Saturday, February 27, 2016

Fresco Chocolate Part 2: Length of Conche

Let's talk length of conche:  Huh, wha...? Yup, I said conche. This is a machine that essentially 'kneads' the chocolate and moves it over several hours, and up to three days, while aerating the chocolate and maintaining it at a warm temperature. Conching is additional processing time after the cocoa beans are ground into liquid chocolate.

The duration of the conche affects both texture and flavour, and allows acidity within the chocolate to evaporate. Fresco is the only chocolate maker that I know of that allows its customers to taste chocolate made with varying conche times.

Fresco produces several chocolate bars that are made with the same origin of cocoa beans, the same roast, the same ingredients, and the same measurement of ingredients, but simply changes one variable, the length of conching, to produce different tasting chocolates.

So what's the big deal, you might ask? The length of the conche not only affects the texture of the chocolate (no or very short conche = rough, long conche = smooth), but it also affects the resulting flavour.  The difference can be subtle, but it will certainly affect your overall experience with the chocolate.

Let's look at examples from two of Fresco's single origin chocolates: Peru (pure Nacional bean type) and Papua New Guinea.

Fresco Papua New Guinea 69% Dark Chocolate, Recipe 219 (medium conche) vs 222 (unconched)

Fresco's Papua New Guinea tasting flight certainly offers some opportunity to learn about the affect of the conching step on chocolate flavour.

The Papua New Guinea Recipe 229 (light roast, medium conche) is a wonderfully flavourful chocolate with bright, citrus and tropical fruit flavours, with notes of plum, and just the slightest hint of smoke or tobacco. It is a smooth chocolate and overall quite unique and delicious. It is clear why this one has won a Gold Award at the Northwest Chocolate Festival in 2012, with its robust flavour but slightly subdued acidity making it more palatable to a wider range of chocolate lovers.

To compare, the unconched version of this chocolate is Papua New Guinea Recipe 222 (light roast, unconched).  Here we have a chocolate that is nearly smooth, with only a slight grainy texture with powerful tropical fruit and citrus flavours, and a slight hint of smoke in the aroma.  What's interesting, is that the notes of plum that are in the conched chocolate are not detected, because I suspect the conching process blends the flavours to a point of merging them, creating a unique flavour on its own, in this case plum. And although the flavour and acidity is almost too powerful in the unconched chocolate, I could still enjoy this chocolate every day.

Fresco Peru Nacional 70% Dark Chocolate, Recipe 229 (long conche) vs 222 (subtle conche)

The conching time differences can also be tasted in Fresco's Peru chocolate made from Pure Nacional beans. Again we have two dark chocolate bars with the same cocoa solids (70%), but made only slightly different.  Recipe 228 has a medium roast but subtle conche. Recipe 229 also has a medium roast, but a long conche.

The chocolate with the long conche is silkier on the tongue. The flavour, although bright and complex, blend together to produce an overall wonderfully fresh fruit flavour, light sweetness and roast all combined into one unique flavour. Whereas, the Peru Nacional with the subtle conche seems to separate the flavours into distinct groups: with an upfront floral flavour, then citrus fruit taste, with only mild sweetness and roast detected.  It is smooth, but not perfectly and as a result seems to have a less cocoa buttery mouthfeel.  

So what did I learn about conching?

Even if I carried the knowledge before, this tasting physically taught me the importance of conching in chocolate: it subdues the powerful acidic flavours of the bean, reduces bitterness that can be unpalatable at times, and makes the chocolate more enjoyable to the masses. I suppose that is why Lindt chocolate is so popular - didn't Rudolphe Lindt invent the conche afterall?

Read more in this Fresco Series:

Introduction to Fresco Chocolate - how chocolate-maker Rob Anderson is helping his customers learn about chocolate making through taste.

Part 1: Can you handle 100% Dark Chocolate? Fresco's two chocolate bars.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Fresco Chocolate Part 1: 100% Dark Chocolates

I decided to begin my series on Fresco chocolate with Fresco's 100% dark chocolate bars, mainly because it is easier for me to enjoy 100% dark chocolate if not consuming sweeter chocolate in the days leading up to it.

But before I start, I want to ask: Have you ever tasted unsweetened chocolate? By 'unsweetened' I mean no alternate sugars are added, like stevia or other calorie-free sweeteners; I'm talking chocolate made with just one ingredient: cacao. That can include just ground cocoa beans or cocoa mass, or cocoa beans and added cocoa butter. If you have not yet come around to the idea of chocolate without sugar, I recommend you try it several for days, and eat nothing sweet before it. If you do this every day for a week, I am pretty sure you will get used to it. 

