Modernist Cuisine

Valentine’s Day – both cherished and dreaded by all – is a day of love for some and a day of embracing independence for others. Whatever the day, all are united by a mutual (over-) indulgence of one thing: chocolate.

This year, our team is pleased to celebrate this holiday with a bit of a dark twist. Created by the incredible team at Modernist Cuisine and renowned pastry chef Francisco Migoya, we present to you a heart of all hearts, ModCuisine-style. In Caren Palevitz’ words, this “literal interpretation of a chocolate heart is a dark wink to all of the heart-shaped confections out there.”

Modernist Cuisine

Anatomical Chocolate Heart by chef Francisco Migoya. © Modernist Cuisine

The Inspiration
The members of Modernist Cuisine have always presented food from a different angle, providing its audience with a unique perspective. Once again, they’ve done exactly that and decided that a literal interpretation most appropriately captured the spirit of Valentine’s Day – from all angles.

As for the ingredients? The tonka bean bears most attention to note. This special ingredient was chosen for its many elusive characteristics and associations. They are the seeds of Dipteryx odarata (more commonly known as cumaru), a large tree found in the rainforests of Central and South America, and contain a chemical compound called coumarin, which gives the beans their distinctive scent and taste. It is rumored to have mystical properties, used in certain traditions to summon wealth, courage, and – most relevant – love.

Made up of milk chocolate, tonka beans, and dehydrated red velvet cake, here’s a brief breakdown of the ingredients and method of the anatomical chocolate heart:

The Mold
Food-grade liquid silicone at 1:1 ratio
Life-sized anatomy model

Submerge model in food-grade liquid silicone and set for 12 hours. Sanitize with very hot water and place in baking soda overnight.

The Heart
Milk chocolate
Cocoa butter
Tonka bean shavings
Dehydrated red velvet cake (ground)

Combine milk chocolate, cocoa butter, oil, tonka bean shavings, and ground, dehydrated red velvet cake (baked the previous day and uncovered to dry overnight in a dehydrator). Coat “heart” with red cocoa butter.

The Blood
Pomegranate juice
Xanthan gum

Simply for the effect – thicken pomegranate juice with the gum for splatter.

And here’s the final result:

Modernist Cuisine

Anatomical Chocolate Heart by chef Francisco Migoya. © Modernist Cuisine

Now that’s a chocolate heart. Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone.

Read more about the inspiration and process behind the anatomical chocolate on the Modernist Cuisine Blog!



A devoted aesthete forever on a journey to appreciate and share beauty in everything and everyone. I choose fine food over the finer things.

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