After being selected to represent his country at the final of the 2015 World Chocolate Masters, Dutch pastry chef Ramon Huigsloot earned himself a trip to Cacao Barry’s Or Noir laboratory in Meulan, France. There the pastry advisor for Zeelandia and member of the Dutch Pastry Team got to create his own signature chocolate for the competition assignment called ‘My Or Noir Story’. We caught up with Ramon and asked him to look back on an exciting day of experimenting with numerous exotic cocoa flavours and aromas.
WCM Communications Team: So Ramon, let’s kick this interview off with
a bit of an introductory question: what does chocolate mean to you?
Ramon: “Chocolate means almost everything to me. It is the main ingredient in pastry, used in almost any pastry product. What I really like about it is that you can easily express your creativity with it. And there’s always a new aspect to chocolate. You never stop learning from it. It’s also one of the reasons I’m competing in the 2015 World Chocolate Masters. I’ve been preparing for it since January 2014. So my mind is 100% chocolate.”
WCM Communications Team: Now tell us a bit more about your Or Noir experience.
Was it easy to create your own chocolate? And are you satisfied with the result?
Ramon: “It certainly wasn’t easy, I can tell you that. I started over four times to get it just right. But I really knew what I wanted my chocolate to taste like before coming to the Or Noir lab. So it was just a matter of realising it.”
WCM Communications Team: How would you describe it?
Does it remind you of something?
Ramon: “That’s all top secret I’m afraid!”
WCM Communications Team: All right, we get it. Don’t want to spoil the surprise
before the final now! But could you at least reveal its name?
Ramon: “I named it Ferouge, after my girlfriend’s surname.”
WCM Communications Team: What’s so special about your Or Noir chocolate?
Ramon: “Well, I like that it’s not too extreme. I believe anyone could appreciate it. But it has its own character. It’s definitely not your average chocolate.”
WCM Communications Team: And how did you feel when you first tasted it?
Ramon: “It tasted exactly like I wanted it to taste, 100%! I couldn’t be happier with the result. And I’m quite proud of myself. It’s something I did on my own. Now let’s see how the judges will feel about it.”
WCM Communications Team: And how are you going to prepare for the final in Paris?
Ramon: “I’m already feeling a bit stressed, seeing how I have some pretty big shoes to fill. The Dutch candidates during the last two editions of the World Chocolate Masters were extremely good. I’ve also decided to do a completely different showpiece than the one I made during the showcase in Holland. I want to achieve a bigger ‘wow’ effect. I’m also keeping a close eye on anything related to the competition, while making sure it doesn’t influence me too much. I really want to do everything on my own. As far as preparations go, I work every Saturday and one evening a week to prepare for the final. I’m really looking forward to it.”
WCM Communications Team: So are we! Thanks for the interview Ramon!
Ramon: “You’re very welcome!”