On November 5 we visited the Alain Batt Chocolaterie in Nancy. It is a well-known chocolaterie in Lorraine that specializes in artisanal chocolates and local treats.
During the visit a chef from Alain Batt explained the process behind many of the products found in the chocolaterie, including Macarons, Bergamotes, nougat, etc.
For example, the Bergamotes are made by heating sugar and then adding extract of bergamot, a species of fruit related to lemons and oranges. Although the fruit itself has Italian origin, the Bergamotes is the speciality of the confectioners from Nancy.
Another example, the Macarons of Nancy, are just a mix of almonds, sugar and egg-white! The recipe is very simple, but still the result is very tasty!
Chocolate is made primarily out of cocoa butter and cocoa powder. Both are extracted from the cocoa beans, which are harvested from the fruits of the cocoa tree (cacaoyer). The tree can grow to be between 5 and 7 meters tall. They have up to 6000 flowers, and produce each year around 30 pods (cacao fruits).
After harvesting of the fruits and extracting the seeds, they are heated and fermented under cloth, then dried and transported to the chocolate makers. The chocolate makers then crush the seeds and extract from them the oil or butter and concentrated cocoa powder, and then re-mix them again later to create the different kinds of chocolate. For example, white chocolate contains no raw cocoa at all, and only cocoa butter! The same applies for all colored (non-brown/-dark) chocolates.
This delicious tour is just a sample of the many gastronomic traditions of France and Lorraine.
Emil HEDEMALM, Tamara BELYAKHINA, Victor ARAUJO, Giang TRAN