Have I got your attention now? I suspect there aren’t many people who don’t like chocolate but apologies in advance to those of you who either don’t like it or for medical reasons can’t heat it. However, when we’re out shopping it seems very difficult to avoid it. So much so perhaps that sometimes we hardly even register in our mind that the bars of sweetness are there! If you’re like me you’ll enjoy sitting down to watch something on TV and will quite possibly end up eating more of it than you really should. That is of course until I was educated in the art of real chocolate…
Louth Chocolate Tasters
They say ‘ignorance is bliss’ and that may be true but once you’ve been educated there is no going back. If you’re a chocolate lover like me can you imagine my excitement when I was invited by Kathryn @KathrynLincs to join her and her group in Louth for a chocolate tasting evening? My only concern was that my blog posts wouldn’t be set up in time to write about my experience! As it happens I have had computer and internet issues that have delayed this blog but that’s another story. Let’s get back to the important bit – ‘chocolate’.
The meeting was held in The Brown Cow Louth at 7.30pm on 24 Feb. It all sounds very formal but in reality it’s just a group of very friendly people with a common love of chocolate. I had no idea what to expect but I took my seat and waited in quiet anticipation. Well, that’s not quite true. We were all getting into conversations with people around us and there was a very friendly buzz in the room.
If any of you have been to a wine tasting event I suspect you have a good idea how my chocolate tasting evening was going to go. We each had a couple of information sheets with details of the evenings chocolatiers as well as a separate page for making notes. You’ll see my note page below with my scribbled reminders on. It doesn’t look very pretty but then my hand writing never is!
As you can see from the heading on my note paper, the focus for the evening was Canadian chocolate. Perhaps I should elaborate, this was some of the finest Canadian chocolate and the selection certainly surpassed my expectations.
From Canada To Lincolnshire
Let the tasting begin. If you hadn’t already noticed my notes above, would you have known that you’re actually meant to suck the chocolate in order to experience the full flavours? Being used to the standard Cadburys or ‘posh’ Belgian chocolates my instinct was to put the chocolate in my mouth, chew it and swallow. It’s a good job Kathryn was on hand to educate me in the finer art of chocolate tasting.
One Square Or Two?
Actually, a platter was handed around the table and we each took ‘half’ a square of chocolate to smell and taste. This may sound a little odd but the idea here is to taste the chocolate not gorge on it. We each made our own notes (in my case, ‘scribbles’) and discussed what we had found. I’m sure my notes are very sparse compared to the regular club members. Following the discussion around the table I soon realised that I had not noticed some of the key flavours of each of the samples. Other members were detecting berries and other subtle flavours that I had missed but immediately recognised as soon as they were pointed out to me. All of the samples on offer were dark chocolate and of varying percentages but it soon became apparent to me that not all dark chocolate is bitter. The Soma Arcana is 100% and not to my taste. I did get the flavours but it wasn’t a chocolate that I would buy. Well, we can’t please everyone all of the time can we? I did have a favourite though and that was the Sirene Dark Milk Guatemala at 65%. It’s almost identical (to my amateur pallet) to the Sirene Chabil but smother and without the Cardamom. I did say ‘almost’ identical didn’t I? I’m sure the seasoned chocolate tasters will allow me my novice opinion.
After nine samples of half a square each and one hour forty minutes later the evening came to an end. Needless to say, there were a few empty wrappers left over but very little chocolate.
A thoroughly enjoyable evening in good company and held in a private room in The Brown Cow pub, Newmarket in Louth. Our hosts were Kathryn www.cocoaencounters.co.uk and Lindsay www.spirechocolates.co.uk and I’m truly grateful for my invitation and education. Trust me, once you’ve experienced one of these evenings you’ll view your chocolate consumption in a completely different light.
Do It Yourself
If you would like to set up a group in your area please get in touch with Kathryn who will be more than happy to help you. You can find her on twitter @kathrynLincs or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You don’t need to be an expert but it’ll help if you like chocolate.
Would you like me to visit your place of work or group? I’m sure you’ll have something very interesting to share with the County and I would really be pleased to help you spread your message. You can contact me through the website www.lincsconnect.co.uk via Twitter @LincsConnect or through Facebook Lincs Connect. I’ll be waiting to hear from you.