Dark Secrets: Dark Chocolate Desserts
It's a bittersweet story – a love affair of the deepest, darkest kind. Should you make these for your Valentine – or surprise a mysterious stranger? Or keep them for yourself? For the best earthy, intense chocolate flavor, look for bars with a high cacao content, 70 percent or higher, and premium cocoa.
From Bean to Bar
Immerse yourself in the world of chocolate, from cacao plants to finished treats, in two upcoming events. Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden's annual International Chocolate Festival is Fri., Jan. 24-Sun., Jan. 26 from 9:30am-4:30pm. On hand is one of the world's leading authorities on cacao, Maricel Presilla, a James Beard Award-winning chef, culinary historian and author of The New Taste of Chocolate. Other experts include Fairchild's Noris Ledesma and Richard Campbell on growing cacao; chocolatier Ricardo Trillos of Cao Chocolates (featured in our Fall 2013 issue); and Eduardo Cortes of Cortes Chocolate in Puerto Rico. Other weekend highlights include demos from chefs Andrea Curto-Randazzo, Creative Tastes; Mariana Cortez, Bunnie Cakes; Camille Lamb, Whole Foods Market Coral Gables; Monica Duenas, Ortanique; Allen Susser of Chef Allen's; Loren Pulitzer of Meals That Heal (read about her on page 16); and Debra Upshaw of Sisters in Pink. And for the unexpected joys of pairing chocolate and beer, visit the Beer Tasting Garden Sat. and Sun. beginning at 11am at the Cycad Circle, for seasonal brews from Brown Distributing Company, Merchant Du Vin and Belukus Imports. You can also try beers from Samuel Smith Brewery, Young's Brewery and Liefmans Brewery.
The new Grimal Grove, home to one cacao tree (see page 42) is hosting two Chocolate Workshops Sat., Feb. 1 and Sun., Feb. 2. At the workshop, they'll be pruning and planting more cacao trees, learning about the pods, starting seedlings, and making and eating chocolate. Chocolatier Eric Gilbert, co-owner of Island Chocolates, Inc. of Prince Edward Island, Canada, will be there, and Kallari Chocolate, an association of the Kitchwa people in the Amazon, will be providing the chocolate. "They make amazing chocolate and protect their culture and give their farmers a fair market price for their cacao," says Patrick Garvey of the project. "We'll also be screening the video Growing Hope Initiative produced about Kallari." To RSVP, call 305-923-6663 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.