Definitely do not train your palate on unsweetened baking chocolate! Most often it is inedible - too acidic to enjoy on its own. Buy some 99% chocolate or 100% dark chocolate from fine chocolate makers, like Soma, Fresco, Pralus, Bonnat, Michel Cluizel and one of my recent favourite's, the Labooko 100% Peru by Zotter.

Now back to Fresco. The two 100% dark chocolate bars they offer are made from two cocoa bean origins: a Peru Marañòn Pure Nacional 100% chocolate bar (medium roast, long conche) and a limited edition Madagascar 100% chocolate (light roast, long conche).  Over several days, I have tasted both, and below are my notes on and comparing each bar:

Fresco Chocolate, Peru Marañòn 100% Cacao (Recipe 231, medium roast, long conche), 1.8 oz/50g

Peru Maranon is a bean that is highly coveted, and definitely can be described as 'all the rage' right now.  Soma's award-winning Peru: Nacional 70% chocolate bar seemed to be among the first to highlight the bean, then I tasted Hexx's Maranon origin chocolate made with coconut sugar,  I found Ritual's and DURCI's excellent-tasting Maranon chocolate bars and now I am tasting Fresco's chocolate made with the same bean type.

Each chocolate maker does something different with the beans - a different percentage (DURCI's 70% compared to Ritual's 75% dark chocolate), different format or thickness of the chocolate bar and varying roast levels.  With the other chocolates makers' creations, they have done their experimenting 'behind the scenes' and shown us their chosen 'perfect' chocolate bar to fit the bean's unique flavour.  In Fresco's case, they let us taste the experiments.  Fresco has taken the Marañòn pure Nacional cacao and  created several bars, with varying conching, roast levels, and cacao percentages and let us decide which we like best. You'll learn more about Fresco's bittersweet  chocolate bars made from the Maranon beans in a post later this week, but today I am focusing on the 100% cacao bar by Fresco.

The acidity and extreme bitterness of the 100% Marañòn chocolate immediately surprised me. I suppose it shouldn't have because most 100% dark chocolate bars can taste acidic. But Fresco had given the beans a 'medium' roast and a long conche, and so I expected the acidity to be reduced quite a bit through the process. I became more used to this after a few tastings, but it still clearly has quite the bite to it that surprises me each time I eat it.

There is a hint of fruitiness, which is apparent, but tougher to identify over the acidity level.  Based on my experience tasting Peru-Marañòn origin chocolate made by other craft chocolate makers, and from digging into Fresco's 70% Marañòn bars this morning, I think a little sugar can really bring out the fruit and other flavours in this bean.

Overall, the chocolate was well made. It had a quick melt and was soft to bite into (albeit a good snap), which made me wonder if cocoa butter had been added, but no. From experience, this bean simply has a lovely natural cocoa butter content. The long conche also gave the chocolate a lovely texture.

With the acidity levels, I might be inclined to make a lovely ganache from the remainder of this chocolate, or a lovely single-origin hot chocolate, rather than simply eat it on its own.

Fresco's Madagascar  100% cacao, Light Roast, Long Conche, Limited Release, 1.8 oz (50g)

The Madagascar 100% seemed to be a little less acidic at first, but the lingering aftertaste was all sweetness (don't get me wrong here, there is no sugar in this bar but it leaves a sort of sweet aftertaste).

Like with the Peru Marañòn 100% chocolate, the citrus fruit flavours commonly found in Madagascar origin chocolate are harder to identify with no sugar added. The citrus comes off more like acid when no sugar is added. So I'll say it again: A little sugar truly goes a long way to enhance the flavours in origin chocolate.

The Madagascar also has a lovely smooth texture and a nice soft, buttery melt. Unlike the Marañòn 100%, I could enjoy this one as an 'eating chocolate' for tasting, and also perhaps as a ganache or hot chocolate.

As a Tasting Flight Overall...

My tasting overall of Fresco's 100% chocolate bars was fun, albeit bold. I would have liked to have a third 100% chocolate bar, perhaps of a less 'fruity' origin flavour such as an Ecuador Nacional or perhaps a smoky Indonesian bean origin to compare something with less citrus-type acidity, just to compare to these two chocolate bars. I did try both of them against a few inferior unsweetened dark chocolates, as well as a 100% raw chocolate bar. Fresco's texture, taste and quality won in all cases.

