Friday, April 23, 2010

Choco-Latte Fest 2010

My parents were kind and wonderful enough to babysit Little One for the evening while Hubby was at a training session for the fire department and I went gallivanting with the girls. Let me first say that I almost NEVER go anywhere without my baby girl. I take her everywhere with me. The only times she doesn't accompany me are for some of my meetings that are in the evenings and for rehearsals for the play.

Though I love, love, love my Little One and often can't bear to be away from her, sometimes I do need a little break.

Tonight was the first night in AGES that I was able to go out with just the girls. No kids. No husbands. Just the girls.

Guess where we went?!

We began the evening with supper and wine at The Anchor. This is not your standard pub grub fare.

On the menu they had: Chipotle Chicken and Red Pepper Rotini, Steak with a curried onion sauce,and Whitefish.Our main purpose for our outing was (apart from hanging out with the girls and getting a little downtime)...

The Choco-Latte Fest! It was an evening of chocolate and coffee tasting held at Loco Beanz. How exciting! I'm not a sweets or desserts person, but the one sweet thing I do love is chocolate.

It was an introduction in taste testing the different types of chocolate ranging from white, milk, semi-sweet, dark/bittersweet...and we even got to sample an actual cocoa/cacao bean and cocoa nibs (the centre of the cocoa bean).The cocoa bean is on the right and the cocoa nibs are on the left. Who would have thought that the bitter cocoa bean would eventually make chocolate!?
After fermentation the beans are dried, cleaned, and roasted, and the shell is removed to produce cacao nibs. The nibs are then ground to cocoa mass, pure chocolate in rough form. Because this cocoa mass usually is liquefied then molded with or without other ingredients, it is called chocolate liquor.

I brought a piece of my cocoa bean home to show my husband. To my surprise, he LOVED it! I just thought it was bitter. Cocoa in its pure form (though healthy for you), is not my favourite.

We kick started the session with the pairing of sweet drinks and tasty chocolate flavours.Drink: Chocolate Banana Smoothie
Chocolate: Green and Black's 37% cocoa content (organic milk chocolate with caramelized peanuts and a hint of sea salt). The sweet and salty flavour of the chocolate was a welcomed surprise. I never imagined sea salt and chocolate to pair well together.
Drink: Chai Latte
Chocolate: Cocoa Camino 71% cocoa content (Fair trade and organic chili and spice chocolate). To be honest, I didn't really notice the chili and spice! Perhaps it's because I've sampled a lot of chocolate from Mexico (given to me by my Mexican students) that contained large amounts of chili! This one was mild. The friends I went to the Choco-Latte Fest with didn't like the chili and spice. I wouldn't say it was my favourite, but I kind of liked it.

The next thing we did was tasted and compared white chocolate for baking.Callebaut Select vs. Chipits white chocolate chips
After sampling the Callebaut Select, I don't think I can ever use Chipits ever again. Sure, the Callebaut Select is pricier, but the quality and taste is far superior. In the photo, the Chipits are on the left and the Callebaut Select is on the right.

Next was the tasting and comparing of milk chocolate.
Drinks: Mocha Latte and Iced Mocha Latte
Chocolate: Cocoa Camino 38% cocoa content (organic/fair trade milk chocolate)
Cocoa Camino 41% cocoa solids (organic/fair trade milk chocolate)

The semi-sweet chocolate tasting was next.
Drink: Mocha frappe
Chocolate: Russell Stover 60% cocoa content (Venezuela)
Russell Stover 60% cocoa content (Ghana)

Drink: Americano
Chocolate: Theobroma Dark Chocolate "Burst of Raspberry", 60% cocoa contentI have to say that the Burst of Raspberry was by far my favourite chocolate of the evening. The REAL raspberry was the perfect addition. Not to sound like uppity, but I tend to favour the real thing and not things like "raspberry flavour" or "vanilla flavour".

Last on the list was the bittersweet/dark chocolate.Please excuse the blurriness of the above photo. Those were all dark chocolates. I think by the end of the evening, I had my fill of caffeine and my hands were a bit wobbly! :)

Drinks: Fair Trade Dark Roast
Fair Trade Decaf
Chocolate: Cocoa Camino, 70%
Cote d'Or, 70%
Swiss Delice, 72%
President's Choice, 72% (extra dark)

I know dark chocolate is far healthier, but I do believe it's an acquired taste. I'd love to be able to say I can appreciate the finest dark chocolates, but I'm not quite there yet. I do have to admit though, I am beginning to enjoy the dark chocolate more and more. I'm still *gasp* a milk chocolate kinda gal though!

I learned a lot from tonight's chocolate and coffee tasting. For example, things to look for are: the appearance, snap, aroma, mouth feel, and taste.

My husband is now addicted to TOFFLES!

In addition to the wonderful tasting and comparing lesson, each attendant got to take home a grab bag of gifts! My husband was happy when I returned from my evening out with the girls and handed him a box of TOFFLES by local chocolatier, Ultimately Chocolate and a sample of SUMATRA medium roast coffee.

Interesting tidbits:
* A 3.5 oz dark chocolate bar provides the following % of our daily mineral requirements:
-Iron 20%
-Magnesium 33%
-Potassium 27%
-Copper 25%
-Calcium 13%

* Chocolate is good for your teeth! It contains fluoride and the cocoa butter forms a coating in the teeth that protects against bacteria!

* Chocolate gives you energy.

* Chocolate contains PEA (phenyl ethylamine). PEA is said to increase attention and activity, as well as relieve depression and anxiety.

Information on chocolate taken from the literature given at the tasting session.

One would think that after an evening of sampling many different types of chocolate and coffee, one would be wired and suffer from insomnia. Nope. Not I! There's something you should know about me. Coffee makes me sleepy! Close friends and family (and people who have been reading my blog since 2006) will know that I'm one of the very minute percent of people in the world that coffee has an adverse effect on. Instead of keeping me awake, it puts me to sleep. I drink a cup of espresso or cappuccino if I have insomnia and I'm out within minutes.

If you're on the Island, make sure to stop by The Anchor for lunch or supper and definitely head to Loco Beanz for some really good coffee and/or chocolate! Great service and friendly, knowledgeable staff. Love, love, love Loco Beanz!


  1. yummy! lucky you and i'm so happy you finally had a girls night out. what fun ! nex t time we're on the island you ahve to take me to those two places. promise!

  2. Poor husbands didn't get chocolate or coffee.

  3. Are you kidding me??? This happened on the Island and I didn't know about it?!?!?
    I love coffee and chocolate...all those great facts about how good the dark chocolate is for you it makes me want to add it to my diet....just kidding! I have actually NEVER had dark chocolate but I do love milk and white too much!
    Sounds like you had fun.

  4. HM:
    We had a blast! :) Yes, next time you're on the Island, we will have to go there. Are you coming this summer?

  5. Hubby:
    I brought you back some TOFFLES! :) You get to drink the SUMATRA coffee too!!! Next time there's a chocolate and coffee tasting, Janet, Jamie, you and I can go together. :)

  6. Christine:
    Ahhhh! It was so much fun! It wasn't really advertised in our end of the island. If my friend from Gore Bay hadn't told me on the weekend, I wouldn't have known.

  7. P.S. One of my Swiss students did his presentation on Swiss chocolate. He brought samples for his presentation too! He was adamant that a little bit of chocolate a day was good for one's health. It had to be dark chocolate though.

  8. OK, I am so coming to visit you this summer! We're planning some time in July or August. is that OK with you?