RECIPES | Back in 2015, Lauren and I ran our successful Nutella bento box pop-up. One of the treats inside was a Nutella salted-caramel chocolate truffle. We still have the moulds that we used for the truffles, and occasionally we use them to make chocolate truffles at home.
While in COVID-19 lock-down, we ordered some food from one of our favourite Melbourne restaurants, Sunda, to enjoy at home, and picked up a jar each of chef Khanh Nguyen famous Vegemite curry and fermented sambal. We cooked with the Vegemite curry when it was first packaged to go in January, as part of the Australian Bushfire Relief efforts, and have also cooked with Sambal, that wonderful Indonesian chilli sauce, before.
What to do with them this time? How about chocolate. Blending chocolate and cacao with savoury flavours is nothing new, but it’s still surprisingly uncommon. One of my “mind blown” experiences with chocolate occurred in 2009. I’d just moved to London and on my list of things to try were patisserie chef turned master chocolatier Paul A Young’s Marmite truffles. The unconventional truffles caused quite a stir when Young first released them in 2006, but the general consensus was that the flavours worked. When I tried them, I definitely agreed. Today, even Marmite themselves now have a range of chocolate bars available in UK supermarkets.
During my time in London, I ate a lot of Paul A Young truffles. I worked around the corner from the Royal Exchange location and would often pop in during my lunch break to see what was new. After leaving that job, the Soho store became my regular haunt. One of my last London experiences before flying back to Australia was seeing Matilda the Musical during its opening week on the West End, and munching on my last ever box of Paul A Young truffles as a London local. It was a bittersweet evening.
I actually met Young a few years later when visiting London. We’d been chatting on Instagram and I brought over a jar of Vegemite for him to try using with chocolate. I left with a big box of truffles and more inspiration to create than before. Which is all a very long-winded way of saying that when Lauren and I were trying to figure out a novel way to use the Sunda Vegemite curry and fermented sambal, chocolate truffles came to mind. And do you know what? Both ingredients work wonderfully. You’ve got sweet, salty, savoury and umami elements that come together to challenge conceptions about what flavours should or shouldn’t work with chocolate.
If you’re not in Melbourne, you can still make the sambal ones using any good quality Sambal from your local Asian grocery store.
Preparation Time: 60 minutes / Cooking Time: 2-3 minutes / Makes: 18 truffles
- 300g Callebaut Finest Belgian Chocolate – Dark Recipe N° 811 (54.5% milk cocoa solids)
- 65ml thickened cream
- 40g brown sugar
- pinch of salt
- 50g Sunda Vegemite curry
- 20g sambal
- edible glitter to decorate
- Place 100g of chocolate into a bowl and add the cream, brown sugar and salt.
- Place in the microwave on an “inverter melting setting” for 1 minute. Remove from the microwave and stir. Repeat if necessary until the chocolate is melted.
- Evenly divide the melted chocolate mixture into two bowls.
- Add the sambal to one and the Vegemite curry paste to the second bowl and mix well. Set aside.
- Place the remaining 200g of chocolate into a glass bowl, and microwave at 800 – 1000W for 15-20 seconds.
- Remove from the microwave and stir.
- Repeat steps five and six until the chocolate has almost entirely melted (a few small pieces of chocolate should still be visible).
- Stir until all the pieces of chocolate have disappeared and the mixture is thick and smooth.
- Lightly brush your chocolate moulds with edible glitter (optional).
- Fill each section of the mould with chocolate, ensuring all surfaces are covered.
- Pour out the excess chocolate and place the mould in the fridge to harden.
- Fill each shell with the sambal or Vegemite curry. Be sure not to overfill the shells.
- Add an even layer of chocolate on the top of the filling and place into the fridge until the shell has hardened.
- Remove the truffles gently from the mould and enjoy.
If you prefer, you can temper the chocolate via a double boiler.
The number of truffles you make will vary upon the size of the chocolate mould.
You can use any chocolate you like for the truffle shells, however I highly recommend that you stick to a high quality dark chocolate with at least 54% milk cocoa solids. It provides the best intensity and balance.