Most evenings you’ll find me by the chocolate drawer, humming over my sweet stash and deciding how intensely I wish to venture into dark territory. Eventually I’ll select a block and peel back the wrapping…don’t you love that sound, the careful crinkling of foil? And then comes the heady snap as you break off a portion.
One square will usually suffice. Sometimes half, maybe a little more. More often than not the cocoa solids of my chosen variety are in 80% territory, however occasionally I’ll desire a creamier style of the 70% locality. I must admit my favourite chocolate to be Lindt, in terms of both flavour and texture, but I also appreciate the shape and size of their perfectly portioned squares, which are just ideal for my intention…
My cocoa treat plucked, I will prime and pimp it ever so slightly with a sprinkle of sea salt. I’ll eat this salty square curled up on the couch delighting in each melting moment with unabashed, guiltless glee.
Yes, most evenings you’ll find me by the chocolate drawer.
When I first visited Europe after finishing high school, my mum and I spent a week with some French friends. I am thankful for such an enthusiastic introduction into French culture, including their love and celebration of good food. I recall a morning visit to the local market with Charlette for fresh fish and I’m fairly certain a wicker basket was involved. Lunch comprised of said fish, cooked simply in a fry pan and served alongside a salad of mixed leaves with an olive oil and vinegar dressing. After meals we’d eat little pots of yoghurt or maybe some cheese, and there was always Champagne in the house. Crepe night on Sunday was a casual affair, the kitchen table adorned with piles of thin pancakes and open jars of preserves and Nutella. Come one and all, hungry hands fill your crepes and be on your way. It changed me.
The revelations continued, as Charlette spoke of her ‘after school snack’ as a child… fresh baguette, lightly buttered and keenly filled with shards of chocolate. This information was entirely too much to handle and made me feel somewhat despondent towards our National bread filling, Vegemite. I think we got the raw end of the deal there, friends.
One afternoon this past week I made myself a little snack combining my most recent food pleasure of sea salt decorated dark chocolate with the memory of Charlette’s childhood snack. And dare I say (with much greedy gratification), this might just become my own cherished ritual. Not for an after school snack, I’m long finished with school. But rather for whenever I feel like celebrating food the way the French do, and embracing my love of dark chocolate, sea salt, bread, butter and extra virgin olive oil…together. Yes, this snack will be on my plate more often than Vegemite, that’s for sure. Call me a traitor, I don’t mind. I’ll be in the corner with chocolate on my face.
Dark Chocolate and Sea Salt Sourdough Toast
A few elements must come together to make this toast an elegant affair. First, you must have a quality sourdough on your hands (refer to this post if you require more instruction on the matter). Secondly, choose a good butter, such as Myrtleford. I find most quality butters, even when salted, are not too salty and can hence welcome an additional sprinkle of sea salt. Thirdly, select a chocolate that contains at least 70% cocoa solids. This will ensure your snack is not sickly and furthermore that you’re gaining good health benefits from your chocolate and can hence justify consuming it with more keen regularity. If you go with 85%, I really like your style. Fourthly, be sure to drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, again for health benefits and flavour purity. And finally, invest in a quality salt for sprinkling. I use both course Malden flakes and fine Himalayan salt in my kitchen.
Toast your sourdough to preference then spread immediately with butter so it melts (I ain’t gonna tell you how much to spread here, go with your flavour preference and your ability to judge how much butter you can handle in your diet) and then top with broken pieces of chocolate (again, amount to preference). Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Eat with a napkin nearby.
In terms of my personal ratios, I like my toast to be under toasted, a keen spread of butter, a modest amount of chocolate, a generous drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a somewhat modest (Ben, don’t laugh) sprinkling of sea salt. This, to me, is perfection.