And of course, I am left wondering what these would taste like with added cocoa butter, or different roasts?  Perhaps Fresco's owner and chocolate maker, Rob Anderson, knows. And perhaps someday he will share with us. 

Stay tuned, later this week, I will explore varying conche lengths, roasts and harvest years through Fresco's bittersweet (70%) dark chocolate line-up.

For more information on Fresco Chocolate, visit:
Please note: I paid for this chocolate and my review is therefore unbiased. Well, it would be unbiased regardless, since I tend to only tell you about the chocolate that I like best!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Fresco: A chocolate brand deserving of a four-part series

With the recent rapid increase in the number of 'bean to bar' chocolate makers across America, it is becoming more and more difficult to find uniqueness among the masses. But Washington State's Fresco Chocolate is definitely doing things differently.  I've had my eye on this chocolate maker for some time, just waiting for a chance to try their unique line of chocolate bars.

Why so unique? Unlike many others, chocolate maker, Rob Anderson, produces several different chocolate bars out of the same origin of cacao (cocoa beans). On his website's main page, you can see how many products you can buy made from each cocoa origin. For instance, you can buy four different chocolate bars made from beans grown in Papua New Guinea, and five bars from the coveted Peruvian Maranon beans.

You might be we wondering: Why so many products from the same beans? Fresco so correctly believes that "Heat, motion, aeration & time produce chocolate's final flavor; this is conching. Adjusting these variables can produce dramatically different flavors." This is true: change any one variable, such as the length of refining, or 'conching' as it is called, and the final chocolate flavour will change.  The same applies to the roast level (i.e. dark versus light) or even the year of the cocoa bean harvest.

Fresco is essentially teaching its customers how each variable in the chocolate-making process affects chocolate flavour, by way of tasting Fresco's products. By making two or three chocolate bars, each with a different roast of the cocoa beans (light, medium or dark roast) or conching length, the chocolate consumer can learn by tasting to discover the differences in flavour.  It also helps in 'palate training', so that next time he or she tastes a chocolate bar, they can identify how heavy the roast may be, and look beyond to discover the other naturally occurring flavours within the chocolate.

This week, I am armed with 12 of Fresco's amazing chocolate bars, made from four different origins: Peru (Maranon River Canyon), Madagascar, Peru (San Martin), and Papua New Guinea. But tasting this many chocolates, with varying conche and roast levels, is a colossal task.  So I have decided to turn this review into a four-part series, so I can focus individually on the taste of different roasts, different conche times and harvest years, as well as a separate discussion of Fresco's 100% chocolate bars.

So stay tuned tomorrow for the first part in this four-part series exploring Fresco and the different variables of chocolate making!

Read on...
Part 1: Fresco's 100% Dark Chocolate Bars
Part 2: How conche affects chocolate flavour
Part 3: How roast affects chocolate flavour

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Bean-to-Bar Chocolate in Utah: Where some of the best craft chocolate in the world is made!

I recently received a wonderful package of chocolate made from bean-to-bar in Utah.  Some will say that Utah is perhaps the state that started the bean-to-bar craft chocolate-making trend, thanks to Art Pollard and his award-winning Amano brand of chocolate.  Others will argue it began in Missouri, or perhaps California.  But there is no denying that Utah is certainly a craft chocolate destination these days, with at least seven craft chocolate makers roasting up some cacao and delicately turning that cacao into fine chocolate.

Here are a few of Utah's bean-to-bar chocolate's that I have had the privilege of tasting over the last few months:

Amano "Artisan Chocolate" (Orem, UT)

I have tasted some of Amano Chocolate's earlier chocolate bars, and the quality was always good. It is widely known that Art Pollard, Amano's founder and chocolate maker, has been at the forefront of America's bean-to-bar craft chocolate industry with a select few others.  He has a passion for chocolate and for buying fine cacao direct from farmers, both of which show consistently in the quality of his origin chocolate bars. I was reminded of this when I tasted Amano's Papua New Guinea origin chocolate, called Morobe 70%, last week. It had a luxurious texture from a great balance of cocoa butter-to-beans ratio.

Amano has launched a new flavoured line of chocolate bars, and not something I had tried before.  Now we are not talking about the citrus and earthy flavours found naturally in the Morobo 70% chocolate, we are instead talking about flavoured chocolate by way of inclusions. This is definitely new for Amano, who has focused on perfecting its origin chocolate in the past, and allowing the cacao's origin flavours to shine through naturally.

