It takes years to collect the perfect set of recipes. Hours in the kitchen triumphant or failing. Trying again and again, tweaking and adapting over time, experimenting and changing. When you are dedicated to baking the very best you are constantly evolving and experimenting until you hit that sweet spot. The perfect recipe takes skill but it also takes fine ingredients. Each bite is the sum of its parts and will never be as amazing as it could be if the ingredients you use are not living up to that ideal taste, scent, texture.

Couverture Chocolate–  It has taken me a lot of experimentation with different companies, recipes and ingredients to reach the place where I feel comfortable and confident that what I bake contains the best balance of quality and affordability for my taste and for the value of my clients. I first tried Pastry Portal almost a year ago as I experimented with couverture chocolate. Apparently I am very picky about chocolate and need it to taste and feel a particular way before I am happy with it. Price is also important because like anyone I want the very best for my investment and want to minimalize the impact financially to my clients. Pastry Portal more than delivers that! I have used both the Casa Luker 58% Misterio dark chocolate and the IFI Gourmet 50% Belgian Dark. The Casa Luker is intensely rich, very slightly bittersweet, and makes a great looking ganache. My husband aka Primo Chocolate Afficianado loved that one but for me I was missing a certain cold mouth feel that I find hard to describe. I tried the IFI Gourmet 50% Belgian Dark and new right then that this was my chocolate. A little more sweet than the Casa Luker but not too sweet and it has the silky mouth feel I was missing. That has been my go to dark chocolate ever since. The IFI Gourmet  29% Belgian White are perfect. Smooth, buttery, silky and I never have an issue with my ganache. Ever. That is saying something because we all know white chocolate ganache can be finicky. These chocolates can be purchased in 22 pound sizes which is around the same price as I was previously paying for 11 pounds of similar chocolates from different companies. To me that is a no brainer. Great quality and more affordable means I am free to give a little extra to my clients than what they expect and that is a wonderful thing.

Flavor Pastes- There are some flavors that are tricky to nail down without crossing the border into the land of the artificial taste. It can be hard to have a strong bright flavor in batters like strawberry, lemon, lime and more. Pastry Portal makes these awesome flavor pastes which act as a supercharged boost to your batter and icings so if your recipe just needs a punch of taste I recommend you try these. I have the strawberry, lime, lemon, caramel, crème de cacao, and Moroni vanilla and yes I will admit I would like to have them all. Honestly I was skeptical because I use a lot of homemade purees and such to flavor my cakes and was not sure the pastes would add anything. Until I gave them the true test. I did some experimenting and for the first time ever made dairy free gluten free Paleo cupcakes. Making them by the recipes I was testing made my mouth curl and my kids spit the cupcakes in the trash and ran away screaming. True story. I kept at it though. I tweaked the recipes, added some liquid, removed the coconut oil which I discovered my entire family thinks tastes bitter. (It does!) I made one vanilla batter and divided it into several bowls. One bowl had lime flavor paste added, one strawberry, one had crème de cacao plus cocoa powder, and one had the Moroni Vanilla paste added. Not kidding you my boys sampled this batch, started jumping up and down with thumbs up… then they started fighting each other nearly violently over who got which Paleo cupcake. My beautiful client loved them too and said they are the best Paleo cupcakes she has ever had. Take that skepticism! If I can make people squeal with Paleo cupcakes because I used these pastes then imagine what you can do!

Rolled Fondant- Fondant is a tricky beast for me here in the tropical rainforest that is the state of Florida. It has to be just right or it is a hot sticky mess and can make a girl cry. I am very very very picky about my fondant. Many commercial and even more homemade types have all been tried and discarded by me. Once again I was skeptical to try the IFI Gourmet rolled fondant because really not many perform well in Florida but once again I was so pleased with the outcome. First of all the fondant was firm. Which is great! It almost hurt my arms to knead it and I was ecstatic about that! Most fondant I have tried is so soft its mushy and quickly goes from mush to unusable if you don’t work fast. I could tell right out of the gate that the IFI Gourmet fondant was going to be a winner. I even covered square tiers with it. No tears, rips, pitting, elephant skin no nothing but ease. It tastes great too! This is a product I will definitely be using again once I run out of “that other brand”.

 

Pastry Portal has quickly become my go to supplier for all my baking needs. The product range is expansive and will take your imagination to new heights in the kitchen. Pricing is exceptionally affordable. The customer service is the best I have ever had with any of my suppliers. These are good kind hearted people offering top quality you can afford and they go above and beyond to ensure you are happy. That to me is worth everything. Here is the listing of my favorite products from Pastry Portal! Please visit them at Pastry Portal and find your new favorites!

–          IFI Gourmet 50% Belgian Dark Chocolate

–          IFI Gourmet 29% Belgian White Chocolate

–          Casa Luker 58% Misterio Dark Chocolate

–          IFI Gourment White Rolled Fondant

–          Vanilla Bean Paste- Moroni

–          Crème de Cacao Flavor Paste

–          Lemon Flavor Paste

–          Lime Flavor Paste

–          Strawberry Flavor Paste

–          Caramel Flavor Paste

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