Organic chocolate three ways, sampled from Natural Products Expo West last week:
An organic chocolate bar made with quinoa from Alter Eco.
Hot chocolate from CaCoCo that’s made simply with raw dark chocolate and water.
I read a report today that Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld loves chocolate but does not eat it. (This immediately brought to mind the story of Peter, AKA No Coffee Guy, whom I met during a weekend at Fire Island. Before going out one night, Peter’s housemate was brewing a pot of coffee and Peter commented about how good it smelled. But when I suggested he grab a cup, he replied that he didn’t drink it. He loved the smell, he said, but didn’t drink it. Then he added that he had never tried it. Loved the smell but had never tasted it? He could not provide a reason why and I was puzzled. Not trying crack? I get that. But coffee? That was the first sign that Peter was going to be a drip. Yes, pun definitely intended!) Back to Mr. Lagerfeld. He is quoted in W magazine as saying that the smell of chocolate is enough for him, that he can eat chocolate with his nose. Puzzled again. Barring a serious health issue, how bad can chocolate be when consumed in moderation? Mmmm, rich, dark chocolate. I consume some every day and savor every bite, even if it’s only one tiny piece. Lagerfeld finished by saying he would love a perfume based on chocolate. Someone should send him Cacao, the beautiful perfume already made by Aftelier Perfumes. As with all of her other amazing scents, Mandy Aftel uses only natural ingredients (no synthetics), and this one has a base of chocolate and vanilla with citrus and jasmine sambac top and middle notes—all to make it absolutely intoxicating and, well, delicious.
For our “Blood and Chocolate” Valentine’s Day dinner, we served steak for dinner and chocolate fondue for dessert. Guests brought the steaks: rib eye, New York strip, filet mignon, chuck roast. We added buffalo tri-tip to the mix. (Oh, it wasn’t all beef; we also had roasted root vegetables and a salad of mixed greens with pears, Pecorino Romano and crispy prosciutto.) Dessert was chocolate fondue (recipe from Eric Ripert via Food & Wine), with pound cake, toasted croissant, banana, raspberries, caramel, and sugar shortbread cookies for dipping.
A walk along the water during a visit to San Francisco brought me to a compelling message on the side of a building (see photo). “We make CHOCOLATE from scratch. Right here.” Of course I stopped. Inside they were selling TCHO chocolates and I saw this on a sign: “Dark chocolate is truly The Last Great Drug.” The company expounds the benefits of dark chocolate and markets a “daily dose project” for its proposed prescription. A chocolate a day keeps the doctor away? Okay, I’ll bite. I tried the fruity chocolate and liked it a lot; it’s not filled with fruit or flavored with fruit–the bean simply gives off a very subtle fruity finish. The video below shows the makers on a mission to obtain the organic beans from farms in Peru.