How to capture the personality of Corazon C. Aquino in, of all mediums, chocolate?
By stripping the concoction of all frivolity and allowing the simplicity of flavors to shine through in a modest bar of pure, sweet delight.
This is how Raul Matias, the chocolatier who created the limited-edition commemorative chocolate bar to mark the late President’s second death anniversary tomorrow, describes his latest gourmet chocolate creation.
That it took a lot of doing goes without saying.
After all, Matias, the man behind the Machiavelli Chocolatier gourmet chocolate brand, is not known for liking things simple. This is the man who marries lemongrass and muscovado sugar in dark chocolate truffles, who spices up his white chocolate ganache with jasmine tea, and to whom texture means adding crunchy bacon bits to a smooth chocolate bar.
There’s an audacity to Matias’ taste, an invitation to adventure in his flavors.
Tempering his sensibility
Creating a Cory chocolate, therefore, called for tempering his sensibility.
“If Cory is Cory, then I’m Kris!” he says with a laugh, referring to Aquino’s flamboyant youngest daughter.
It took Matias three months to develop the final product, a cashew gianduja enrobed in dark chocolate. Gianduja is a mixture of ground nut paste and chocolate.
“It’s a caramel-like filling mixed with dark chocolate. I chose it over white because I didn’t want it to be too sweet,” he explains.
“The ground cashew paste is like peanut butter in consistency,” he says.
He used cashews from Antipolo because they’re sweeter than imported varieties. He also wanted to keep it local “to communicate Cory’s simplicity.”
Cashew is known to have been Aquino’s favorite nut variety.
Deedee Siytangco, the late Aquino’s spokesperson and friend, was interviewed by Matias’ marketing team. She told them the late President liked cashew, mangoes and white chocolate.
Matias’ Machiavelli line of chocolates is described as Eurasian fusion, a marriage of European chocolate and Asian flavors. Its offerings include Yema de Manila, inspired by leche flan; Mung Bean Bon Bon, after the hopia; Coconut Screw, or buko pandan in chocolate truffle form; Batangas Star, which uses the province’s kape barako; guava paste in Guava-Asia; Purple Yam Yum, milk chocolate with ube filling; Mango Lait, mango puree in milk chocolate; and Lychee Noir, dark chocolate bon bon with Thai lychee.
The chocolate boutique is named after the Italian political theorist and statesman Niccolò Machiavelli. “If Niccolò Machiavelli enraged the senses through his writings,” it says in its website, “Machiavelli Chocolatier will surely evoke the same sensations with its masterpieces.”
This is only the fourth time that Matias has created a candy bar after a person.
500 pieces only
“Each time people ask me which Filipino I’m most proud of, Cory Aquino is always my answer,” he explains.
“It’s never been Charice or Lea Salonga or anyone else. So three months ago, I decided to create something in time for her death anniversary,” he says.
The Cory Aquino chocolate bar comes swathed in gold foil underneath a yellow paper wrapper bearing an image of the late President. The 25-gram bars will sell for P150 each in the Machiavelli shops at Rustan’s Makati and Shangri-La branches throughout August. Only 500 pieces will be made.
A returned immigrant
Asked if he planned on donating part of the proceeds from the sales to charity, Matias said he hadn’t thought about it but might now look up an organization that supports colon cancer patients. Aquino died of colon cancer.
Matias, 46, wasn’t always a gourmet chocolatier. Ironically, he left the Philippines when Aquino was president to work as a physical therapist in the United States. Planning for his retirement, he trained to become a master chocolatier in Canada and France.
Read more here..