Admit it, you’ve always fantasized about being locked up overnight in a chocolate factory, right? One night last week, the Accidental Locavore had the closest thing, a private tour and tasting at an amazing chocolate company; 2 Chicks With Chocolate. We were given the fantasy treatment by the “Chick in Charge”, Elyissia Wassung. She had arranged a total tasting of all their products, from bean to finished bonbons and everything in between. Nothing like skipping dinner and going straight to dessert in a big way.
Did you know that cacao can only be grown within 20 degrees of the equator? Elyissia showed us the big pod that contains the seeds (about the size of very large Lima beans). The growers ship the seeds in big bags to the roaster, who like a coffee roaster, is primarily responsible for how the chocolate tastes. Too much roasting at too high a heat, burnt tasting chocolate (think Starbucks). Then, much like a wine tasting, she had us smell and taste different chocolates from 100% (really bitter) down in stages to milk chocolate. You’re supposed to let them melt on your tongue, almost impossible with the 100% and generally difficult when you’re just wanting that big chocolate hit! My favorite was the 64%. It’s really flavorful, dark, and creamy, but not too dry and bitter.
After that, Elyissia showed us how they make their filled chocolates. First, they airbrush edible color into the molds, then make the shells with the tempered chocolate (think a much bigger and cooler chocolate fountain), add the fillings, let them set, and top them. All through the process, temperature is critical, and the molds are constantly vibrated so no air bubbles ruin your eating experience. There’s an awful lot of work for a quick bite, so the next time you treat yourself, relax and enjoy!
Did I mention that at every step, we had to stop and taste? Tough work but we managed to pull through. From there we went on to the bark and toffee collections. The pumpkin spice bark was great, with a base of pumpkin seed brittle, and I even really like the coffee bark, and I’m not generally one to mix my chocolate with coffee. After that a quick taste of the newest addition to the line, the spicy tiles, and a very rich jolt of the fire and ice hot chocolate.
The grande finale? We got to make our own chocolate bars. Using the milk chocolate in the tempering machine, we poured it into a couple of bar molds, and then got creative. I added coco nibs, and some round crunchy things. My friend Laura added some fleur de sel to hers. Once they were set, and we had goodie bags filled with samples (believe it or not there were a couple of things we hadn’t tasted…the popcorn, wow!), we piled into the car and headed home, our fantasies fulfilled.
To fulfill your fantasies, 2 Chicks is offering a 30% discount until the end of the year. Use code LOCA30. Enjoy and don’t forget the popcorn!