Visiting Switzerland always brings me good memories of my childhood. Chocolate, of course, is one of them. When travelling to the Swiss Alps with my parents, we would always bring lots of chocolate. I have to say that the Swiss milk chocolate is, in my opinion, the best. I have trained as a chef and during my career, I had the opportunity to work for the Swiss Embassy as an executive chef for the Ambassador where I have learnt about the delightful Swiss specialities.
I would like today to share with you on my blog the fantastic Callier chocolate factory located in Gruyère in the heart of the Swiss Alps. The finest chocolate creations continue to be produced at Maison Callier with fresh milk from local dairies, sustainable cocoa, fine select ingredients and in-depth knowledge of the art of chocolate-making.
I invite you to discover the process of chocolate manufacturing and the smell which come from the famous Maison Callier chocolate factory.
My journey begins with the Aztec cocoa ceremonies and takes you through to today’s chocolate innovations. Touch roasted cocoa beans and follow your nose towards the irresistible scent of freshly made chocolate. Our chocolate tasting will titillate your taste buds with the aromas of exquisite cocoa, fresh Alpine milk and the best ingredients.
A sweet adventure awaits visitors at Maison Callier. The interactive visitor experience is a unique museum that leads you through the history of cocoa to the present day. Discover how Maison Callier use exquisite cocoa beans and high-quality ingredients to make the finest chocolate creations and indulge your palate with the amazing variety of flavours of cocoa.
A classic way to serve mussels that’s great as an appetizer or side dish. Simple to cook and prepare. Pleasing a crowd just doesn’t get any easier, or tastier.
2 lb fresh cultured blue mussels
3 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
3 clove garlic, minced
2 tbsp fresh chopped thyme
3⁄4 cup red wine
28 oz can peeled and diced tomatoes
2 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
1 pinch salt and pepper to taste
Rinse the fresh blue mussels in tap water. Place in a large saucepan with a small amount of liquid on high heat. Cover and let steam until shells open (5 – 7 minutes). Strain the fresh blue mussels, reserving the liquid, and removing the meat from the shells. Set aside.
In a large saucepan, heat olive oil and sauté onions under low heat for 6 – 8 minutes, until onions get soft but not burnt.
Stir in garlic and thyme for 1 minute.
Pour red wine and cook for another 5 minutes.
Add tomatoes and reserved liquid, cover and let summer for 30 minutes.
Remove lid and let simmer for another 15 minutes.
Add fresh blue mussel meat, let cook 5 minutes.
Taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with parsley.
Italy is famous for their Cioccolato Caldo, especially during the fall and winter months. This hot chocolate is sometimes served so thick (like a pudding), that you need a spoon to actually eat it! this recipe doesn’t make it that thick. The luxurious richness comes from using top-quality chocolate.
What You Will Need:
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate 70% or higher
1 1/2 cups whole milk
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons corn starch
What To Do:
Into a saucepan over LOW heat add chocolate and a drop of milk. Stir with a wooden spoon until melted.
SLOWLY add remaining milk until it’s well combined. Add sugar. Mix to combine. Whisk in corn starch.
Continue cooking over LOW heat until it becomes thick, creamy and coats the back of the wooden spoon.
Hot chocolate Italian-style is one of the most amazing treats in the world! You have to try this pudding-like chocolate decadence! Add some Irish cream, cinnamon, and whipped cream for a fun variation, or create your own!”
I suggest some petit four or sweet canapes and sandwich to serve your afternoon tea
a delice !!!
for Chocolate lover watch the chocolat movie you will like it !!
Traditionally, the galette des Rois is made to celebrate Epiphany, which falls on the 6th of January, twelve days after Christmas. The cake is eaten in celebration of the arrival of the three kings who have travelled from afar with gifts for the newborn baby. In practice, people eat this galette throughout January and, dare I say, it is a rather unreligious event for most.
A dried bean, known as la fève, is hidden in the cake, and whoever receives the bean in his piece of cake, is crowned king or queen for the duration of the party. Other popular traditions, include having the youngest member of the gathering sit under the table and designate to whom each piece of cake should be served.\
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Baking time: 30 min
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup ground almonds
2 eggs + 1 egg for painting
1 tablespoon rum (optional)
1 pound puff pastry (2 rounds)
1 large dry bean or fève figurine
To make the frangipane, blend the butter with the sugar until well combined. Blend in the almonds thoroughly. Beat in the 2 eggs one at a time and then the rum if you are using it.
In a small bowl, beat the remaining egg.
Roll out half of the puff pastry into a round about 12 inches in diameter. Place it on a wax paper lined baking sheet. Using a pastry brush, paint the outer 1 1/2 inch circumference of the pastry with beaten egg.
Spread the frangipane in a round in the center of the pastry so that it just meets the painted on egg. Press the bean into the frangipane somewhere close to the outer edge.
Place the other puff pastry (rolled out into an equally sized round) on top of the first. Use the times of a fork to press the edges closed. Brush the top of the galette with the beaten egg.
