salmon in brioche

Sous Vide Smoked Salmon in Brioche Recipe

On January 23rd, our Director of Culinary Arts & Technology, Chef Hervé Malivert demonstrated the intricacies of Sous Vide cooking in celebration of International Sous Vide day! Sous Vide techniques can completely change the way a kitchen operates, in both professional restaurants and at-home settings. From determining how time and temperature influence the taste and texture of different foods, to its potential to transform rarely used cuts of meat into tender delicacies, Sous Vide methods make you think in new and exciting ways.

chef herveIn order to properly prepare the culinary professionals of today and tomorrow to use Sous Vide cooking methods in their kitchens, Chef Hervé is leading the charge with an all new hands-on curriculum. Relaunching on May 31st, our Sous Vide Intensive course will teach the techniques behind low temperature cooking and how to adapt them to your own kitchen—whether you plan to use what you learn in a professional restaurant or home kitchen setting!

You’ll explore both professional grade equipment and at-home versions of immersion circulators, as well as the difference between using sous vide vacuum bags and other alternatives. By the end, you’ll taste, test and explore various applications of sous vide cooking for your kitchen, with an array of proteins, vegetables and more! Plus, our resident master of plating techniques, Chef Hervé, will share some of his tips for plating any number of these dishes to perfection!

Before you join us for class on May 31, you can begin practicing with Sous Vide techniques at home. Check out one of the recipes from Chef Hervé’s demonstration below!

Find more information on the Sous Vide Intensive here.

Sous Vide Smoked Salmon in Brioche Recipe

Ingredients:
  • Salt, as needed
  • Sugar, as needed
  • 900 g Salmon
  • 100 g Molasses
  • 55 g Liquid smoke
  • 50 g Brown sugar
  • 5 g Black pepper

PROCEDURE

  1. Combine 4:1 ratio of salt to sugar.
  1. Season the fish heavily with the salt/sugar mixture, covering as much of the surface as possible. Let it rest for 45 minutes, then place your fish in an ice bath (a bowl filled with ice cubes and very cold water) to completely remove the salt and sugar.
  1. For making the glaze: In a bowl, combine molasses, liquid smoke, brown sugar and black pepper.
  1. Transfer the rinsed the salmon to a sheet tray and pat it dry. Next, brush the glaze onto both sides of your salmon.
  1. Place the salmon in a vacuum-pack bag and seal. Cook it sous vide for 1 hour at 113⁰F/45⁰C 
  1. Fill a large bowl with ice and very cold water. Transfer the bag to the bowl and leave it there until the fish is cool to the touch. Remove bag, dry it off, and store it in the fridge either overnight or all day—recommendation is at least 8 hours.

finished plate

Chocolate

Celebrate Chocolate Month at ICC!

chocolateIt’s no secret that here at ICC, we love chocolate. From our Dean of Pastry Arts Jacques Torres—affectionately known as “Mr. Chocolate”—to teaching our Professional Pastry Arts students how to temper chocolate for hand-painted bon bons & showpieces, chocolate runs in our veins. What better way to celebrate National Chocolate Lovers month than with four different opportunities—panel discussions, tastings, demonstrations and one-day classes—highlighting the intricacies of chocolate and it’s various applications—from sweet to savory!

We’ll begin the month with a tasting from a country known for some of the best chocolate in the world— Ecuador! On February 6th, The Ecuadorian Trade Commission travels to ICC to discuss the similarities in agriculture, production and roasting of two of the countries exports—coffee and cacao beans—through a tasting of different varieties of coffee and chocolate.

A few short days later, home cooks and foodies alike can spend their Saturday learning to create their own delicious bonbons in our hands-on one-day recreational class, Chocolate Treats & Truffles! The following week, we’re gathering a panel of some of NYC’s best single origin producers for Business Bites: Unearthing Your Sources to discuss how to source ethical ingredients, understand fair trade practices, navigate customs & importing laws and more.

Lastly, we’ll finish the month with the savory side of chocolate. ICC alumnus, Danny Mena—Chef/Owner of La Loncheria in Brooklyn and one of NYC’s top Mexican chefs—will lead a demonstration on authentic Mexican Mole. He’ll explain how different regions of Mexico prepare their own versions of Mole, and demonstrate how to make two versions: Rojo & Verde. Plus, attendees will have a chance to taste the Mole as well!

