From the Back of a Truck to a Milagro Heart of Love
New flavors and recipes are born by hundreds of means. The story of the Smoked Tomato, began with a meandering market tour in Los Angeles.
While staying in L.A. for the opening of our Purple House in Beverly Hills, I took in as much of the food scene as possible considering the late nights and long hours finalizing the store and experimenting in my chocolate lab. One afternoon I had the privilege of touring the market in Santa Monica with one of Suzanne Goin’s fantastic chef’s at AOC, John. We weaved through the mounds of exotic melons and the stacks of California walnut oils while he introduced me to his favorite purveyors.
One stop on the tour was an introduction to Windrose farm, one of the favorite apple aficionados and an organic and biodynamic farm to boot. After inspecting their heritage varietal apples and Red Dragon carrots, he invited us around to the back of his truck to sample some smoked chipotle pepper tomatoes he had on hand.
I was completely taken aback and fell in love with the flavor. In addition to the unbelievable aroma, there was likely some added romance from the somewhat clandestine back-of-the truck transaction. As always, when I fall in love, my mind begins to spin about how to marry my object of desire with chocolate.
Umami flavors are always a good match with chocolate. Roasted meats and mushrooms are a good fit for cacao. I had a feeling that tomatoes would fall into the same category. When I first added the chipotle smoked tomatoes to dark chocolate, there was too much acidity. It was overpowering and not balanced. I remembered some Sicilian semi-dried tomatoes I had on hand from a past project. I roasted and dried them in the oven and combined them with my Paso Robles treasures in solid dark chocolate. Much better.
The smoky notes of the chilies and the aroma comes through while the Sicilian add balance. You’ll find nice sized chewy bites inside as I have always preferred added texture when appropriate. In addition, your palate will discover welcome, butter bites of toffee alongside the tomatoes.
Currently the smoked tomato parfum is only available in our Milagro Hearts of Love. But this will probably not be the last you see of the ruby fruit. I think there is caramel in my crystal ball …