Would you have imagined a few months ago that we would be commemorating the 75th anniversary of VE Day in the midst of a crisis that is affecting our everyday life more than anything else in the intervening years?
While they may not have had social distancing and lockdown in World War II, there were evacuations and conscription. And we can be eternally grateful that the current crisis is not going to last for 6 years. Thankfully we are not experiencing rationing either; I for one would find it very difficult to get by without regular chocolate!
I was originally planning to launch a new range of 6 Coastal Cocoa chocolates for the VE Day anniversary, but ironically thanks to Covid-19 I have run out of time to get the full range ready. This is partly because my usual printer is based in a shop so has closed for lockdown, and partly because the lack of fairs and markets has led me to take a part time job.
So instead I am launching half of the new flavours today. You can choose these now as part of a custom selection box. Over the next few weeks I will announce the remaining 3 flavours in the range and release a dedicated VE Day selection box containing all 6. You can also pre-order this selection box now on the website.
My new range of flavours take inspiration from some of the classic sweets enjoyed in 6 of the nations that fought on the Allied side in World War II. If you know anything at all about World War II you will guess at least 2 of the remaining 3 countries we will be honouring. The third may be harder to predict.
At Coastal Cocoa we might be running a little late for the big day but luckily the 75th anniversary of VE Day lasts all year!
The first country we are honouring needs no introduction. The United States may have been a little late joining the war, but it was their industrial might and manpower that made D-Day and the liberation of Europe possible. There were so many amazing American desserts that I could have chosen, but I have always been a cheesecake lover so the classic New York Cheesecake made perfect sense. My tribute contains a crunchy digestive biscuit base topped with a cheesecake flavoured white chocolate ganache, all enrobed in milk chocolate.
The second of the Allied nations we are featuring is France. I love French patisserie so there is an enormous selection of recipes I could have taken inspiration from. My favourite is probably Opera cake though, with its 6 layers of amaretto sponge and kahlua coffee ganache. My Opera chocolate only contains 3 layers; one of white chocolate amaretto ganache, one of milk chocolate kahlua coffee ganache and one of dark chocolate ganache. All enrobed in dark chocolate. Unfortunately Opera cake wasn’t actually invented until the 1950s, but what’s a little historical inaccuracy between friends?
The third country we are paying tribute to is Poland, one of the first countries to suffer Nazi aggression and one which never settled for occupation. Our Polish inspired flavour is Ptasie Mleczko (no, I can’t pronounce it either). In Polish the name means “bird’s milk”, the equivalent idiom in english is “as rare as hens teeth”, suggesting it is an unobtainable delicacy. Well now you can obtain it easily enough from Coastal Cocoa. Ptasie Mleczko, a soft meringue enrobed in dark chocolate, is popular across Eastern Europe and Russia (where it is known as Ptichye Moloko).