Thursday, July 01, 2010

Chocolate Panel: Guittard to Patrick

Attending the Fancy Food Show is an event rife with irony. For three days, the Javits Center in New York is full of food and full of pleasure. At the same time, everything is for sale: the food, your ability to sell the food, even your ability to write about someone else's ability to sell the food. The trade show makes me want to pick up a microphone and proclaim that food writing as either an art or a form of enterprise is deeply suspect. Of course, in doing that (even in doing this, writing this blog post), I'd be implicating myself. Thus implicated, I turn the microphone over to a set of very wise, creative, and fair-minded people in the chocolate business: Maricel Presilla (author of The New Taste of Chocolate and owner of two restaurants and the new Ultramarinos shop in New Jersey) and Gary Guittard (elder statesman of the artisan chocolate movement whose Guittard Chocolate Company has been in the family since 1868), along with Art Pollard and Alan McClure (whose Chuao- and Madagascar-sourcing companies Amano and Patrick have been in their families since about 2006).

Maricel: You have to be educated and the growers have to educate you, too, but a shop is a forum. I sell the Bonnat Soconusco bar in my shop. I sell it for more than any other bar. And I'm selling it because it has a story, which is real, and I know that in selling it I'm helping farmers."

Gary: "Education is really the key. The way we learn about chocolate is through origins. I like to think of musical instruments and colors in regard to flavors of chocolate. I was hoping to find a deeper purple for Peru but I couldn't figure it out. I think this is very flowery, I think it has an aromatic, almost jasminy flavor."

Art: In my opinion, the best cocoa beans are the ones that produce the chocolate that you like the best, but there's no denying that the Chuao beans are absolutely spectacular. Blueberry, plum, molasses, coffee, and creaminess of like some almonds.

Alan: The expression of terroir without what's going on in our heads is nothing. There's a lot of pushback right now, especially because of the recession. People say that they want farmers to get a more fair wage, but they don't want to pay more for the chocolate. And that's a big, big problem.

Thanks to chocolate guide Alexandra Leaf for organizing this event, wonderfully un-commercial chocolate maker Steve DeVries for inviting me, and the worldly-wise retailer Seneca Klassen for aiding and abetting my infiltration of the event.


Anonymous Camilla said...

I always wanted to attend such event...You're lucky you've made it...Congrats...

3:01 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Masur said...

Sounds great.

2:05 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Margaret said...

Hi Emily,

My name's Margaret and I work with Moo Chocolates--you probably don't remember me, but you were looking for directions and my friend and I happened to be sitting under the info booth (though we were exhibitors).

Anyway, I really wish I could have gone to that tasting/panel. Looks like it was really fun!

Please visit us at!!!


3:12 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Unique Chocolate Gifts said...

Good job! how i wish i could be one of those panels. Thank you for sharing.

4:36 PM GMT-5  
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