Check out the event details below to see how you can join us this February! Plus, don’t forget to purchase your ICC Cooking Pass and save $100 on a one-day recreational class for two if you plan to join us with a friend for our Chocolate Treats & Truffles class (limited time offer, available for purchase through Valentine’s Day).

Ecuadorian Chocolate and Coffee Tasting

Wednesday, February 6th
3:30pm-5:00pm

Cacao beans

Coffee and chocolate carry many similarities, aside from their stronghold on worldwide consumption. Both products are prominent exports of the single origin movement and share commonalities in fruit, agriculture, harvesting, production and roasting. Join us to learn from a country with some of the best cacao and coffee: Ecuador! The Ecuadorian Trade Commission will discuss sourcing from small producers and demonstrate how to work with single origin beans of coffee and chocolate from Ecuador. Attendees will also have the opportunity to taste through different varieties of coffee and chocolate, and discuss pairing the two products. Find more information here.

This demonstration is open to ICC students and alumni, with a select number of seats available for the general public. No RSVP required for ICC students and alumni.

For general public seating, please RSVP to events@culinarycenter.com with your full name, email and event of interest.

REC: Chocolate Treats and Truffles

Saturday, February 9th
3:30pm-7:30pm | $195

bonbons

In this one-day recreational class, you’ll learn the art of tempering chocolate, and use that knowledge to create an array of treats! With an introduction to the skills used by top chocolatiers and our best recipes to take home, you will be ready to make and enjoy your own chocolate treats whenever the occasion—or craving—calls. Learn more about this hands-on class here.

Click here to Apply Now!

Business Bites: Unearthing Your Sources

Wednesday, February 13th
6:30pm-8:00pm

rishi tea

With consumers moving towards ethical buying habits, higher standards for quality and equality are vital in day-to-day business operations. In Business Bites: Unearthing Your Sources, you’ll hear from a panel of experts running some of NYC’s best single origin businesses—from chocolate and spice importers to coffee and tea—on how they operate profitable food businesses without compromising on quality or fair trade practices. Join us to discuss what it’s like to source from around the world, the laws and agricultural regulations with regard to importing products, fair trade best practices and the key players within a supply chain. They’ll share their tips for working with farmers, navigating customs laws and building a network of trusted producers. Plus, you’ll also have ample time for networking and the opportunity to learn how ICC’s Culinary Entrepreneurship program can take you from concept to business plan & pitch in just 6-weeks! Click here to learn more.

This event is open to the general public, as well as ICC students & alumni.

RSVP to events@culinarycenter.com with your full name, email and event of interest.

Authentic Mexican Mole Demonstration with Chef Danny Mena

Wednesday, February 27th
3:30pm-5:00pm

Mole

Intense with flavor and a labor of love, Mole can be prepared with dozens of ingredients—chocolate being one of them—in a variety of styles that can take hours to develop the depth of flavor desired! During this demonstration, Chef Danny Mena—ICC alumnus and Chef/Owner of La Loncheria in Brooklyn—will share his expertise in creating an authentic Mexican Mole. You’ll learn how different regions of Mexico prepare their own versions of Mole and have the chance to taste it for yourself—Chef Danny will be demonstrating two types of Mole, a Rojo & Verde. From chiles and garlic, to dark chocolate or no chocolate at all, you’ll be surprised just how many applications Mole can have in your cooking. Click here for more information.

This demonstration is open to ICC students and alumni, with a select number of seats available for the general public. No RSVP required for ICC students and alumni.

For general public seating, please RSVP to events@culinarycenter.com with your full name, email and event of interest.
Chef Jacques Torres Sugar

3 Tips For Working With Sugar from Jacques Torres

Chef Jacques Torres and his Sugar ShowpieceDean of Pastry Arts, Chef Jacques Torres stopped by ICC’s New York campus this month to show our students how to work with sugar. Working with sugar is no simple task—it takes years of practice, skill and patience. Watching Chef Torres work with sugar is like watching Picasso paint; it is awe-inspiring, and he makes manipulating and shaping the difficult medium look easy.

