Crazy for Cocoa

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

not obviously chocolate, but it's in there!Oh my word! Michelle and I found oursleves in quite the cozy theobromine binge on Sunday. This was the For the Love of Chocolate benefit we attended put on by the Eugene Slow Food group. The following pictures are Michelle’s, who has already posted her report!

I arrived with scarcely any time to mingle before the tasting, but Michelle took care of me by pointing out the pre-tasting spread of goodies. Go figure we’d be having chocolate before our chocolate tasting! Next to the huge pile of truffles were three insulated carafes of single origin hot chocolates. I took a shot of the Madagascar, and couldn’t believe what was in my cup. Instead of the typical hot chocolate drink, what greated my lips was a thick, cake batter like puddle of chocolate porn. It was amazing.

a taste of our chocolate spreadWe then quickly found seats and were greated by piles of chocolate and handouts. While the chocolate is all good, the prospect of handouts made me especially happy. Our tasting was led by Paul Albright of Guittard Chocolate. His presentation is reportedly the same as what he would give to culinary students- a detail that I swear made Michelle and I quietly whoop for joy. What followed was an amazing foray into the intricacies of Guittard’s newest angle on the chocolate market, the development of their high end chocolates, denoted as the e. Guittard line of products.

the tasting gridPaul led us through a structured tasting of 24 different e. Guittard chocolates, beginning with their single origin varietals and finishing with two white chocolate varieties. His presentation blew me away. Paul was very generous with entertaining our questions, even my silly one asking what in the world carob is (I know, almost heretical in that environment).

I fear the theobromine may have clouded my brain by the time we got to the white chocolate part of the tasting. I still have questions about what the breakdown of white chocolate is. One of my handouts lists an e. Guittard white as a 31% Cacao White Chocolate. However, I’m not clear on what exactly does that mean (ratio of sugar, milk, etc). Or more simply, what the heck is white chocolate again?

After our chocolate tasting, the event organizers had the audacity to present us with a buffet of various chocolate foods to nibble on, the nerve! Vella Dry Jack Cheese, Mole Salami (hey look at that Michelle- it is mole flavored!) by Salumi Artisan Cured Meats, Chicken with Mole Sauce, and Chocolate Cherry Bread. I plan on stalking my bakery for my own personal loaf of the chocolate cherry bread this weekend as it was dense and dark, a wicked combination of brownie and bread. My favorite nibble however was the Mole Salami made by Salumi up in Seattle (by Mario Batalli’s Dad!). The spice combination rounded out with chocolate was divine. Salumi has special holiday baskets and ordering directions on their website to bring this wonderful salami into your home.

This event was a great introduction to Eugene’s Slow Food events. I hope the future ones are this bright and shiny.

7 Comments

posted November 16th, 2005 at 7:42 am

Wow! I just can’t believe those pictures….and the idea of handouts and chocolate, chocolate and MORE chocolate. Looks/sounds amazing.

- Tina
posted November 16th, 2005 at 7:43 am

Sounds and looks like heaven.

posted November 16th, 2005 at 10:27 am

I can vouch for tastiness of the Mole Salami. McAuliflower brought a piece by at dinner that night and mmmm. I consider myself something of a meat tourist (so many kinds of salami in Germany..drool..) and the sweet spicy of the mole perfectly accented the slighty acrid, dry smokiness of a well cured salami. I highly recommend it.

  • Mmm perfectly put!

    –McAuliflower

- Judah
posted November 16th, 2005 at 3:11 pm

Nice job! You have such a great way of saying things! You were so smart to take some of that salami home with you, it was sooooo good! I don’t have any idea what white chocolate is either…and I don’t care what they say, I’m convinced it’s not really chocolate! I hope we’ll be doing stuff like this together again!

posted November 17th, 2005 at 4:09 pm

Hi, McAuliflower, I am letting all my foodie blogging friends (especially those who feature baking on their blogs) know about a very special entry on my blog. Yesterday, Patricia Rain, aka “The Vanilla Queen,” wrote a piece about the importance of real vanilla, which is threatened with extinction due to some pretty crappy business and governmental practices. Please come check it out, and help spread the word about real vanilla, if you feel as strongly about it as I do.

It’s here: The Vanilla Queen Speaks.

Many thanks, and please forgive the cookie-cutter alert. I subscribe to nearly 200 blogs! (Insert bug-eyed emoticon here.)
Tana

  • thanks for the Heads up Tana. Heading over now…

    –McAuliflower

- Tana
posted November 18th, 2005 at 6:01 pm

Sounds like a really fun field trip to me!

posted November 19th, 2005 at 4:12 am

I was having that very disucssion at work yesterday, what the hell is white chocolate and is it even chocolate. The split was about 50/50 in terms of those who thought it was the good stuff vs the devils own chocolate.

  • I just got a brief answer via Blackberry from Paul Albright…

    Question: I fear the theobromine may have clouded my brain by the time we got to the white chocolate part of the tasting. I have questions about what the breakdown of your white chocolate is. One of my handouts lists it as 31% Cacao White Chocolate. What exactly does that mean (ratio of sugar, milk, etc). Or more simply, what is white chocolate?

    Answer: The percent cacao means that portion of the product that comes from the
    bean. In the case of white chocolate that means the percent cocoa butter in
    the white chocolate. There are no cocao solids in a white chocolate by
    definition.

    I hope this helps you. If you wish you can send me a phone number where I
    can reach you if you have other questions. I’m on the road and responding
    by Blackberry which is not the best option for chocolate discussion.

    –McAuliflower

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