For years I have enjoyed both baking, creating recipes and watching cooking shows especially if the show included chocolate recipes. As the instructions for the recipes often go “use good quality 70% chocolate” and as a viewer I would be all “ohhh chocolate!”. Nowadays after reviewing hundreds of craft chocolate bars I am left thinking “Yes, but what chocolate and why only 70%?”. Sure, 70% helps standardize recipes with viewers and readers are easily able to locate 70% chocolate to bake with, but thanks to the continuing rise of craft chocolate/specialty chocolate now there is a larger variety of high-quality, single-origin and varied percentages chocolate out there to work with. Many makers now have both their own craft chocolate baking items for both home bakers and professionals to purchase which is elevating baking to another level.
A huge thank you to Jael Rattigan of French Broad Chocolate, Sam Maruta of Marou Chocolate, Lawren Askinosie of Askinosie Chocolate, Joanna Brennan of Pump Street Bakery and Pump Street Chocolate, chocolatier Steph Shafer of Bella Sophia Chocolates, Mackenzie Rivers of Map Chocolate, Lauren Heineck of WKND Chocolate and Well Tempered Podcast and chef Caroline Schiff of ParadigmSchiff for sharing their time, expertise and experience in regards to the topics involved with craft chocolate products and baking.
Over the next couple of blog posts we will take a look at a wide variety of baking with craft chocolate topics including the ways single-origin craft chocolate affects recipe creation and existing recipes, inspiration for products, product lines, obstacles for getting bakers/chefs to use craft chocolate, the enjoyment of baking with craft/specialty chocolate, where makers would like to see craft chocolate baking evolve to in the future and more!
(Be sure to check out the Maison Marou Brownie recipe at the end of this post). Continue reading “Baking with Craft Chocolate Part 1”
Welcome to Part 1 of the next installment of the Dark Matters Tasters and Makers Series. I was originally planning to make this round all about white chocolate, and then ruby chocolate was announced, so I decided to go the route of current chocolate exploration in which the Tasters and Makers could comment on ruby chocolate, white chocolate, or other any topics along those lines.
This series continues to be a space to provide the Tasters and Makers a spot to let their own thought processes and styles shine through, and give the pleasure to the readers (and the other Tasters and Makers out there) of having multiple answers to the same topics presented side-by-side. This particular round includes a surprise chocolate expert guest contributor: Clay Gordon!
Now on to the current question!
Question: How do you feel about living in a time where new horizons in chocolate are being explored so widely (i.e. ruby chocolate, white chocolate, etc). What are the downfalls in this exploration by chocolate makers? What are the benefits?
(When I say, “white chocolate” my thinking was along the lines of how white chocolate has changed with single-origin cocoa butter occasionally being used, or no vanilla added, or less sugar, and so forth).
Mackenzie Rivers of Map Chocolate Continue reading “Dark Matters Tasters and Makers: Chocolate Exploration, Ruby Chocolate, White Chocolate, Etc. Part 1”
Welcome to the Dark Matters Tasters & Makers Series. This series will occur periodically over the next twelve months with each post looking at various craft chocolate topic questions and then featuring the thoughts and opinions of several craft chocolate reviewers, makers and writers on that question. I love interviewing people in the chocolate industry and thought this would be a fun format to see variations in answers brought together in one place. Will there be similarities? Will the answers all be different? Let’s find out!
Question 1: The definition of craft chocolate varies so much person-to-person. How do you define craft chocolate and/or how do you think it should be defined?
Sophia Rea of Projet Chocolat
Sophia Rea: This is a very good question. Definitions have their cerebral aspects but there is also a felt-sense aspect to a definition. Others will help with the first more than I, but I will share with you my experience of craft chocolate. What comes to mind is the heart. I can taste the intention, the memories and the stories of the craft-chocolate maker in their chocolate. Starting with the outside wrapper, to the foil, to the bar itself. I always notice how the maker chose a particular cacao bean, the percentage, whether to add inclusions or not and of course the ingredients. The size and thickness of the bar, the color of the bar, the mold, the color of the foil, the texture of the chocolate, the many prominent and subtle flavors the bar imparts and the design of the wrapper all come together for a mindful experience. Craft chocolate is the art of making all the senses come alive! Continue reading “Dark Matters Tasters & Makers: What is Craft Chocolate Part 1”
Mackenzie Rivers’ skills are as varied as her Map Chocolate is creative. She has been a Grand Canyon river raft guide, a writer, a bean-to-bar consultant, has had an apprenticeship at Chocolate Alchemy, and is winner of two Academy of Chocolate Awards in 2017 and so much more.
I personally have always enjoyed the lovely wrappers she chooses for each bar, the quality of the bars, her creative ingredients for Map Chocolate bars and hearing about the inspirations behind each bar. In my mind I think of Mackenzie as a bean whisperer because she seems to be able to take an idea for how she wants a bar to be and then gets the beans to bring forth the flavors from out of those beans and/or imagine the perfect inclusions to match the beans, all to create the chocolate taste experience that she desires.
And now, the lovely inside and out of Mackenzie Rivers:
Mackenzie Rivers of Map Chocolate Continue reading “Interview with Mackenzie Rivers of Map Chocolate Co.”