For this demo, “Mr. Chocolate” decided to work with something a little different than chocolate—sugar! He created a showpiece featuring a shimmering sugar swan and a lifelike sugar rose. Throughout the hour and a half demo, he shared his insider tips to working with sugar after many years of experience. Below, we highlight some of our favorite tips from him to help you pull and pour sugar like the pros!

1. Sugar Becomes Shiny Through the Process of Satiné

Through the process of pulling the sugar, air is incorporated. As you continue to work with it, a sheen appears. But, be careful not to pull it too much, or else it will become dull!

Chef Jacques Torres Satinizing sugarChef Jacques Torres Satinizing sugar

2. Silicone Molds Will Mold Sugar, but...

…dough will work too! The fat in the dough makes it so the sugar and the dough will never stick together. The temperature difference of the two help to mold the sugar into the desired shape. This is what pastry chefs used before silicone molds were invented!

Chef Jacques Torres pouring sugar

3. Be Sure to Move your Sugar

When your pulled sugar is under a heat lamp, be sure to move it around every so often. This will ensure it keeps the right temperature. Because the heat is on the top of the sugar, it is important to continually flip the sugar so the temperature stays consistent.

Chef Jacques Torres moving his sugar under the heat lamp

If you’re inspired to learn how to make a sugar showpiece like Jacques Torres, check out ICC’s Professional Pastry Arts program where 60 hours of instruction are dedicated to sugar-focused décor, including showpieces like this!

FAMED CHEF FROM ONE OF WORLD’S TOP RESTAURANTS TO HOST MASTER CLASS AT ICC

MASTER CLASS & DEMONSTRATION WITH CHEF JOAN ROCA

Co-Owner & Executive Chef of El Celler de Can Roca
Wednesday, September 19th | 2:30-4:00pm
ICC Amphitheater
462 Broadway, 2nd Floor | NYC
Open to ICC Students & Alumni* ONLY

This September, current students of the International Culinary Center will have not one, but two unique opportunities to learn from world-renowned chef Joan Roca, Co-owner & Executive Chef of El Celler de Can Roca—named in the top five on Restaurant magazine’s coveted World’s 50 Best Restaurants list since 2009, including top spots in 2013 and 2015.

The annual BBVA-sponsored world culinary tour brings the Roca brothers and the culinary team of El Celler de Can Roca to New York City for two dinners at Cipriani Wall Street on September 18 and 19 for invited diners to enjoy a taste of the contemporary Catalan cuisine showcased at their Girona, Spain-based restaurant. As part of this partnership, select International Culinary Center students will be invited to work in the kitchen with Chef Joan Roca and the El Celler de Can Roca team to prepare for the dinners. This special volunteer opportunity is open to current ICC students only to cook alongside the Roca team and learn some of their innovative techniques first hand. At the end of the event, one ICC student volunteer will be selected by the Roca team to receive a scholarship to continue their education with an internship to train for 4 months at their famed restaurant in Spain, currently named No. 2 restaurant in the world on the 2018 World’s 50 Best Restaurant list.

In addition to the dinner, ICC will be hosting the only NYC master class with Chef Joan Roca on Wednesday, September 19th at 2:30pm for current ICC students and alumni* as part of the educational activities of their New York City tour. Chef Roca, known best for his ground-breaking sous-vide techniques, will discuss the history & inspiration behind the family-operated restaurant, while demonstrating the same modern techniques used to transform Catalan cuisine at their restaurant in Girona, Spain. This special opportunity to learn from one of today’s most influential chefs will be open to current ICC students, with limited seating available for ICC alumni* and media guests.

*ICC Alumni, please contact events@culinarycenter.com to RSVP for this event as seating is limited. Standing room may be available.

Chef Marc creating a tart

Taste of Alsace Recipes

On July 25th, we continued the celebration of #FCIFlashback month with a demonstration to highlight the culture and cuisine of Alsace, France through with ICC’s Senior Director of Culinary & Pastry Arts, Chef Marc Bauer. Defined by its rich and vibrant traditions, Alsace is a region known for its cooking, where Alsatian chefs have been particularly ingenious in their ability to use day-to-day ingredients when creating culinary masterpieces!

