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Terroirist Tuesday: The Terroir of Chocolate, Part 2
The Terroir of Chocolate, Part 1 here.
by L.M. Archer, FWS
Today’s Terroirist Tuesday: The Terroir of Chocolate, Part 2 spotlights three (3) exceptional chocolatiers from Seattle’s 2014 International Chocolate Salon. These chocolatiers stand out for their passion, drive, and artistry. Here’s their take on the terroir of chocolate, as well as the sweet life of a chocolatier:
Tell readers about your ‘story.’
Andrea Torrenzio | Dolcetta Artisan Sweets
“I got into baking after college out of pure love for the craft. I find it so satisfying to make a product, especially to make something beautiful and delicious that makes people happy…. I’ve always loved eating and baking with chocolate, but was at first intimidated by the tempering process. I finally decided to tackle that fear and learn to temper and have been dreaming of and creating my business ever since… I’ve been successful as a pastry chef and have a good life, but by the end of 2012, I had ended up in a dark place, really struggling to find any joy or purpose. At the same time, a friend was diagnosed with advanced cancer, and I felt that I owed it to him to, being lucky enough to be able to do what I want to with my life, to go ahead and live my dream, and create something beautiful and joyful. It has been at times challenging to get to this point, but every challenge makes me stronger, and I am excited to see what I have created and to see where it will take me.”
Shannon and Christy Fox | Evolve Chocolate Truffles
“Girl meets girl.
Girl & girl fall in love.
Girl & girl make truffles.
When we started the business three years ago one of our name choices was “girl meets girl”. But because of the constant evolution of our lives and growth of the company we chose “evolve”. Stemming from 20+ years in the restaurant industry, Christy who is a formally trained chef along with Shannon found that the bounty of Whatcom County and surrounding areas were truly a muse for creating culinary magic. Each and every truffle produced pays homage to what we believe in, which invokes local collaboration.
Rebecca ‘Becca’ Roebber | Kallari Chocolates
“Kallari is one of the only farmer owned and operated chocolate cooperatives, they grow and make their own chocolate from bean to bar…The Kichwa indigenous farmers use heirloom cacao called cacao naccional, which has a fruity and floral notes. They grow the cacao on chakras, which is land interspersed with other medicinal, fruit and hardwood trees…Kallari is made up of 850 farming families that have been able to maintain their way of life due to the production of chocolate. There are no middle men, the farmers are also the chocolatiers.”
As a chocolatier, do you find that the terroir of chocolate – like wine – informs its flavor profiles? If so, how does that translate into the chocolate grown and used in your chocolates?
“Definitely. It has been exciting to see so many small batch single origin chocolates come on the market over the last few years. I have only worked with a few, but I hope to add more to my line. One that really excites me is Cru Sauvage from Felchlin, foraged wild cacao from the Bolivian Amazon. http://www.felchlin.com/en/product/cacao-bolivia It has nice depth and is fruity but not sour. Of course, the fermentation, roasting, and conching play parts too. I have had single origin chocolates that I did not enjoy, but then again I’ve had some less-than-great wines, too. Chocolate is an agricultural product, so of course origin and handling will affect the flavor…I use what I think is delicious. I think it is good to use a variety of chocolates in order to create the best pairings in the confections. ” - Andrea Torrenzio | Dolcetta Artisan Sweets
“Yes of course, we trust our supplier for 85% & 45% organic, fair trade, non-GMO, sustainably grown cacao primarily from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ecuador, the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica and Peru. Because there are no stabilizers added to our chocolate, the subtleties of the terroir changes from batch to batch…Because of the subtle changes in terroir, we use our finely tuned palates to coax those flavor distinctions into a new flavor profile.” -Shannon and Christy Fox | Evolve Chocolate Truffles
“The soil is one of the main components to the flavor of the bean itself, the richness and biodiversity of the Amazon soil plays a large part in the flavor profile of the finished chocolate bar. It also has to do with fermentation and roasting, similar to the wine making process…The process starts with the fruit, a pulpy sweet and sour juice that surrounds the seed in the pod. Once the pods are ripe and the farmers harvest the seeds they are brought to the fermentation center. There the cacao is fermented for about 7 days in fermentation boxes made from wood. They are then dried under a green house for about two weeks. They are then roasted, winnowed and produced into chocolate all within 3 weeks of harvest. Their chocolate is the freshest in the world, because it is made in the country of origin by the farmers growing it.” -Becca’ Roebber | Kallari Chocolate
What makes your chocolate different from other chocolates on the market?
“I really focus on flavor, I aim for clean, well-balanced flavors that you don’t have to search for. I do enjoy trying chocolate with new and different flavor combinations, but I still want it to be delicious, not just novel. My chocolates tend to be a little less sweet than others. I do use some milk and white chocolates, but I balance them with tart flavors like passion fruit or salty bits like pretzels, and most of my bonbons and truffles are molded or made with 60% or higher couverture.” -Andrea Torrenzio | Dolcetta Artisan Sweets
“With both of our backgrounds in the culinary arts, the taste of local ingredients lends a hand to the ultimate sensorial experience. With truffle making we dance using a blend of local organic spices and bright flavors, using the small batch method. When we drive to the creamery in Lynden to pick up our cream and swing by the blueberry fields to pick up our blueberries, we are adding to the local terroir of our flavor profiles. Hand-rolled, hand-dipped and hand packaged with an extremely classy touch while keeping our grassroots philosophy.” -Shannon and Christy Fox -| Evolve Chocolate Truffles
“Kallari is known for being less astringent than many chocolates, its fruity and floral flavor is complemented by mahogany, passionfruit, cloves and other tropical notes.” -‘Becca’ Roebber | Kallari Chocolate
Finally, “If making chocolate has taught me anything, it’s taught me…?”
“Chocolate is a great reminder that there are things you can control and things you can’t. Sometimes chocolate seems to have a mind of its own, and willing and wishing won’t get it into temper, only stirring and patience will. Also…Sweetness counts! I love my craft, but I also find it a little bit silly. Spreading joy through high-end handcrafted confections is great, but I also feel strongly that everyone should have basic sustenance. I’ve given 10% of my sales to the local organization Food Lifeline since I started selling in 2010. I’ll continue to give to them and other worthy causes.” -Andrea Torrenzio | Dolcetta Artisan Sweets
“Making chocolate truffles has taught us to treat each batch as if it’s a living organism, kind of like a child or something you are giving life to. Appreciation of life, love, local and what’s good has been our main agenda.” -Shannon and Christy Fox | Evolve Chocolate Truffles
“Making chocolate is an art. Every year, like wine, yields different notes based on many factors, such as climate. Chocolate that tastes simply like chocolate has been over processed, often masked by sugar and milk. Tasting chocolate is a journey of flavors that all start at the source. This sensitive bean needs so much care and love to taste as fine as single origin, craft chocolate. Once your taste buds have had the experience of both, your world will change.” - ‘Becca’ Roebber | Kallari Chocolate
Andrea Terrenzio | Dolcetta Artisan Sweets
Shannon and Christy Fox | Evolve Truffles
Becca Roebber | Kallari Chocolates
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