Use a paring knife to etch a pretty pattern into the top of the galette. Traditionally this is in a cross-hatch pattern, or concentric half circles, but you can make up your own pattern if you are feeling creative. Don’t cut through the pastry, just etch.
Cut a small hole in the center of the pastry to allow steam to escape. Place the galette in the refrigerator to cool for at least 30 minutes before baking. You can make it a day in advance as well – just be sure to keep it refrigerated.
Preheat the oven to 200°F. Place the refrigerated galette in the center of the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the top is dark golden brown. Serve warm.
The beignet is a French -style, square donut, decked in powdered sugar. And it is delicious! Beignet means fried dough in French and is similar to fritter in English.
Beignets originate from France and, depending on the region, can be prepared in many different ways, hence carrying a variety of names: bugnes, merveilles, oreillettes, corchevets, vautes, etc.
My beignet recipe is so easy to make and you can enjoy it with so many different dips flavour, cinnamon, chocolate or raspberry Jam .
• 125ml water
• 1 tablespoon yeast
• 50g butter or lard
• 100g caster sugar
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 250ml boiling water
• 250ml evaporated milk
• 2 eggs, beaten
• 950g plain flour
• 1L vegetable oil for frying
• 125g icing sugar for dusting
Prep: 30 mins | Cook: 30 mins
1.Pour 125ml room temperature water into a small bowl. Sprinkle the yeast over the water and let stand for about 5 minutes to dissolve.
2.Combine the butter or lard, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Pour the boiling water over the butter mixture and then stir in the evaporated milk. Wait for the mixture to cool down until it is lukewarm. Then, add the yeast and water mixture and beaten eggs.
3.Slowly mix in the flour until the dough forms a ball. Cover the dough with clingfilm and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
4.Working with a small portion (a little larger than a baseball) at a time, roll out the dough 3mm thick. Cut the rolled out dough into strips 5 to 8cm wide, then cut again in the opposite direction and at an angle, making diamond shapes.
5.Heat your oil for frying in a deep and wide, heavy-bottomed frying pan over medium-high heat to 180 degrees C.
6.Slide dough slowly into the oil to avoid splattering and deep fry until they puff up and are golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Carefully remove onto a rack with kitchen roll underneath and allow to cool until you can handle them. Place in a clean paper bag with icing sugar and shake gently until covered generously or, use a sifter to dust the beignets with powdered sugar.
Mother’s Day is just around the corner and I know that the strawberry cake is always the girls & lady’s favourite cake.
Baking a cake for your mum or your wife is always the best present you can do for Mother’s day celebration. However. if you don’t have any knowledge on how to bake one, just buy one!
This fresh strawberry cake is perfect for any holiday, but it’s also perfect to celebrate any Spring and summer day
My recipe is very easy to make for anybody with a little knowledge of baking. This strawberry and cream sponge cake is essentially a French light genoise sponge cake filled with fresh strawberries, vanilla chantilly cream and fresh strawberry coulis (optional) The making of the French genoise cake is not as daunting as most people might think, all you have to do is to follow a few simple sponge cake making tips outlined below and watch your cake rise as light as a feather.
The french genoise recipe
For the génoise sponge
250g/9oz caster sugar
8 medium free-range eggs
250g/9oz plain flour
50g/1¾oz butter, melted
Preheat the oven to 180C/185c Fan/Gas 4. Grease and line two 22cm/9in round cake tins.
For the génoise sponge, place the sugar and eggs into a large bowl and whisk with an electric whisk until thick and pale.
Gently fold in the flour and melted butter until smooth.
Bake for 30–40 minutes, or until the cakes are risen and springy to the touch. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. When cool enough to handle, turn out on to a wire rack to cool completely.
method to build the cake
1/ Place a 20-22cm/8-10in stainless steel ring onto the flan case and use it to cut through, discarding the outer rim of sponge. Cut the flan in half horizontally so you end up with two thin layers.
2/Place the steel ring onto a large, flat serving plate. Place one of the sponge layers inside and press down lightly.
3/Place the double cream in a bowl with the vanilla bean from the pod, and the caster sugar. Whip until semi-firm peaks form when the whisk is removed.
4 Line the ring with the large strawberry halves with some fresh strawberry coulis . – reserve the rest of the strawberries.
5 Carefully spoon the whipped cream into the centre of the flan and spread out gently to fill the whole mould – adding as much cream as necessary to cover to the top of the strawberries. Place the remaining flan case on top and press down lightly and cover the top of the ring with whipped cream.
6 Remove the ring by carefully warming the edges with a hot cloth and lifting it straight upwards.
Carefully heat a metal skewer over a direct flame until very hot (use oven gloves). Use the hot skewer to score the top of the cake with lines to create a diamond pattern.
Now is time to be creative and you can use a piping bag for the decoration and garnish with a fresh strawberry, you can use the remaining vanilla pod for the decoration.
