By Leigh O'Connor.
Chocolate and Christmas – a match made in heaven! Waking up on Christmas morning with presents under the tree, a glass of bubbles in hand and the thought of a traditional yule log as a decadent sweet treat.
A Nordic tradition and originally an entire tree, the yule log was carefully chosen and brought into the house with great ceremony. The largest end of the tree would be placed in the fire hearth and lit from the remains of the previous year’s log, which was stored away and slowly fed into the fire through the 12 days of Christmas.
The luscious log we enjoy today evolved from experimentation by European cooks - inspired to turn a tradition into a dessert - by baking a sponge cake in the form of a sweet roulade. This was then coated in creamy, smooth chocolate, decorated with a bark-like texture from dragging a fork through the icing and perched atop a cake, to resemble a chopped off branch.
From there, the chocolate Christmas tradition exploded into a flurry of recipes celebrating the season – rum balls, chocolate logs and cocktails all tried to outdo each other as festive favourites.
Great as presents for family and friends, but equally delicious as naughty nibbles throughout the big day, chocolate is never far from Christmas cheer.
Here are some suggestions to make 2017 a chocolate kind of Christmas!
Chocolate indulgence destination Cocoa Nib, located inside the Keith Tulloch Winery Complex in peaceful Pokolbin, has Newcastle foodies flocking to the area for coveted creations, crafted from the finest French ingredients.
Sharing their recipe for a Chocolate Salami Log, Cocoa Nib brings to the table a yuletide treat full of fruity flavour with dried figs, apricots, cherries and cranberries - mixed with pistachios, almonds and hazelnuts - to create a slice with punch. Add dark chocolate, golden syrup and crushed biscuits, and the result is a sensational snack or great gift for someone special.
Macadamias and chocolate go hand in hand with good times and family fun - try these Macadamia Chocolate Crackles and watch them disappear in a cloud of crumbs and sea of delighted faces. A festive take on regular crackles, add chopped red and green glace cherries for an extra touch.
A lovingly decorated box of homemade Nutty Chocolate Fudge makes an ideal pressie for friends - this recipe is quick, easy and tastebud temptingly tantalising. Make in advance and store in the fridge, ready to be boxed up and given with love to those who have been nice – not naughty!
Snow globes are fascinating Christmas ornaments, shake them and watch snowflakes float down over festive scenes, encased in glass surrounds. Using imagination, mason jars, white chocolate and coconut truffles, create these Snowmen Globes by the cupcake queen, Elise Strachan as both a decoration and treat to entice children to join in the celebrations.
From AGFG resident Chef, Shawn Sheather comes a creative Christmas cocktail - Spirited Rocky Road. Those who love traditional rocky road will drool over this liquid creation, with a kick of bourbon and all the trimmings of toasted coconut, ice cream, Turkish delight, marshmallows, nuts and of course chocolate!
Eat, drink and be merry this Christmas, for more chocolate recipes click here.