Allison Hatfield files this report:
Chocolate comes in many forms. My faves: the kiss and the fountain. I never met a marshmallow kabob I couldn’t improve with a pass through a shower of molten chocolate. I even bought a mini chocolate fountain so I could have one at a housewarming (I later tried to turn it into a cheese fountain, but that’s a story for another day).
Anyway, my relationship with chocolate has previously been that of a rather low-end consumer. And I’m fine with that, but I was also excited to expand my horizons at Saturday’s chocolate tasting and dinner hosted by DallasChocolate.org.
About 40 foodie types met at Milestone Culinary center in the afternoon to hear Alan McClure and Steve DeVries—world-class artisan chocolate makers and founding members of Craft Chocolate Makers of America—talk about harvesting, fermenting, roasting, grinding, refining, and conching (I still have no idea what that is). It was a high-level education on the sometimes low-tech business of making chocolate, from beans to bar. And it was pure torture. Not because these guys aren’t really smart and interesting, but have you ever spent 75 minutes sitting in front of eight kinds of chocolate without eating any of them? Try it, friends.
When we’d finally learned enough to appreciate what lay ahead, we crunched on bittersweet nibs (roasted then crushed cocao beans) and let a large piece of untempered chocolate melt on our tongues—as happy as Charlie with the golden ticket.
All that learning worked up an appetite for the chocolate-inspired dinner that followed the tasting. Passed hors d’oeuvres included crostini with lavender goat cheese and nibs. Sit-down fare was summer greens with a savory chocolate tower (chocolate on a salad—really), herb-crusted salmon with a chocolate balsamic glaze, and dueling desserts of chocolate cake and chocolate tart from Doughmonkey extraordinaire Rhonda Ruckman. (We miss you, Doughmonkey.)