Salted Chocolate by The Meadow

There is so much to say about the combination of salt and chocolate that I will just stare, paralyzed, at the computer screen for three hours of insect brain-deadness… Salt and dark chocolate, salt and milk chocolate, salted chocolate, chocolated salt (I actually do have both).

But as with everything in life, the devil is in the detail. Salted 80% dark Italian blended chocolate (Salinae bar by Antica Dolceria Bonajuto) has nothing to do with 80% dark Italian Ecuadorian chocolate a chocolate (Blacksal by Domori), which in turn has virtually nothing in common with a 74% dark Italian blended chocolate served up side by side with Trapani and Cervia sea salts (Cioccolato Fondente al Sale di Cervia by Cioccolato di BruCo).

meadow_salted_chocolate_pangasinan_web.jpgThe power of salt to coax out, elucidate, and expand on the flavor of food does not stop with the savory. Actually, the idea that sweet and savory are somehow opposite is strange, and actually at odds with our natural affinity for diversity and complexity in food. Eat Ethiopian and you will find your fingers plunged in sugar on lamb with tamarind; eat dim sum and half the time you are eating donuts and pork. My grandpa was in love with apple pie with cheddar cheese. At any rate, chocolate is not even a sweet until after it is sweetened, and that can be done with much more deftness than is common.

Jennifer and I have been tinkering with salted chocolate for a while, and after due deliberation (martinis involved), we decided to dive headlong into a vat of 75% dark couverture from an uber premium plantation on the small island state of Sao Tome and Principe, and make our own salted chocolate. I don’t pretend to be neutral about the benefits of salt combined with chocolate, and I know that the sequence of words that follows does have much hope of shaping itself into proper sentence structure, but let’s have it out it anyway: The Meadow’s salted chocolate comes after chomping and melting and smelling and ogling lots and lots of salted dark chocolates such as the above–and many others (and several salted milk chocolates, including a salted goat’s milk chocolate from Austria that I am having a devil of a time getting into the country), Sahagun’s heart palpitating Palomitapapá, Xocolatl de David’s barnyard brawling bacon salted chocolate to fleur de sel topped chocolate chip cookies dropped off by an especially adorable customer, our own smoked salt-laced chocolate soufflĂ© and chocolate dipped fresh-candied ginger and salt, and the list goes on and on.

So in short, check out the results. Our absolute favorite 75% dark chocolate tempered to perfection, sprinkled lightly with a sea salt that we think reveals something heretofore undiscovered dark chocolate, and then repeated six times:

  • Iburi Jio cherrywood roasted salt on dark chocolate (smokey and bacony – Iburi Jio Cherry gourmet salt);
  • Pangasinan Star fleur de sel on dark chocolate (delicate, lightly sweet, and balanced – Pangasinan Star gourmet salt);
  • Moshio ancient Japanese seaweed salt on dark chocolate (savory, round, full- Amabito No Moshio gourmet salt);
  • Grigio di Cervia Italian gros sel style sea salt and dark chocolate (sweet, red berried, champaign sparkly – Grigio di Cervia Gourmet salt);
  • Turkish Black Pyramid Mediterranean sea on dark chocolate (subtle, gentle, earthily complex, and the unexpected favorite at a recent salted chocolate class at The Meadow – Turkish Black Pyramid gourmet salt);
  • Halen Mon Gold Welsh sea salt smoked with ancient Welsh Oak and dark chocolate (warm, caramely, with delicate tobacco – Halen Mon Gold gourmet sea salt).

I just put them up on our website, so you can give them a try. Play soundtrack. Think of some Clint Eastwood-style fade-away into the gloaming as a slim, somber rider canters off amidst the faint yapping of coyotes.

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