Below are the recipes that Chef Marc shared with us through his demonstration. He even shared with us his secret ingredient for his blueberry tart…polenta! Happy cooking!

Choucroute de Poisson, Beurre Rouge
Sauerkraut with Salmon and Beurre Rouge (yields 4 people)
Ingredients:

For the Sauerkraut:

  • 1 tbsp duck fat (optional) you can use any fat of your choice
  • 100g onions (ciseler)
  • 350g bacon cut in ½ inch slabs
  • 1 clove (press into the slab)
  • 1 kg sauerkraut (rinse 3 times in cold water and drain)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 15 ea.  Juniper berries
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 250ml Riesling (Alsatian wine) or a dry white wine

For the Beurre Rouge:

  • 1 shallot (ciseler)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 branch of thyme
  • 10 peppercorns whole
  • 50 ml red wine vinegar
  • 150 red wine
  • 30 ml H. cream
  • 250g. Butter cut in cubes

For the Final Presentation:

  • 4 pieces of 180 to 220g salmon filet, skin on
  • 8 ea. pommes chateau cooked  in water until a knife can pierce it. Hold.
  • 4 leaves of blanched savoy cabbage.
  • 8 ea. Fresh bay leaves
Steps:

Procedure for the Sauerkraut:

  • In a sauce pan melt the duck fat
  • Add the onions and sweat for 5 minutes.
  • Under medium heat, place the slab on top, add the sauerkraut (drained), the garlic bay leaves, juniper berries, cumin, and white wine.
  • Bring to a simmer on top of the stove, and cook for about 1 hour in the oven at 325F (check towards the end to make sure there is enough moisture or it will burn).
  • Keep warm.

Procedure for the Beurre Rouge:

  • In a sauce pan reduce to 9/10th: the vinegar, red wine, thyme, bay leaf, peppercorn, shallot
  • Add the cream and emulsify
  • Whisk in the butter a few cubes at a time to make the emulsion.
  • Add until the right balance of acidity and richness is achieved.
  • Season and strain.
  • Keep warm.

To Finish:

  • Dry the skin side of the salmon, season both side with kosher salt and pepper.
  • Under medium heat In a fry pan add 2 Tbsp of duck fat,
  • Once the oil reaches 350F, add the salmon, skin side down.
  • Lower the temperature and cook for about 6 to 8 minutes until the skin becomes golden brown.
  • Flip and cook another 30 seconds.
  • Hold on a wire rack for about 4 to 5 minutes.
  • Drain, reheat the sauerkraut
  • Remove the bay leaves and garlic
  • Remove the bacon skin, dice into ½ cm cubes
  • Mix gently into the sauerkraut.
  • Place on a mold, on a plate
  • Add about 3 Tbsp of beurre rouge
  • Remove the mold
  • Add the salmon, (reheated)potatoes, and (blanched ) cabbage chiffonade.
  • Finish with fresh bay leaf garnish.
Tarte aux Myrtilles:
Blueberry Tart (yields 6 people.)
Ingredients:

For the tart dough:

  • 250g cake flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 125 g butter, cut into ½ inch cubes
  • 90 ml water

For the custard:

  • 2 whole eggs
  • 4 Tbsp of pastry cream powder
  • 150 g of sugar or honey
  • 400 ml of crème fraiche
  • 1 pinch of salt.
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For assembling the tart:

  • 2 Tbsp of polenta or cream of wheat
  • 1 quart of blueberries (washed, sort out the spoiled ones and dried)

For the Garnish: Crème Chantilly

  • 300 ml crème fraiche
  • 80 g sugar
  • Vanilla extract
  • Alcool of gewurtztraminer 1 Tbsp.

Procedure for the Tart Dough:

  • In a food processor add the flour, butter, salt.
  • Pulse until the flour and butter look and feel like sand.
  • Add the cold water
  • Pulse to homogenize
  • Press the dough on a sheet of plastic wrap and shape into a round disk about 1 inch thick
  • Store in the refrigerator until needed.

