How is chocolate made? What do cocoa fruits & beans taste like before they're transformed into chocolate? Can chocolate be paired promisingly with beer, coffee, tea, cocktails, or even whiskey? These & other burning questions might be resolved to deliciously satisfying effect at chocolate appreciation sessions recently launched by Malaysian purveyor Chocolate Concierge.
Each session, held at various venues once or twice a month, has a different focus, conducted by Chocolate Concierge founder Ning-Geng Ong. One recent gathering kicked off with an hour-long masterclass on chocolate production, spanning history, geography, science & sociology, with Ning bringing us freshly harvested ripe cocoa pods to illustrate how they're cracked, what their contents initially taste like (mangosteens - sort of!), & how they evolve through steps like fermentation, roasting & refining.
The tasting for this round married chocolate with beer (Thirst magazine & Solaris Dutamas hangout Ales & Lagers co-helmed the initiative). A shot of cocoa nectar - pure, enzymatically active juice from cacao pulp - was followed by couplings in a thoughtful progression of flavour & temperature: Ghana Origin Meltaway served frozen with Red Chair NWPA pale ale; Orange Zest Meltaway with Americano A Roma IPA; an amazing smoked chocolate almond-hazelnut rocher with Rogue Hazelnut Brown Nectar; salted caramel banana petit four with Stone Coffee Milk Stout; finished with a wonderful Venezuelan-origin malted hot chocolate espuma. A unique experience that chocolate geeks will find fun & fulfilling; thanks to Ning for having us.
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