August 31, 2007

TGRWT #5: Chili Chocolate Elk and Beef Jerky

Chocolate covered jerkyNow it is time for a food entry. As announced by Le Petite Boulanger, this month's "they go really well together" theme is Chocolate and Meat. My attempt is to combine chocolate with jerky.

I envisioned something like candied orange peel chocolate strips (one of my favorites). The idea was that jerky, being essentially dried lean meat ought to release more flavor by the extra fat in the chocolate. The saltiness might reduce the bitterness of the covering.

Finding beef jerky in Oxford turned out to be surprisingly hard, and I had too look around quite a bit in Stockholm when I visited to find it. I settled for a sweet and hot jerky. I also discovered a mixed reindeer/elk jerky on Arlanda airport that I felt I simply had to try.

Beef jerkyWild Chips

As for chocolate, I decided on Lindt chili chocolate.

Lindt Chocolate

Making the chocolate covering was child's play. I melted chocolate above a water bath, and dipped jerky pieces. I let them cool off on a plate for a while.

The "wild" pieces had an initial sweet and soft chocolate feel as they melted in the mouth, then followed by the chewiness of the jerky. While chewing the meat taste becames dominant but some remaining chocolate tones kept up.

I found that I did not entirely like the basic taste of the wild pieces; they had a gamey flavor that I associate too much with the smell of aquarium fish food. It was too dominant for me to enjoy the pieces, although the texture was fine.

It took a little while to get to the meat taste in the beef pieces, but it was a very nice transition. There was a gradual transition as I went from licking/melting the chocolate to chewing, from sweet to savoury and finally to hot. As the chili chocolate and meat flavoring interacted they produced a kind of crescendo effect that was very appealing.

While interesting, I don't think this simple combination works on its own. It is too tricky to be just a snack, it has to be processed mentally to be enjoyable. The meat taste and the chocolate do go well together. It is a strong, slightly hot and quite savoury tone. The problem is the texture: the yielding chocolate doesn't work together with the fibrous and strong meat. They need to be combined more firmly, likely as part of the jerky preparation process.

It looks like I have not been alone in my ideas. Diva Chocolates has developed two jerky flavors.

Posted by Anders3 at August 31, 2007 12:40 AM