Wild Sweets Chocolate
Savory, Sweet, Bites, Drinks
by Dominique & Cindy Duby
If it were up to Dominique and Cindy Duby, we would be able to enjoy chocolate for breakfast, lunch and dinner—and that doesn’t include dessert. As the chefs and owners of DC Duby Wild Sweets, an acclaimed chocolate atelier and boutique in Vancouver, the Dubys have redrawn the boundaries of pastry art with their wildly unique confections and keen understanding of harmonizing seemingly disparate flavors and textures.
Their latest book, Wild Sweets Chocolate, is a Dubyesque study in the art of cocoa. Blurring the lines between sweet and savory, the chefs serve up chocolate in all its nuances: as a main ingredient, a side, an aroma, a texture, a flavor memory. Dishes like Crab with White Chocolate Hollandaise and Pork with Date Carrot Chocolate Confit challenge the conventions of using chocolate in savory dishes, while dessert garnishes like crispy bacon and candied olives bring savory foods into sweets. As the Dubys say, “Everything works until it doesn’t.”
Be forewarned: the book is not for the casual or novice cook. Many of the ingredients call for substances like agar, pectin, lecithin and ascorbic acid, and the techniques used in the book are labor intensive. As with most molecular gastronomy books, Wild Sweets Chocolate is at worst an impractical cookbook, but at best, it’s a salivating journey into the depths of chocolate, food, science and art.
Tuna with Spiced Cocoa Rub and Root Ragout
(adapted from Wild Sweets Chocolate)
8 parsnips, peeled
4 small yellow beets
16 baby carrots
4 T olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Combine all vegetables in a small bowl and toss with olive oil. Season to taste and place on a baking tray. Cook in oven until vegetables are tender, about 30 to 45 minutes.
Tuna with Spiced Cocoa Rub
3 T chili powder
1 T cocoa powder
1½ t finely ground black pepper
8 3-oz. ahi tuna filets
oil for frying
Combine chili powder, cocoa and pepper in a bowl. Thoroughly dry tuna with paper towel, then dredge tuna slices in the rub. Heat oil in a frying pan until very hot. Sear the tuna on each side until cooked as desired (about 1 to 2 minutes each side for rare ahi).
To assemble, combine the root ragout and tuna filets. Garnish with fresh pea shoots.
Reviewed by Nancy Huang