This week Celebrity Master Chef Steven Saunders Chef Proprietor of the famous Little Geranium in La Cala, makes a healthy chocolate dessert with gold leaf …
Beating the virus with Chocolate!
SINCE Covid our little restaurant here in La Cala has had to make some pretty big changes.
The first major one is that we can’t bring back the other chef’s and some front of house staff like the bar and cocktail mixologist.
We spent years training them but because our client numbers are down so much, we cannot afford them.
That isn’t just us of course, it is everywhere but with new restrictions effecting capacity levels and also the lack of tourists over here, things are very different now.
Europe assumes that Spain is more dangerous than anywhere else including the UK for example which is total nonsense and just propaganda in my opinion. The Spanish take the virus very seriously hence the law of wearing a mask everywhere.
However, we are where we are and it means that I am alone in my kitchen with help from some of the front of house staff.
Like many of us now in hospitality we are working longer hours for no money, just trying to keep going, pay the bills and cover the costs which is tougher on us physically and mentally.
Most of the tourists that are here are Spanish and they are sadly not our clients. They mostly like to eat deep fried food like calamari and fried fish, generally the Spanish tourists do not like luxury dining. They prefer to sit on a plastic chair drinking beer with a tapa and that is exactly the opposite of what we were trying to achieve when we opened nearly six years ago!
However, we do have two Spanish clients who have been loyal from the start of our business. I often talk about our regulars and some of the famous people who visit us but our Spanish friends Vincent and Paola have been with us from day one and are loyal to the end and they love our tasting menus.
Nowadays our restaurant is totally tasting menu so that you can select the number of courses and the amount you want to pay starting at only €30 for three courses. This helps keep the menu smaller and I can work harder on the quality. Its what food should be in my opinion, fresh, local, seasonal, a bit organic and taste and look spectacular!
I buy local fish, herbs and vegetables and I have even tried growing my own which is hard as its so hot at the moment and everything that pops up soon shrivels up in the intense sunshine.
Our Spanish friends Vincent and Paola work in the medical profession and so when they finished eating their eight course menu with us, I sat with them and we talked about the virus and the tourist problems.
My Spanish is sort of Ok and I manage to struggle along but when Michele comes over, she clams up and can’t remember anything so she leaves it to me!
Anyway, as we chatted Paola was eating the chocolate mousse made with good organic Belgian chocolate, served with gold leaf. She told me, “you know that chocolate strengthens your immune system, don’t you?”
I had heard this before but didn’t think that we had evidence to support the claim, but Paola told me that we definitely do. Cocoa is an immune boosting food, natural cocoa is low in fat and sugar, its just the added sugar that we should be careful of.
So, I had made a mousse that uses natural honey to sweeten it and without knowing I had an immune boosting healthy dessert sitting right there in front of us!
I love to use natural foods, we all eat too much sugar and as Michele and I are chocoholics I like to look for natural alternative ways to eat it without guilt, including sometimes a sweetener.
Try this simple recipe at home and eat delicious chocolate to your hearts content!
Chef Steven´s Dark Chocolate sugar free mousse! (serves 6/ 8)
4 gelatine leaves
6 egg yolks
150 ml of natural honey
500ml of double cream or whipping cream
100ml of whole milk warmed
4 bars of dark chocolate 75 per cent cocoa or higher (500 g) broken into even sized pieces
6 leaves of gold leaf or 1 tablespoon of gold leaf powder
Method to make the mousse
Soak the gelatine leaves in cold water.
Melt the chocolate over a Bain Marie (a saucepan of boiling water with a bowl on the top)
Mix the egg yolks and honey together in a bowl
Whip the double cream until soft and peaky
Remove the chocolate as soon as it has a melted and stir it
Add the egg yolks and honey mix then the whipped cream and fold in well with a plastic spatula
Finally, squeeze the water from the gelatine and add it to the warm milk and stir in well so that it completely dissolves the gelatine
Now pour the milk into the chocolate mix and whisk in well
Transfer the chocolate mixture to a plastic storage container (not too deep) and chill for 2 / 3 hours minimum.
Garnish with a little seasonal fruit (I poached a baby pear in vanilla syrup) fold on the leaves of gold or sprinkle with gold leaf powder
Follow Steven on Instagram ….@saunderschef
The Little Geranium, Winner of Best International Restaurant Spain…2020
Thank you for taking the time to read this column “Beating the virus with Chocolate!” and for trying Steve’s delicious recipe. To see more of his delicious dishes, click here.