Dear Friends of Chocolate – Les Amis du Chocolat

October 24, 2011

Who likes to talk about cacao, cocoa, chocolate and the culture of it all? I do, and I’ve been asked to start to keep track of my adventures in mind body and chocolate everyday. Who asked me you may inquire? One, my sister Margo who lives in Indiana (I want her friends to write); two, my friend Kim (her friends know about chocolate and live in NYC and around the universe of chocolate); and three, Kevin, who calls me “Cocoakita” behind my back when I reincarnated as Chanel No. 5 ganache or something similar. Why can’t he compare me to Mark Jacobs or someone alive, whom I adore too. He wanted to call the site chocolateblogblogblog…I don’t get it!! I am not obsessed. Am I?

As a professionally trained chocolatier who sold his café in the nick of time to avoid boredom, I traveled and tripped back and forth to Paris to train. What’s my mission? Pure tasty fun, and pure entertainment with thoughts and recipes for everyone who adores, tastes and lives for chocolate. Yes, I will definitely add a story or two about being behind the scenes.

The ne plus ultra “Ah Cacao” adventure begins with the kick-off season of the year: The New York Chocolate Show featuring the best and the brightest chocolatiers. Some of my cohorts in cacao won’t come this year because it is held over Halloween. So they will miss out on another amazing experience as the show enters its 11th year. And we are back at the Metropolitan Pavilion too. The piers was a fine experiment that resulted in some time and temperature challenges for management and chocolatiers.

But make no mistake about it, The New York Chocolate Show is a varied experience and there is something for everyone at the show from artisan high end bon bons, to gooey fountains, and potato chips dipped in 70%.

70% …hmmm…shall we begin our first chat?

Do you know what the percent represents?

Have you tasted three bars all marked 70% and they were remarkably different in snap, aroma, and lingering taste?

Many of you consider 70% to be a standard of excellence, and it a number of excellence for many chocolate makers…however consider what it actually equates into math wise: 29% sugar, 1% soya lecithin and 70% cocoa mass (what is cocoa mass? Cocoa butter and cocoa powder together). That’s all it means: how much sugar is included in their recipe. Nothing about the quality. If you take a moment to shop the walls of everything from Trader Joe’s to Target, you’ll begin to notice a bewildering array of chocolate bars that range in price from $3.50 to $7.00-plus and they all have 68% to 70% on them. One must, one must…I will say it again…MUST rely upon the reputation of the maker to determine the quality in the cocoa mass. Not all 70% ‘s are the same!! Let me know – get three bars at three prices and write a comment. I‘ll do the same.

(And those who are still curious can see my chocolate tasting kit…)

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