FREE Chocolate Tasting Workshops at Chicon 7

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Yes, you read that right. If you’re a full attending member of Chicon (one of several thousands) then you can sign up for a FREE chocolate tasting workshop on Thursday at 4pm, Saturday at 3pm or Sunday at 3pm. We will have 5 different bars on offer from some of my favourite chocolate makers in the US. We have room for 50 people in each session – making it a total of 150 people who can take part.

Sign up at registration when you arrive! Thursday will probably the easiest day to get in. PLEASE sign up and don’t just show up at the ConSuite for the tasting. I will only have 50 samples for each session so please make sure you sign up for the session. We will be learning al about where chocolate grows, the process of going from bean to bar and how the chocolate we’re tasting differs from most chocolate available in stores.

CHEWING IS BANNED! This session is all about learning how to taste like a “pro”. This session is all about smelling the chocolate, letting it melt in your mouth and identifying all the different flavours by learning about how to pay more attention to your nose. You’ll gain a better appreciation for real, high quality chocolate and I have selected some of the best chocolate available in the US. While I have had to miss off Amano, Rogue and Patric chocolate, I believe I have some chocolate that will knock your socks off!

What chocolate will there be? Well, we’ll start with ScharffenBerger 70% bittersweet chocolate. This is a chocolate with a somewhat neutral chocolate flavour,. It can, at times, have a slight fruitiness but overall it is a nice neutral chocolate flavour which will be still vastly different than anything you’ve ever tried before.

Next we’ll move on to one of my favourite bars, the Hotel Chocolat Rabot Estate 66% made from bean to bar by Hotel Chocolat from their own estate in St Lucia. While most chocolate makers buy their beans from farmers working in the region, Hotel Chocolat goes one step further and create chocolate from their own plantation. The chocolate is just amazing – you’ve got this initial blast of figs as you both open the bar and place the first piece in your mouth.  As you let it melt on your tongue (quickly – not as fast as Duffys but not as reluctantly as others) you then a gently roasted chocolate flavour coming through then mellowing into something with a tinge of raisins.

Next we move on to Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate. They are using “fairly traded organic cacao”, hand-roasting beans then cracking, winnowing, stone refining, and aging the chocolate in their Californian base. The initial scent of the bar is of berries and ripe fruit with a tinge of woody spice.  This is the flavour of the initial note profile as you let the chocolate start to melt in your mouth.  As it melts quickly in your mouth the flavour evolves into something earthier before finishing cleanly with only the barest hint of fruit left behind.

Now I want to move on to the Askinosie Tanzania chocolate. This dark chocolate bar is made with cocoa beans from Tenende, Tanzania. This bar is a Chocolate University Project, a neighbourhood outreach program in Springfield, Missouri that inspires students about small business and social responsibility.  But beyond that it is an amazing bar. The tasting notes have it with lingering layers of sweet fruit preserves, oats, and strawberry cheesecake met with red wine tannins and an ultra creamy mouth feel. I can say that given it is used in the malted milk bar I could not stop eating that it certainly is creamy!

Then we’ll finish with the Askinosie San Jose del Tambo. I hope when you get your little cup with a piece in it that before tasting, it fills your nose with the smell of ripening beans, fruit and sun. The flavours are intensely chocolaty with a slightly floral fruity flavour wrapping itself around the mouth. The chocolate scent tickles its way into the nose, infusing every area with this intensely fruity floral sweet chocolate.

So as you can see, chocolate is so much more then Hershey’s – it is like wine and at this session, no matter which one you attend (Thurs, Sat or Sun) you’ll get a chance to try amazing chocolate, earn a ribbon and make come new chocolate-loving friends!

About Judith Lewis

Editor and chief blogger at Mostly About Chocolate. Expert SEO. judge at various chocolate awards, wine awards, and all the Search Awards. Judith is passionate about food, wine, and travel.

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