This past weekend I ate chocolate from Friday through Monday. Now, that may not sound unusual for me, but rest assured, it was, because this time I was breaking bars with the best of the chocolate industry at events for the Heirloom Cacao Preservation Fund, the Fine Chocolate Industry Association (FCIA), and the International Chocolate Awards.
The best story came from chocolatier Fran Bigelow of iconic Fran’s Chocolates, who told the room at the Fine Chocolate Industry Association (FCIA) meeting the story of her salted caramels. When she first started making them, the idea of salt in sweets was about as foreign as a shih tzu on roller skates. But a chef friend had turned her on to it, and by golly, it worked! Her salt-fiend customers agreed, but it took everyone else a bit to catch on. Apparently one lady even pulled her aside to tell her that the kitchen had made a terrible mistake and sprinkled salt instead of sugar on top of the caramels. Heavens to Murgatroyd! Well, as we all know, salt does indeed go with sweets, from caramels to chocolate to much more. It’s one of my favorite combos.
Here are a few other amazing quotes from this weekend:
From the Heirloom Cacao Preservation Fund’s Media Event (that I helped put together!):
“I have to spit that out or I’ll weight 732 pounds”—cacao, cocoa, and chocolate expert Ed Seguine, on tasting chocolate all day for a living
“This is not your grandmother’s grocery store chocolate anymore."—Ed Seguine, on chocolate made with heirloom cacao
“What Guittard has made is smoother than a baby’s butt!”—Ed Seguine, on Guittard’s gorgeous bars it makes for tasting heirloom cacao
“I like the color. I used to have a burgundy jacket, so excuse me.”—Ed Seguine, about a light reddish chocolate bar
“The only species that’s more promiscuous than cacao is mankind.”—Ed Seguine, about everything, really
From the Fine Chocolate Industry Association Meeting
“If you call it ‘artisanal aquaculture,’ people will order it!”—Professor Kristy Leissle (okay, this one was about farmed salmon, you caught me)
“I’m chococurious.”—Josh Rosen of Charm School Chocolate
“Where are we in society? We’re hot, we’re bothered.”—chocolate expert Curtis Vreeland, on why spicy chocolate is a trend
From the International Chocolate Awards Ceremony
“White is the new dark.”—chef and chocolate expert Maricel Presilla on white chocolate and flavor trends