Being an incorrigable chocoholic, it’s hard for me to ever admit that there is such a thing as too much chocolate (especially since one of my favourite things that we serve in the shop is the Warning! Dangerous Chocolate – shown above). It’s chocolate cake, chocolate ice cream, chocolate sauce, chocolate shavings and a bit of cream drowned in chocolate.
However, last night I ate at a very respected restaurant in South Kerry, and while the meal was fabulous, the dessert definitely left me wanting. It was a bitter chocolate tart with hazelnut ice cream.
Now I’m a big fan of bitter chocolate tarts (see here), but I think there is a general misconception about chocolate – that darker is always better. In other words, an 85% cocoa-content chocolate will be better than a 50%. However, it doesn’t really work that way.
Most dark tasting chocolate is around 70%, and that’s because once you go beyond that, the flavour of the chocolate recedes, and you are left with just the bitterness.
I would always serve very dark chocolate cake with cream or vanilla ice cream or raspberry sorbet, etc., just to balance the bitterness and to bring out the flavour. Either something creamy or something fresh on the palate.
In the case of the dessert in question, the hazelnut ice cream was far too dense (it actually fell apart on the plate) and not creamy at all. I was just left with the bitterness of the chocolate with the addition of a nutty flavour but without any balance.
The tart itself was good, but it was the first dessert in a long time I did not finish. I guess it was a case of too much chocolate…