Procedure for the Custard:

  • Add the eggs, pastry cream powder, sugar, vanilla and salt in a bowl
  • Whisk for about 15 seconds.
  • Add the crème fraiche

Procedure for the Crème Chantilly:

  • Hold in the refrigerator
  • Place in a pipping bag with a star tip
  • Whisk with a balloon whisk: the cream, sugar, vanilla and marc de gewurtztraminer.
  • To Assemble the Tart;
  • Roll out the pate brisee with a rolling pin to the side of a tart
  • Place into the buttered tart shell
  • Remove excess dough
  • Refrigerate for 5 to 10 minutes
  • Add the blueberries
  • Sprinkle with the polenta or cream of wheat
  • Pour in the custard
  • Place in a pre heated oven at 400 F for about 20 minutes
  • Finish for about 40 minutes at 350 F.
  • When the custard is set and the dough is golden brown
  • Remove from the oven let cool down for about 10 minutes and remove from the mold.
  • Let cool down on a wire rack to dry out the tart crust.
Michael-Vinegar-Tasting-Event

Destination Vinegar

By: Wajma Basharyar

Photographer, Author and Podcast-host, Michael Harlan Turkell had his first acid trip at the age of 19 when famed Bostonian Chef Barbara Lynch gave him a cap full of something.  He shot it back and recalls having “one of the most profound sensory experiences” of his life up until that point. That spiritual explosion of flavor – sweet, sour, sapid – became his gateway to the world of acidity.

Erwin Gegenbauer, Gegenbauer Vinegar Brewery
Erwin Gegenbauer, Gegenbauer Vinegar Brewery

Fast forward 15 years, he found himself in Vienna, Austria on the doorsteps of Erwin Gegenbauer, the maker of that first shot and quite possibly the best vinegar-craftsman in the world.  While interacting with Gegenbauer, Michael learned the importance of capturing the purity of an ingredient and why it’s crucial in creating a great tasting vinegar.

“The majority of vinegar that I had tasted (up until that first Gegenbauer shot) was the kind that hits you in your chest, makes you cough; you can feel it on your tongue, but you don’t actually taste it,” says Michael.

Acid Trip book cover

 

 

 

While many people may associate it with bad grapes, during that trip, he realized that vinegar is actually made with the best grapes available.  His yearning to learn more about how ingredients impact the quality of the product led him on a global journey to study vinegar-making practices from the people and places that have evolved the craft.  He chronicled the expedition in a newly-released book, ACID TRIP: Travels in the World of Vinegar (Abrams, $29.99)

Through his lens, we’re transported to France, Italy, Austria, Japan and throughout North America to learn about the art and science of vinegar.  The photography brings to life the richness of the recipes, the insights from world-renowned chefs including Daniel Boulud, Massimo Bottura and April Bloomfield. The book captures the essence of why good vinegar is necessary for culinary arts while the how-to tutorials give the reader front-row access to making their own vinegar at home with bases, such as honey, apple cider vinegar, rice and wine.

plated dish
Sandre in Beurre Blanc

In France, Michael investigated the role of vinegar in relation to food techniques and the application thereof.  What he concluded was that it all comes down to the basic balance of acid and fat; both elements prevalent in French food and more specifically, French sauces.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Italy, Michelin-star Chef Massimo Bottura, who runs the number one restaurant in the world, showed Michael an example of a balsamic vinegar that was unlike any balsamic he had tasted before.

 

Massimo Bottura, Osteria Francescana

Iio Jozo, shari, temakiAs a self-proclaimed Japanophile, Michael was elated to make the trip to Japan and find a producer who could explain the full cycle of rice vinegar from start to end. “Given how much rice is produced in Asia, it’s unsurprising that a remarkable range of rice vinegars can be found there, too. I am partial to the premium rice vinegars of Japan, which are exceptionally fresh and clean-tasting.”

 

 

 

 

 

Iio Jozo, shari, temaki

Earlier this month, the ICC’s California campus was honored to have author/photographer/ podcast-host, Michael Harlan Turkell, visit the campus. He spent the afternoon educating students, alumni and staff all about the vinegar-making process. He shared stories of his travel experiences meeting the world’s best vinegar makers and he brought with him a range of artisanal varieties for us to taste.

