Sunday, July 02, 2006

Studious Chocolate: July 13 in Brooklyn

There are four precious spaces left for the New York Metro Chocolate Meet-Up on Thursday, July 13th. Housed in Brooklyn's Tumbador Chocolate Factory and hosted by worldly chocolate expert Clay Gordon, this upcoming event will feature a kitchen demonstration by pastry master Jean Francois Bonnet (former executive pastry chef at Daniel). Participants will follow several confections from inception to completion, including burnt caramel ganache and classic enrobed French truffles.

I've already left New York for the other side of the world, but I did have the opportunity to chat with Clay Gordon over a cup of hot chocolate a few weeks ago. A former photographer and graphic designer, Gordon began a second career in chocolate ten years ago, determined to do with chocolate what Robert Parker had done with wine. In 2001, he introduced himself to the public through his website,, and he currently makes his living as a professional chocolate consultant. The New York-area meetings are an informal opportunity for lay-chocolate-enthusiasts to pick up some chocolate-industry knowledge. Subjects covered in the past months include new American producers, the superior Swiss company Felchlin which is virtually unknown among retail consumers, and the single-estate chocolates from Michel Cluizel. Gordon approaches chocolate education like a patient school-teacher: he'll be happy to field questions about cacao percentages and single-origin couvertures, but he'll also remind you that eating chocolate is supposed to be fun. "The best chocolate in the world," he told me, "is what you like to eat."

The price of the July Chocolate Meet-Up (including all tastings and probably a few samples to take home) is an affordable $20, which must be paid in advance. (New Yorkers who miss out this month can sign up for updates on future events.)


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