Last weekend I visited Alderbrook Resort and Spa which is situated right on the water near the south end of Hood Canal in Washington State. If you have never been to Western Washington State, we have an abundance of beautiful green trees, waterways that are fun to explore by ferry, sailboat, motor boat, canoe and kayak and don’t forget the mountains that when they appear out of the clouds are simply gorgeous.
Hood Canal is a long narrow natural waterway that travels 50 miles between the Olympic Peninsula and Kitsap Peninsula. The best way to experience it is of course by boat.
So, back to my visit to Alderbrook Resort. During my stay, I was happily surprised there was a demonstration on infused chocolate. It looks oh so simple but I know it’s not that easy.
Chef Boyd Borland of the resort says it all starts with quality chocolate. Belgium chocolate in this case. Dark and white chocolate was used in this demonstration. Tempering chocolate is quite the science of slowly heating the chocolate to just the right temperature, continually mixing the chocolate, and then cooling it down properly before pouring it out on a baking sheet for example. This is a very simplified explanation. If chocolate isn’t tempered correctly, the chocolate looks dull and may show white streaks that come from the cocoa butter that has crystallized. The ultimate goal is to have chocolate with a nice shine and a snap when it’s broken into pieces.
This demonstration included infusing the white chocolate with lavender which has the creamy floral taste you would expect. I think Lavender just lends itself better to being mixed with white chocolate than with dark chocolate. The light flavor of the chocolate plus the visual of the purple flecks is a perfect match.
What I was really inspired by though was the dark chocolate infused with cardamom and orange. The match between these two flavors really brings out an exotic taste. As I watched the chocolate demonstration, all I could think about was a cup of cardamom and orange hot chocolate. The right combination for a dark winter’s day.
I did not go the route of making my own tempered chocolate. Instead, I used a chocolate bar, ground cardamom and a fresh orange.
* Heat 2 cups of whole milk (or your milk of choice)
* Break the chocolate bar into small pieces and place in the milk as it slowly warms and melds together.
* Stir, stir, stir
* When the milk and melted chocolate are mixed together, add ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom and ¼ teaspoon fresh orange zest.
* Stir, stir, stir
* Continue heating until the desired temperature
* Add a fresh slice of orange and/or whipped cream