It was 8:15 pm and my husband, who rises at 4:00 a.m. every morning, had already gone to bed. I was almost home from work when my phone rang.
“Uh, hello?” a voice said on the other end. Translation: “Mom, I’m here in your kitchen ready to taste chocolate. Where are YOU?”
“I’m pulling in the drive, kiddo…be right there.” We had a date. 8:15 to 9:00 pm that evening, she (20 years old), my neighbor (35 years old) and I (48 years old) were going to have a Dark Chocolate throw-down. We were looking for the perfect bar of dark chocolate to recommend to our readers for a Valentine’s Day post. Rylee was in the kitchen staring at me mischievously when I walked in the door.
“Let’s get started!” she grinned.
Chocolate does that to some people, doesn’t it? It has some sort of built in beacon that pings a signal in the center of your brain beckoning over and over, “Here I am. Taste me! Here I am. Taste me!” Rylee and I were appreciators of a good dark chocolate but tonight was going to be special. I had spent the past few days stopping by Forward Foods, Whole Foods Market and Homeland to pick up a wide assortment of high-level cacao chocolates and we were going to taste them that night. Every single one of them.
Missy arrived right after I, and we began to set up our experiment. We carefully shaved off small bits of every bar, put them on a single saucer, lined up glasses of water and put on some hot water for tea.
As we tore open the bars while prepping, I thought back to my first memories of dark chocolate. My grandpa Frank used to purchase bulk bags of Hershey’s miniature candy bars and he knew I liked the “Specials.” I remember watching him open bags, digging around and picking out the two or three that were in every bag. It seemed those bags had the greatest percentage of Mr. Goodbars and Hershey’s Krisps, then Hershey’s Milk Chocolate, THEN the Specials. I felt like a princess because he was finding the treasure and handing it over before he ever picked one for himself.
Years later, I still have about one square of dark chocolate every morning or night and I love it dearly. I love breathing in the chocolaty aroma before putting it in my mouth. I love the way it melts and begins to turn to liquid, and I love to barely chew the last little bit so that my teeth get in on part of the action as well.
I think eating chocolate must be slightly spiritual. After all, it IS a vegetable, no? And it’s actually good for you. It can lower your blood pressure and in small quantities do good things for your body. Evidently, others think about it as spiritual as well. There is almost as much information about tasting chocolate as there is about tasting wine. And, just like wine…there are many ways to classify the various aspects of dark chocolate.
One of my favorite moments in reading up on dark chocolate was learning to pronounce the word “cacao.” I always thought it was “kuh-kay-oh.” Nope. It’s “kuh-kow.” I’m such a Trekkie that the word reminds me of the Queen of the Vulcan’s, T’Pau (tuh-pow). Okay…back to the chocolate. Continue reading Dark Secrets: A Very Chocolate Tasting of Fifteen High Cacao Delights