Notes From the Underground Chocolate Salon and a GIVEAWAY

Last week a big group of us gathered at Roni-Sue's Chocolates in Manhattan for another edition of the Underground Chocolate Salon. But before we get to the details, I have a giveaway to share for 10 lucky New Yorkers!


Delicious dessert photos by Jody Horton, from my book!

This Monday I'll be leading a chocolate tasting at the 92Y with Michael Laiskonis, featuring the bean-to-bar chocolate he makes at the Institute of Culinary Education. We'll also be snacking on recipes from the book: triple chocolate chip cookies from Miro Uskokovic of Gramercy Tavern and white chocolate mousse in pineapple cups from my bud and chocolatier Kristofer Kalas, plus a bonus double chocolate fudge cookie from Miro. Kitchen Arts & Letters will also be there selling books, and I'll be signing. Tickets are $29, but we're giving away 10 starting now. Email me at NOW if you want to come!

Underground Chocolate Salon


I’ve always been jealous of Paris in the 1920s, when artistic and literary luminaries gathered at Gertrude Stein’s house to talk and hang out: Picasso, Cézanne, Joyce, Eliot, Cocteau. Only one thing would have made it better: chocolate. That’s why I started what I’m calling the Underground Chocolate Salon, for like-minded (or not so like-minded) people to get together and talk chocolate, as well as enjoy one another’s company.

This time the theme was chocolate made at origin (i.e., where cacao grows, 20 degrees above and below the Equator). We started out tasting Moho Chocolate, a bean-to-bar maker in Belize. Rhonda Kave, the owner of Roni-Sue, is part owner of the company and uses the chocolate to make some of her confections. She had whole roasted beans for us to try as well as a dark milk straight out of the melangeur, plus a 69 percent, 72 percent, and raspberry bonbon, all made with the same beans. Pretty cool to trace it from bean to bonbon and taste the differences at each stage, like in this video that I made that was published on Saveur recently.

Moho 69% Single-Origin Belize

A little cinnamon or winter spicy, dried red fruit, pomegranate, winey, raisin

Moho 72% Single-Origin Belize

Roasty, cocoa, coffee, maple syrup, raspberry and pomegranate

Raspberry Bonbon Made With Moho Single-Origin Belize and Valrhona

Can taste the raspberry seeds, very berry, bright, sweet, crowd favorite

Tuanis 75% Single-Origin Talamanca, Costa Rica

Earthy, toasty, highly tannic, smooth mouthfeel, orange/kumquat finish; one particularly poetic attendee described the experience as "waiting for something to come that doesn't happen, like in love"

Ta.cho 71% Single-Origin Soconusco

Red wine, tannic, astringent, pepper, smoky, very smooth but doesn't melt smoothly in mouth

We also tried a brand-new maker's bar that used unfermented beans from Belize. Apparently after harvesting, the pulp is washed off the raw beans and then they are immediately dried (kind of like in coffee). It tasted like Turkish coffee, smoky espresso, and bacon. What do you think about using unfermented cacao to make chocolate?

New York Coffee Festival

On Sunday I headed to the New York Coffee Festival to talk about craft chocolate. They were expecting about 25 people at my talk (it was Sunday afternoon after three days of caffeine, after all) but had to pull up chairs to seat 60 to 70! I was surprised and excited to find that the audience was so well-informed about things like single origins, terroir, and more, and they loved the roasted cocoa beans and bars I shared. So much curiosity and good questions!

Do You Want a Poster of the Map From My Book?


If you're a chocolate educator, run a cafe or shop, or would be able to use this map in any other way, email me your mailing address and my publisher will send you a poster for free! Email: I'm sending them the final list next Friday, October 27, so be sure to reach out before then.