Chippy and chocolates make me happy. On a rainy morning, I would reach for champorado (sweet milk and chocolate porridge) and a siding of tuyo (salted dried fish). Life just makes more sense with a balance of the sweet and the salty. Just like yin and yang, this combo brings us all into equilibrium. 

Many years ago, my friend Eric brought me to Vosges boutique in New York  City. I had no idea what we were in for. He then told me that his target was their Mo's Dark Bacon Bar. I was amused, as it was the first time I heard of this bacon and chocolate combo. I did not doubt that it would be a smash hit for the taste buds. Chippy and chocolate worked wonders. So will this. 

This was my introduction to salty sweet desserts. This bar was the epitome of contrast. The dark, bittersweet character of the chocolate perfectly blended with the all natural fruitwood smoked bacon. The marriage of sweet and salty was one made in heaven. I tried very hard to just nibble on this bar. I wanted every nibble to be worth every penny till I cash in on the $7.50 I paid for. It was quite a splurge for a chocolate bar.

             Vosges Sweets, Photo by Michelle Africa

The fascination for sweet and salty intensified when salted caramel became all the rage in the world of desserts. In no time, cakes, ice creams, drinks all had their take on salted caramel. Quite frankly, I was not too wild about it. All that changed when I tried Brasserie Cicou's version of the Kouign Amann. 

In Brittany, France where it comes from, the Kouign Amann (pronounced "kween-ah-MON") is called such to refer to a butter cake. And to us who first taste it, it is not just a butter cake. It is a heady mix of buttery, flaky, sugary. Brasserie Cicou jazzes up theirs with homemade salted caramel ice cream, and a brittle tuile. When I tried it, I came to terms with what the salted caramel hype was all about. It depicts what I loved about the heavenly marriage of salt and sugar. I gave into it, and salted caramel wrapped me up with its charm. 

L' Original Kouign Amann de Cicou (PhP330), Photo by Michelle Africa



Now what else can I line up in my growing list of salty sweets?

Fruity ice cream, anyone?

Last night, I was craving for my dose of salty sweet after dinner. We had a tub of Fruits in Ice Cream's Mango Premium variant. It boasts of the unique sweetness of Philippine Mangoes. But a touch of the contrast and complexity was somehow missing in this mix. 

I had an idea. I ran to the pantry and grabbed the tiny bottle of pink salt. Yes, Himalayan Pink Salt.  I gingerly cracked the salt atop the two scoops of mango ice cream. And eureka! It wasn't long until everybody on the table passed the salt around and did the same. 

Try it once and I promise it will make your night -- the way it did ours.

Vosges Boutique
132 Spring Street, New York, NY 10012
Brasserie Cicou
57 Annapolis Street, Greenhills, San Juan City
132 Spring Street New York, NY 10012

P.S. The same article appears on my personal blog, Chowpowwows, where chow is always on the lowdown. 


Published by Michelle Africa