Chocolate Ale and Maple Goat Chocolate

Chocolate by Chocolate Alchemist, beer by Boulevard Brewing

Some things are better together. These two are.

The beer:  Boulevard Brewing Company Smokestack Series Special Release Chocolate Ale in collaboration with Christopher Elbow. Notes of roast, malt, and smoke. A tendency to remind you of nibs. A bit bitter, in a beer like way.

The chocolate:  Chocolate Alchemist Goat Maple (65% organic, Dominican and Peruvian,bean to bar). Rich goat milk notes hit you first, then the maple, then finally the chocolate. Dense creamy texture. This bar almost makes me believe I'm eating a goat cheese truffle, although the chocolate takes the back seat to the other interesting flavors and aromas.

Together: The malt of the beer brings the chocolate forward. The maple of the chocolate tones down the roast and smoke.  They make music together, harmony.

Roasted sweet potato, carrot, fennel, onion, celery.  Fantastic paired with the Boulevard Brewing Chocolate Ale.

Just in case you are wondering, the beer pairs particularly well with roasted fall vegetables too.  Sweet potatoes, carrots, fennel, onion, and celery in olive oil.   That was my dinner for this fall evening.

Chocolate is going to hit Seattle like a tidal wave

Seattle, the Puget Sound and, the Space Needle from the Columbia Tower Club

As most of you already know, I've been working on this new thing called Craft Chocolate Week which is really just a few small events with chocolate makers, chocolate shops, and experts in the craft chocolate community.

I was hoping to give chocolate loving people the opportunity to get to know chocolate makers better. Opportunities to pull up a chair and hear the stories behind the chocolate, share a drink, and deepen the connection between what we eat and how it comes to be.  What I've found is utter exhaustion, many new revelations about the chocolate community and the consumers, as well as a lesson in human psychology.  It is just beginning with two events this week so I'm looking forward to seeing the connections take place.

 Chocolate is about to hit Seattle like a tidal wave.  This week chocolate makers will be arriving in droves from all corners of the earth for the NW Chocolate Festival.  More than ten thousand people will attend, crowd the booths sampling chocolate, attend the classes, and yes, purchase chocolate.  Then, as quickly as it started, it will all be over. 

This time I'm going to ask something of chocolate consumers...

  1. When you meet a chocolate maker at any event, whether it be one of the ones I'm involved with at Craft Chocolate Week or something to do with the NW Chocolate Festival, take the time to look them in the eye and thank them for coming.  It takes a great amount of time to prepare for events like this.  It takes even more energy and money get here, set up, and greet the public.  It is not easy.                                                                                                                                        
  2. There will be so many samples offered you'll need to be careful not to overwhelm your palate to the point where you can't taste at all.  When you sample their hard work, their unique creation, their chocolate, sample with honesty choosing only those which truly peak your curiosity.                                                                                                                                                                                                 
  3. Find a way to stay in touch with those you think are exceptional.  Follow them on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.  Become a member of their email list. I think you'll find that the behind the scenes views that are typically posted will give you even more insight to the life of a chocolate maker and the ongoing story of their chocolate.  It it truly a fascinating art.                                                                                                                                                      
  4. Finally, think of purchasing again from these small businesses when you have the opportunity to give a gift or reward yourself in the coming year.  We talk about supporting small business in this country, when we do it truly makes a difference to these businesses and the people who work so very hard to bring us beautiful chocolate. 

That's all for now.  I hope I see you around Seattle in the next few weeks.


Chocolate and Soy Allergy

Chocolate without soy lecithin located close to my desk.

Someone recently said to me "I can't eat chocolate because I'm allergic to soy.  All chocolate has soy lecithin."

Not true.  Not at all.