One chef, one ingredient: almonds by Patrick Roger
This week, a glimpse into the quirky world of famous chocolatier Patrick Roger, who pays homage to almonds.
What led you to choose this ingredient?
Patrick Roger: I recently acquired around ten hectares of almond orchards, located in Portel-les-Corbières (Languedoc Roussillon region). I see this as an essential commitment at a time when the cultivation of almonds in France is on the decline. For me, this is the best way to control the quality of the almonds that go into some of my finest chocolates.
What is your favorite kitchen memory associated with this ingredient?
P.R: The almonds and sugar used to make my pralines.
When is this ingredient in season?
P.R: In October.
What is the best way to prepare it?
P.R: Praline rochers with Patrick Roger chocolate.
What are the most common mistakes made when preparing this ingredient?
P.R: Over-roasting the almonds.
How do you offer almonds in your shops?
P.R: I use French almonds as the base for my pralines, but also to make almond paste. I dip the almonds into hot water to remove the brown skins, and then I grind them. I use this almond paste to create my chocolates.
What wine (or other alcohol) is best paired with this ingredient?
P.R: Maury wine [a French fortified red dessert wine from the Roussillon region].