Last year I was lucky enough to have been invited to an evening of Italian wine, cheese and chocolate tasting which was co-hosted by my favourite London-based Italian chocolate maker, Ms. Rafaella Baruzzo. One of the treats on offer were these rather unusual Cape Gooseberries in chocolate, which were something of a revelation. Anyway, I had to wait until December last year to get my hands on a bag of these, and they were carefully rationed out among interested friends over Christmas (although I must confess to eating the vast majority of them).
The Cape Gooseberry is (I believe) better known as the Physalis – that small, tangy little orangey fruit which is often left with a couple of leaves on a stem and used as decoration by patisseries, caramelised or au naturel.
What Rafaella has done is to take dried Physalis and coat them in a rich 70% cocoa dark chocolate before dusting them in cocoa powder. The resulting combination of flavours is a delight as the sharpness of the cocoa powder is balanced by the melting chocolate. Allow the chocolate to melt before biting down on the tart, acid fruit or chew the whole thing and release the fruit to mingle with the cocoa – either way the bittersweet contrast is just fantastic.
They’re very grown up treats, particularly given that I paid almost ten pounds for this little bag, but believe me, I haven’t tasted anything like this before and I wanted to spread the word. Like a lot of Baruzzo’s products they tend to be seasonal and do come and go depending on supply, but they’re definitely worth tracking down.