Le Caméléon Chocolates


Ik kan mij goed voorstellen dat ‘Le Caméléon’ jou niet direct iets zegt. Het ligt dan ook ver bij ons vandaan; in Mexico-Stad welteverstaan, dicht bij museum ‘Del Juguete Antiguo’: met ’s werelds grootste speelgoed collectie. – ideaal om te combineren tijdens een verblijf in deze stad, welke in 1325 door Azteken werd gesticht. Veel Bond-liefhebbers kennen Mexico-Stad inmiddels wel van de ‘Día de Muertos’-parade uit de James Bond film ‘Spectre’.  – want zo zou men in dit stadje de dag van de doden vieren. Althans dit zou je denken, maar het stadsbestuur heeft deze parade pas erkend en ingevoerd na het succes van deze zoveelste Bond film, en dat is toch wel een compliment voor Bond regisseur Sam Mendes.

“Wij stellen voor om de tijd te nemen om te pauzeren, te ontdekken, te delen, te analyseren, te verwennen en te lachen met ons … en chocolade! Waarom de tijd? Omdat de rituelen achter chocolade ons respect verdienen. Het zit in het genieten van elk moment, van ontwikkeling tot het proeven. Het doel is om kennis te bevorderen en unieke zintuiglijke ervaringen aan te bieden voor de fans, van beginners tot experts.” – Le Caméléon

SKULLS & BONES CHOCOLADE UIT MEXICO-STAD

Over parades en rituelen gesproken; vandaag bespreken wij een nieuwe chocoladelijn van Le Caméléon, een lijn van vijf overheerlijke repen, geheel in de traditie van de dag van de doden. De verpakking zou het in Nederland goed doen bij flink wat doelgroepen, want ook hier zijn wij weg van doodskoppen. Bij het bekijken van de verpakking valt gelijk de variatie op. Zo is er keus uit; ‘Jamaica’, ‘Chapulines’, ‘Cacao Criollo’, ‘Chipotle’ en ‘Mole’. – met name de ‘Chapulines’ is interessant voor een ieder dat zeker eens in z’n leven de smaak van een sprinkhaan wenst te ervaren.

Mooi detail zijn naast de prachtige illustraties op de verpakking ook de aangebrachte nummers. – dit maakt de repen leuk om als complete cadeauset aan iemand te schenken. Straks gaan wij verder in op de smaak, want je wilt vast en zeker meer weten over het verhaal achter deze prachtige chocolade repen!?

INTERVIEW WITH SOPHIE VANDERBECKEN |  LE CAMÉLÉON

When and why did you started Le Caméléon | I started Le Caméléon in 2003. As I was working as an intern with an NGO supporting street children, the idea was to train them so that they would have a career and some revenues. At the same time, the NGO could get revenues and be more independent from donations. With that money, it would have been possible to set up more workshops of different sectors (bakery, mechanical, etc) in order to train these youngsters.

Later on, we pioneered in the field of artisanal chocolates and we began to organize chocolates tastings with wines, beers and mezcals. We started with typical Belgian chocolate before moving to Mexican flavours. In 2010, we launched the Xocoteca, a collection of aromas with its booklet in order to learn how to taste chocolates.

From then, we concentrated on tastings and participated in many chocolate events, national and international, as well as support cocoa producers. Sophie was integrated as an international judge for the first time in 2015. Afterwards, she participated in different competitions, in different countries.

In 2016, a first Mexican chocolate bar won a bronze in its category at the International Chocolate Awards, America & Asia Pacific: our white chocolate bar with hibiscus, and we just won 1 silver and 2 bronzes in the latest edition. We also set up the first chocolate tasting club of Mexico, which turns 1 year old this month.

Is your roots also in Mexico | No, I “just” came for an internship, then decide to come back and stay…

What is it that defines your brand from others | Our uniqueness (we are not chocolate merchants, we are interested in sharing cocoa and chocolate information and culture), an irreproachable ethics, unusual flavours and our knowledge.

Our brand name is Le Caméléon, Chocolatería con-sentidos. At first, we relate to “el sentido”, which is the meaning of what we do: we support cocoa producers and we diffuse the cocoa and chocolate culture. Second, “con sentidos”, as we are specialised in sensorial experiences such as chocolate pairings and chocolate tastings, as well as cocoa route. At last, “consentidos” means to consent oneself, so if one day, working chocolate is not a pleasure anymore, we’ll have to drop out of this sector.

