NW Chocolate Festival Seattle, WA Craft Chocolate Trends 2017

The 9th Annual Northwest Chocolate Festival took place this year on Nov. 11 -12th, 2017 in Seattle, WA. This was my third year to attend ( I live in Port Townsend, WA so I drive to the Bainbridge Ferry to get over to Seattle.  So grateful to live this close to an event like this!).

The NW Chocolate Festival is a fantastic place to try 100+ craft chocolate makers from both the U.S. and international locations.  Plus, there are several educational talks, presentations, and workshops throughout both days.  There is something for everyone!

For example, Hazel Lee presented a workshop that involved tasting chocolate while utilizing her lovely Taste with Colour Flavour Map and then the participants painted what colors or pictures they envisioned while savoring the craft chocolate.  It was enjoyable to listen to what attendees tasted and the colors the envisioned.  Especially people who weren’t overly familiar with craft chocolate flavors.  (Want a Taste with Colour for your own?  Check it out here:  Taste with Colour). I’ve had her flavour map for a few months now and didn’t even know I associated colors with flavors until then.  (Find out more about Hazel in my interview with her:  Hazel Lee ).

Hazel Lee Taste with Colour Workshop at The NW Chocolate Festival 2017 Continue reading “NW Chocolate Festival Seattle, WA Craft Chocolate Trends 2017”

Dark Matters Tasters and Makers: Chocolate Exploration, Ruby Chocolate, White Chocolate, Etc. Part 2

Welcome to Part 2 where chocolate tasters each give their own unique take on the current Dark Matters craft chocolate related question.

If you missed Part 1 catch up here: http://darkmatterschocolatereviews.com/2017/09/29/dark-matters-tasters-makers-series-chocolate-exploration-ruby-chocolate-white-chocolate-etc-part-1/

The current question is:  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?

Estelle Tracy of 37 Chocolates

Estelle Tracy:  It’s an exciting time to be involved in chocolate.  There is a dizzying array of bars and flavors, so much that it’s hard to keep up with the latest innovations, the latest origin, or new “it” bar.  That said, I do see that the media’s attention usually goes to the flashiest thing (think bacon chocolate), not the most delicious.  I get it, of course, but it can also be frustrating.  Continue reading “Dark Matters Tasters and Makers: Chocolate Exploration, Ruby Chocolate, White Chocolate, Etc. Part 2”

Dark Matters Tasters and Makers: What is Craft Chocolate? Part 2

Welcome to What is Craft Chocolate Part 2.  The Question asked in Part 1 last week was: 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?

Check out Part 1 here:

http://darkmatterschocolatereviews.com/2017/08/04/dark-matters-tasters-makers-series-craft-chocolate-part-1/

And now let’s find out how more tasters and makers answer:

Hazel Lee, Bean-to-bar Maker, The Chocolate Tasting Flavour Map 

Hazel Lee:  I find this question a difficult one because there are no legal standards that differentiate craft/bean-to-bar chocolate from standard, poor quality bulk chocolate and one could argue any chocolate to be “craft” or “bean-to-bar” because of the lack of legal definitions.  However, when I am asked “what is craft chocolate?”, I say that it has been processed with a focus to produce a high quality chocolate, working with the fine flavours naturally present in the quality cocoa beans that have been ethically sourced (rather than buying poor quality cacao, roasting at a high temperature and adding a high level of sugar and /or milk powder and/or vanilla flavour or other flavours). I usually compare craft/bean-to-bar chocolate with wine, in that different origins will hold different flavours with many other factors influencing the final flavour of the bar (maker style, terroir variety, etc.).  I also like to highlight that all of the hundreds of wonderful flavours that are found in wine/chocolate come from the grape/bean alone (unless flavoured or with inclusions including milk, of course).  So it’s something to be savoured and explored than eaten for a sugar fix. Continue reading “Dark Matters Tasters and Makers: What is Craft Chocolate? Part 2”

Interview with The Chocolate Journalist, Sharon Terenzi with Victoria Cooksey

Note:  This interview was originally published on 8-7-16 on my Dark Matters Fine Chocolate Reviews blogspot site.

The chocolate Journalist, Sharon Terenzi

I’m extremely pleased to bring you this interview with The Chocolate Journalist, Sharon Terenzi. Sharon is a chocolate blogger, a member of the FCIA  (Fine Chocolate Industry Association), and does a fantastic job at promoting fine chocolate in all it’s luscious forms.

Victoria Cooksey:  What does chocolate mean to you, both as a food, and as it is presented in the world?

The Chocolate Journalist:  To me chocolate means humanity. It is the end product of a long line involving people in different countries, from different backgrounds, with different expertise, coming together to realize one of the most enjoyable foods in the World. A chocolate bar is the sum of races, places, faces. Every time I try a chocolate bar, I like to visualize the care of the cacao farmers, the challenges of the middlemen and the determination of the chocolate makers. Chocolate is a highly “human” product and to me that is the most fascinating aspect of all. Continue reading “Interview with The Chocolate Journalist, Sharon Terenzi with Victoria Cooksey”