Freeze-dried and Fabulous

Among the munchables served alongside the chocolate fondue at last week’s nama tasting at Heavenly Chocolates were a bunch of brightly colored chips and chunks of what appeared to be a lighter-colored version of cinder toffee.  It came as a shock when we were told that the chips and curls in the platter were – holy tokwa! – freeze-dried vegetables!

The platter of freeze-dried veg was meant to be a palate cleanser between the first four nama and the grand finale which was the one with rum.  However, these were quite sweet and so crisp to the bite that people couldn’t help but dip them into the fondue at dinner time!  The crunchies served to us were as follows:

  • Carrot  Bright orange disks that were brimming with sweetness.
  • Takuan (Pickled daikon radish)  This really retained the flavor of the undried original: a sweetish savory flavor with a pleasantly bitter aftertaste.
  • Taro  These white, purple-speckled sticks definitely put other tuber-based munchies to shame.
  • Squash  Julienned then dried, these had a subtle sweetness but I wouldn’t recommend these as a fondue dipper because the flavor gets lost beneath all that chocolate.
  • Green Beans  Crunchy with a salty sweetness.

As if those weren’t fun enough on their own, wait till you discover what these are:

They look like marshmallow strips, don’t they?  Actually, these were crisp, had the texture of cinder toffee (the stuff inside Cadbury Crunchies or Violet Crumbles), and were mildly sweet with a rather fruity tang towards the back of one’s throat.  These were, believe it or not, freeze-dried mangoes!  Shocking, ne?  And they were quite good with the fondue, I must say.

Now, if only these were available when I was I kid, I would probably have eaten more vegetables!

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