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Laura and the Chocolate Factory

On a recent trip to South Australia I discovered what really goes on behind the scenes of a chocolate factory and realise I may have chosen the wrong career …MiNDFOOD reports.

Laura and the Chocolate Factory

There aren’t many things that can prepare you for a behind-the-scenes glimpse of a chocolate factory. Of course I had visions of oompa loompas, chocolate waterfalls and candy sprouting from the grass, but the reality was in fact, even better.

This tour of the Haigh’s chocolate factory in Adelaide was part of a whirlwind trip to South Australia to produce three of our From the Source stories for future editions of the magazine. It never ceases to amaze me how much we take our food for granted when I do these stories.

Even something as simple as the decorative swirl on top of a piece of chocolate – it’s not until you actually go behind the scenes and see the people sitting there awaiting hundreds and thousands of chocolates to come past them and watch them deftly craft a pretty swirl on the top of each and every one, that you can truly appreciate the work that goes into creating each one.      

The smell is the first thing that hits you when you enter the chocolate factory – every inhalation is laced with sugar, toffee, chocolate and marshmallow and it’s incredibly intoxicating. Then it’s the sight. Everywhere we looked people were pouring, dipping, decorating, coating, freckling, moulding, shaping and yes, even tasting chocolate.

I couldn’t conceal my delight and amusement (by which I mean, jealousy) at the ‘quality control station’, where we met Steve, who showed us the very long list of chocolates he had to check (including a taste test) that morning for “quality-control purposes”. You mean, you can get paid to eat chocolate? Why was this option never made apparent to me in careers counselling at high school?

To make matters worse, we then met Rob, who is part of the creative development team. These are the people whose job it is to come up with new flavours and chocolate ideas. Gee, it must be hard for them to get out of bed in the morning! The latest creation was the winter collection, which Steve said was inspired by his favourite puddings. He offered a taste test of the banana caramel and the sticky date pudding and let’s just say, it certainly passed my test!

As an ode to the classic winter pudding, we’ve included a chocolate, honey and hazelnut pudding from Haigh’s for you to whip up at home. If you do, make sure to take a photo and let us know how it went!

So tell us, dear reader, what is your favourite chocolate winter pudding?

RECIPE

Haigh’s Chocolate Honey and Hazelnut Pudding

Makes 6 puddings

6 x 1-cup ceramic soufflé dishes

melted butter and caster sugar for soufflé dishes

45g plain flour

70g pure icing sugar

50g hazelnut meal

140g unsalted butter

100g Haigh’s premium dark chocolate

80g honey

100g eggwhites

Preheat oven to 200ºC. To prepare soufflé dishes, brush the melted butter onto the sides and bottom of the dishes then coat with caster sugar. 

Sift flour and icing sugar into a large mixing bowl. Add the hazelnut meal. Place chocolate into a bowl and place over a saucepan of just simmering water to gently melt it. Once melted set aside and keep warm.

Melt butter over a medium heat and continue to cook until butter is golden brown. Strain through a fine sieve, set aside and keep warm. In a small saucepan gently warm the honey and set aside. Add melted chocolate, brown butter and honey to the dry mix and stir well to combine.

In a large bowl whisk the eggwhites until stiff. Gently fold a small amount of the eggwhites into pudding mix to lighten it. Fold in the remaining eggwhites. Carefully spoon mix into prepared moulds. Bake for approximately 15-20 minutes until pudding rises and is set across the top. Dust with icing sugar and serve immediately with vanilla, honey or chocolate ice-cream.

Recipe by: Genevieve Harris Photography by: Randy Larcombe

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