
Using the newly released Yuzu Inspiration, we’ve been able to transform the Matcha - Yuzu chocolate from our Trademark Collection, into a plant-based version that’s packed with yuzu’s bright, citrusy punch, and paired it with the earthy green flavour of matcha in a matcha and pistachio praline. Also included in this newly released collection is a plant-based reworking of our Tropical Crunch chocolate that pairs a passionfruit and coconut caramel with a macadamia and coconut praline (I even prefer this version to the original, as the tropical flavours really shine brightly without the dairy getting in the way!). The Chocolate Hearts Collection is rounded out with 2 unique single-origin dark chocolates - the first from São Tomé (a small island off the west coast of Africa) and the second a unique chocolate made from the rare Porcelana cocoa bean found in northern Peru - and a rich, fruity raspberry praline that pairs a roasted hazelnut praline with tart freeze-dried raspberries and cocoa nibs.
We hope you enjoy our first experiments into this non-traditional world of plant-based chocolates, and we’re looking forward to diving deeper into the world of plant-based pastry this year, and discovering unique new products that continue to open our minds to new possibilities.