i have been experimenting with these petite szechuan beauties...xanthoxylum peperitum, berries of the prickly ash , native to China... ...closely related to the north American "toothache tree" as it has a numbing effect.
not really hot, or "spicy" in the usual sense,
but mysterious, intriguing, of the earth, and hard to leave alone!.
how to use them with chocolate?
somehow the texture needed to be different, somewhat rougher, not so creamy. make a little caramel for standup strength, dark milk chocolate to play up the flavor, fleur de sel to mirror the earthy component. first batch for my best friend, Jen, who likes my small cubes, and pearly pink to stay in character - voila the sze begins. next batch, go for more oompa: make a sheet of ganache, enrobe, but reserve some for sampling, cut really tiny and tumble pink again - a big hit last weekend, introduced to focus the palate before tasting a wine bonbon, surprisingly successful with everyone! soon to become limited edition periodic offerings
fun, fun !