Friday, July 27, 2012

What We're Eating: Fresco Jamaica 210

It's Fresco Chocolate week at Chocolopolis! We're featuring two Bars of the Week this week since two of our team members chose Fresco chocolate as their picks. Rob Anderson from Fresco Chocolate will be here on Saturday from 1-3pm, handing out samples and talking chocolate. Sebastian reviewed Fresco Ghana earlier this week, and now it's Emily's turn to review her favorite Fresco bar. Hope we'll see you Saturday! - Lauren, Chief Chocophile

Fresco Jamaica
I'm back with my staff pick for Anniversary month. This one is near and dear to me right now. In fact, it traveled 3,172 miles with me to visit it's country of Origin. Don't you bring chocolate with you when you travel? You never know what the supply might be like wherever you end up, so it's always a good idea to have a stash on hand.

What a view right?

The ocean looks pretty good too.

My husband and I savored this bar one little square at a time while lounging pool side trying to describe it to each other (I'm sure our fellow pool-goers thought us quite strange). Boy is it elusive.  Hints of jasmine and tropical fruits with a subtle, rustic, almost smoky taste ending in a sweet (but not too sweet) finish. Every time I eat it I am transported back to those warm beaches and turquoise seas with the smell of the jerk hut wafting our way. Chocolate is a powerful memory, and Fresco's Jamaica 210 will definitely stick in my memory.

Purveyor of fine chocolate

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Help Fund a Rogue Way of Making Chocolate

Colin Gasko
As many of our regulars know, Colin Gasko, founder and chocolate maker of Rogue Chocolatier, makes some of our favorite chocolate. If you follow Colin's tweets you know he is a perfectionist, obsessed with the art and science of making craft chocolate from cacao beans. You probably also know that he likes eclectic music. But did you know that Colin has developed a "rogue" way of making chocolate?

His new process for milling and conching cacao beans will improve his chocolate's flavor, aroma and texture while also increasing his production capacity by 50%. For those of you Rogue devotees who have had to wait for Colin to make enough chocolate to fill our shelves and satisfy your demand, this should be good news!

While Colin is long on chocolate passion and expertise, he's short on capital. He's harnessing the passion of his customers to raise $20,000 through crowd funding site, Kickstarter. If you're not familiar with Kickstarter, it's a platform for entrepreneurs, artists or anyone with a creative project to get funding from anyone interested in their project. In return, donors receive unique benefits at different donation levels. However, there's a catch. If the project isn't fully funded (e.g., Colin doesn't meet his goal of $20,000), Rogue Chocolatier receives nothing. Zilch. Bupkis.

The onus is on us to make sure Colin reaches the $20,000 mark! Colin has set up a wide range of donation levels that begin at $10 and go as high as $5,000, with lots of levels and rewards in between. We're throwing in a sweetener (cane sugar only) to make it even better for our customers.

Rogue Single-Origin Bars
Pledge $125 or more to the Rogue Chocolatier Kickstarter campaign and you'll receive an invitation to an exclusive launch party in Seattle to celebrate Colin's new chocolate. The only way to receive an invitation to this party is to pledge at least $125. Make sure you don't miss out on an exclusive gathering of the chocolate cognoscenti who, like you, are passionate about craft chocolate made from the finest single-origin cacao.

We look forward to seeing you at the Rogue Chocolatier launch party this Fall!

Happy chocolate tasting,
Chief Chocophile

Monday, July 23, 2012

What We're Eating: Fresco Ghana 211

During anniversary month each of our staff members gets to choose a bar of the week for us to feature. While we all like excellent chocolate, we all have different palates, so it's fun to see who will choose which bar.

Emily and Sebastian both chose bars by Fresco. Since Fresco founder and chocolate maker, Rob Anderson, will be here Saturday to sample his bars between 1 & 3, we decided to feature both Emily and Sebastian's picks this week. Sebastian's pick is below. We'll post Emily's Fresco choice on Friday. Stop by Saturday between 1&3 to meet Rob and taste these bars along with his other single-origin bars. - Lauren

Fresco 211 73% Dark Chocolate
Rob Anderson is a soulful and heart-warming person. His personality shines in the terrific chocolate he makes. Fresco Ghana is a truly unique bar. It is smooth and not overpowering, with flavors of oak, nuts and leather. This bar stops me in my tracks every time, making me think of the forest during the autumn.

Stop by Saturday and try a sample of Fresco's Ghana bar and don't forget to be here Saturday the 28th to meet the chocolate maker, Rob Anderson, in person.


Thursday, July 12, 2012

What We're Eating: Bonnat Madagascar 75%

Bonnat Madagascar 75% Dark Chocolate

The Bonnat Madagascar 75% bar is the chocolate that started Chocolopolis. Why do I say that?

I never liked dark chocolate, or so I thought. I have to admit I was a Hershey milk chocolate eater for most of my life. For me, dark chocolate was bitter and astringent, and it left me with an unpleasant taste in my mouth. I didn't know there was anything else. While my mother liked dark chocolate, my parents were very frugal, so spending money on an expensive bar would have been out of the question. Then one day I tried a bar of Bonnat Madagascar and I was blown away. There was no bitterness or astringency, and the chocolate had wonderful fruity notes of cherries and citrus.

I realized that good dark chocolate didn't have to be bitter and astringent. It was this epiphany that made me become a passionate chocophile. I began tasting more and more dark chocolate while still eating a lot of milk chocolate (but no more Hershey). Now I eat mostly dark chocolate. I never thought I'd say that!
Stephan Bonnat

I have to thank Mort Rosenblum and Chloe Doutre-Roussel, whose books about fine chocolate made me buy this bar in the first place. If it weren't for them and Stephan Bonnat, who made the bar, Chocolopolis might not be here today.

The Bonnat Madagascar bar seemed like the most appropriate choice for my bar of the week selection during our anniversary month. It's still one of my favorite bars. Its deep cherry notes and creamy, butter-like texture still remind me of that first bite.

Stop by Saturday for a sample between 11am & 5pm. In honor of Bastille Day we'll have lots of samples of chocolate by French chocolate makers, and we'll be playing DVDs by Fran├žois Pralus and Michel Cluizel.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

What We're Eating: Escazu Chipotle Chili & Vanilla

Escazu Chipotle Chili & Vanilla 74% Dark Chocolate

In honor of our fourth anniversary, we're devoting our "What We're Eating" features in July to a staff pick. We start with Anna's favorite bar. We'll have samples out today (Saturday). Here's what Anna has to say about one of her favorites:
It is well known here at Chocolopolis that I like spicy chocolate. From the outrageous Do Not Eat This Chocolate bar to the subtly spiced Pumpkin Seeds and Guajillo Chili bar. Knowing this, it comes as no surprise that my favorite bar in the store is the Escazu Chipotle Chile and Vanilla bar.

When people see “vanilla” on the packaging, they are skeptical. “How can you taste the vanilla past the spice?” they ask me. I find that the vanilla actually gives the bar a smoother texture that balances out the heat from the chile very well. Rather than a kick, this bar delivers a pleasant bite of spice in silky dark chocolate.

If you are looking for something to set your mouth on fire, this is not the bar for you. But if you are looking to indulge on some chocolate with a little bit of spice, I would definitely recommend this bar!

Chocolate Bar-ista