About three months ago, I embarked on what was to prove to be a whole new journey – craft chocolate tasting.
Anyone who knows me will tell you that I enjoy my food and in particular chocolate. I bake with it, eat it and generally enjoy it!
But my understanding and enjoyment have been enhanced by learning more about the processes of making craft chocolate and how it differs – in flavours, texture and aromas – from any standard chocolate I have ever tried before.
So, what is craft chocolate? I hear you asking. Craft chocolate can only be made from specific ingredients, cacao, cocoa butter, sugar and real vanilla. Soy lecithin is permitted as well but no other flavours or preservatives. And in general most of the craft chocolate I have tried is over 70% cacao content which means there is less sugar and fat content. But the real key is that because there’s an array of aromas and flavours, and in a different kind of strength than industrial chocolate, you only want to eat a small quantity.
This course has revolutionised my view of what ‘good’ chocolate is – and my exploration has only just begun with passing my Level 1 in Chocolate Tasting, run by the IICCT. Work is still in progress for Level 2, which delves much deeper into the process of essentially taking cacao beans from the Tropics and turns them into a chocolate that’s healthier, more eco-friendly and more profitable for the growers.
It is, though, no coincidence that I have embarked on this course after the WSET wine courses from last year – the development, knowledge and appreciation of flavours and aromas and how we talk about them is at the heart of my translation work. And I am looking forward to connecting with the craft chocolate production industry to facilitate communication about their fabulous creations.