Liz Gotterer has been a member of our monthly chocolate tasting panel for many years now. She was drawn to the tasting panel because she hadn’t developed a vocabulary to describe flavor and texture differences, and she wanted to have the opportunity to taste a lot of chocolate and understand what she liked best before spending money on it. While most customers prefer one type of chocolate, Liz has a diverse palate, enjoying dark, milk and white chocolate bars.
It has been a pleasure to see Liz grow over the years, developing a more confident palate. She is a quiet force with clear opinions about what she likes and doesn’t like. She is willing to step up and contribute her unedited opinions to the panel discussion, and she is always striving to become better at tasting chocolate. As I’ve told her before, tasting is a lifelong pursuit, and I, too, am always striving to get better at it. I applaud her diligence in continuing to improve her tasting abilities, even when it seems difficult.
It was Liz’s many interests that got her up to Queen Anne and Chocolopolis in the first place. Yoga, a French conversation group and Trader Joe’s were the catalyst in discovering Chocolopolis, and then we became an important part of her routine visits. This was no easy feat. Liz is a big fan of public transportation, riding buses as much as possible. There are no direct bus routes from Wallingford to Queen Anne, but she endured the circuitous journey to reach her favorite locations. She was one of the first people to tell me she was glad we were moving to Interbay. It’s a much better bus commute, and the D line stops right by the store. Change can be difficult for everyone, so it was a relief for me to hear that I had a fan of our new move before we’d made it.
Here’s more about Liz in her own words.
What’s your favorite chocolate bar of all time?
My favorite bar of all time, so far anyway, is Pralus Melissa 45% Milk Chocolate.
How did you become a chocolate lover?
I spent a summer as an exchange student in French-speaking Switzerland when I was a teenager, and I was exposed to better chocolate there. I came home 5-10 pounds heavier than when I left. Not too many years later, I started tasting fine chocolate at the original Dilettante on Capitol Hill. I was told that the Dilettante used the same recipes chocolatiers used when making confections for the czars of Russia. And still, I have sought out chocolate sources both at home and whenever traveling, whether in the US or abroad.
How did you discover Chocolopolis?
Finding Chocolopolis on Queen Anne about eight years ago was a milestone along the pursuit of high quality chocolate. My friend Michael and I would visit Chocolopolis separately and compare notes about what we’d seen, who, if anybody we’d talked to, what we’d bought. We’d sometimes share tastes/samples with each other of what we’d bought. I used to keep a stash of empty chocolate bar wrappers, but I stopped – otherwise I would have had to move out of my house. Finding Chocolopolis has allowed me to relax and back away from my earlier frenzy to find high quality chocolate. Chocolopolis brings high quality chocolate to me.
What do you do when you’re not tasting chocolate?
What else do I do besides search for and eat better chocolate? I like licorice almost as much as I like chocolate. I love to eat them together in one bite. I was pleased when I traveled to Iceland a few years ago to find that Icelanders combine chocolate and licorice in many of their confections. I love using public transportation in Seattle and wherever and whenever I travel. I practice yoga regularly and routinely travel abroad on trips that combine yoga retreats and touring. I like to browse in antique shops. I am an urban anthropologist and linguist; I visit different cities and study different languages. Besides English, French is the language at which I am most proficient. I am a bird watcher and enjoy local birding and also taking trips to see birds in more exotic habitats.
Happy Hour samples chosen by Liz:
Francois Pralus Melissa 45% Milk Chocolate
Escazu Artisan Chocolates Venezuela 60% Goat’s Milk Chocolate
Askinosie Chocolate Mababu, Tanzania 72% Dark Chocolate
Michel Cluizel USA Mokaya 66% Dark Chocolate
Fruition Chocolate Toasted White Chocolate