December 06, 2006

Chocolate Tasting at Luento Santoro

Until this tasting, I never realised how complicated chocolate can be. The very enthusiastic owner (Deborah O’Neill) and her assistant compared chocolate complexity with wine and coffee. The cocoa bean quality depends on country of origin, soil, weather conditions, and expertise of the grower. Luento Santoro sources from 21 growers and we were given samples of cacao nibs / beans from three different countries to help us discern the differences. The harvested and dried cacao is shipped to their atelier in France for cleaning, roasting, conching and tempering to produce the "couverture" (chocolate in its pure form). We learned about dark vs milk vs white (only cocoa butter, no cocoa paste) chocolates; French vs Belgian vs Swiss styles; optimal storage and handling; and the critical "finish". We also ate a LOT of chocolate during the two hour tasting. This was a GREAT event!

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