Sunday, May 15, 2016

Chocolate Appreciation, Tastings & Pairings by Chocolate Concierge

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.

Chocolate Concierge
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  1. AnonymousMay 15, 2016

    Educational. I wonder how many do not know that chocolate comes from cocoa and what cocoa pods (and trees) look like. I used to teach that in Geography, the Southern Continents in Form 2 - I don't think it is in the syllabus anymore. As a matter of fact, I wonder if it is still a subject in school.

    1. Suituapui: geography was one of my weaker subjects in school, so i'm probably one of the students who couldn't tell what a cocoa pod is all about! :)

  2. We are back! :P
    I tasted raw cocoa once when I was a kid. And there is a cocoa factory nearby my university, we always can smell that weird smell in the campus, hahaha.

    1. CK: at last! disappeared for so long! heheh :) wah, i don't remember smelling raw cocoa anywhere near me, but i do remember the smell of rubber processing factories! :)

  3. Ohhh... that's one educational session that I won't mind! :D

    1. Rebecca: you'll definitely have fun! especially since you're a curious & happy-to-learn person! :)

  4. That sounds fun! I've never seen a fresh cocoa fruit before!

    1. Ken: it was a cool way to spend a couple of hours! i didn't expect to crack open some cocoa! ;)