metropol » chocolate

Tag: chocolate

Takes the cake


It’s long been said you can’t have your cake and eat it too, but with our roundup of the latest cake trends for the Romeos and Juliets of 2020, you might just be able to! These are some of the sweetest staples of the big day.

 

CROCHET CAKE: You’ll find crochet and macramé winding its way around three, four or even five tier cakes this year, its intricate delicacy creating an elaborate lace-like feature.

I THINK OF YOU FRONDLY: With the modern wedding leaning towards a natural and clean colour palette, many brides and grooms are swapping their bright, colourful blooms for crisp, elegant ferns to decorate their cake.

FESTIVAL OF FLAVOUR: We’re quickly swapping out the traditional flavours of vanilla or fruit cake for those that are a little more exciting and unexpected, like pistachio, pink champagne and even lime.

SAY CHEESE! Well that was unexpected, right? Yes cakes made out of stacked cheese wheels are actually a thing! So too are stacked doughnuts, macaron towers and tiered cookie cakes, as today’s matrimonial matches are thinking outside the box for alternative ways to take the cake.


 

Sweet like chocolate


Velvety tones of chocolate and caramel create a delicious bedroom retreat that is perfect for autumn. You won’t want to leave the comforts of your cocoon, as these cool combinations will give you Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory vibes (before things began to turn pear-shaped).

 

BO CONCEPT AUSTIN BED.

 

We’ve come up with ways to drizzle these tones into your sleeping quarters that’ll make you want to lick your lips.

Colour of choice: Cocoa-coloured walls are trending right now. Not only do they serve as a great backdrop for bold and bright colours but should you choose to go the opposite way and pair it with softer tones, the result is welcoming a feeling of comfort into your bedroom.

BO CONCEPT AMSTERDAM SOFA.

It’s all in your head(board): Thinking about adding a bit more oomph or oh la la to your bedroom? Try investing in a headboard (or if you’re feeling daring, try DIY). Why not try adding one in a chocolate shade? While it might resemble a chocolate bar, it’s the perfect bedroom centrepiece for those with a sweet tooth.

BOCONCEPT MANHATTAN WALNUT VENEER.

A match made in heaven: If you fall in love with the headboard, the addition of matching bedside tables might be just what you need to take your bedroom to the next level.

ADAIRS ARIES CUSHION.

 

Tempting textures: Master bedroom paint colours set the mood of the space, whether that’s invigorating or calming and, when it comes to the bedroom, it’s the latter you’re going to be seeking. The beauty of brown tones is they do just that, brown is after all, a neutral. That doesn’t mean it has to be boring. Texture is a way to give ivory, taupe, grey, or tan a boost. Choose a glossy paint or add a shimmery or opalescent paint finish. Complete with velvet throws and coarse rugs.

LINEN HOUSE DELUXE WAFFLE BRICK EUROPEAN PILLOWCASE

 

Decadent Chocolate Truffles


Truffles are an easy recipe that will reap many brownie points from your Valentine this year, especially when you personalise them with their favourite flavour combo.

 

 

INGREDIENTS
250g high quality dark chocolate (62 percent cacao or higher)
1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

OPTIONAL FLAVOUR FUSIONS
Mint leaves (chopped with stems removed, about 1 cup)
Cinnamon and cardamom (1 cinnamon stick, 2 cardamom pods)
Amaretto (1-2 tablespoons)
Espresso powder (1 tablespoon) and coffee liqueur (1 tablespoon)
Hazelnut essence (1/2 teaspoon) and toasted chopped hazelnuts
Orange oil (1/8 teaspoon) and orange liqueur (1-2 tablespoons)

OPTIONAL COATINGS
Truffle coatings
Cocoa powder
Finely chopped hazelnuts
Finely chopped almonds
Chocolate sprinkles
Drizzle with melted chocolate

METHOD
In a small, heavy saucepan bring the heavy whipping cream to a simmer (stir and scrape down the sides with a spatula every few minutes).

If you are using one of the optional flavour fusions, stir it in with the cream (and ignore vanilla in the next step). If adding mint or other solids, after the cream simmers, remove from heat and let seep for an hour. Strain away any solids and return the cream to a simmer before proceeding with the recipe.

Ganache:
Chop the chocolate into small pieces and place it in a separate bowl. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and add the vanilla. Allow to stand for a few minutes then stir until smooth.