  • Acetaia Leonardi Balsamic Vinegar – a very special blend of balsamic vinegar aged for up to 25 years with the finest grapes
  • Acetum Mellis Mead Vinegar – a honey vinegar with a golden, translucent color that has a delicate and fresh taste with a spark of acidity
  • Pojer e Sandri Dolomiti Italian varieties in Cherry, Quince and Black Current – each has a distinct flavor and taste to represent its base ingredient Sparrow Lane, California Citrus Vinegar – a light, fresh and flavorful melody of orange, lime and lemon incorporated in fine barrel-aged chardonnay

At first glance, Michael Harlan Turkell may appear to be just another Brooklynite with a barrel of beer in his backyard.  We came to learn, however, that he started working in kitchens as a young kid at the age of 15 in his hometown of Westchester, New York, and dreamed of becoming a full-fledged chef.  Interestingly, when he later moved to Boston for college, he ended up dropping out of school to again work in restaurants. It wasn’t until he entered the high-end food scene in Boston that his palette was awakened to something new.  Today, he is an expert in at-home vinegar making.  He was proud to tell us that he even spent two years reverse-engineering one process and figured out the secret to making a great beer vinegar in his Brooklyn backyard!

Vinegar from the tasting at ICC
Vinegar Varieties

According to Michael, generally, two kinds of vinegar have found their way to our dinner tables today; either the balsamic poured on salad or the apple-cider vinegar (ACV), touted for its health benefits.  He explained that he aims to change that paradigm by broadening our acidic horizons and expanding our palettes to offer a more varied selection of vinegar that brings a harmonious balance of flavor to our everyday meals.

For a perfect summer treat, try a fresh take on the Negroni.

BALSAMIC NEGRONI, FROM DAMON BOELTE, GRAND ARMY, BROOKLYN, NEW YORK

MAKES A 48-OUNCE (1.4-L) PITCHER, SERVES 4 TO 8

16 ounces (180 ml) of CAMPARI

16 ounces (180 ml) COCCHI VERMOUTH DI TORINO

16 ounces (180 ml) GIN, BEAFEATER preferred

½ pint (165 g) STRAWBERRIES, sliced

½ ENGLISH CUCUMBER, sliced

ICE

½ cup (120 ml) BALSAMIC VINEGAR, DOP

In the pitcher, mix together Campari, vermouth and gin.  Add the sliced strawberries and cucumber, let sit for 30 minutes for all the flavors to mingle, then top with ice.

To serve, put a few ice cubes in a rocks glass, pour in 6 ounces (120 to 180 ml) of the Negroni, and float 1 tablespo0n of the balsamic vinegar on top.

Chocolate

Where Health Meets Decadence… 7 Reasons Why Dark Chocolate Can Be a Healthy Choice

Written by: Trees Emma Martens, Owner of Emma’s DelightsEmma

2013 Chocolate Candy and Confections Class

Emma’s Delights’ owner-chocolatière, Trees Emma Martens, was born and raised in Belgium and like most Belgians, she grew up with fine chocolates. Her mom was a great cook and a fabulous baker-pâtissière, and from a very young age, Emma spent countless hours helping her mom measuring and mixing ingredients in the family kitchen, and most importantly taking care of the ‘quality assurance’ of the finished product by tasting it at all the different stages of production. No wonder she claims that crafting chocolates must be ingrained in her DNA. 

Emma has been experimenting daily in her own kitchen since her college years. After moving to the Bay Area in 1996 with her family, she eagerly included a variety of culinary elements from the many cultures surrounding her into her own recipes. Emma’s Delights continues that tradition.

