Last week we went to a chocolate tasting and had a crash course in all things cocoa.
Here’s a few takeaways from the mini lesson on the process of making chocolate as we know it:
The difference between “cocoa” and chocolate – cocoa is a raw material, chocolate is the finished product.
Cocoa has only 100 flowers that can turn to fruit – it matures after 6 months and produces 30-40 cocoa seeds with the pulp fermented and distilled then dried (kinda like coffee).
Chocolate is a product of cocoa and cocoa mass, cocoa butter (main part of the flavor), and sugar. White chocolate is made with just cocoa butter & sugar, hence the lighter color from the butter. All chocolate is produced in Europe (especially Italy), where the highest quality of chocolate is made.
What’s the origin of name? Cacacau / chocolatl (the Aztec name for it) means “food of the gods” and made from the cacao trees in central and South America as well as west Africa.
Chocolate bars were invented in Italy – not Switzerland as everyone thinks, and is known for a special kind of chocolate with hazelnuts called Giandua.
Richard Lindt invented milk chocolate (to be eaten in bars as we know it now) in Switzerland in 1875.
The types of chocolate include: forastero- strong & bitter, sour (80% of the worlds production), criollo- delicate but intense flavor 7% of the worlds production and quite expensive, and one other.
You need to pair chocolate with sweet wine to melt the sweetness of the chocolate and the wine together to taste best & need a high alcohol content. It can be a very fragrant (white) and also tannic (red wine) to drive the saliva to come to your mouth and mix with the sweetness to make it more flavorful.
Now that you have a few fun facts on chocolate, on to the tastings!
School of Eataly
This is a very sweet wine and pairs pretty well with the chocolate.
The first time I had Vin Santo I wasn’t really a fan, but it was alright with the chocolate!
This was on the Chianti tour I went on too, see my post about the history of it here.
Sauce Tasting #1
First up was the vegan chocolate sauce – it was so good and we were the first people to ever taste it since they were meeting with executives and buyers the next day about it! Too cool!
We honestly had no idea it was vegan until it told us at the end.
Bar Tastings #1-3
The first bar seemed to melt very fast but was oh so good! Definitely my favorite of the three and pretty light in flavor.
The second was quite dark & bitter and 70% cocoa – it tasted much darker and richer. The flavor was a little strong for me but not bad.
The last was also dark but more bitter, coming in at a whopping 80% cocoa. I wasn’t a huge fan of this one as it was too strong for me but for dark chocolate lovers – this one’s for you!
Hope you all enjoyed your chocolate lesson and see you in the next post!
Ciao for now!