For the second year in a row, Scharffen Berger and TuttiFoodie are hosting the Chocolate Adventure Contest. You have a little over two weeks to put the finishing touches on your best chocolate recipe in one of three categories--beverage, sweet or savory that includes at least one "adventure" ingredient and Scharffen Berger® Chocolate: dark chocolate (mentioning exact cacao content anywhere from 62 to 99 percent), milk chocolate or cocoa.
This year's adventure ingredients are: popping candy (unflavored or flavored), wattleseed, palm sugar, basil, mustard seeds, coriander, black sesame seeds, black or pink peppercorns, chili pepper (fresh or whole dried), coconut milk, kaffir lime leaf, matcha tea, mango, plantain, jicama, tapioca pearls (any size), tamarind (or tamarind paste), cacao nibs. Grand prize winners in each of the top three categories will win $5,000. There are also runner's up prizes. Read all the rules and details before donning your apron.
I checked in with a couple of this year's judges to get their best tips. First local chocolate guru and cookbook author, Alice Medrich:
What are your favorite trends in chocolate recipes?
I like unexpected ingredient pairings that work so well that when you taste them you say "of course!" and "why didn't I think of that." Some of these are as subtle and simple as chocolate paired with extra virgin olive oil, salt and spices, or a hint of aged Parmesan in a chocolate nut wafer.
Where do you see the most potential for innovation in recipe development?
I love that place where sweet and savory meet. I want to see (and create) more recipes that are imaginative without being forced or gimmicky: Deliciously New, but not so weird that you don't want to taste them again and again. This involves being open to flavors affinities between ingredients that we don't normally put together! The adventure contest-with its global and pop (literally!) culture ingredients and flavors is fertile ground for the wildly creative AND the intellectual cook. New flavor paradigms will emerge, and from them, new classic dishes. Because the contest involves home cooks, as well as professionals, we'll see an acceleration of new ideas and new trends. It's exciting.