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TASTE & FLAVORS

By February 19, 2015Press

THE GROUND BREAKER

Maya Maalouf Kanaan of M de Noir started her career in marketing but quickly realized that her true penchant in life was chocolate. In 2014, she was the first chocolatier from the Middle-East to win the Club des Croqueurs du Chocolat’s “Espoir Etranger” award at the Salon du Chocolat in Paris.

Get to know the chef

“I [was awarded] an MBA in the US, and then I gave marketing courses at the Lebanese American University for 11 years. One day I told myself that it’s never too late to do what you really like,” she explains. Maya enrolled in courses at the Ritz Escoffier in Paris and Valrhona in Tain l’Hermitage, a small village near Lyon. Hence the name, M de Noir,

for what would be her brand – “M” for Maya and “Noir” for the 100% black Valrhona chocolate which is the basis of her creations. A year later she went to Italy to learn the secrets of Gelato making and in 2012, M de Noir “Les Glaces” was added to her product offering.

“Les Saveurs du Liban“, the chocolate line she created for the Parisian chocolate fair, is available at Via Chocolat, (5 Rue Jean-Baptiste Pigalle, Paris 9). Here in Beirut you can discover the brands true artisanal flavors like the salted dark chocolate and the white Cointreau at the M de Noir boutique in Bayada.

Favorite products

1 Vanilla

Since I was a child, the only vanilla I knew was the artificial one found in supermarkets. The first time I discovered the real vanilla pod during my pastry courses, I instantly fell in love. The smell, the touch, the taste… I love it in ice cream, in pastries, in chocolate and even sometimes in food. At the atelier [and] at home, I always have my vanilla in all its forms: pods, pure powder and pure extract. And any cooking or baking occasion is a good excuse for using it.

2 Raspberries

I brought my raspberry plant from Paris, in my suitcase, and planted it in my garden. One year later, I had a nice raspberry bush. One of the favorite moments of the day is going out to the garden with my young daughter and watching her pick the raspberries and eating them. I love the mixture raspberry- litchi, which I combined in a sorbet. I also love a dark chocolate cake topped with raspberries. Even on their own, with no topping whatsoever, a bowl of raspberries is a perfect end to a good meal.

3 Fresh mint

Lebanon is known for its exquisite cuisine that is greatly enhanced by the use of fresh herbs such as thyme, parsley, coriander, marjoram and many others. Fresh mint is my absolute favorite fresh herb. My fresh mint chocolate bonbon captivated the French public and earned me the Club des Croqueurs award. However, the best thing about that chocolate was seeing the faces of the people once the bonbon was in their mouths – a look of surprise and then of utter pleasure.

Signature dish

Chocolate bonbon

• 400g of 70% dark chocolate

Raspberry ganache

• 250g milk chocolate
• 170g raspberry puree
• 120g heavy cream
• 64g inverted sugar
• 80g butter, cut into small pieces

For the chocolate bonbon, melt three quarters of the chocolate
in a double boiler. Check the temperature of the chocolate with a thermometer. When it reaches 55°C-58°C, remove the chocolate.

Set aside one-third of the melted chocolate
in a bowl, in a warm place. Add the remaining quarter of the chocolate into the remaining two-thirds of the melted chocolate, stirring constantly, until it reaches a temperature of 30°C. Then add the melted chocolate that you have set aside to increase the temperature. Stir until the chocolate temperature reaches 32°C.

Put the tempered chocolate into the bonbon mold and hold the mold upside down and using a spatula, remove excess chocolate. Put the mold into the fridge until the chocolate is set. For the raspberry ganache, melt the milk chocolate in the microwave on low, stirring regularly so that the chocolate melts smoothly and does not burn. In a saucepan, mix the raspberry puree, the cream and the inverted sugar and bring them to a boil. Add the hot mixture to the chocolate bit by bit, mixing

by hand and thoroughly in order to have a perfect blend. Let the ganache cool for half an hour then add the butter pieces and stir using a blender until you have a smooth shiny ganache.

Fill the chocolate-lined mold with the ganache. Put into the refrigerator to cool. Once cooled, cover the raspberry ganache with more tempered chocolate.