Get (TCHO) Chocolate!July 30, 2009
If you live in or near San Francisco get over to Pier 17 pronto. If you don’t live in the Bay Area then go to their website. At both places you will find the most amazing chocolate.
I first met Timothy Childs, co founder of TCHO, and the TCHO gang several years ago when Timothy called me to brainstorm about chocolate. What better way to spend a couple of hours talking about one of the things I love best. He was in the middle of beta testing variations of TCHO so of course we nibbled as we chatted. Fast forward several years (but not so fast for them) and TCHO now has a full production facility on a pier over looking San Francisco Bay where they concoct their chocolate. They are as obsessed with chocolate as I am with desserts.
TCHO creates flavor profiles by bringing out the flavors naturally inherent in the cocoa beans. They don’t add any flavorings. They describe their chocolate in terms that come to mind as you taste them- citrus, fruity, chocolatey, earthy, floral, and nutty. This makes so much sense. Today the chocolate buzz word is percentages. People get so caught up in the numbers they forget to think about what the chocolate tastes like. Percentages on packaging are a good beginning guide but they don’t give you enough information on how the chocolate actually tastes. Chocolate with the same percentages is going to taste different from one company to another.
In September TCHO will introduce a 68% blend of Home Baking Drops with their chocolatey flavor profile. You can use it for baking or in chocolate chips. It is the chocolate that we use at the restaurants. In the pastry restaurant world drops are preferred as you don’t have to chop them. A big plus when you are using 5 pounds at a time!
Even though Tim is a scientist I don’t think he has done a study on whether TCHO’s location right next to the Bay adds to the flavor of its chocolate. But as sourdough is best in San Francisco I bet it can’t hurt. When you go to TCHO you will discover the view is enhanced if you gaze at it eating some TCHO chocolate or sipping on a mocha from the retail shop.
Here is a recipe I developed with their chocolatey chocolate.
TCHO Chocolate Caramel Truffles
Yield: about 35
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons water
3 1/2 oz TCHO Chocolatey Chocolate
½ cup heavy cream
6 oz unsalted butter, room temp
Large pinch salt
About 1/3 cup cocoa powder to coat the truffles
In a small pot mix together the sugar and water. Cook over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Brush any sugar sticking to the sides of the pot with a wet pastry brush. Increase to high heat and cook until a light caramel color. Remove the pot from the heat. Slowly whisk in the cream and then the chocolate. Whisk in butter about tablespoon at a time. Refrigerate until firm.
Using a melon baller, #100 scoop or a teaspoon, scoop the truffles. If needed roll gently in your hands to form into circles. Place the cocoa powder in a pan or large plate. Roll truffles in cocoa powder. (If at any time the truffles get too soft to roll put in the fridge to firm up.) Keep refrigerated until serving.