We design our recipes, textures and packaging, looking for coherence in the collections and adapting ourselves to the clients’ requirements. We have interpreted from a book to perfumes into chocolate. People generally appreciate the balance of flavours. Moreover, our chocolates are free of artificial flavours (if it is raspberry, it contains raspberry), conservatives, artificial colouring and vegetal fat.

Did you always wanted to become a chocolatier | No. I always loved chocolate, as I am Belgian, but never thought really about working it. Once the project in Mexico took form, I got trained with a cousin of mine, Jean-Marie Demaret, who has a bakery, pastry and chocolate shop in Belgium. I never thought I would reach this level.

What does one day in your chocolate working day looks like | There is not normal day. I can be answering emails and write quotations, or develop new recipes with my team, or go to visit a client, or be in an event. These days we are working the global strategy, and the communicational tools, organizing the agenda and proposals for the end of the year. We are also preparing the Salon del Chocolate y Cacao de México. Sometimes, we gather with some taster friends at night in order to analyse different chocolates we bring from over the world…

Your bars got a great design with chocolate skulls, how does art inspires you | I wanted to have a mix of Mexican and Belgian style. As the calavera is a strong Mexican symbol, we had the idea to use it and even “calaverised” our logo (from normal to folklorical dead design). For some next collections, we are aiming at integrating Mexican art too. Generally, we are more inspired by Mexican gastronomy, which is an art in itself and we look for Mexican classic and/or symbolic ingredients/flavours, or less known ones.

As previously mentioned, we interpreted a famous book and perfumes into chocolates. It is a nice challenge, as there is always a way to do so, through techniques and ingredients.

Who created the design of these chocolate bars | I imagined it and our designer put it on paper. We took over than one year to get it ready. We had developed the chocolate recipes, and were thinking about the design, without finding the right idea. Then, one day, inspiration came and I called the designer straight away to apply it. In one week, the concept was defined and we just had to refine details…

Are there any future plans your exited about |  We are planning to set up a bean-to-bar very soon, and develop temporary collections… as well as we are thinking about exporting.

What do our readers need to know about your chocolate | We are perfectionist and aiming at balanced flavours, which you can discover while you taste them: they have to be subtle and clearly defined at the same time. We are strict about ethics, and we only use compound in tastings in order to be able to differentiate what is chocolate and what is not. We intent to integrate the best of Belgium and Mexico in the same chocolate, depending on the collection, for the palates around the world. Last year, our bar of white chocolate with hibuscus was the first Mexican bar ever to receive a bronze at the International Chocolate Awards, America & Asia Pacific.

What else would you like to share with us | Our team is very strong and everyone is important. We have their complete support and everyone is making efforts to reach it.

Apart from developing chocolates, we also aim at sharing chocolate education and culture, especially as Mexico is considered the cocoa cradle, and sometimes, people here do not realize it. On the other hand, we work together with the cocoa producers, in order to help them improve the quality of their beans or process, through quality evaluation, so that they could negotiate better prices for a higher quality.

Through tastings oriented to students of general public, we let people discover new perspectives of the chocolate, and learn parameters to choose theirs.

TASTING THE BARS

Van Lé Caméléon mocht ik de volgende repen testen:

  • Jamaica | witte melkchocolade
  • Chapulines | melkchocolate met sprinkhanen uit Oaxaca
  • Cacao Criollo | halfzoete chocolade van Criollo cacao
  • Chipotle | halfzoete bittere chocolade
  • Mole | halfzoete chocolade op basis van Molé

De chocolade repen van Le Caméléon zijn ideaal voor de chocoladeliefhebber dat melk verkiest boven puur. – en volgens het nieuwe chocoladeboek van Megan Giller is daar absoluut niets mis mee. – want ook bij melk of halfzoete chocolade valt er genoeg te winnen in de chocolade markt. De fijne textuur van de repen doet verlangen naar meer en ook dit is niet erg, want je koopt toch liever een chocolade reep dat lekker is! Le Caméléon scoort wat mij betreft hoog op basis van smaak, uitstraling en verpakkingswijze. – hier hoop ik in de toekomst van te horen!

WAAR TE BESTELLEN

De chocolade repen Le Caméléon zijn tot nu toe te bestellen via hun eigen website.

 

 

 

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