Here is the second installment of my two-part series on chocolate for Easter time. Don’t forget to enter the Chocolate Tasting 101 Contest that launched the series. Click here for details and to enter before April 30, 2014.
To win, the book Passion Chocolat (in French) from Geneviève Grandbois and Valrhona’s 3 new Grand Cru chocolate bars. Candy for the soul in other words.
April, 2014: That table almost caving under the weight of so many open sample bags is a chocolate addict’s dream come true. Seated at the table around the orgy of cocoa originating from all parts of the globe, a few ladies nibble away with nary a guilty feeling. Wasn’t there a recent study that concluded women are almost programmed to love chocolate?
The ongoing exercise actually represents more than a study in female genetics. We are hard at work, yes work, don’t laugh, researching the new book Passion chocolat from leading Québec chocolate maker Geneviève Grandbois, the guru behind this cocoa blowout with two of her chocolate noses and yours truly. Amadei, Marou, Michel Cluizel, some of the best chocolates in the world are scattered around the table, save the fair-trade Grenada that Geneviève ordered and is awaiting impatiently. Even a few Lindt chocolate bars lie here and there, including Excellence whose melting chops surprise everyone. I can feel the chocolate experts around the table somewhat disappointed at having to give props to the commercial giant…
As for me, the self-proclaimed dark chocolate afficionada, I’m shocked to discover a penchant for Mangaro Lait from Michel Cluizel, an unctuous, rich and mild chocolate milk. I bite almost uncontrollably into pellets of Valrhona Ivory, a white chocolate of all things—mind you, we’re very far here from those cheap white chocolates that taste almost like rancid blue cheese because of all the fats added to replace the more expensive and genuine cocoa butter. And I just have to hold myself from squaffing the whole bag of Dulcey blond chocolate, one of my coups de cœur of the past year.
The door to the conference room suddenly opens. With the look of teenagers caught smoking pot in the basement, we turn simultaneously towards wine sommelier Élyse Lambert who just arrived to pick some chocolate for her investigations into chocolate and wine pairings for the upcoming book. Élyse takes a step back, stunned by the chocolate effluves that surround us like a cocoon, then laughs good-naturedly at our debauchery. Girls will be girls, ya know.
You haven’t tried Dulcey chocolate yet? Here’s a video of Geneviève Grandbois’ latest creation, maple marshmallow dipped in this unique blond chocolate—an amazing delicacy celebrating maple season in Québec. Don’t miss it!
In a previous post, I explained the basics of chocolate tasting using our 5 senses. During a tasting, one tends to eat multiple kinds of chocolates with varying textures and aromas. Much like wine, to appreciate any chocolate’s unique qualities, you need to wipe the slate between bites. In a wine tasting, sommeliers will nibble on bread, drink some water and even spit into a spittoon to avoid stumbling their way back home. (When I shop for perfume these days, a jar of coffee beans is often proferred for me to breathe in and “refresh” my nose, which amounts to the same thing.)
When it comes to chocolate, you can just sip a little lukewam water between each bite, swirling it in your mouth to cleanse your inner cheeks from their milk fat coating. That said, during my multiple interviews with Geneviève while researching the book, we often sipped on tchai almond milk to accompany her chocolates. The pairing is exquisite. Geneviève was kind enough to let me share her personal recipe with readers of this blog. It’s so good, easy and light, you’ll want to serve it with chocolate every time or just sip away during the coming summer months. Delicate, zen and refreshing!