April 24, 2006
From Chocolatiers Wiki
This was not an LCS-run tasting, but rather a tasting run at Finale Desserterie in Harvard Square which seven active LCS members attended for purely educational reasons. As the notes below suggest, the tasting was completely different in character from past tastings hosted by LCS and may provide some inspiration for future tastings. In particular, the number of varieties was much smaller at this tasting and all the food was already plated and in front of the tasters before the event began. It was professionally run by Suzanne Oakley of Experience: CHOCOLATE and cost $23 per person.
Suzanne gave a powerpoint presentation about what chocolate is, where is comes from, what kinds there are, and how it is turned into an edible form. During this presentation she passed around: a paper mache model of a cacao pod, some dried cocoa beans for us to touch/smell, as well as container of cocoa butter for the same purpose. She explained that cocoa nibs are the least processed form of chocolate eaten today and we each had some on our plates to taste.
For the tasting itself there were only four varieties of chocolate, all from Valrhona's Grand Cru line. Our plates contained two pieces of each type next to a dessert featuring that type of chocolate. They were:
- Valrhona Jivara (milk, 40%) paired with munnelsplittenn, a cluster of almonds held together with chocolate.
- Valrhona Manjari (dark, 64%) paired with a chocolate mousse.
- Valrhona Caraïbe (dark, 66%) paired with a chocolate tart (cookie crust filled with ganache).
- Valrhona Guanaja (dark, 70%) paired with a chocolate cookie.
After the tasting Suzanne came around to answer questions and we found out that she has a degree from the MIT Sloan School and would be willing to work with us in the future. We also asked Finale's executive pastry chef Nicole Coady whether we might be able to arrange a demo of some chocolate techniques (tempering, etc.) but she declined.