Tuesday, September 12, 2006
I started looking into chocolate, and the whole single plantation thing a little while ago. The whole thing started off while I was reading Indulgence by Paul Richardson, all about his passion for chocolate and his consequent travels around the world exploring its history, origins and passage across the continent. I found a great website (www.seventypercent.co.uk) that sells all these artisan chocolates from serious producers who source their cocoa pods from various estates around the developing world. Producers like amedei, michel cluizel, domori, Valrhona and El Rey, producing high cocoa content (65-90% cocoa mass). Then I found a shop in Alderley Edge which sells most of these products (Chocolate trading company). So I decided to drive out there yesterday and pay them a visit. It was a small little shop with a tiny little reception with about seven display cases laden with the various bars that are available. The woman was really helpful and obviously quite knowledgable about the products. I left nearly twenty quid poorer with a small selection box of Michel Cluizel chocolate squares from different estates around the world, a 50g bar of Amedei Chuao 70%, a bar of Amedei white chocolate and a bar of 62% madagascar chocolate, as well as a couple of little chocolate chicks for my wee boy Joshua who came with me!! I havent tried the Michel Cluizel chocs yet, but today I had a couple of pieces of the Chuao bar. Oh My God!! It is absolutely fantastic. Slowly letting the square melt on my tongue I was amazed at the really vibrant fruity character of the chocolate - plums, red berries, with a slightly spicy finish and touch of bitterness at the back. The chocolate was really fine and melted to a fine liquid with none of the grainyness you get from commercially produced mass market chocolate. It wasnt cheap at nearly a fiver for a 50g bar, but it is in a different league to the chocolate that I would normally eat. It has also ignited a desire to try more and learn more about chocolate as a product. After all it isnt a million miles away from wine in tasting terms.