2/19/15

Beer and Chocolate

I love my job. I LOVE my job. Yes, it's fabulous bringing fresh, healthy vegetables to the community, teaching folks how to cook a delicious, simple meal, and participating on panels around town. But, the BEST jobs mix business with pleasure, and recently I got to do both in the name of Arcadia.

Now, I love beer. And I love chocolate. But, mix beer AND chocolate?! It never crossed my mind before! However, on January 21st, folks in the know showed me that combining artisan beer and fine chocolate is an overlooked taste treat! As part of Arcadia's series of Master Courses, chocolatier Jane Morris of  J Chocolatier and beer expert Greg Engert of Bluejacket teamed up to provide a guided tasting of 6 chocolates and 6 beers.

Greg introduced each beer, listing its ingredients and the particular way that it had been brewed. We all sniffed our taste glasses appreciatively. Mexican Radio, a sweet stout, was flavored with ancho chili and cinnamon. Aged Burning Bush, brewed with a whole bush of lemon bergamot was delicious with "cedar, herbaceous notes, and less residual sugar." My favorite  Aged Parish Fair, made with fresh tangerines and aged in Sauternes barrels – brought a high note to an otherwise freezing, winter night.

Jane's Guide to Chocolate Tasting showed me that there is another way to eat chocolate besides mindlessly devouring it during a Game of Thrones marathon. Good chocolate – obviously not the stuff I've been eating  should be savored. She instructed us to breathe in the chocolate's aroma, break the piece in two, listen to its "snap", chew it slowly, let the chocolate melt in our mouth, and then taste it again. Wow. Yes, Jane, I see what you mean. Taking my time did make a difference in my enjoyment of each sample. But then again, Jane's chocolates are DIVINE so you want to make each piece last. Valrhona Dulcey White Chocolate was slightly caramel colored due to the cooked milk (ooh, creamy). Dark chocolate was perfect with the little sliver of candied orange peel that it graced. And I have a date with myself to run down to J Chocolatier and purchase a dozen Lavender and Vanilla Bean Truffles. Hmmm, maybe I'll have to stop in at Blue Jacket for a Parish Fair on my way home.

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