Last week in my Baking Technology and Ingredients class we had a chocolate tasting (Yes, I get to eat chocolate in class from time to time. Life is good). We tasted actual cocoa bean, pure cocoa butter, cocoa powder, Dutch cocoa powder, and bittersweet, milk, white and dark chocolates.
The coolest part of the tasting: We tasted three different dark chocolates from Africa, Colombia and Mexico. All three had the same cocoa liquor content, the same cocoa butter content and everything was pretty much the same with how all the different chocolates were processed. The only difference was where the bean came from.
I’m not sure what makes this so beautiful to me, but all three chocolates were so unbelievably different. The soil they came from and the place they were harvested gave them their flavor. The African chocolate was very smooth and nutty, while the Colombia almost had an essence of coffee, and the Mexican had undertones of vanilla. Their flavors completely distinctive! Their textures were unique! It was amazing!
This clearly isn’t a new concept to some people out there. “Terroir” is often discussed in relation to wine and sometimes coffee, but its something that seems to escape our thoughts in other areas of consumption.
There is a woman out there named Katrina Markoff based out of Chicago, whom I just learned about through a classmate. She’s owner of Vosges Chocolate and a huge advocate of involving the origins of flavors and aspects of humanity into her chocolates. She just launched a new series of single origin chocolate from the Dominican Republic. I just placed and order for a couple bars and I’m waiting with bated breath for their arrival!