It used be a relationship akin to oil and water. But avant-garde chocolatiers across the UK are pushing a new generation of gourmet chocolates that uses water in place of cream -- a technique that derails the myth that chocolate and water don't mix.
It's a concept being experimented with by the new guard of chocolatiers -- pastry chefs like Damian Allsop, whose water ganaches are served at Michelin restaurants across the UK.
While it took the British chef four years to perfect the recipe, Allsop shared some of his secrets at the Specialty and Fine Food Fair this week in London, where some of the UK's leading chocolatiers showcased the newest techniques and flavor pairings coming out of their boutiques.
Pastry chefs and home cooks have long been taught that chocolate and water are culinary foes as just a drop can cause chocolate to seize and become grainy.
For Allsop, using water instead of cream and eggs to create bonbons has transformed the chocolate experience.
But after experimenting with new techniques and perfecting the formula, Allsop created a line of water ganaches which he says unlocks the true flavor of chocolate, unlike cream and eggs which simply mask them.
"It has a clean taste," Allsop said in an interview with Relaxnews. "It's fresh, light and dances across the tongue. There's also a cleaner mouthfeel. It's more respectful to the chocolate...it's far superior in flavor."
Perhaps one of the earliest adopters was celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal, who shared the technique on a TV show called Discovery Science. The chocolate mousse recipe calls for just two ingredients -- water and chocolate -- and requires the use of a bowl of ice and a lot of elbow grease whisking.
Taking away cream and egg yolks also reduces the fat content in Allsop's bonbons by about 10 percent -- a side effect, but not a goal.
Water-based chocolate shells also allow the fillings -- be it a liqueur or fruit -- to ‘sing,' he added. Allsop's signature water ganaches are sold at specialty fine foods boutiques like Liberty London and Tavola in Notting Hill.
Michelin-starred restaurants in London like Hibiscus and Gordon Ramsay's Maze and Murano also serve Allsop's chocolates.
For more info on Allsop's chocolates, visit http://www.damianallsop.com/index.php.
The Speciality and Fine Food Fair in London wraps up Tuesday, September 6. For more info, visit