If you’re not cooking with chocolate, you’re missing out. Make savoury dishes richer and more flavourful with these expert tips from chef and sommelier Eyal Liebman. Trained by renowned chef Didier Leroy, Eyal Liebman has worked at popular restaurants like Toronto's Harbour Sixty Steak House and Böehmer restaurant. Attending one of his famous Chocolate Dinners is a must for anyone interested in learning how versatile chocolate can be.
Think of chocolate like any other kitchen ingredient
If you find cooking with chocolate intimidating, the first step is to look at it through a different lens. Yes, chocolate can be enjoyed in desserts, but it can also be a standalone ingredient to use in cooking just as you would spices and herbs.
Choose your recipe wisely
Dark chocolate can add richness and flavour to a variety of recipes, but if you’re cooking with chocolate for the first time, a hearty sauce or dish like Mexican mole, chilli or stew are beginner-friendly recipes, which makes them a great place to start.
Do pay attention to cacao percentage
The cacao percentage—which refers to the raw cacao content, and varies depending on the bar—affects dark chocolate’s flavour profile, as well as its melting point. When using chocolate in a savoury dish, it’s best to select dark chocolate that has 65% cacao or higher.
Whether you’re tempering chocolate or cooking with it, temperature is key. Chocolate will burn if it’s boiled, so make sure to keep an eye on your dish as it’s cooking. Taste testing also helps: burnt chocolate has very distinct flavour, but takes time to recognize.
Don’t worry about making a mistake
Trial and error is what makes good cooks great, so experiment with different textures and forms of chocolate. Try sprinkling cacao nibs on a salad, use chocolate to dial up the richness of a homemade BBQ sauce, or drizzle it over roast beef or pork tenderloin. There are many ways to add chocolate to savoury dishes.