I received a few bars of Amano's new flavoured chocolate. My first thought was how beautiful the packaging is, partially because of the large, or rather long size of box (although only 85 grams of chocolate in each) and also because  of the elegant, yet colourfully modern package design. These chocolate bars are definitely great for gift-giving.

The Amano Raspberry Rose chocolate bar was full of sweet-and-tart raspberry flavour with a lovely balance of sweetness that would appeal to any palate.  I usually eat darker chocolate than 55% cocoa solids, like this Ecuadorian-origin chocolate bar has, but I quite enjoyed it none-the-less.

I thought the rose petals were going to turn me off, and worried the chocolate would taste like a grandmother's perfume or something that is supposed to refresh odours in clothing cabinets, but instead, the rose flavour turned up only in the finish and was quite enjoyable. And as for the texture, Amano says it best on their website, that the  crunchy bits make it "extra electrifying". It definitely is electrifying.

Amano makes a Mango Chili chocolate with 65% cocoa solids, which I am dying to taste, but I thought it better to share with friends over the holidays. Mr. Pollard also has a passion for Cardamom Black Pepper flavour, and has come up with a combination that includes flavourful Dominican Republic cocoa and the spice.

DURCI (Lindon, UT)
One of the newest chocolate makers to open in Utah, I tasted just one chocolate bar so far: Joya Rara 70% and was amazed with the quality and taste upon first bite. It has a very bold flavour profile, surprising at first with herb, fruit and something else. For a little more on the cacao used to make this chocolate, which has 40% white beans, see the review of Ritual Chocolate below. I also tasted a hint of smoke or tobacco in both the aroma and on the finish during a few tastings.

I love the beauty of the customized moulds DURCI has used for their chocolate bars, with the image of a backpacking, trekking, all-around-adventurer up-front and centre on the square chocolate bar, making me feel like eating the chocolate will prompt travel and adventure. I also like the ultra thin chocolate bar shape: easy to break off pieces and savour the flavour in perfect, mouth-sized portions.

My first experience was so good, that I can't wait to taste more from DURCI!

Millcreek Cacao Roasters (Salt Lake City, UT)

Millcreek Cacao Roasters is doing things a little bit differently than all the rest. For starters, they only use one origin: Ecuadorian Arriba Nacional 70% which they say was selected from "rigorous blind tasting".  The bean is known to be quite fine tasting and was, in fact, all the rage a few years ago. And when I tasted their non-flavoured chocolate bar - a straight-up 70% dark chocolate - it was quite robust flavoured and delicious on it's own. I find Millcreek's chocolate also quite delicate, a slender beautiful bar that can easily be broken into just the right sized pieces for a good melt-in-the-mouth experience.

But what is really different about Millcreek Cacao Roasters is the way they approach flavoured chocolate. Chocolate makers, Mark DelVecchio and Dana Brewster, use a "proprietary method to naturally cure (their) chocolate with hints of flavor" (ref). The fact is: chocolate takes on the aromas it is exposed to.  So they  embraced this by "air-infusing chocolate next to aromatics" such as mint, blackberry, and orange flavours. I tasted the mint and the blackberry. The mint offered simply a hint of flavour, which was quite nice. But I was certainly surprised when the blackberry was full of berry flavour.

The  Blackberry 70% Dark Chocolate bar really surprised me.  The blackberry flavour was very bold and surprisingly strong (in a good way) considering that there is no actual blackberry flavour in the ingredients list.  I am amazed that they can infuse such flavour with no additional ingredients.  The Mint had been a hint of flavour, but the Blackberry was undeniably the flavour of the fruit.
Ritual Chocolate is one I have tasted in the past.  Read my past review here:

I also tasted Millcreek's Tart Cherry chocolate bar, which actually had pieces of cherry sprinkled on the back. It was quite enjoyable and paired nicely with the complex flavours of the Arriba Nacional chocolate. The balance of sweet, bitter and tart was quite perfect. Millcreek's Mint chocolate bar was an infused bar, and with just a hint of mint, I enjoyed it quite a lot. 

Overall, I highly I am looking forward to my next experience with Millcreek's chocolate.  And I highly recommend you give it a try!

Ritual Chocolate
Ritual Chocolate has been in business since 2010.  The chocolate makers, Robbie and Anna, have always been friendly; willing to ship chocolate to me when I begged to make a purchase from Canada in their earlier days, when they worked out of a studio in Denver. 

