bŏn′bŏn″ŏl′ə-jē • noun
1. The study of bonbons, techniques and trends.
2. The art and science of combining chocolate with confectionary to amaze and delight the senses.
Yes, the bonbon world is more than a box of chocolates that you scarf down at the movies, Bonbons are complex little nuggets of art, confectionary, chocolate and science all in one neat little package. The art is the easy part to understand, the look of the bonbons is personal to anyone creating them, though to get the best look and optimal gloss, you do have to understand the science. Anyone who knows me, knows that I can drone on about the complexities of chocolate for hours. Yes, really. The different notes that a given chocolate will have from fruity, to woody and smoky, depending on what strain of cacao, where it was grown, the soil type, when it was harvested and how it was fermented and processed. But most people understand the complexity when they get their mouth around a really fine piece of chocolate. What they may not get is the science part. The complexities and nuances of creating a total bonbon from choosing the right ingredients, understanding how different types of sugar molecules interact, cook temperatures, water activity, Brix values, storage and shelf life – it is actually very complex but highly fascinating.
Here in this space, I’ll be sharing some trade secrets and some tricks you can use at home such as tips for making your own caramels, or sponge toffee, how to temper chocolate and what chocolate to use, what tools work best and what easy substitutions you can make. I’ll be sharing blog posts, photos and some videos and would be delighted if you come along for the ride on some or all of these. I’d also love to hear from you about what you’d like to learn about!
Next time, we’re going to do a caramel, and I’ll have a video to help you see just what it should be like at each stage, so grab an apron and join me!