What to Eat in France: Mentchikoffs

By Tuesday, September 22, 2015 Permalink 0

What to Eat in France: Mentchikoffs, Chocolate Specialty of Chartres

by Jonell Galloway

Despite the Russian name, Mentchikoffs are a specialty of Chartres. There are only four or five chocolatiers who still make them because the process is time-consuming. You won’t find them in restaurants, only in chocolate shops.

Mentchikoffs have a praline and chocolate center and a crunchy dried Swiss-style meringue coating. They are almond-shaped and usually weigh from 10 to 12 grams.

This candy is said to have been invented by a famous confectioner named Dausmenil in 1893 in the rue de la Pie in Chartres. This was a period when everything Russian was the rage, from Russian salad to Russian jewels, after the signing of the Franco-Russian military alliance of 1894. Mentchikov, the son of a pastry chef and an apprentice bread baker, had been the aide-de-camp of Czar Peter the Great in the early eighteenth century. Dausmenil almost certainly named his chocolates in honor of the Russian of the same name.

mentchikoffs from Loos pastry shop

 

 

 

 

 

In 1900, Dausmenil sold his shop, along with the recipe, to a confectioner called Genet. There are records mentioning his mentchikoffs in 1930, along with the mintchikoffs of Mme Nessler in the rue Marceau.

It takes several days to make a mentchikoff — anywhere from 3 to 7 — because each step is followed by a period of drying. The almonds and hazelnuts are crushed and oven-dried. The water and sugar is then heated to 121°C. Off the burner, the nuts are added to the sugar mixture and then put back on the burner to caramelize. This mixture is then crushed into a fine powder to make the praline.

The praline is then mixed with melted butter and the chocolate added. This mixture is left to dry in a special drying frame and later cut into 7- to 8-gram candies which are shaped by hand.

One side of the chocolates is then soaked in the meringue, then removed and dried. This procedure is repeated for the other side. The finished mentchikoffs are then dried one last time and packaged in cardboard boxes.

Mentchikoffs are eaten after a meal with coffee.

 

 

 

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Itsy Bitsy History of Candy Corn and other Halloween News

By Sunday, October 28, 2012 Permalink 0

by Jonell Galloway

Don’t miss Gourmet Live’s history of how candy corn was invented in a time when corn was seen as low-brow, and how it later came to be associated with autumn.

Click here to read more.

For lots of fun and novel uses for candy corn (and for a few good laughs), you might want to read this article on Jezebel.

Laughing Squid has produced an series of sculptures made from candy corn.

Craftberry Bush shows a step-by-step photographic explanation of how to make candy corn party favors. These are some of the most original Halloween treats I’ve seen.

 

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Halloween News: more healthy and ghoulish treats and recipes

By Thursday, October 27, 2011 Permalink 0

by Jonell Galloway

MSNBC Today Show’s nutritionist Joy Bauer says the average trick or treater comes home with the equivalent of 10 cups of sugar and 10 lbs. of butter. When you put it in those terms, you realize if you want to contribute to the health of future generations, there are strategies for choosing healthier options. An easy-to-implement video full of common sense tips for choosing your treats.

Here’s some great Halloween photography to get you in the spirit.

Halloween is Here gives loads of recipes for complete Halloween meals, for both adults and children.

If you’re set on staying green when it comes to Halloween costumes, here are some more creative ideas.

Shine! Yahoo offers lots of healthy savory and sweet Halloween recipes, such as chocolate-covered fruit, as does Family Health and Nutrition.

If you’re planning a Halloween lunch party for your children, here are some simple ideas for giving a ghoulish look to sandwiches, fruit and other ordinary fare.

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