Learnings from Pastry Connection: “Chocolate: Ingredient and matter”, with Saray Ruiz and Sandra Ornelas

Chocolate has been used since ancient times for the preparation of drinks, food and for pieces of art. The value this raw material has as such, has come from its uses as money, exchange item, and it was even more valuable than gold in some pre-Hispanic civilizations. The chefs Saray Ruiz and Sandra Ornelas, on their conference “Chocolate: Ingredient and Matter, which took place on May 8, talked to us about its origins, its value as an ingredient, and the importance of the technique and its uses in art pieces and contests in the current chocolate world.

As an introduction, Sandra tells us a little bit more about the farming of this fragile and peculiar tree, around which there are so much symbolic stories to tell, that contribute to this magical feeling that surrounds them. The balance and proportion of ingredients, the butter and grue percentages that vary from one chocolate to other, play a decisive role in the texture, fluidity and viscosity of each chocolate. This helps us to determine the uses of each one of them, since every formula has a specific recommended use, and nothing is left to chance here.

Moreover, she says that one of the most important discoveries in the science of this product and that is directly linked with the art of chocolate, comes from the study of the crystalline phases of cacao butter. She mentions, “its behavior and transition constitute a complex and magical phase of the work with chocolate. The understanding of the cacao butter’s polymorphic nature allows us to understand phenomena like chocolate tempered and that makes our work easier. What is more, it origins new presentations, techniques and products, and it takes us closer to our artistic side, since it allows us to develop various creations.”

I think is important to emphasize the following idea from Saray, “Independently from who the executor is, the management of this technique it’s very important, since it doesn’t matter where you are in the world, China or Mexico, the behavior of the ingredients will be the same if you know how to use them, and the results you’ll get will be impeccable if you know how to understand the ingredient and its composition.”

From an artistic point of view, Sandra adds that a piece must tell a story, but before that there should be an investigation phase, in which you’ll gather information about the piece you are going to develop, because in this case the “matter” gives us endless possibilities in order to achieve an excellent realism, and the rest is in our imaginations.

On Saray’s opinion, chocolate represents the wings that allow you to do whatever you want, I agree with both of them, nevertheless it is necessary to emphasize the importance of theoretical knowledge, in order to adapt ourselves to the different circumstances of this work. Chocolate doesn’t have any secrets, language, or magic tricks, everything it’s in the books an din a good technique.


Milena Vallejos, Iconic and Independent Pastry Chef from Chile