Saturday, January 5, 2013

Adventures with Chocolate, Paul Young

I have had this book in my collection for over a year now and although I have used it to make a couple of the more traditional recipes I have been steering clear of the more adventurous ones. Well the first week of a new year seems a very good time to get adventurous so I turned to this page and set forth:

You are looking at a toasted sandwich of crispy bacon, stilton cheese and yes, chocolate. The lower slice of bread has a generous gilding of melted, very high cocoa chocolate.

Paul's book is full of recipes I have yet to find the courage to try and stilton truffles and marmite truffles are in there waiting for me to shake off my 'play it safe' instincts. So this combination from Paul Young was no surprise and as I have seen a lot written about the joys of bacon and chocolate. Knowing I like bacon and blue cheese and feeling a little reckless and hungry on a Friday afternoon I went for it. [Edited to add the recipe is now available online at ]

I really think you need the bacon to be cooked well to get that contrast of crisp texture against the creamy consistency of the cheese and chocolate. Get the bacon cooking so it is nicely crisp by the time you have everything else ready. You toast a couple of pieces of bread (please find a proper baker, no supermarket pap) and spread a light layer of butter over the base piece. Now grate over a layer of dark (~70% cocoa) chocolate and pop under a grill briefly to melt. Do be watchful here, and don't walk away from the grill as even lightly 'burnt' chocolate is truly nasty; you just need to melt it. Lay your nice crispy pieces of bacon on top of the melted chocolate, scatter some crumbled stilton cheese on top of that and top with the other piece of toasted bread, buttered if you wish. Eat straight away.

Now whilst I would normally drink tea with a bacon sandwich I think this fellow needs a good cup of coffee or even a glass of red wine. Comparing mine with Paul's I didn't quite get the artisan look but no shame, it tasted good.

Would I make this again?

Maybe; the recipe called for Venezuelan 72% chocolate and I didn't match that exactly as I was using a higher cocoa African based chocolate. It also asked for honey roast bacon where I just had a good dry cured unsmoked bacon. Those nuances may have detracted from the recipe. 

It was good, I ate it all, and I had fun making it but I would love to have one cooked by the author to see how my version compared.

Other recipes I have tried include the christmas pudding truffles that worked really well, stem ginger and fennel seed truffles, chili and lime truffles, and the bing cherry brownies but without the coconut, all very good.

Paul Young has made a number of tv appearances in the last year or two and is always fun to watch, so much enthusiasm, so do look out for him.

I am submitting my Chocolate, Stilton and Bacon sandwich to the January 2013 we should cocoa blog challenge which called for recipes that use chocolate but no 'sugar' (sucrose) sweetener. The We Should Cocoa hosts are Chocolate Teapot, and Choclette of  Chocolate Log Blog. Choclette has set the January challenge.


  1. I love this book and have had it for rather longer than you. Despite this, I think I've only made two things from it so far and really ought to use it more. I love Paul's ideas and general wackiness when it comes to flavour combinations. I've not seen him on TV though - or in reality. Thanks for entering this into We Should Cocoa.

  2. It's interesting you say this tasted good - I recently tried a chocolate and bacon combination in brownies and they tasted awful! My boyfriend has banned me from putting bacon in sweet things ever again... though I do have one more recipe up my sleeve I want to try!

  3. I wonder if the reason this worked for me was because the chocolate was almost unsweetened and it was the only sweet element in the dish, almost like a ketchup or chutney would work with bacon. I am pretty sure I would not like bacon in my brownies but it would be fun to try.

  4. What an ingenious idea - glad it passed the taste test and was all eaten up! That counts as a success in my book, even if you wouldn't rush to make it again - over the years I've maid a fair few downright inedible concoctions... Rx