It has been a fabulous and interesting week so far here in northern Italy and no, I didn’t have time in my schedule to have lunch with George Clooney – just too busy, and he was really annoyed with me.
We have not only studied some classic chocolate delights that are not especially well known in the US, but also revisited familiar chocolates in a detailed and technical way. Some of you may know and understand that chocolate is a fairly demanding branch of the culinary world, and cannot be created consistently wonderful without painstaking attention to detail, so we are all just a little geeky and weird.
Traveling with a small group from Ecole Chocolat (Montreal), we started in Milan then proceeded immediately to Turin, where a wonderful confection called Gianduja is centered. It is a blend of hazelnut paste and either dark or milk chocolate. The hazelnut paste makes up about 40% of the total mass, depending on the style and technique of the confectioner. It was a treat that I thought I might find too rich, but I have ended up loving it. Like many indulgences, though, the enjoyment can be just as great by consuming small portions. Or not! Either way, it is something you should find your way to, somehow, and decide for yourself.
While in Turin, we visited some world famous chocolatiers. Each of them specialized in gianduja, but also produced other chocolate and non-chocolate confections which were stunning. I will upload a list of these at the bottom of this page, and their web sites, if available, hopefully in tomorrow’s post.
Yesterday we traveled to Lecco, which is on Lake Como (the lead picture, above; I think you can click on it to get a full sized image). Here, we are not only visiting more chocolatiers, but also participating in classes at the ICAM training facility.
The weather has been fabulous, and we’ve had these delightful walks along the river and many outdoor meals. This salad (right) was a pristine selection of steamed seafood, a few new potatoes, kalamata olives and greens.
More tomorrow – Ciao!