Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Right Mix

I came across a new flavour today; salted caramel. 

Caramel tends to conjure sensations of flowing and sweet pleasures. Sugar is the name of the game when it comes to caramel but not as an imposition but rather as an accompaniment to another one of those rich substances - butter. That is what caramel brings to me. An autocratic richness that one cannot but acknowledge and appreciate. So when I came across salted caramel today, my first inclination was to flinch in horror. I flicked the box and started reading the components, diligently. Salt, caramel and all the other usual ingredients and then I halted in thought - dark chocolate. That was when my mind suddenly became aware of the true weight behind this. I relaxed into an inquisitive smile.

Dark chocolate is one of those fluid materials where experimentation is the only way to bring its full flavours to furore. It is raw and pristine enough to invite you to enjoy it on its own accord, if you are adventurous enough of course. It opens up a whole new avenue of exploration within your taste buds. No two people tasting the same piece of dark chocolate arrive at the same description or effect for that matter. Guaranteed. It is one of those foods that is open to free interpretation. I took the little box to the counter as if in trance, trying to imagine what the intense buttery sweetness of caramel contrasted with the sharpness of salt would bring out in the dark chocolate. It must have taken quite a bit of fun and games in the chocolate laboratory to come up with the right mix. Should the caramel be more on the buttery side? How much salt should one add? What about the type of dark chocolate or its cocoa percentage. I was excited by the thought of trying this daring flavour.

The balance was just right. Each of the core ingredients were distinct enough to make their awaited appearance before your taste buds but they were also working as a team. At the right moment, they each played their parts and blended in to what one can only describe as a perfect piece of art. Salty, buttery sweetness with a rich, bold sharpness combined in every bite. At the same time a unique smoothness that washed over and brought them all together. It was to die for. The taste lingered in your mouth even after the last morsels melted. I relished the moment and wondered how the idea came about.

It made me realise how, given the most extraordinary idea in the world, when applied using the right tools and attitude, one has the capacity to arrive at something almost amazing, if not ground breaking. Is this how innovators work then? Is this how successful endeavours are brought about? I would like to think so. It seems that the sky truly is the limit and at the end of the day, it really is all about the right mix, the right attitude and a strong belief coupled with determination. Above all, it would not be possible without daring to dream.


  1. i tried salted caramel here....really was imported from france....i can't wait to go to france....i think we should go buy a chateu in the french countryside and make chocolate :)

  2. deal!! maybe maybe we could go on a one day chocolate making course while you're there or even a pastry course!! how about that?