Friday, 17 August 2012

Lingonberry chocolate bark


The lazy days of experimental cooking and becoming one with nature are over. I have returned to civilisation. And while that brings with it some good things, like being able to charge my iPad, take a hot shower and bake a pie in a proper oven, it also means not being able to watch the sun set over the lake or listen to the sound of absolutely nothing but nature. Sleeping in absolute darkness in ear numbing silence. For me the summer house is a place I enjoy for about a week or so every two years. Any longer would make me go crazy. Although, to be honest the only thing I really can't live without is the opportunity to charge my iPad. And this is not because I would be addicted to my work email or Facebook. In fact, I have very thoroughly ignored every work related email for the last seven days! It's because I have all my books on the iPad, so reading is out of the question without electricity. I'm stuck with reading my Mum's Finnish lifestyle magazines. Which are nice for the first two days, but interior design and life stories soon lose their appeal. Most of all I want my iPad because blogging and photo editing are my favourite hobbies to do in my spare time, and that becomes a bit hard without electricity. Maybe there would be a solar cell iPad charger?

Although the lazy hazy crazy days of summer are no gone, I still have one more summerhouse berry delight recipe to share. And you will have to indulge another "this is so much better in Finland" rant. Possibly the last, although I won't guarantee it. The subject of today's rant is milk chocolate. The best milk chocolate EVER is the Fazer Blue. I'm rather convinced this is not one of those "you like the one you got used to in your childhood" things. If there's one thing the Finns know, it's milk products. And I bet that even in a double blinded placebo controlled tasting, I could pick out the Blue from any other milk chocolate. Now, of course we can get into a lengthy debate of whether milk chocolate is real chocolate at all, and I know there are plenty of "if it doesn't contain 70% cocoa it's not chocolate" people out there. And I love the dark chocolates, and for some things they are the only right option. I would not dare call myself an expert when it comes to dark chocolates, and I have definitely not found my favourite. And the Finnish dark chocolates are not particularly good, I'll admit that. Same goes for white choc, there is nothing that beats Green&Black's white choc with vanilla. But milk chocolate. That I know, and the best one is Fazer. It tastes like proper chocolate, unlike other wannabe milk chocs which are sickeningly sweet and taste of cheap fats and leave a disgusting film in your mouth. I have served Blue to many non-Finns, and either they are all being very polite, but they agree that it's an unusually good milk chocolate brand. So next time you visit Finland, make sure you get a taste of this 90 year o,d traditional delicacy.

So this "recipe" (is it a recipe if it only contains three ingredients and takes two minutes of prep time?) was inspired by my overwhelming love for the best milk chocolate ever as well as my obsession with the wonderful, free and nutrient rich Finnish forest berries. And I had already eaten a huge bar of plain Blue, so I felt like I wanted to mix it up in some way.

Lingonberry chocolate bark

100 g chocolate

1 cup lingonberries

1-2 tsp vanilla sugar

The howto:

Melt chocolate. If you are in an environment where you have access to a thermometer and a device where you can control the temperature (i.e. not a wood burning stove...) tempering the chocolate might be a good idea. Pour chocolate in a container, spread the lingonberries on top and press them lightly into the chocolate. Sprinkle vanilla sugar on top. Let cool in the fridge until chocolate has set. Slice into bite sized pieces. If you didn't temper the chocolate, serve straight out of the fridge.

Non-tempered chocolate and the hot Finnish August sun...
The verdict:

Fazer has quite a selection of flavoured cholocates. In addition to the traditional nut and raisin varieties, there is a range of flavours such as peppermint crush chocolate, raspberry-cranberry chocolate, pear and almond dark chocolate, cookie crumb chocolate, fudge chocolate and this summer's newcomer freeze dried strawberry and vanilla chocolate. And all of them are good (particularly the peppermint crush and strawberry ones). But all add-ons are rather sweet in my opinion. Not saying they are too sweet, they are delicious flavour combinations. But using fresh berries instead of dried ones is soooo much better. And using a tart berry really brings out the smooth sweetness of the Blue. I loved how the lingonberries popped and squirted small sprays of lingonberry juice when I bit into them. With temeperd chocolate it would have been possible to make an even thinner bark, and I think a thinner chocolate layer would have been even better. I think any fresh berry would work well, but like I said, I think the tartness of the lingonberries goes really well with the chocolate. This is quick, simple and delicious. I guess I should add I also "disposed" of it very quickly. Maybe I should suggest this flavour combo to Fazer. Wonder if they would share a bit of the profits with me?

UK meets Finland. A glass of Pimm's by the lake, last night at the summer house.




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