White is the new dark in craft chocolate. Besides mastering the fundamentals for a good dark chocolate, one can be called an avant-guarde chocolate maker if they challenge their creativity in developing healthier and bolder recipes of white chocolate.
Tasting various dark chocolate bars is certainly key to familiarize our palate with different cacao origins, fermentation profiles, flavors and percentages. Nevertheless, by giving a try to the latest artisan white chocolate creations, we can celebrate an exclusive experience of unedited flavor inclusions and intimate sensations.
Turmeric of a Goat Thing is the result of a thoughtful process of research and development by Lauren Heineck from Denver-based WKND Chocolate.
Net weight: 62g.
Ingredients: 40% cocoa butter*, whole goat’s milk powder, cane sugar*, spices* (turmeric, cinnamon, cayenne, clove, ginger, white pepper).
* = organic
Admiring the bright gold color of this special white chocolate bar first gives you an idea of luxury.
As soon as you unfold the bar from its resealable sheer foil, an intense smell of cinnamon invites the rest of your senses to dive into the pleasure fully. The snap is softer than an average plain white chocolate; the mouthfeel something you would likely associate with a creamy fudge. While your finger-toes slightly soak through a yellow melt, your palate starts feeling the cocoa butter before tasting it. The mild goat’s milk and the exotic sapidity of cinnamon and turmeric are just the prelude to a delayed, diffused spiciness given by cayenne chili and white pepper, kicking in so loosely at the end, yet without releasing unpleasant persistence.
Intrigued by the experience given by this alternative white chocolate bar, I invited Lauren to reply to my curiosity in knowing more about the concept behind her Turmeric of a Goat Thing (abbreviated as “ToaGT” for ease of reading) and her direction as an artisan chocolate maker.
The mix of spices is something you have personally developed (I mean their proportion in the mix) or a ready mix you have purchased in bulk somewhere?
I did develop the blend of organic spices myself—I knew I needed the pepper to activate the turmeric and thus the bioavailability within it.
A little about the inspiration and study behind this bar: why this bar? Did you have a particular intention to deliver? (For example, to provide a sensory experience with its color, its texture, its flavor.) How long did it take to develop and test?
I’m a self-professed dark chocolate fan—a white chocolate seemed far out of reach of my interests or potential, however I like to approach chocolate making like working with savory and sweet recipes, therefore incorporating other foods, spices, and milk alternatives was of interest to me (somewhere in the back of my brain, at least). I had only been making for a month or so when I created ToaGT, and the first few weeks were very much around play—in all honesty, it’s easier to experiment with white chocolate because it’s a blank palette to recreate favorite foods or try new ones. My intention was to invent something fun, healthy for mind and body, and not seen before—while keeping sugar levels lower than standard white chocolate bars, embodying the WKND spirit. It was actually a quick evaluation and testing period, maybe two tries over two weeks—the blend came together well, likely in part to emulating already existing concepts in chocolate form (golden milk/mylk lattes had already hit the market, I love various curry dishes, etc.). Aside from tweaking the level of heat, the rest of the recipe clicked; I had other chocolate makers try the very first batch, and the overall consensus was that it was too spicy. I didn’t really know what others would find intriguing, but I think the appeal of the bar overall has been that it breaks the mold of white chocolate stigmas while still legally falling into that category, and also that it’s almost “food-like.” The color is most surprising for the public.
What was your first reaction when you tasted ToaGT? What were your sensations/feelings?
I’m still pleasantly surprised when I taste it after or while a batch is in the melanger—I haven’t found anything else like it. It reminds me of traveling, of sunshine, of temples adorned with yellow garlands, and it makes me what to lick the bowl like a 6-year-old baking a cake with their siblings.
How would you define the entity of your scale production actually?
Extremely boutique, nano-batch could even be implied. I work with a tabletop machine, and a lot of hand labor goes into each production.
Apart from ordering online, where can one find ToaGT?
Within my first year making (officially selling since November 2016), I have chosen an unlikely route of sorts—I’ve skipped the wholesale option and gone straight to online consumers (http://wkndchocolate.com/shop/turmericwhitechocolate) & local pop-ups and farmers markets. It’s unorthodox, but ensures that those getting access to my chocolate have the chance to try it literally days (sometimes just a few weeks) after its production, and it’s a litmus test for the overall business concept.
While looking forward to seeing what WKND Chocolate will come up with in the next months, Lauren regularly features creative and smart women in chocolate as part of Well Tempered, a series of podcasts which also encompasses the Well Tempered group on Facebook, a community of cacao and chocolate professionals at all stages of the agriculture, supply, manufacturing and distribution chain.