Posted in Sweets for the Sweet

The Pleasure of Single-Origin Chocolate

I admit to the fact that I’m a die-hard chocoholic. I don’t think there’s anything wrong about being one; I mean, it’s a much better thing to be rather than an alcoholic or a drug junkie, right?

Thanks to chocovangelist (that’s short for “chocolate evangelist”) Benjie Pedro of Heavenly Chocolates, I’ve been trying to wean myself from most commercially available chocolates. Call me a snob, but I try not to eat Milky Ways, Snickers bars, and even Hershey’s Special Dark (which is, alas, not so dark after all as it only has 40% cocoa solids) anymore. Instead, I’ve been trying to open my mind and tastebuds to new experiences – and oh! Such experiences!

I previously reviewed Heavenly Chocolates’ Sachi Nama – truffle cubes that cast the more popular Royce nama into the shade. (Why? There’s a depth of flavor, a serious chocolatiness that I’ve found lacking from Royce.) But that’s not all that the shop has to offer as it also sells a variety of single-origin chocolates from the world’s major chocolate-producing zones. You can have them at the shop as hot chocolate drinks or you can buy a cylinder-full and try your hand at making them at home or incorporating them into recipes that call for chocolate chips.

At the shop, you will receive your hot chocolate in a pretty ceramic pitcher and the resulting brew is poured into demitasse cups. Now, before you start howling about how scanty this may seem, you’d better take a sip first. This isn’t your standard-issue hot chocolate from a mix; this ain’t Swiss Miss nor is it [shudders!] Milo or Ovaltine. This is the real McCoy: pure chocolate in liquid form, only slightly sweetened so you can enjoy the rich flavors of each single-origin chocolate.

If you’re just a newbie to single-origin chocolate, you’d best start off with the Ghana, a smooth, mild African choc; creamy with a silky mouthfeel. Those of you who are fans of Japanese chocolates probably know by now that Ghanaian chocolates are used by such commercial chocolatiers as Glico and Meiji as it’s such a palate-friendly thing. Madagascar, on the other hand, is for those of you who are fruit-and-nut bar junkies. It has a somewhat raisiny aroma and a fruity aftertaste that is most pleasant.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is the bold and almost dangerously dark Ecuador. Most people find this rather harsh and a tad too bitter for their palates. However, if your tastebuds crave darker, deeper flavors, this is the chocolate for you. Personally, this is one of my major favorites: there is something calming and heartening about Ecuador’s more bitter than sweet taste.

Whichever chocolate you may choose, let me assure you that you will have no regrets. As the name of the shop suggests, they’re all heavenly. 😉

Incidentally: Heavenly Chocolates will be holding another round of Chocolate Appreciation 101, a free workshop on the history, production, and overall appreciation of chocolate on March 14th at 3PM and again on March 28th at 2PM and 6PM. For details, please call the shop at 666-22-08 or email Benjie Pedro at benjaminvpedro@yahoo.com.
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