Crème de Cassis

This was the first ever one Richard tried to make about 21 years ago. All he knew was – to make a truffle you finely chop the chocolate, heat the cream, cover the chocolate in the cream to melt and whisk until smooth. He also knew you could add a liqueur at a certain point to flavour the truffle. 

“I went to the shop and bought the best quality chocolate I could afford and some cream. I had a look at the liqueur options and the only fruit based one they had in was Crème de Cassis – so I thought that’ll do, I’ll give that a go!” 

The first time it was completely wrong. Far too loose and he couldn’t roll it, a complete mess. He kept trying and persevering though and tried many recipes. It turned out lovely in 1997 and he dipped it in white chocolate he had to hand, which is still the way he finishes them off now. He tries to use the same brand of Crème de Cassis every year – it’s Dutch apparently. The recipe has not been altered since 1997 and he believes he never will tamper with it. It really is that special to him. 

This is where his obsession with balancing flavours first started too, as he noticed the chocolate bitterness countered the fruitiness of the liqueur in this one and he discovered how layers of flavours worked. So, from then on, every chocolate he developed, he knew he wanted that layer of flavour experience on the palate. The whole flavour develops in the mouth over time. The Crème de Cassis chocolate ignited his passion for flavour discovery and development.

He then went to London to many chocolate shops and met with many famous chocolatiers for a chat. When he met Paul A Young, he was incredibly kind and they really hit it off. He explained flavours in such a passionate fascinating way it made Richard realise he needed to make chocolate flavours not just for himself, ones he enjoyed, but for others. He needed to learn to appreciate and balance flavours that he disliked! This was a huge lightbulb moment. 

After 6 months of R&D Richard had perfected his Crème de Cassis and decided to mark it with his ‘R’ initial as this truly is his signature chocolate. He still decorates it the same way – to match the fact the recipe hasn’t changed in 21 years! Richard is immensely proud of this one and he isn’t ashamed to say it – usually very humble, he allows himself to feel pride for the Crème de Cassis. And rightly so. The beautiful thing is, this one happened so organically, no recipe initially and he had fun discovering how it all worked. This laid a great foundation for him understanding flavour ratios that has seen him well while developing all his others.

This story was first published on our Facebook page in 2018 as part of our ‘The 12 Days of Chocolate’ flavour story series. But I think the story of flavour creation is interesting to read all year round – so they are finding a second home on our new blog and website!

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