Posted by: njbrown | February 10, 2010

Secrets of a chocolate connoisseur


February 10, 2010

In the fall when I was searching for an excellent chocolate for my chocolate ruffles, I came across a chocolate blog that was excellent –http://chocolateratings.wordpress.com.  I e-mailed the writer, and asked how to learn about the different aspects of chocolate, and she recommended Chloe Doutre-Roussel’s book, The Chocolate Connoisseur.  My dear husband gave me a copy for Christmas, and last night, I began reading it.  I am finding it very interesting and well-written.  Mlle. Doutre-Roussel certainly knows her chocolate!  For those who don’t want to buy and read a whole book, I just found the following article from The Guardian that summarizes the important points:

"Thirty Steps to Chocolate Heaven  – Chloé Doutre-Roussel, a world-leading taster, reveals the secrets of a connoisseur"  http://www.chocolate.org/misc/chocolates.html

In the last few months, I’ve been reading a mystery series by Ellen Crosby placed in the wine-growing area around Middleburg, Va.  It is a painless way to become more educated about wine, and especially Virginia wines.  I hadn’t realized Thomas Jefferson experimented with  wine growing at Monticello, and he and George Washington shared the desire to develop wine-growing in Virginia.  Interestingly, many of the characteristics of good wine apply to good cocoa beans, for example, "terroir" – "similar soil, weather conditions, and farming techniques, which all contribute to the unique qualities of the crop. It can be very loosely translated as "a sense of place," which is embodied in certain characteristic qualities, the sum of the effects that the local environment has had on the manufacture of the product" (from Wikipedia).  If Mlle. Doutre-Roussel is right, the future of boutique chocolate manufacturers is bright, with the possibility bars of chocolate being offered as desserts in fine dining establishments, and prices of the best chocolate bars rising to heights we’ve never imagined. 

All very interesting on a cold, gray February day.

Nancy

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