‘The 20-Calorie Chocolate Bar – can it really be true?’ proclaimed some of the papers this weekend. Not surprisingly my ears pricked up faster than my mother’s dog when you say kennel/bone/cat. I fired off a tweet, then an email to its maker, master chocolatier Aneesh Popat which basically said something along the lines. ‘Is it true? Please tell me it’s true – and if it is, then send me my own body weight in delicious diet-friendly goodies.’
Next morning my phone rang, it was Aneesh Popat himself. ‘It’s not quite true – some details got a bit confused in the write-ups,’ he told me. ‘We don’t have a bar at 20 calories – although we do now have a mini truffle at about 25 – but still, our chocolate ganaches do contain 40-45 percent fewer calories than normal ones do.’
In other words, he can make truffley chocolates of yumminess (like the ones above) for around 45 calories (compared to about 80 for a normal ganache based truffle). Now the key word here is ganache – ganache is the gooey filling that truffley type chocolates are filled with and normally it’s made with a mix of cream, butter and chocolate – Popat makes his with chocolate and water. Generally, this isn’t possible as it separates but he’s come up with some super-secret method of blending that makes it possible. This not only cuts the calories by almost half (and makes the dark chocolate truffles dairy free), he claims it also gives you a more sophisticated tasting chocolate, one where all the notes of the cocoa beans shine through. Lower calories – and better tasting. This sounds like a win-win situation to me.
The finished product is on its way to me so I’ll tell you in a couple of days what they taste like, but in the meantime, I’ll leave you with a bit of breaking news. ‘I think I can make a 20 calorie chocolate bar in the future,’ says Popat. ‘The problem with it right now is that it would have a very short shelf life and so I can’t make it as part of my mail order business – but when I get a shop, I think it’s doable for a product people eat straight away.’ I’m now wondering if I’d get planning permission for a chocolate shop on the lawn.
If you can’t wait long enough to find out what I think of the chocolates, visit www.the-chocolatier.co.uk to order the water ganaches yourself. Otherwise, watch this space, they’re en-route as I type and I can see a gooey, chocolatey extravaganza after my long runs this weekend.