Thursday, July 1, 2010

Aisles and aisles of chocolate

Close your eyes and imagine this. Five football fields full of cheese, olives, oils, sauces and chocolate. The Barefoot Contessa sitting at a booth radiating her warm smile and waiting to meet you, cupcakes in hand. Rick Bayless sauteing samples of his chicken in roasted garlic and chipotle tomato sauce and arranging them on a tortilla just for you.

This is how I spent last Sunday and Monday, sampling the latest creations of the world's culinary experts at the Summer Fancy Food Show in New York. Open to retailers, distributors and importers, the Fancy Food Show is the trade show to the gourmet industry, and it's a sensory experience to behold. As a veteran, I expertly walked past the blue cheese, the spice-infused olives and the warm cupcakes and nibbled on many samples of chocolate. I hit chocolate saturation pretty quickly, but I soldiered on like a chocolate veteran.

While others might be taking photos with Rick Bayless, I was more excited to meet Francois Pralus, Marc Cluizel and Maricel Presilla, pillars of the world chocolate community. I came home with a camera full of photos of me with the chocolate glitterati, an album only a chocolate geek would appreciate.

Choco-celebrity meetings included an evening choctail reception at Michel Cluizel's boutique on Fifth Avenue with Michel Cluizel's son, Marc Cluizel, a great guy.

Stopping at Amano's booth for another taste of Art Pollard's newest single-origin bar from the famed Chuao cooperative. I promised Art we'd have the bar available for Amano's tasting event at Chocolopolis during our anniversary week so our customers can weigh in on this limited edition bar. Stop by Monday, July 13 between 4:30 and 6:30 to try some Amano chocolate!

Talking cacao with Francois Pralus at his booth on the France aisle as he loaded me up with samples of his fondue, giandujia and barre infernale (which really is infernal).

Meeting Santiago Peralta, the founder of Ecuadorian chocolate company, Pacari, and being interviewed by the Trade Office of Ecuador at his booth.

Finally meeting Shawn Askinosie and hearing about his upcoming trip to Tanzania with students of his Chocolate University. His Cocoa Honors students chose a village in Tanzania as the origin of cacao beans for Askinosie's next chocolate bar, and they raised money to fund the drilling of a deep-water well for the village.

Taste testing Joan Coukos' new line of milk chocolate confections for Chocolat Moderne and sharing a drink with her at a great, neighborhood Greek restaurant she's been frequenting for almost 20 years.

I've got so many stories from my NYC travels, I had to break this up into 3 posts. Next up, geeking out on chocolate at the Fine Chocolate Industry Association event before the Fancy Food Show.

Happy chocolate tasting,
Lauren Adler
Chief Chocophile

1 comment:

Unique Chocolate Gifts said...

If I imagined of a football field filled with chocolates, I would prefer not to wake up until I ate all the chocolates in it...