If you are in France, no matter which region, no matter where you eat, you will most likely be offered the divine French dessert Mousse au Chocolat. You can find it in corner cafés as well as expensive gourmet restaurants. It is a staple in this gastronomically versed country. In fact, it comes as no surprise that they are the inventors of our wonderful chocolate mousse.
The word “mousse” is a French word that means foam, so Mousse au Chocolat means chocolate foam. When mousse first hit the culinary scene in 1894 it was reserved for savory dishes like fish and vegetables. Then in the early 1900's the famous French artist Toulouse Lautrec had the brilliant idea of mixing in chocolate to the graceful and airy invention. Thankfully the name that he first gave it, "mayonnaise de chocolat", has been changed and it has been donned with the more appetizing moniker that we know it by today.
You can find hundreds of different versions of the original recipe for this chocolate delight in cookbooks world wide. Some boast fancy ingredients like alcohol, peppermint, oranges or even marshmallows. Some are made with complicated directions that use 3 or 4 different bowls. While this can be fun for some occasions it definitely takes away from or masks the flavor of the original delicacy.
If what you want is a pure, delicate, and exquisite dessert then I recommend sticking to the traditional French recipe. But keep in mind, the key to this traditional (and in my opinion best) French method is simplicity. The ingredients are few, the directions fairly straight forward so the attention is in the details. You should use only the finest ingredients you can find, rich dark chocolate (and not just whatever you can pick up in the nearest grocery store) and rich creamy butter. It's also very important to follow the directions well, not skimping or cutting corners. As with any gourmet dish quality of ingredients and skilled preparation are what make the difference.
So now you are two thirds of the way to creating the perfect gourmet dessert. You have prepared it skillfully and with the finest ingredients available, all that is left is the presentation. While this step in the process is equally as important as any of the others, this is where you can get a little more inventive and show your personal style. How you serve the weightless specialty is up to you. Serve it in champagne glasses for a more elegant sit down dinner. If you are having a cocktail party serve it in espresso mugs for people to enjoy small samplings while they mingle. You can even put it in delicate pastry shells to make a chocolate mousse tart or in a hollowed out fruit bowl for a really different presentation.
However you present your chocolate mousse masterpiece you can rest assured that this wonderful dessert will be mouth watering and decadent and a hit weather you are serving it for a party of 30 or an intimate dinner of one. We wish you bon appetit!