We recently re-launched our Chocolate of the Month World Tour (CMWT) program after a hiatus of five years. Why such a long time? It was a wonderful program that had loyal followers, but it took a lot of work and care to make sure our members received a meaningful gift of chocolate each month. We were juggling a lot of balls at our old location, making it difficult to keep up with the monthly shipments logistically. The move to our new location last summer allowed us to get back to our roots, curating a fantastic chocolate collection and putting together meaningful monthly deliveries of chocolates to our CMWT members. We’re incredibly excited to have re-launched CMWT!
Each month members receive 2-4 bars of chocolate that Lauren Adler, our Chief Chocophile, has chosen for them to taste. The bars may be new to our collection or noteworthy for other reasons. Or they may just be her favorites of the moment. She writes a letter to members each month that describes the chocolates in the delivery and provides any thematic information about why she’s chosen the bars. While CMWT members receive the letters first (along with chocolate, of course) we thought it would be fun to share the letters with you a month after publication. This is the first in a monthly post.
Here’s what Lauren had to say to CMWT members in January 2018:
We’re starting off 2018 with some great single-origin chocolate bars, and one inclusion bar. I’ve provided a few highlights of each, below. Please keep in mind that tasting is a personal experience. Your tastes may vary from mine, and that’s okay!
Cacao Hunters Tumaco 82%
Cacao Hunters is dedicated to highlighting the wonderful flavors of indigenous cacao from Colombia where the cacao is grown, and where the chocolate is made. This is a flavorful bar with excellent texture. The cacao is grown in Tumaco, which is a port city on the Pacific Ocean near the border with Ecuador. I taste notes of chocolate, wood and citrus.
Charm School Belize 70%
Chocolate maker Josh Rosen is a perfectionist who creates balanced bars of chocolate with great flavor. His Belize bar is his only single-origin bar, and it made the Final Four of the Chocolopolis Chocolate Sweet Sixteen. Josh’s training as a pastry chef comes through in the many fun inclusion bars he creates with his Belize-origin chocolate. He uses coconut milk in his milk and white chocolate bars, enabling him to create all-vegan chocolate. I taste notes of chocolate and brown fruits with an earthy finish in this Belize 70% bar.
Areté Peru Nacional 66%
Founded by David & Leslie Senk, Areté Fine Chocolate is located in Milpitas, CA, for now. The Senks are relocating to Spencer, Tennessee in April. It’s a more cost-effective place to make chocolate, and David will be able to quit his day job in the electronics industry and join Leslie in making chocolate for a living. The Senks have done a fantastic job building flavor from single-origin cacao, resulting in some of the most complex chocolate bars on the market. I taste notes of fig, spices and fresh fruit.
Chocolopolis Spicy Aztec 72% (Out of Stock for good)
This is one of the last of our own chocolate bars, made in our kitchen at our old store before we moved. I thought it would be fun for you to taste it before our stash is gone. It’s one of my favorite spice and chocolate combinations. We start with Valrhona Araguani 72%, which is a Venezuela-origin chocolate, and we add ancho, guajillo and cayenne peppers along with a hint of allspice and some cayenne-infused sea salt. This is the same spice mixture we used in our Spicy Aztec Truffle and our Spicy Drinking Chocolate. Enjoy!
Happy chocolate tasting,