As I sit and write, a thunderstorm is threatening and the air is ominous and heavy. Like waiting for a balloon to pop in the hands of a toddler, I’m on edge for that first crack of thunder, which would bring some release. This weather always reminds me of my childhood, where the storms were biblical and cleansing, and sometimes the adults would feed you chocolate in an attempt to quell the rising fear (my grandmother was afraid of nothing, save for the weather). Emotions and food enmeshed? As if.
None of this has anything to do with caramelised white chocolate, which is what I want to tell you about. Forget things like ‘caramel- flavoured bars’, which contain no cocoa at all, these two chocolates taste the way they do due to a caramelisation process of their ingredients.
Marks & Spencer’s new Golden Blond bar (£1 for 100g) contains 35% cocoa butter. It’s sold as a baking ingredient – ignore this. It’s creamy with a rich and sweet biscuity flavour thanks to the caramelised sugar.
The second is the absolute queen of caramelised whites, Valrhona’s incredibly delicious Dulcey bar (£4.35 for 70g). This also contains 35% cocoa butter and tastes less sweet (although the sugar content is similar). It is not a bar that is easy to stop eating. It also comes in buttons (£9.60 for 250g) ostensibly made for melting. (Melted into cream, then whipping the whole lot up, makes for an extraordinary thing). Valrhona-class Dulcey as a whole new colour in chocolate – I say it takes white chocolate to a whole new level.