A pairing of luxury that combines the energetic properties of chocolate with the taste of tea made in gin, perfect to end the day or to make the evening more bearable, also at home.
Savoring a jasmine chocolate covered with dark chocolate while drinking white tea is always a pleasure. But if you take it in the middle of the afternoon, when the energy is weak and you only think about getting into bed, the experience is unbeatable.
Tonic and chocolates, the premium snack.
“Both the chocolates and the tea have some ritual and an emotional component that makes them a perfect pairing,” explain Rubén Da Silva and Judit Ballesteros, the chocolatier teachers who won the National Gastronomy Contest in 2013 and now sweeten the Afternoons with their delicate chocolates.
Two preparations that are the main commitment of Suite & Tea, the new gastronomic experience of the NH Collection hotels, such as the one located in the Paseo del Prado in Madrid. There, the Da Silva workshop team and the tea experts from the NH group gave a workshop to make a homemade Suite & Tea, a very attractive option to renew the Christmas snacks.
First, the chocolates
Da Silva and Ballesteros made a live demonstration of how to achieve perfect coverage for the chocolates: thin, bright and crunchy. The key lies in the choice of a good chocolate, control temperatures and put a lot, much love.
And it is that in his workshop in Valladolid they work in an artisan way, elaborating by hand each chocolate in a task that is half art and half science. In the case of coverage, instead of using modern machines, they spread the heated chocolate on a marble plate, and move it to temper it.
A step they take for pure love of the trade, because as Da Silva acknowledged, “it does not give anything to chocolate that can not be achieved with machines”, but it manages to maintain the “romantic and artisan” character of this work.
The collection of Da Silva chocolates inspired by the varieties of tea.
In this gesture, in addition, resides the scientific basis of the chocolates, whose chocolate has to reach a correct temperature so that the cocoa butter does not separate from the rest: first 45 degrees, then it goes down to 29, and finally it goes back up to 31 before filling the molds.
To reproduce that “temperature curve” at home, Da Silva recommends going to kitchen robots. Once the molds are filled, they are struck on a bowl to eliminate the excess of chocolate, and they are left to rest upside down.
To finish, a more fun tea
The second part of the tea, tonic, has two components: a dry gin, and the tea you want to infuse, depending on whether you are looking for a fruity, smoked or citrus infusion.
“Both chocolates and tea have some ritual and an emotional component that makes them a perfect marriage”, explain Rubén Da Silva and Judit Ballesteros
80 milliliters of gin are poured into a container, where the tea or mixture of varieties chosen is added. Some of the most common are the Lemongrass, very citrus and fresh, red fruits and hibiscus, to achieve that fruit flavor with a bitter touch, or black tea with roses, which is more reminiscent of a traditional tea.
After 20 minutes of rest you can filter the content and pour it into a glass bottle, until it is time to enjoy a “do it yourself” tonic, which can be mixed with tonic or with more gin if the taste of the infusion is very strong.
“All chocolate contains Theobromine, the molecule of happiness, which generates endorphins and activates us,” explained Da Silva. A dose of happiness enhanced with a glass of tonic, which promises to make Christmas snacks the best after-dinner, either at home or in a hotel.