Aztec Magic: Glenn Cosby talks about what sort of food you could cook this valentine
PUBLISHED: 14:54 30 January 2015 | UPDATED: 14:54 30 January 2015
Our new columnist GLENN COSBY is in the mood for love. Rich, dark and deeply sexy which can only mean one thing: chocolate
Even as a kid I loved chocolate more than most. My brother told me I was a hedonist because when treated to some Dairy Milk I would melt my share in the microwave and eat it with a spoon. (He also had to teach me the meaning of the word because I was eight at the time.)
Chocolate is fundamental at Christmas, inevitable at Easter but a Valentine’s Day without chocolate for me is a complete no-no. I think I would have to end a relationship with someone who didn’t buy me chocolate for a Valentine’s gift; not to punish a lack of romance but simply because of how massively ill-matched we would inevitably be.
Willie Harcout-Cooze’s chocoholism, however, is an Austin Martin DB7 compared to my Austin Metro. Despite owning a hacienda in Venezuela where he grows his own cocoa beans, Willie is a very English eccentric. He’s also one of a special group of food producers making the Devon food scene utterly remarkable.
On an unprepossessing industrial estate - with views of the Blackdown hills – Willie is creating the most sensational chocolate I’ve ever tasted. He sources the cocoa beans with the expertise and passion of a Master of Wine crossed with Indiana Jones. To say that Willie is passionate is a miserable understatement. He chatted to me whilst over-seeing every stage of the factory’s production, preparing a hot cocoa and chilli sauce which is a fundamental part of his daily breakfast, baking a birthday cake (chocolate, of course) for a neighbour on the estate and the best hot chocolate I have ever tasted. I left the factory utterly mesmerised by the product and the man. I think he put some kind of Aztec magic into that hot chocolate.
Glenn Cosby is Devon Life’s new food ambassador. If you are a Devon producer with a story to tell you can contact Glenn on via e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter @GlennCosby or FB: facebook.com/glenncosbybaker
Sexy foods for Valentine’s day
I’m really not sure any food is genuinely aphrodisiac in the blood-rushing sense. That’s not to say, however, that there aren’t foods I find profoundly sexy. For me sexy food is voluptuous food, it’s about heady smells and silky textures. You can keep your oysters; here are my top 5:
Shellfish. A spread of crab and prawns, and if you’re feeling flush, a lobster, with a bloody mary dip.
Steak. For me the sexiest steak is steak tartare but I may be weird.
Fresh bread. That may seem weird but breaking bread when it’s oven warm is so sensual.
Champagne. Or even better a sparkling white grown here in the West Country, there are at least 3 award winning winemakers right here in Devon.
Chocolate Mousse. See the recipe above. If this doesn’t get you in the mood, nothing will.
Glenn’s Chocolate Mousse.
This is the rich, dark and deeply sexy stuff. With an ingredient this good the best you can do is the least you can do so this is a very simple French recipe with just three ingredients.
Makes enough for two hungry lovers.
180g dark chocolate (I recommend Willie’s Venezuelan Gold 72% for its rich nuttiness)
6 free-range egg whites
50g caster sugar
1. Melt the chocolate drops (or chopped chocolate) in a large glass bowl over boiling water.
2. Whisk the egg whites to a stiff peak in a large bowl – use a machine if you can.
3. While still whisking gradually add the sugar to the eggs until they are smooth and glossy.
4. Allow the chocolate to cool before adding half the egg whites to the chocolate and folding this in carefully.
5. Once it has fully mixed fold in the other half of the egg whites before spooning the mixture into glasses to set.
6. Set in the fridge but take the mousse out of the fridge one hour before serving to really allow the flavour of the chocolate to come through.