(I took the header picture of a Common Loon resting on a pond in Utah on its way north in June of 2015. It was in transition from winter to summer plumage.)

Translate - I dare you. Then make a comment on the funny errors the translator made.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

The Chocolate Project, episode 1: Guittard Extra Dark chips

It has begun!  The Chocolate Project is officially underway with the first family tasting.  For the first few rounds, we will try a variety of chocolate, plain, without spices (other than vanilla).  Then we'll start adding different spices and flavorings and making notes of what works well with what.  Oh yes, this is going to be fun!

I discovered Guittard Extra Dark chocolate chips a few years ago, after having used Winco's chocolate buttons for a while.  These things are 63% cacao, which is a bit sweeter than I generally prefer, but they're convenient to use (they melt quickly into the hot water) and they're made with pretty good beans.  They don't quite have the complex richness that some of the finer brands have, but they're a lot closer that Baker's (which I used for a long time before I knew better).  Their ingredient list: Cacao beans, sugar, sunflower lecithin and real vanilla.

Ready to begin.  (I'm not very happy about the color here - I'll try to do better in following pictures.)
The method is the same for each one we try: heat the water to boiling, pour into the pitcher and beat it with the molinillo.  I got my main molinillo (pictured above) in a Mexican import store in Pittsburgh, and as for the pitcher, I don't know where you can get one.  My sweetie found it for me it at the local DI (Deseret Industries, a chain of thrift stores managed by the LDS Church).  But it's similar to one I found at Bed, Bath and Beyond.  Sorry not to have a link to buy one of those yet.

I used 2 oz of chocolate chips and 1/3 cup of water per serving, and made three servings total (I shared mine with the baby).  Here's what we thought:

The baby said: "Nomnomnomnom!"

My sweetie and our seven-year-old both thought it was quite sweet, grabbing at the back of the mouth, with an earthy kind of flavor.  I found it slightly caustic on the roof of my mouth, with a reasonably clean finish and a rich dark flavor.  Not as elegant or delicate in its bouquet of aromas as some varieties, but good and dark.  There's something in its flavor that to me suggests beets, in a good way.  Thick and maybe I would say somewhat fuzzy.

All in all, an excellent chocolate for common drinking.  I've used these for demonstrations in schools due to their ease of preparation and relative cheapness, and I expect I will continue to use them often.  If you want to buy some online, Amazon sells them in packs of four:

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