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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

"The Discovery of Chocolate"

     Alright.  I admit it.  I have taken an extended sabattical and this is a big no-no in the blog world.  I do, however, have several things under works that I think everyone will be please to read and get inspired about.


The Festival Welcome Center, where the event took place.

     This past weekend, for instance, I attended the 17th Annual Epcot Food and Wine Festival here in Orlando.  This is truly an event I love and look forward to every year, having attended it several times now.  This one however, was the very first time (and I certainly feel not the last), that I had the pleasure to participate in one of the seminars offered.  The Discovery of Chocolate was sponsored by Callebaut and was as indulgent as its name suggests.


This was what greeted each guest as they arrived at their seat.

    It lasted just over an hour.  As soon as we took our seats, we were faced with 5 different containers with 2 oz. of chocolate each ready for the tasting from the best South American chocolates: 40.5% Ghana, 66% Mexique, 70% Saint Domingue, 72% Venezuela and 75% Tanzanie.  As Chef Julien Rose, from Oregon based Moonstruck Chocolate, expertly prepared a luscious chicken mole, we were encouraged to smell and taste the delectable pieces.  Apparently, the best way to taste chocolate is to allow for a 15' pause in between the different sorts, and always from lighter to darker.  My tasting notes are as follows:

  • Ghana: milk chocolate with sift, velvety and creamy texture.  Smells like vanilla.  High in sugar an with a light cocoa flavour.
  • Mexique: reminiscent of burgundy wine.  More up-front bitterness and slightly acidic.
  • Saint Domingue: earthy and very intense.  Bitter yet leathery.
  • Venezuela: best to pair with spices (this is the one used for the mole during the seminar.  Intense and sharp.
  • Tanzanie: very bitter.  Fruity and slightly acidic with a long after-taste.  Best for confections.

Chef Julian Rose in action.

     To wash down all the wonderful chocolate, we were offered 2 liqueurs.  One of them was Rosa Regale, an Italian dry wine made with - yes! - rose petals and raspberries, which can be served as dessert wine or as an aperitif.  It was suggested as a pairing for the darker type chocolates.  The other drink served was Crave Chocolate Mint liqueur, which in its mint version pairs particularly well sweeter chocolates, like whites and pralinés (the company also makes it cherry and chili flavored, this latter one a future objective of mine).

     For the demonstration, Chef Julian Rose prepared chicken mole with 72% Venezuela cocoa before our very eyes, and I must admit that although I have never used chocolate in the cooking of savoury foods, this dish blew me away.  It was accompanied by a purple potato pureé and crunchy greens. I'll be preparing it in the near future (the recipe was given to us) and sharing this wonderful dish with all of you.

Chef Rose's chicken mole.
     Dessert was Brazilian truffles called brigaderos.  They are made daily in their native Brazil, as they are best consumed fresh, and Chef Rose picked up the recipe in his recent trip to that country.

From bottom left to top right: white chocolate and coconut,
praliné, semi-sweet chocolate, pistachio and dark chocolate
truffle brigaderos.
     Needless to say, the truffles were delicious and satisfied each one of my sweet teeth.  I really enjoyed this experience and look forward to more in next year's festival.  If you are a Florida local, or want to enjoy one of the best food adventures of your life, the Epcot Food and Wine Festival is indeed the right ticket.

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