Sunday, March 12, 2006

A Friday Night Three-way with E. Guittard

On Friday night my guys and I watched Wayne’s World and did another dark chocolate tasting to celebrate my older son’s acceptance into the middle school of his choice. The search was a simmering stressor all fall and winter and now we finally have a happy ending!

What better way to celebrate a happy ending than with a chocolate monoawase, this time with three different E. Guittard single origin chocolates? The first player was a repeat performer, the Chucuri Bittersweet in the dark green wrapper, country of origin Columbia. The official copy characterizes it as: “Long, deep, slow chocolate flavors are accented by pleasant hints of spice.” (I think you need to be over eighteen to read these descriptions). Next we tried Ambanja Bittersweet in the purple wrapper from Madagascar which “mingles tart essences with deep, rich chocolate flavor.” The third entry was Sur del Lago Bittersweet from Venezuela in which “complex chocolate flavors underlie subtle hints of red berry fruit.”

I actually enjoyed this tasting more than the previous one, probably because it seemed easier to focus on the flavors, given they were all the same 65% cacao and all from the same producer. This time we did not have a generation war, interestingly enough. My younger son stayed true to his first choice in the earlier tasting, the Chucuri, but the Dauphin switched his allegiance to the Sur del Lago. That came in first for my husband and me as well. It was definitely the most complex of the three—I tasted green tea undertones, my husband described it as hints of coffee. My husband thought the Ambanja and Chucuri tied for second place, with a slight edge to the Ambanja, if pressed. My older son and I put the Chucuri in second place and the Ambanja third. They were all quite nice, but the Madagascar chocolate was less distinctive and sweeter than the others, rather like good-quality chocolate I use for glazes. The Chucuri was still very earthy and forward, but in comparison to the Ambanja, it definitely had more depth, so I gained a new appreciation for the character of the “green one.”

Friday night chocolate tastings are getting to be a ritual around our house. They are definitely educational—a good way to practice the fine art of translating sensation into words. I hope my sons' wives/lovers appreciate this early training in talking about feelings!

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