Allow the ganache to cool, then place in the refrigerator for two hours.

Use a teaspoon to roll out balls of the ganache. Roll in your hands quickly (as it will melt from the heat of your hands), then roll them in your optional coatings.

Place the truffles on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and put them in the refrigerator overnight.


 

A sweet empire


Oonagh Browne’s love affair with chocolate has been more rich, intense and satisfying than for most. In fact, she says, it saved her life. We catch up with the queen of chocolate about why she believes eight cacao beans a day keeps the doctor away.

 

 

Irish-born Oonagh had been climbing the corporate ladder in London after completing a business degree when her boss gave her “the greatest gift”.

“He told me that I would get to the top rung of that corporate ladder,” she explains.

Already unhappy in the corporate world, the conversation provided a moment of clarity and she realised reaching the top wouldn’t bring her any satisfaction.

Within nine months she had packed it in to travel.

Eventually ending up in Australia, she began training to be a yoga teacher. It was during her time here that she met Suzanne Johnson and Bernie Prior who would later open She Universe, the idyllic café perched at the top of Governors Bay.

It was when Oonagh decided to make chocolate for a charity event that she discovered an innate gift for the confection.

“It’s like some people who have this innate talent for painting,” she says. “I found that in chocolate. I fell in love.”

When Oonagh’s then-husband Declan suggested they move to Christchurch to help Suzanne and Bernie run She Café, the couple made a new home here, but their work in the café wasn’t to be, with a fire destroying it just three weeks after they arrived. It would remain closed for nine months.

So instead they started selling Oonagh’s chocolate creations at the Lyttelton Farmers’ Market, her Decadent Date chocolate and hot chocolate were instant hits with the locals.

When the rebuilt café opened, it was Oonagh’s creative chocolate flair that helped She Universe become a local Canterbury icon.

With the chocolate winning numerous awards, it was soon being supplied to outlets throughout the country and is now celebrating a move from Governors Bay to the new She Chocolaterie at Riverside Markets this year.

Post-quake though, Oonagh experienced severe depression or a ‘mental breakdown’.

“I was in the darkest place and nothing could help me, not even the support of amazing, wise friends,” she says.

Willing to try just about anything, she started researching natural antidepressants when she discovered cacao; the purest form of the very chocolate she was already in love with.

She vowed to have a cacao smoothie every day, combining it with another superfood maca which, combined with cacao, create a powerful antidepressant.

“Within 10 days I started coming out of the darkness and I started to have hope. I started to ‘see’ the thoughts rather than ‘be’ the thoughts and I soon learnt to master them,” she says.

“I started to delve into the health side of cacao and spend time on a cacao farm owned by a friend in Samoa. It was a profound experience as I discovered my depth of connection with this food. Cacao is one of the oldest foods, with the ability to heal our bodies and support us on so many levels.”

Cacao’s health properties are well-supported by science, with the powerful little bean not only packed with nutrients such as iron, magnesium and zinc, but also antioxidants for heart health and neurotransmitters which contribute to wellbeing and happiness. For Oonagh, it’s a daily medicine she swears by. “Eight cacao beans a day keeps the doctor away!”

Oonagh’s work in Samoa has expanded to Peru and the Solomon Islands, where she is endeavouring to reverse the damaging effect of global demand for chocolate for cacao farmers.

Since the commodification of chocolate, large companies have continued to drive the price of beans down, with the supply chain leaving many cacao farmers impoverished, despite hard labour.

The knowledge of cacao’s medicinal value has been lost, even to those who farm it and it’s no longer viable to be a cacao farmer, so young people are no longer staying on their farms.

Oonagh is putting heart and soul into getting infrastructure and training into these regions, enabling the farmers to earn more and encouraging young people to become cacao farmers.

One of the greatest impacts is teaching the farmers how to enjoy the bean themselves, creating cookbooks with recipes and teaching them how to make tea from cacao bean husks (known as Skinny Tea in the Solomons due to its ability to encourage weightloss) and even cacao face masks.

She’s passionately spearheading a cacao revolution.

“We want to connect the consumer and cacao farmer and close the gap, and for the cacao farmer, more than anything, to be empowered and proud of what they grow, but first they need to be earning a real income.

“Cacao was once honoured and revered, then we added sugar and it became something different; its time as a powerful medicine was forgotten, but now we’re experiencing a revolution; a cacao revolution.”

“I want people to know it’s the food of the gods.”