Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Chocolate Tasting

The other day Dehlia and I went on a food adventurer. We tracked deep in the heart of the Gourmet Ghetto -
North Berkeley. This time we went chocolate tasting. Alegio Chocolate is located in a food nook called "Epicurious Garden." The food nook was very busy, like a bee hive buzzing with activity.

Alegio was chaotic with people coming and going. This is NOT a private tasting. Panos invited us to sit down on two wooden bar stools in the pandemonium. He would lead us on our tasting adventure.

The chocolate bean grows in pods on trees. Here is a pod. High quality chocolate is all about the bean!
Where it is grown, and how it is roasted has everything to do with the taste.

Enric Rovira is a choccolatier out of Spain. He gets his beans from a plantation in South America. The beans are roasted in South America and shipped to Spain. Enric Rovira likes to mix art with chocolate. He also uses the earth elements as an inspiration. Enric Rovira believes that a color palate is like a flavor palate.

Caludo Corallo is a chocolatier who is obsessed with getting the perfect chocolate .
Here is a short documentary about him.
His plantation is in Africa. They roast the beans on the plantation.
He oversees every step of the chocolate making process.

Our first taste was of the roasted chocolate beans.
I thought they would be bitter.
They were not bitter at all.
I was shocked that they tasted very good and crunchy.

These tiny bites of chocolate hold a powerful punch.
You do not bite this chocolate, you let in melt in your mouth so you can experience
the complex flavors that the chocolate has to offer.
Although I have never been wine tasting,
I believe the wine tasting and chocolate tasting experience are comparable.

Roasted chocolate nibs.
The nib comes from the coco bean.
The nibs fun, crunchy and tasty!

A few of the Cludio Corallo chocolate we tasted. WOW!
"A dap will do ya " as someone once said...

Claudio Corallo and Enric Rovira look for a clean pure taste.
It was time to taste flavored chocolate.
Panos challenged us to figure out what flavored chocolate we were tasting.
We tried salt, coffee, mint, orange and habanero pepper.
You could taste the chocolate first, then the flavor shows up.
I think the pepper chocolate would be great in chilli! That was a pleasureful experience.

This is a map to Enric Rovira truffles!
I loved the truffles.
We tried the raspberry truffle with the dragon fly art.
The raspberry truffles are worth the drive to Berkeley by themselves.
It is hard to believe the fantastic flavor that comes in such a small package.

Made by hand chocolate truffles

These are the truffles I bought. I think they use some kind of addictive additive. Once you try one you are hooked for life. Next thing you know you will see me on the tv show "intervention". I can hear my friends and family telling the tv audience- it all started when RQ went with Dahlia to Berkeley for a chocolate tasting...

I also bought Caludo Corallo's "chocolate com cafe liberica" coffee flavored.

The tasting was interesting and educational.
I would recommend setting some time aside to go to Berkeley and have a tasting of your own.
I give Alego Chocolate 4 out 5 chocolate beans.

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