Master Chocolatier William Curley
Easter is upon us; that time of year when tasting chocolate takes on a whole new meaning. We're meeting William Curley, patissier and chocolatier extraordinaire, who is sharing his secrets on creating new desserts and food pairings, as well as how chocolate is the only way to finish a meal. Tip: if you have just one chocolate this year, make it the piece of art he created to perfectly match Glenmorangie's Signet Whisky.
How would you define your relationship to chocolate?
To me, chocolate is an affair of the heart! It is central to my business and is used in most of the products that I make. To be so passionate about chocolate means understanding it thoroughly and using only the best. I work solely with Amedei; a small, Tuscan producer with similar values to myself. All the cocoa beans are carefully sourced from South America and the Caribbean.
Describe the sensation of eating that first piece of House Dark 70% cocoa…
When I first tried this chocolate, it stood out from all previous experiences. Unlike many dark chocolates, it is not bitter in taste. It is smooth and elegant while being incredibly rich and full of flavour. I adore how it lingers on the palate after eating a piece.
What does a typical day look like for a chocolatier?
I make sure I visit my team at the production kitchen every single day. Quality control means I also need to taste a few products along the way! I love to develop new chocolates. inspiration comes from all areas of life and creating something new is hugely fulfilling.
What do you do when you’re not making chocolate?
Running a business and also being passionate about what I do, means that my work and personal life are inherently linked. I guess some of my greatest pleasures in life include eating out and visiting beautiful, natural places. Both give me great inspiration.
Best chocolate pairings:
with whisky? Whisky varies so much in flavour that a pairing with chocolate needs to be carefully chosen. A whisky with vanilla, honey, malt and spice notes will naturally compliment chocolate very well. My Muscavado Caramel makes a great general match for many whiskies.
with cognac? I would personally choose to pair a very pure chocolate with Cognac. Ideally, it would be Hennessey XO, which is very smooth and would go well with my Blanco de Criollo: an Amedei single origin chocolate from the Peruvian Amazon.
with a champagne? One of my favourite chocolates to pair with champagne is White Peach & Lemon Verbena. The fruity, light flavours in the chocolate work perfectly with the crisp acidity of the champagne.
with a cocktail? I’m not much of a cocktail drinker myself but something classic like a Mojito would work well with a tangy tropical chocolate like the Passion & Mango Couture.
Slabs of chocolate or truffles for Easter 2018?
Our chocolate slabs are hugely popular. We make just a simple nutty chocolate which has become one of our best sellers due to the quality of ingredients used. We use Amedei Toscano 70%, mixed with Piedmont Hazelnuts and Avola Almonds. Simple but perfection!
We try to be creative with different fruits, nuts, seeds and infusions on our seasonal slabs, which adds to the popularity.
Our truffles are made with different fruit purees, infusions or alcohols. Using only pure fruit puree and fine quality liqueurs and spirits means that they will always be extra special to consume.