Have you ever confidently ordered a "white" cupcake? This post is for you. I get it. Unless you were brought up in a flavor enthusiastic household, or maybe if you were pretentious as a child, you have most likely ordered a sweet by its color and not its flavour. I hear you - I see you. I want to help heal the gap between bakers and consumers. Let's cover the classics. Vanilla and Chocolate.
Vanilla is a spice derived from orchids of the genus Vanilla, primarily obtained from pods of the species, flat-leaved vanilla. It's aromatic, sweet, and floral. When combined with sugar via, baked good, coffee, or even soda you are in for a treat! We use vanilla in just about everything sweet at the bakery. Vanilla is used in a lot of baked goods. Chances are if you see a "white or light yellow" cupcake behind the glass you are looking at a cupcake that has a main flavor of the beloved vanilla extract that has a chokehold on the tastebuds of the general populous. Bonus Trivia* We make our vanilla extract (vanilla pods + vodka aged for several months) and vanilla syrup (vanilla extract reduced with water and sugar) in-house!
Chocolate or cocoa is a food made from roasted and ground cacao seed kernels that is available as a liquid, solid, or paste, either on its own or as a flavoring agent in other foods. It can be bitter, sweet, nutty, fruity, and some people even enjoy it spicy! Our friend vanilla is often paired with chocolate to help round out its qualities. Generally, if you are staring at a deep brown in color pastry - it probably contains some form of chocolate. You can make a baked good chocolate flavor by adding cocoa to your dry ingredients or creaming melted chocolate with your butter. The possibilities are endless. A cool place for purchasing chocolate Ethereal Confections Bonus Trivia* That's our go to place for the BEST chocolate. <3 Why does it matter what we call things? A color is not a flavor and a flavor is not a color. (I'm not looking at you orange) How can we have an honest conversation about what we eat/what food establishments make– when we we won't open our minds to understand what we are being offered? I'm not trying to be pretentious. I want to start honest conversations between food industry workers and consumers to better understand what we're eating/making to enhance the experience of what we're tasting. When you taste something and understand it, not only does it improve your quality of life; it opens the door to connect to culture, people, and food, which can start to bring people together. Opening our minds to learn from one another obliterates pretentious and idiocracy from the conversation. We are all consumers at the end of the day.
Why does it matter what we use? It's less about what we use and more about why we use it and understanding the difference between our options. We choose to make our own vanilla because it's simple, tastes better; and who knows what's in imitation vanilla anyway? What in the world does it mean to imitate vanilla!? Choosing responsibly sourced chocolate is sometimes more expensive, but it taste better, you know where it is coming from, and you know that it is processed with fair trade and no extra confusing ingredients. Do the best you can with what you have and keep your mind open to learn from others. <3