Disclaimer for this blog post- we didn’t actually “make” chocolate from scratch. We did, however, melt and remake and form flavored chocolate so I’m keeping the DIY theme. It’s the same idea that we’re learning the story behind where our food comes from. We also learned about how and where chocolate grows, how it is made, what all is in the chocolate we eat, and the difference in organic fair-trade chocolate as opposed to a conventional brand, for example Hershey’s.
It was pretty much the best community day ever.
In the morning we learned from one of the YAV work-site supervisors who used to own her own chocolate business. We learned the correct way to taste dark chocolate, kind of like how you smell and taste wine, and felt very fancy. We learned about the different types of plants and where they grow, how they are harvested and dried, what the percentage of dark chocolate means and what all goes in our favorite chocolate bars. We even got to sample several different kinds grown in different places to compare the flavors.
Then we got to make our own dark chocolate designs, in ginger and raspberry flavors.
After lunch at a funky, vegetarian, local and organic restaurant Clover Food Lab we headed over to the Taza Chocolate factory. To say we had been looking forward to this trip for a while would be an understatement.
Taza is a direct trade company, meaning they maintain direct relationships with their caocoa farmers, pay a premium above the Fair Trade price, and partner only with producers who respect the rights of workers and the environment. They also make authentic stone ground Mexican chocolate, meaning their chocolate has a grainy texture and taste to it– in a good way.
We had a really fun tour that started with how and where chocolate grows (we had already become experts earlier that day and knew the answers to all of those questions.) We learned about exactly where they get their cacoa and got to see how and where it is processed in the factory. We learned about how they make the authentic stone-ground texture, how they make the different flavors, and even how they clean out the machines and pipes (hint– it’s with chocolate.)
And the best part– we got to sample several different kinds of delicious chocolate.
This was the awesome, fun part of the day full of laughter and getting chocolate everywhere… Keep reading for an angry activist rant about the “Dark Side of Chocolate.”