"A rare and worthwhile indulgence ..."

 

Add a Little CHOCOLATE to Your Next Corporate Event or Private Party ...

 


Chocophilia ! can provide you with chocolates you've never dreamed of:

Gourmet chocolate tasting by A Sweet Affair .

A dinner with chocolate entrées.

A chocolate dessert bar with a flowing fountain of molten chocolate.

Nostalgic chocolates from America's past.

Tales and trivia from the Chocolate Kings.

Hosted by The Chocolate Kings themselves: Milton S. Hershey, Henri Nestlé, Franklin Mars, and others will greet you at the door and invite you in for a delectable celebration of everything Chocolate.

Chocophilia ! feeds your mind as well as your palate. The Chocolate Kings will entertain you with the rich history and trivia of Cacao including stories of their personal achievements and struggles. The maitre d' will show you how to taste, evaluate, and appreciate the flavor of your favorite ambrosia. Finally, they will tempt your taste buds with nineteen of the finest varieties of gourmet chocolate imported from around the world. Experience for yourselves why the cacao tree was named Theobroma cacao the Food of the Gods !

Experience such savoury main dishes as: Cocoa Crepes with goats cheese, green olives, and chive; Bitter Chocolate Pasta filled with walnuts and Taleggio cheese; Chocolate Noodles with duck and chestnut sauce; Chocolate Chili; Braised Beef with Spices and Chocolate; Chocolate Nut Lasagne; Mole de Guajolote; ChocolateVenison Stew; Calamares Con Chocolate; Cocoa Chef's Salad, and Conejo Con Chocolate.

Sample nostalgic chocolates from surviving regional candy companies such little-known favorites as Valomilk, Cow Tails and Bull's Eyes, Bogdon's Chocolate Candy Sticks, and Chocolate Haystacks.

Then indulge in a gourmet chocolate-tasting with exotic chocolates from Ecuador, Mexico, Ghana, and the Ivory Coast; milk chocolates, dark chocolates, dark-milk chocolates; single bean, blended, and infused chocolates; semi-sweet mocha chocolates a cornucopic bounty of chocolates for lovers

For more information about having Chocophilia ! at your next Corporate Event or Private Party

Please Contact:

Alan Lance AndersenRolandIowa 50236Phone (515) 388-5573.

TASTINGS

Chocolate: "Food of the Gods"

by Glenn Peirson

Tastings has decided to expand its palate, and cover the wide world of food and drink! This does not imply the abandonment of all things Bacchanalian, but rather the inclusion of good food experiences. I will continue to highlight the wine world in each column, but when asked to pursue such subjects as chocolate, is there any answer other than, "when?"

I recently had the pleasure of hosting a tasting of gourmet chocolate not confections, candies, or bon-bons but chocolate, the real goods. "Sweet Affair" is a company that creates a chocolate tasting events right down to scorecards and clipboards. [ The events are marketed in Iowa for corporate events, private parties, and bus tours by Theatre of Interactive Drama, Inc. ]

Now if this sounds overly serious for chocolate, then you haven't tasted the good stuff! Six of us sat down for what we thought would be an uncomplicated evening of chocolate bliss, only to discover small complications with keeping our palates clear, but better bliss than we imagined. Despite the cliché, Sweet Affair provides a most decadent and fascinating event. Nineteen different styles of chocolate are presented in an organized fashion, and the results are most illuminating. Included in the package is some chocolate background (trivia!). Chocolate comes from the cocoa bean, which grows inside a pod on the cacao tree in Central and South America. The scientific name for the cacao tree, Theobroma cacao, literally translates as 'food of the gods'. Chocolate is rich in vitamins A, B, C, D, and E, and is generally low in caffeine. We should feel good about our chocolate consumption! This, sadly, does not necessarily include the other confections we may choose to have with the chocolate. Finally, chocolate does not cause acne and likely does not trigger migraines!

We started with a comparison of a Nestle semi-sweet chocolate chip and a piece of Valrhona 56 per cent dark chocolate to adjust out taste buds and experience the difference between ordinary and extraordinary. The chocolate chip tasted sweet and little else. The gourmet chocolate was a veritable flavour explosion in contrast. With some advice on tasting technique, and plenty of water and pretzels to cleanse the palate between samples, we were off on the road from milk to dark. These gourmet chocolates, which included the makers Valrhona, Jamieson's, Internation, and Scharffen Berger, have a complexity, richness, and variety of flavours not found in your neighbourhood candy store. Perhaps the most stunning feature with chocolate of this quality is its smooth texture. Excellent chocolate is sometimes described as having good snap when it is broken or chewed. Gourmet chocolate gives an entirely different, almost silky feel in the mouth when compared with the everyday variety. The tasting moves from milk chocolates, which, with the addition of milk, have a low percentage of cocoa solids, to progressively darker chocolates, up to 71 per cent cocoa solids, and finishes with two styles of infused chocolate. Two sweet-toothed compatriots in our party obsessed over the milk chocolates, but the big winners were two heavy-duty, blended dark chocolates, both by Scharffen Berger, 62 per cent semi-sweet and 70 per cent bittersweet. Overall, we seemed inclined to the blended chocolate more than the samples sourced from one variety of cocoa bean and a single country; for example, the 45 per cent International milk chocolate from Mexico or the 60 per cent Jamieson's dark chocolate from Ghana. Perhaps, the nuance of single source chocolate requires repeated testing over time sign me up! Our only legitimate complaint with the event was the three-point scorecard system ("nope, OK, or wow"), which was too simple for the experience we were having and haggling over. Our party would suggest five points, perhaps "simple" through "superb" or "fair" through "fantastic".

Despite the wideness of our eyes at the beginning, the richness and depth of flavours. tire the palate over the tasting. We stuck with water to this point, but before attacking a few more favourites, we found that a good, well-steeped cup of tea was refreshing; a good quality loose leaf Assam, To finish the evening, we opened the 2000 Cave Spring Cabernet Merlot ($16), a bottle of Rogue Chocolate Stout ($6), and Taylor Fladgate LBV 1997 Port ($20). The Cab-Merlot was wonderful with the very dark chocolate, bringing dark berry, leather, and smokey flavours to the fore. The stout, which Rogue brews with chocolate, was challenged by the dark chocolate, better with the milk chocolate, but would be best with my mother's date-and-chocolate cake. Ah, the port a perfect way to end; rich and dark, with long spicey flavours lingering into the night.

A chocolate tasting of this quality is a rare and worthwhile indulgence. Don't spoil the tasting with any wine or spirits stick to the water and pretzels but do pour yourself a little port and finish a few more shavings of the darkest chocolate you can find!

North American Inns / B&B Spring 2003

REPRINTED BY PERMISSION