We‘ve all heard the saying, “dark chocolate is good for you,” and there are many studies claiming just that. Here are my top 7 health benefits attributed to a high cocoa percentage dark chocolate*:

  1. Fights Free Radicals: Dark chocolate contains plenty of antioxidants that reduce free radicals (unstable atoms that can damage cells).
  2. Protects Your Skin: The flavanols, a plant-based nutrient, found in dark chocolate absorb ultraviolet rays thus protecting your skin against their damaging effects. Please note that it’s still good to wear sunscreen!
  3. Improves Blood Flow: Dark chocolate is said to lower blood pressure and may even improve brain function by increasing blood flow, which can help you perform better on intellectual tests.
  4. Lowers Risk of Heart Disease: Dark chocolate (together with exercise and a healthy diet) can lower the risk of heart disease because it raises the HDL (good cholesterol) and decreases the oxidized LDL (meaning “bad” cholesterol has reacted with free radicals).
  5. Increases Productivity: Dark chocolate contains stimulants like caffeine and theobromine (a blood vessel widener), but at a low enough level to not keep you awake at night.
  6. Reduces Stress: Apparently, dark chocolate also helps reduce stress hormones that can lead to collagen breakdown (wrinkles) and excess oil production (acne).
  7. Lose Weight: Eating a piece of dark chocolate as a snack will lower your craving for sweets and fatty foods and reduces feelings of hunger. This will make it easier to stick to your regular diet plan and help you to reduce body weight.

* If 90% cacao mass is too bitter for you, try a 70%. Just make sure that sugar is not the first ingredient listed and that your plain dark chocolate is truly dairy-free.

If all these scientific reasons cannot persuade you to include dark chocolate into your diet, just think of how good eating a piece of chocolate can make you feel… to indulge without guilt!

With Emma’s Delights, my goal is to handcraft high quality chocolates in small volume with emphasis on the uniqueness of Belgian chocolates. I want to stay as close as possible to the original art of Belgian ‘praline’ making, using traditional molds and soft fillings. I am also passionate about eating healthy so I use only ‘real’ ingredients for my fillings. I avoid any coloring or preservatives, I never use glucose or any other sugary syrups, and I only use organic cane sugar for caramelized fillings. Many of my customers are also happy to know that my fillings are dairy free and all are gluten free. In staying true to my motto, “where decadence becomes healthy,” I offer a large selection of gourmet products made with 70% cacao mass Belgian chocolate, nuts, seeds, or dried fruit.

While Emma’s Delights is mainly an online store that concentrates on “order only,” you can also find me at holiday markets and corporate pop ups. As a small business owner, my job description includes everything from janitor to CEO. In one day, I can go from purchasing ingredients and developing recipes to, fulfilling customer orders and making my chocolates and fillings. There is also a lot of administrative work and marketing involved, i.e answering emails and sending out quotes, writing newsletters, taking pictures for Instagram and, of course, there is always a lot of clean up.

Although maintaining such high standards for my products takes much effort, the “farm to table” movement has always been a way of life for me. In fact, I grew up eating healthy meals cooked from scratch, using fresh vegetables and fruit mostly grown in our own garden. I also have fond memories of assisting my mom every Saturday, baking cakes, pastries, and pies that we would deliver to our neighbors on Sundays as gifts. Even though my mom was an amazing amateur baker/pâtissière, the dessert ‘par excellence’ for me was definitely chocolate, and more specifically our famous Belgian chocolates.

Growing up in Belgium, we always had chocolate in the pantry and after moving to the United States, I especially missed those Belgian ‘pralines’ (hard shell chocolates with soft fillings). One particular year, my craving for them was so great that I decided to make them myself. I did a lot of research online, bought some chocolate molds, and started making my own chocolates. My first attempts didn’t always work out well, but I was intrigued by the process and wanted to learn more about tempering and the whole chocolate making craft. I began taking some amateur classes and became hooked. Since I wanted to really master the art of chocolate making, I was fortunate that the ICC was offering a 5-week course and eagerly signed up for it. Meanwhile, I had to practice a lot and shared my first results with friends and family. Even though my chocolates were still far from perfect, they were a big hit and people often encouraged me to start a business. I knew it would be tough, but the idea of becoming a chocolatière was appealing to me because I saw a niche for it: Belgian chocolates made by a Belgian in the Bay Area, using Belgian couverture chocolate.

Learn more about Emma’s Delights on her website [http://emmasdelights.com] and be sure to follow her on Instagram @emmasdelights!