Some of you may remember my post of a few years ago where I wrote, in bad Early Modern English and worse Caroline minuscule, a recipe for the drinking chocolate that I like to make. Ever since before that time - ever since reading The True History of Chocolate by Sophie and Michael Coe (affiliate link) - I've dreamed of starting a Chocolate House like they used to have in 16th and 17th century Europe. Last summer I even went to some business planning workshops and tried to draw up a business plan for the idea.
I came away from it rather discouraged: even in Utah, where a Mormon-friendly alternative to coffeehouses would theoretically have the highest chance of success, I came to believe that the culture that would be needed to support the kind of establishment I have in mind simply does not exist. Building a culture is no small matter. If my novel, when it gets published, gains any appreciable popularity, then that might do it.
Meanwhile, I thought: what if I developed a product to sell? Gourmet hot chocolate and drinking chocolate has been rising in the collective conscious like an underground lava dome, and I still see plenty of inexcusable ineptitude: people selling cocoa powder concoctions as if they were "drinking chocolate" or passing off coarsely-ground beans as gourmet because all that grit must mean it's legit . . .
Not that I have anything against cocoa, mind you, as long as it's done honestly. Cocoa/hot cocoa and hot chocolate/drinking chocolate are two distinct things, and I'm on a mission to educate people about this.
So here's my latest project: the Chocolate Project. I'm going to make a scientific, or at least a systematic, series of experiments in chocolate beverage-making, to work toward my product development goals. Along the way I'll share my recipes for kitchen tinkerers and fellow chocolate lovers to share in my discoveries. And I'll blog about it on this site, as well as post about it on social media.
I'm also dragging my family along on this. They don't seem to mind being subjected to regular fancy chocolate, for some weird reason.