Hazelnuts and sugar. How simple perfection can be!
Early breakfast and off to the Factory, where part of my team already started a couple of hours ago. It is “praliné-day”, and time and again the complex smell of grilled hazelnuts combined with the aroma of baked sugar makes me feel in heaven ! Each time I secretly grab a handful of warm nuts with melted sugar to treat myself, resisting is impossible.
More than 300 years ago, a chefs’ apprentice in the household of the French count Plessis-Praslin did the same, he received a box on the ear, but the chef did taste himself. It was a taste-revelation and the count put the feather in his own cap. The praline or praslin was born, a fixed value that survived wars, revolutions and different fashions and still makes us very happy.
To make a top produce with only two ingredients demands an almost obsessive search for the best materials and a flawless application of the recipe. With the “chocolate line-spirit” : only the best is good enough, we once again left nothing to chance : the super hazelnuts we get in Piëmonte, at the foot of the Apennines, the region of the famous Barolos and the with truffle. The sugar is melted in a computer-regulated caramel cooker, so that in function of the quality of the sugar we can determine to the grade the exact point where most aromas are released. The nuts are grilled at 160°C in warm air turbulence to make sure the grilling is a 100 % even. This modern equipment allows us to exclude every unhealthy, bitter burning of basic produce. After that the mixing starts. To begin, everything goes in a super mixer, where the oil is pressed out of the already grilled nuts en mingles with the sugar. This mixture goes – without any additions – in a specially designed conching machine where hundreds of steel balls then invert it to a thick smooth cream, so that our taste buds can perceive all nuances.
Chocolate wouldn’t be rock and roll if we didn’t try something out of the ordinary. The perfect technical possibilities give us the chance to experiment to our hearts content with other basic material. Almonds, flax seed, quinoa, moon seed, pistachio, pine seeds, etc. can all be worked in the same manner, with remarkable results, and give us the possibility to create pralines with a distinct personality.
Try our "Nutty Collection", available in our webshop.