So I have tasted Ritual's chocolate before, but those were different bars and different cacao harvests.  Here is a review of the more current chocolate bars made by Ritual that I tasted this month:

Ritual Chocolate, Peru Maranon 75% Cacao, Batch 003, Harvest Year: 2014, 42.5g (1.5 oz)
Although the ingredients only list cacao and organic cane sugar, this chocolate bar seems to be buttery compared to Ritual's Madagascar chocolate bar.  It has a soft, melt-in-your mouth feel of cocoa butter, very tangy, citrusy and acidic. But beautiful flavour - bold and full of flavour, and I can taste the roast flavour, almost tobacco. A little similar to the Madagascar in way, but more balanced in fruit-to-chocolate flavour, with no citrus, raspberry and blackberry flavour like the Madagascar has.

Ritual Chocolate, Madagascar Sambirano 75%, Batch 005, Harvest Year: 2013, 42.5g (1.5 oz)

The Peru Nacional (Maraon River Valley) is possibly my favourite cacao origin; I have enjoyed bars made from these beans by three chocolate makers now, including Soma's Peru Nacional 70% dark chocolate bar and DURCI's. I wish I could line them all up at once to decide who made the best bar from these beans, but it is not easy to co-ordinate such chocolate orders.

Ritual's Madagascar Sambirano chocolate bar seemed a little crunchy and stiff, so I knew it must be close to expiry (and in fact, it was only five days away from expiry!). There was no visible bloom, it was just a little on the old side, but somehow the chocolate bar still offered a flavourful and tasty experience, as is common with Madagascar origin chocolate.

Ritual Chocolate, Fleur de Sel Dark Chocolate 70%, Batch 008, Harvest Year 2014, 42.5g (1.5 oz)
I am not usually a fan of salted dark chocolate above 65% cocoa solids (I often find a little sweetness is needed for that true 'sweet-and-salty' taste), but I like this one. The chocolate is made from a blend of cacao origins, and offers a nice balance of chocolate flavour, which the salt only enhances. You can buy this chocolate on Ritual's website.

For More Chocolate Makers in Utah...

Visit my list of American Bean-to-Bar Craft Chocolate Makers to find out who else makes chocolate from bean to bar in Utah. It is broken down by state, making it easy to find what you are looking for.  Find the list by clicking here.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

All Natural Raspberry Marshmallows, Plus a Raspberry Hot Chocolate Recipe!

I recently learned how to make homemade marshmallows, and I can say this: MY. MIND. WAS. BLOWN.  I had no idea how simple it was to make marshmallows!  And yet I've been complaining for years about the terrible ingredients in store-bought marshmallows and wishing I could buy more natural or organic ones. Little did I know they would be so simple.

So once I made the first two batches of plain marshmallows, I immediately started changing it up and made flavoured ones.  First I did festive holiday ginger spiced ones, then cherry, lemon and mint. But the best of all was raspberry.  I could achieve the greatest natural flavour and colour with real raspberry juice! I simply thawed a bag of frozen raspberries and used the juices from it to make a batch of marshmallows.  The remaining raspberries were eaten, put on yogurt and used in smoothies, so there was no waste at all.

So with some modifications to a February 2011 Chatelaine Magazine recipe for homemade marshmallows, I created this recipe:

All-Natural Homemade Raspberry Marshmallows:

You need:
1/3 cup organic corn syrup (I used organic, vanilla-flavoured by Wholesome Sweeteners)
3/4 cup granulated sugar (I used raw, organic cane sugar by Camino)
1/2 cup (split into 1/4 cup measurements) juice from thawed frozen raspberries, sifted to remove seeds
1/8 tsp salt
21 gram of unflavoured gelatin powder (3 7 gram packets)
1/4 cup organic icing sugar (I used Wholesome Sweeteners - it's the only organic icing sugar I could find)
1 tsp cornstarch

1. Prepare a 8-inch square brownie pan by greasing it with coconut oil or cooking spray. Then line it with plastic wrap, ensuring it comes up all sides about an inch. Grease the plastic wrap as well. Set aside.

2. Stir together 1/4 cup of raspberry juice, sugar and salt in a small saucepan and place on the stovetop. Heat on medium-high and bring to a boil, stirring the ingredients together.

3. While waiting for the syrup to boil, warm the other 1/4 cup of raspberry juice in the microwave for 20 seconds. Then place in the bottom of a stand mixer bowl. Sprinkle the gelatin over top and give it a stir. Let rest for 2 minutes to soften.

4. Set your mixer on high, with the whisk attached, and pour in your hot syrup, letting it stream down the sides steadily. Use a spatula to scrape in the rest.  Beat on high for 4 minutes, until it is thick and light pink and peaks form.