Quinces are rather odd fruit; they look half-way between an apple and a pear, they are not good to eat off the tree, they are quite hard, they are loaded with pectin (a natural jelling agent), and they make the most lovely rose-colored jelly.
Wash the quinces, scourer off the down, and then quarter them roughly. Put the cut up quince into a preserving pan with the water and simmer long and slowly until they become soft. It can take over an hour to reduce well.
Strain through a jelly bag overnight (by jelly bag, I mean a tea towel or very fine sieve – whatever you have at your disposal that fits within that criteria will be fine). Do not force the juice, as it will make it cloudy.
Measure the juice into the preserving pan, and for each 600 mls of juice add 375g caster sugar. Bring juice to simmering point, add the sugar and the strained lemon juice. Dissolve over a very low heat. Boil fast and begin testing for a set after 10 minutes. When soft set is reached, pour into small, sterislised, hot jars and seal.
This jelly stiffens during storage, and looks like a ruby jewel in the jar. It is delicious is served with lamb or boiled or baked pork, or simply as jelly with toast and butter for breakfast.
Selfridges said sales are up nearly a quarter compared with this time last year, and its afternoon tea venue — Dolly’s — is set to sell 12 new varieties. M&S and Jamie Oliver’s restaurant Fifteen have also launched flavoured éclairs, with the latter offering rhubarb and custard.
Experts put the resurgence of the choux pastry treat down to the popularity of afternoon tea and the revival of home baking brought about by TV’s The Great British Bake Off. M&S said: “We think this will be the year of the éclair … it seems their popularity will soon be challenging the mighty cupcake.”
The chocolate éclair has long been a staple in UK patisseries, but new flavours are key to the boom. Selfridges’ executive chef, Mark Taylor, said: “On a recent trip to Paris, the range of flavours was vast — pistachio, mint, violet cream.”
Choux pastry is the lightest, crispiest, airiest pastry, which can be used to make profiteroles, éclairs or savoury gougères. It puffs up in the oven until it is eventually set by the heat. The airiness, in fact, is caused because choux has a high water content, which is turned into steam during baking and this forces the pastry shell outwards and gives it volume.
This a easy recipe I do everytime for my sweet canapes party ….
140g g Strong White Bread Flour o
25cls Water or milk
4 gr of salt
Combine the milk, 125ml water, the butter and salt in a saucepan and set over a low heat. Bring the boil and immediately take the pan off the heat. Shower in the flour and beat the mixture with a wooden spoon until spoon. Return the pan to a medium heat for about 1 minute, stirring constantly, to dry out the paste. Tip it into the bowl. Add the eggs one by one, beating with the wooden spoon. Once they are all incorporated into the mixture, it should be smooth and shiny and thick enough to pipe. The choux paste is now ready to use. (If you are not using it immediately brush the surface with eggwash to prevent a crust forming) Pipe small mounds on a baking sheet line greaseproof paper in staggered rows, using a bag fitted with a 1cm nozzle. Brush with eggwash and lightly mark the tops with the back of a spoon. Bake at 200ºC/Gas 6 fir 15-20 minutes until crisp, but still soft inside. Cool on a window sill.
Blueberries shine in this simple, delicious tart. The dough comes together quickly and is rolled out on a piece of parchment paper to keep it from sticking to the counter. Pile blueberries mixed with a bit of sugar and lemon zest into the center of the dough and fold up the sides—no pie plate needed. Transfer the whole thing, parchment and all, to a baking sheet in the oven, and in about an hour you’ll have a juicy, bubbling blueberry tart.
For the dough:
150g cups all-purpose flour
80g tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
80g tablespoons cold unsalted butter (1 1/4 sticks), cut into small pieces
4 to 5 tablespoons ice water
For the filling and baking:
All-purpose flour, for dusting
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest (from 1/2 medium lemon)
500g fresh blueberries (do not use frozen)
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons coarse-grained sugar,
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a food processor, combine flour, sugar, salt, and butter; process until large moist crumbs form (dough should hold together when squeezed).
Transfer dough to a 9-inch round tart pan with a removable bottom; with floured fingers, press evenly into bottom and up sides. Freeze until firm, about 15 minutes; prick bottom of dough all over with a fork. Bake until golden, 20 to 25 minutes; cool completely.
Meanwhile, reserve 1 cup of the prettiest berries for topping. In a medium saucepan, bring 1/4 cup water and 1 1/2 cups berries to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat; simmer, stirring occasionally, until berries begin to break down, 3 to 4 minutes.
In a small bowl, mix cornstarch with 2 tablespoons water; stir into berries in pan. Add lemon zest and juice, sugar, and salt. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Simmer, stirring, just until mixture begins to thicken, 30 to 60 seconds. Remove from heat. Stir in remaining 3 1/2 cups fresh berries. Immediately pour hot berry mixture into cooled tart shell, and smooth with a spatula.
Scatter reserved berries on top, pressing down lightly to help them adhere. Refrigerate until cool, about 30 minutes and up to overnight.