Davenport's Chocolates
#Chocollaboration Ep7: Olive Oil from St.Basil's Grove, Crete

#Chocollaboration Ep7: Olive Oil from St.Basil's Grove, Crete

This month we welcomed Andy and Rachel and the single estate Olive Oil from their family's olive grove in Crete. A guest artisan producer from warmer climes to bring us a ray of sunshine to our cold North East January.

This #chocollaboration had a distinct objective - to make a dark chocolate truffle ganache using olive oil instead of the traditional butter and cream. A great vegan alternative, but more than that, would it work on merit alone? We wanted our guests to get an authentic experience of the experimental phase of a chocolate maker trying out new ingredients So I didn't do any 'pre-testing' before the event, it all happened on the night, and I think that was part of the magic. Let me tell you all about it.


Creative Collaborations

We started off by dipping hunks of sourdough into the rich, golden green nectar of olive oil from St. Basils. Our first objective was to really get a feel for this ingredient, because the flavour profile was richer and fruitier than any olive oil I've ever tasted. It has citrus notes, a clean and peppery fresh tang, and a warmth at the back of your throat. An interview with Andy was so insightful as we learnt about the small olive grove of St. Basil's, just south of Almyrida in the Chania region of Western Crete, Greece. This batch was harvested just 2 months ago in November, and only 250 litres is produced each year (on a good year) so it felt a real privilege to be tasting it. Through their family connection, we've been able to access this as if we are just buying it from a little farmer's market, just one that's hundred's of miles away! 

Jane Williams demos olive oil based truffles with St Basils single origin olive oilJane Williams demos olive making truffles with St Basil's single origin olive oil.

I'd also prepared 4 different 'blind tasters' dark chocolates for our guests to try, and a bowl of bright citrus fruits, so that we could make pairings of textures and flavours. After demonstrating how to create a dark chocolate ganache with the olive oil, everybody was free to experiment with ingredients, quantities and flavours in the quest to perfect the recipe to pipe into chocolate spheres. Then it was time to get tackle another chocolate skill; hand-rolling the truffles in tempered dark chocolate and choosing a decoration.

The pairings I liked the most were an Olive Oil dark chocolate Truffle with Spring Salt, and an Olive Oil dark chocolate truffle infused with Lemon. Although I'd sourced some single estate chocolate from Peru and Trinidad, we actually found that the higher percentages of cocoa (although absolutely delicious) masked the subtle flavours of the Olive Oil too much. Whereas the milder 55% dark chocolate let the peppery, citrus flavours come through.

Once again, the evening was full of creatively, and light hearted conversation as we shared the journey of discovery with each other. Spontaneous moments added to the joy of the evening (like making oat milk hot chocolate from the left over ganache, and sharing flavour creations with each other). And everyone was in hearty agreement - this Olive Oil from St.Basil's is a treasure, and it makes a beautiful ganache truffle. 

St Basil Extra Virgin Olive Oil is available to buy here: https://northumbrianeggs.com/products/st-basils-extra-virgin-olive-oil


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