August Outturn 2023 Article
We’re proud to be working with Krsna Raj from BASIK again for 2023 for some of the most insane flavour pairings between chocolates & whisky yet again. This year we’re mixing things up a bit, going a bit bigger, and trying on his new ‘snack bars’ which are a more substantial serve to share between two for the sets, along with some special in-person appearances.
In the lead-up to this, we’ve asked our amazing chocolatier this month a few questions to learn a bit more about his process:
Q: Where did your journey in flavour begin?
It started with whisky, well before chocolate. Started out with a few tasting events and was always fascinated with flavour transformation within the glass over time; with a drop of water, etc.
Q: Many of our members refer to you as the “mad scientist” of chocolate and you have a real “if you know, you know” level of quality. Where do you draw your inspiration from?
I think mad scientist implies a more chaotic approach to the equation. I have very deep thoughts and reflections about flavour combinations almost hourly throughout my day. Even whilst I’m typing this, my mind is racing back to the 10am sample test for the SMWS samples for our upcoming tasting. As for inspiration, most often, from my own memories growing up, any first-time memories around certain dishes or cuisine. I try to avoid allowing my personal biases get in the way of an opportunity to pair.
Q: Something you’re constantly working on is the exploration of flavour in chocolate and expanding the very definition. How on earth do those flavours come about?
I’m quite easily distracted, working with chocolate (not eating) gives me some focus and clarity in my thoughts. It’s random, it’s often what I feel like I’d enjoy. A recent combination was struck up mid-way through a coffee catch-up about how I asked a friend: “do you remember the first time you tried a fresh batch of Macca’s hot chips with their vanilla sundae…that sweet confectionary ice cream, sugar, cream and milk all melding together paired with these hot, crispy and lightly salted fries with a fluffy potatoey goodness on the inside?” Just out of pure excitement and being in the moment, I didn’t even give him a chance to respond before I was like just imagine if we recreated that moment of nostalgia in a bonbon.
About a week later, I started polling on Instagram for suggestions on the best potato chips you could buy in a bag. We made a couverture out of that, I worked on a ganache recipe with a method used for vanilla beans — which had the mouthfeel and taste of a rich vanilla ice cream — added an almond and potato chip praline base for the texture of the above, finished with a pinch of salt and the results were exceptional. Once again, the young ones call it random AF.
Q: What flavour or compound have you found that was a really unexpected ‘pop’ for you?
I think there are way too many options here to choose from, I think my favourite experience of unexpected flavours was doing a peanut praline with Kingaroy peanuts and using Saltbush for the salt element. We had an even split of half the room that would be the friend we all know who asks for extra salt on their chips say all they could taste was a herbaceous parsley cross tarragon note, and the other half of the room claimed they could taste a lot of salt instead with no herbaceous notes.
Q: What inspirations have you selected for this special collaboration with the SMWS?
Anything and everything…
This article is featured in August 2023 Outturn — bottles will be available to purchase on Friday the 4th of August at midday AEST exclusively to members of The Scotch Malt Whisky Society. Not a member? Click here to learn more about the world’s most colourful whisky club.