The Daily Spud

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Tag: O Conaill Chocolatiers

The Taste Of Christmas Past

Well, it’s about time that I got my Christmas baking boots on, now, isn’t it?

For weeks, my feed reader has been choc-a-bloc with blog postings stuffed with festive baked goods, and I can only hold out against that kind of onslaught for so long. So, having realised that resistance was futile, I closed my eyes and let my mind drift across the sea of baked possibilities. I ended up in Spain.

Huh?

While I was still, unquestionably, in Ireland, I had found myself dreaming of that Spanish confection known as turrón. It’s made primarily from toasted almonds and honey, and varies in texture from break-your-teeth hard to soft and fudgy. When I was a kid, my brother, who lived in Spain, would bring a selection home at Christmas and I have been a sucker for turrón, particularly the soft variety, ever since. It’s just as well I can’t lay my hands on it too easily here – I inhale and it’s gone. And while the brother hasn’t lived in Spain for years, in my head Christmas is still flavoured with almond and honey. So I thought that I would try to capture that in festive shortbread form. I was very pleased that I did.

Almond, Honey and Orange Shortbread, inspired by Christmas past

Shortbread, inspired by Christmas past

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Raising The Chocolate Bar

I went to last weekend’s Temple Bar Chocolate Festival for the chocolate, but was utterly charmed by the chocolatiers – a whole lot of people demonstrating a whole lot of dedication to the cause of cacao.

The enthusiasm of Gillian Walsh, for example, who blogs at Some Say Cocoa, Some Say Cacao, had lead to her conducting a truffle-making class as part of the festival. This was truffle-making 101, aimed at those whose experience ran to eating, rather than making, chocolate truffles. Perfect for me, in other words, and I was more than happy to discover that truffle-making doesn’t have to be at all complicated.

Making Chocolate Truffles

Truffle time

The rest of my festival experience was composed, I would say, of equal parts listening and tasting.

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