They say that smell is the strongest connector to memory. It’s one of my favorite things when I catch the scent of something and it brings me right back to a happy memory. Sometimes it’s a cologne that reminds me of my late grandfather, or it could be a bouquet of flowers that reminds me of the flowers my family gave me after my first debut on stage in drama club. But sometimes it’s food. And let’s be real here, most of the time it’s food ;)
This scent-memory connection thing happened to me while I was making the blueberry topping for this cheesecake. To make this topping, I cracked open one of my textbooks from pastry school and used a blueberry tart recipe straight from the French chefs who taught me everything I know. Even though while I was training there it was such a cold winter in Chicago that required a coat until May (plus that whole Snowpocalypse of February 2011 thing that happened), all of my memories of pastry school are sunny and warm (and smell incredible!), so I was so cheerful the entire time I made this dessert :)
The reason I chose this flavor combo is that March 6 was national white chocolate cheesecake day, and March 8 is national blueberry popover day. I’m not a fan of white chocolate (for reasons that I will discuss later), but I loOoOoOove cheesecake (read my thoughts about it here) and will never miss an opportunity to put that delicious creamy-yet-tangy confection all over my tastebuds! But because of my distaste for white chocolate, I decided to steal the blueberries from the blueberry popovers (which I WILL have to make someday. I’ve only made popovers once and they were heavenly, but were a savory food. Now I’m dying to try them out with blueberries!) and smother my cheesecake-sans-white-chocolate in those instead, and now I have this little beauty to show for it!
Why don’t I like white chocolate, you ask? Because it’s a fraud! And also because of the taste. For my tip of the week, we’re going to break down chocolate and I will let you decide for yourself if white chocolate has the qualifications or not to truly be called chocolate. To start with, we must harvest the seeds from the pods of a cacao tree. The seeds are fermented and dried, then shipped off to factories so they can create chocolate for us addicts. By this point the seeds are cracked open to remove the beans from their hulls, and what is remaining is referred to as “nibs”. The nibs are broken down into their solid and liquid components. The liquid is called chocolate liquor (which is confusing since it doesn’t contain alcohol), and the solid components are referred to as cocoa butter (the fat component) and cocoa powder (the portion that’s leftover after removing the fat and the liquid, which is then ground up into powder). Dark chocolate is composed of cocoa butter, cocoa powder, and sugar. Milk chocolate has those same ingredients plus milkfat and milk solids. But white chocolate has sugar, milkfat, milk solids, and cocoa butter (the fat component). It’s basically fat, sugar, and milk. And no cocoa solids. In my opinion, it’s overly sweet and always needs to be cut with something sharp or acidic like raspberries... or a garbage disposal.
Here's a comparison chart that I found in case you're interested in the differences.
So what do you think? Is white chocolate REALLY chocolate or not? Leave me a comment and let me know where you stand!
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed your lesson on chocolate today and that it inspires you to make good decisions in the chocolate aisle of the grocery store from now on.
As for me, I’m gonna go face first into this cheesecake and enjoy all the memories that come along with it. But if you’re in the neighborhood, please stop by to help me. I have no doubt in my abilities to polish this thing off in one sitting, but I’m not entirely sure that it’s advisable. #sendhelp
Happy eating, y’all!