This should have been a top 10! Its very hard to just choose 5. I feel like I am still forming into my best chocolate self everyday. I learn all the time and cannot wait for more experience tasting and making chocolate.
Of all the thing you can do with chocolate, learning, tasting and making chocolate are my favorite. What about you? My top 5 formative chocolate moments are all based on tasting and making.
Let's begin with number 5. Trader Joe's Chocolate Truffle Bar:
This bar was introduced to me by my mother and I will never forget the flavor or experience. Its taste was exactly like a chocolate truffle (vegan) and the ingredients couldn't reveal why. They were just regular chocolate ingredients. Just 2 or 3, including the cocoa butter. It was a mystery and I only ate it 3 or 4 times. Its unforgettable and still made to this daybecause of how much it reminded me of number 4.
Next is number 4. My aunt's chocolate truffles:
I remember hating these! Rolled in burnt and bitter cocoa powder. Made from slave-chocolate company Barry Callebaut ( I didn't know about it at the time). My aunt didn't know, it is now something I would never eat. I, and her all believed Barry Callebaut was good chocolate. We were all duped. I was duped every Christmas when she made these with her culinary school background. Now she can make them with my chocolate. However the taste was repulsive. I was about 5 thats, why I hated them. I loved them by 9 or 10. They ritualized my family get togethers...and the growth of my taste buds over time. I love them (vegan version) more than anything now.
Chocolate continues to expand my perception of flavors even as an adult. So I am so grateful for my upbringing with what was considered fine chocolate.
Here is number 3. Missionary Chocolates:
I was walking home in Portland, Oregon and it was cold. I felt alone but fulfilled as waddled home in my puffy and cozy clothes. They have great marketing too as their intention is to build a Naturopathic Hospital with their proceeds. I stopped to look at a bulletin board one day walking home. I was a block from my house. There was a lot of postings and the board was visibly noisy. I poked around at the different event and activity flyers, minding the business cards when a woman approached me and said, "Hi". "Do you like chocolate?" I said yes and stopped looking at the bulletin board. I said, "Yeah! I love chocolate!". She invited me in and it was as if I had found an event that wasn't posted. I was almost home already so I felt perfectly comfortable joining her.
She had an entire chocolate factory right in doors. Missionary Chocolates was in a coffee roasters workshop. It smelled great. I poked in further as per her RSVP and checked out her entire chocolate truffle makeline. It was more than memorable. However she was using Guittard and I began to get curious if there wasn't a finer chocolate. I left Portland for Hawai'i with my questions unanswered. Number 2. Hilo Sharks Chocolate:
I arrived in Hilo, Hawai'i with a friend who was very familiar with Big Island and she immediately took me to Hilo Sharks Coffee. The coffee was way to strong and I will never drink it again, however, they are out of business now. What I fell in love with was the "gourmet hot chocolate". I drank it everyday. Soon I would be visiting Hilo Sharks Cacao farm and eating spoonfuls of fresh chocolate out of the melanger. My first definite theobromine high.
Number 1. Cacao Tea:
This is something I make and drink everyday, several times. Its very popular in the Caribbean.
Its the husks and shell of the cacao bean extracted into hot water. Its produced when the cacao beans are cracked and the nibs are separated from the husks and fine nib dust. Thats the dust thats created from cracking the beans. Its basically pure chocolate. So the tea is mix of all those things. It just has no actual nibs.
Cacao Tea is about the healthiest thing you can drink after water. It has more antioxidants than any other food, iron, theobromine, pre-biotics, magnesium and all in high amounts. There is more that it has in it listed here.
There you go! The top 5 moments that formed me into a chocolate maker! It was all through the help and guidance of others! Mostly their kindness and openness have driven me into this field. I am lucky having really loved almost all the other chocolate makers I have met. I cannot wait to start making more Hawai'i chocolate moments.