Wednesday, November 19, 2008

NY Chocolate Show

Chocolate Chrysler Building headdress

I'm baaaack....well, kind of. I feel like I've always got some excuse about why I've fallen off the blogging thing, but really, this time, it's just been insane, and the constant news about layoffs and such are not really inspiring me to do much other than keep my head down. But actually while I've been gone I've gotten to do a couple of cool things, including going to the Sheep & Wool Festival at Rhinebeck where I got to pet a lot of sheep and alpacas. My new goal in life? Get a miniature sheep. Ooooh, miniature sheep.

Anyway! Having said that, I did emerge from the lair long enough to go to the 11th Annual Chocolate Show at Pier 94 along the Hudson River. I arrived about noon on the Sunday, paid my $25 admission fee (there was also the option of a combination ticket that included wine and food tastings on the other side of the hall) and was instantly overwhelmed by the crowd (predictably, mostly women).

Mary's of Japan flower chocolate
Mary's flower chocolates

Now, let me point out that despite my best efforts, I was not able to convince ANY of my friends to come to the Chocolate Show. Yes, I too was flabbergasted. I mean, a day scarfing down chocolate samples??? How could you resist? Well, be that as it may, I was flying solo and I spent most of my time there making the rounds, eating samples, chatting with chocolatiers, and generally staring open-mouthed at the mountains and mountains of delicious looking goodies.

Boissier Chocolate Petals
Chocolate petals from Boissier

The first booth I stopped at was Boissier, where they were keeping their samples under wraps (because people tasted too many chocolates and then lost the ability to distinguish between them, I was told). I assured her that they were my first chocolate of the day and was rewarded with a sample of these amazing chocolate petals--yes, those are cocoa nibs. I was hooked right away and left with an entire tin.

Pralus Pyramide des Tropiques
Pralus Pyramide des Tropiques

One of the best things about the show was that I got to taste a lot of single origin chocolates for the first time, as well as chocolate from companies that are "bean to bar" (i.e. that the company makes the chocolate themselves from the cacao bean). Fascinating! I only managed to take in one demonstration, a chocolate tasting led by a representative from Amedei (based in Tuscany!) followed by a demonstration of a chocolate spread recipe. Uh, that chocolate spread is one of the best things I've ever tasted. I would have bought a block of the Amedei chocolate for that but slightly too rich for my blood...instead, I just ate a few more samples. Shhhhh. I did also pick up a bunch of other chocolates from Mary's, including their green tea and soy powder ganaches, but I'll be reviewing those later on since I haven't broken into those packages yet. Yes, please, admire my willpower.

You would think that after all that chocolate, I would have craved something savory. Instead, I walked over to NYCIcy on 10th avenue and tried a mango basil sorbet. Delicious! Props to my coworker for the recommendation.

Then, I justified the entire day by walking all 60 blocks home. Well, somewhat anyway.