5. Immediately pour into your pan and quickly spread around to even out the top.

6. Let set on the counter for about two hours.

7. Place the cornstarch and icing sugar in a bowl. Grease a long straight-edged knife. Remove the marshmallow from the pan and slice into 1-inch cubes. Roll in icing sugar mixture, coating all sides.

8. Seal in bags or airtight containers. These seem to keep for well over a month when sealed airtight (if you only use plastic wrap, they will harden from air exposure).

Here are two chocolaty ways to enjoy raspberry marshmallows:

Dip them in or drizzle on Madagascar dark chocolate!

Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Recipe

Madagascar chocolate most often tastes citrusy, and has raspberry fruit and blackberry flavours in it, which makes them pair well with these raspberry marshmallows. I tried Medecasse's 80% Madagascar dark chocolate which was nice.  But Lindt's Madagascar 70% dark chocolate was a perfect pairing.

Simply melt and temper some Madagascar dark chocolate. Using a toothpick stuck in the marshmallow, dip it into the chocolate, carefully tap off the excess chocolate and place on a piece of waxed paper to set. Alternately, drizzle the chocolate over the raspberries for a hint of chocolaty flavour.  Seal well. Chocolate-covered marshmallows are a fun treat for kids, and delicious as a hot chocolate topper (they make your hot chocolate even chocolaty-er!).  And they
 are especially fun to serve to your Valentine because of their pink colour.

Toss these on a Raspberry Hot Chocolate!

Raspberry Hot Chocolate Recipe
Ingredients from Shari's Berries infographic on gourmet hot cocoa. Instructions devised by me (Lisabeth).

You need:
1 cup milk
1/4 cup chocolate chips, or finely chopped chocolate
1 tsp cocoa powder
1 tbsp. raspberry jam

Place your milk, cocoa powder and jam in a saucepan on the stovetop and heat at medium-high. Place your chocolate in a large mug. Then bring the milk mixture just to a simmer on the stove. As soon as it begins to bubble, remove from heat and pour 1/4 of the mixture over the chocolate. Stir until it looks smooth, but still with a few lumps.  Pour the remaining milk over top and stir until smooth.  Enjoy!

Note on Chocolate:
The thing about this recipe, and all recipes involving chocolate, is that the taste can change depending on the flavour of the chocolate.  I made raspberry hot chocolate a few ways, with different kinds of chocolate.  And one of the chocolates that I used had over 70% cocoa solids, but it had a very floral flavour and the resulting hot chocolate was not as good as another that I had made with no floral flavours. If this happens to you, add some agave syrup, which will help the flavour immensely.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Game Day Party Coming Up? Make this Chocolate Football on the Cheap!

A chocolate mould can really be made out of anything. And so, when I saw a gimmicky Superbowl plastic football filled with KitKat bars at the grocery store last week, I knew just what to do.

This KitKat container made the perfect football chocolate mould!
If you want to make a chocolate from any mould, wash and dry the plastic mould very well (it must be dry!). Place a large piece of waxed paper on your counter. Then simply melt and temper your chocolate.  I melted about 500 grams of chocolate for this football, but had some left over at the end.

Pour the liquid tempered chocolate into the mould, spread the chocolate all around and up the sides, then flip the mold over upside down over the waxed paper, letting all the excess drip out.  Flip it back over, clean the top edges off by scraping with an offset spatula, and then flip it back over onto a clean piece of waxed paper to rest for 3 or 4 minutes.

This chocolate is made with CacaoBarry 38% organic chocolate
- so to me, that's a guilt-free treat for my family during superbowl!
Once it has set a bit, pick up the mould and scrape the top outside edges clean, ensuring the football will have clean edges. If the hollow figure (football) looks too thin and fragile, do this process one more time. Refrigerate for about 20 minutes, until the football can come out of the mould easily. Voila!

Place the football in the center of a dessert platter and surround it in total game day-style treats, like the Maple-Bacon Sponge Toffee drizzled in milk chocolate (shown on the platter in the picture above).  Simply make this maple sponge toffee recipe and replace the maple syrup with a bacon-flavoured maple syrup (President's Choice just launched one recently in the Canadian market).  If you can't find a bacon-flavoured maple syrup, finely chop cooked bacon and sprinkle it into the sponge toffee just before you pour it into your pan, then drizzle with melted chocolate.

Alternately, surround your chocolate football with candied bacon or chocolate-bacon bark. Find the recipes here.