Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Theo Chocolate

Last summer, my wife and I went on a tour of the Theo chocolate factory in Fremont. Very cool place, very cool people, and it was really inspiring to see a local company making something so complex, with so much art, with such consideration for ethics, and at such a high degree of refinement.

I was briefly obsessed a few years back with the idea of making my own chocolate from scratch (after seeing Chocolat, lamely enough--terrible movie but it made me hungry). It didn't take a lot of research to find out that:
  1. if you're just some guy, you really can't get cacao beans
  2. the equipment required is non-trivial: tempering might be within your reach, but conching will not
So, I gave up on that dream, but gained a lot of respect for those who know what they're doing in the field of chocolate-making. It's kind of like being an astronaut: lots of people want to be that when they grow up, very few actually get to.

When we were there, they were only producing flavored chocolates--they hadn't started making their pure chocolates yet. The flavors were genuinely interesting: coconut curry, chai, coffee, bread (which provided sort of a salty crunch).

Anyway, long story short, ever since that visit, I've been crazy with anticipation for their single-varietal fair-trade bars that they were not yet selling, and they finally started showing up at PCC. 85% from Ghana, 74% from the Ivory Coast. The 74% is particularly good--more complex than probably any chocolate bar I've ever tasted.

And they make it in my city. Very cool.


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