Behind the scene – Chocolate challenge in the Maritimes

Day 4 to 9: Life changing

Stan and I decided two years ago to change our life. We both had a passion for food and wanted to spend more time together instead of working apart 50 hours a week. We’ve been thinking it through for quite a long time and one day, the chocolate idea just popped up in our mind. Stan went back to school while I kept writing my cooking blog until now. Now ; the time for life changing.

Day 4

On day 4, we headed to Mickaelle, Cedrick and Alyson’s home in Dieppe. We contacted Mickaelle few weeks ago through the social networks – Yeah, modern technologies can be a great help for this kind of challenge. – We heard of her as she’s keeping a Facebook page to share the family adventure in New-Brunswick. The three of them have been moving one year ago, leaving their hometown in France for Canada. Time for big change. Now they’re settled in a new home, they feel it’s their turn to help others before and after their arrival. They said it’s their way to give back what they’ve received. Sounds cool, isn’t it?

Regarding the recipe, we had great fun making the raspberry tartlets all together. I confess that having learned from the previous days, we prepared the pastry dough in advance as it needs to rest. But resting is not cheating, don’t you agree?

Day 5

Wow, we’re so excited! Today, we’re visiting Sarah and Jeremie. What do they do? Hot peppers, yay! Stan and I both love spicy food. Last year, Jeremie planted two hot pepper plants. This year, almost 30! Of 8 different kinds. Sarah and Jeremie transformed their house into a greenhouse the past winter to get this dense urban jungle. A fulfilling passion. If those guys continue growing their garden like that, it may happen that one day they’ll have no other choice that doing it for a living. Because their hot pepper is amazing. It’s tasty and colorful. And hot! My fingers reminded me for 24 hours after I manipulated it. But it was worth it. Chocolate and hot pepper work really well together. We really enjoyed this spicy moment with those two beautiful people.

Day 6

On the Tuesday, Audrey was waiting for us with her teddy bear dog on the porch. This radiant lady was actually the first to agree to be part of our crazy chocolate challenge announcing her generosity and open-mind. As we entered the kitchen, we found a welcoming note, all in manuscript letters, on a big white board. “Your coming was the opportunity to try” she said. We were glad you did Audrey. It was a really cool attention.

While making the black cherry brownie (using the black cherry jam Audrey made in advance), we discussed travel and new life. She and her boyfriend made the big move two years ago swapping their mountains for plains and rivers. They’re currently in Moncton area but might explore other part of the province later. We share this globe-trotter spirit. Of course it’s hard to be far from your family. But it’s better now than 150 years ago when Europeans arrived in North America. Transports are easier and communication tools more interactive. So you don’t have to leave everything behind, you build bigger networks. Ok, it remains tough doing a  melting-in-the-mouth brownie tasting 5 000 km apart. You may have to leak your screen before enjoying (even more) the moment you’ll be eating a real piece of cake together. This time, we enjoyed it with Audrey. Lucky us!

Day 7

Change doesn’t have to be all in ounce, all in one time. That we learned from the Magnetic Hill Winery. Zach and his parents are just always keeping busy improving their family business. To make this recipe happen, we emailed them, we called and eventually we came by their place. We’re glad we were tenacious because 1/ their product is excellent, 2/Zach is a great guy, friendly and hard worker. Hard to reach as he’s always doing something. It was quite an easy recipe through as the Maple wine from the winery is delicious and compliments really well the chocolate.

Day 8

To get to Didier’s farm, we had quite a long drive on a road surrounded by trees. Then we turned left to drive on a more narrow path and drove for few more kilometers. And eventually, we met… the goats. Hello gorgeous! We stopped – the time to fuck up with my phone, trying to take some videos but ending up taking some pics. Then, we get back into the car to reach the factory. Because of the norms, there is no cooking facilities. Also Didier offered to use his own kitchen in his home few hundred meters away. We squatted in his kitchen a little longer that we planned initially as the room was pretty warm, making the conditions more difficult for Stan to temper the chocolate. However, he made an amazing ganache, finding the right balance between chocolate and goat cheese. While doing it, we get to learn more about Didier, the goat cheese magician – yeah, we’re pretty fan of Didier’s cheese. This belgium guy moved here four years ago to take over the farm. Before that, he was no less than the Belgium king maître d’hotel. Another big change. It’s wonderful to provide yourself with the means to live many lives like this. Living all of them intensely. Anyway, it makes sense his cheese is amazing. He put a lot of effort into it. Learning how to make it. Messing a lot at first and getting better and better by keeping trying. It’s actually mistakes that gives you sometimes the best recipes. It’s the case for one of Didier’s best seller the Brigand. It was so strong he thought nobody would like. It’s just the opposite that happened. We were not audacious enough to have a try making the stuffing with that one. But we didn’t say our final word.

Day 9

Wild blueberries was one of the must-stop on our list. We vow a true passion for the small purple fruit. We had a meeting at 9.00 am with Monique from Bleuets NB Blueberries organization. She brought us to Bruno’s bleuetière in Brantville to pick some fruits. It’s always something to pick your own food. It’s the best way in fact. Touching and feeling the product directly from the land. There is something about it that gives the food you prepare a special taste. After filling our basket, we headed to Carrefour Beausoleil where we met the whole team. It’s funny because there too is a place for change for a big part of the team. Marc is the new director and he’s making a lot for the community. Pat is the new chef. He moved from Ontario where he had been running fancy restaurants to take care of the communal kitchen and now cooks mainly for the children and staff. With Dawn, they do an amazing job. They cook everything from the natural products. They make the tomato sauce using real tomatoes. Honestly, some may underestimate the job it represents. It’s huge. But it’s fulfilling for Pat and Dawn to know that the people who would eat their food will enjoy a good and healthy meal. It’s been really fun cooking with people sharing this same passion for the product.

We decided to go on this challenge both for making a culinary experience and for living a human adventure. Well, the least we can say is that during the past nine days, we’ve been served for both. We met incredible people. We discovered extraordinary products. It’s been a lot of positive energy that certainly gives us the fuel to continue this crazy adventure across the Maritimes. See you tomorrow at 9.00 am for a new surprising recipe!

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