Patric Chocolate: A Chocolate Tasting Experience

patricchocolatePatric Chocolate is one of only 5 or 6 companies in the United States that makes chocolate from bean to bar. Bean to bar means that the one company, in this case one person, is responsible for every step of the chocolate making process. Last night, I had the privilege of attending a Slow Food St. Louis talk and chocolate tasting with the owner, Alan McClure.

The Most Interesting Fact I Learned About Chocolate

I learned so many interesting facts about chocolate at the tasting. I’m just going to highlight a few in this post. This is because I only remember a few.

The smell most people associate with chocolate is actually vanilla.

Most commercial chocolate has vanilla flavoring in it. Alan says this is to cover up the fact that their cacao (cocoa beans) aren’t quality. Go home or to your office vending machine, buy a bar of chocolate, smell, and think vanilla extract. Let me know the results.

The Second Most Interesting Thing I Learned About Chocolate

Chocolate is more of a big business than I had realized. This may be common knowledge, but it certainly wasn’t common knowledge to me so I’m going to pass it on.

Hershey’s owns Scharffen Berger and Dagoba Organic Chocolate.
Cadbury Schweppes owns Green & Black Organic.

Chocolate Tasting is Like Wine Tasting

I can’t taste the notes of oak and fried mushrooms in my wine. I also can’t taste cherries in my chocolate bar unless that’s actually in the ingredient list. Patric Chocolate is just chocolate. Cacao and sugar – that’s it. However, at the tasting we were expected to call out all of the different flavors we tasted. Everyone was playing along and nodding. “Tomatoes!” “Orange!” “Grape!”

I couldn’t taste it. I tasted chocolate. I felt like Morales in Chorus Line. If you haven’t seen it, watch this song:

One Final Chocolate Fact

Although I couldn’t taste all of these other flavors, I did taste some spectacular chocolate. It was a rich and full flavor that hung in my mouth long after my piece had been swallowed. The final interesting chocolate fact is:

A 67% chocolate bar tastes really different than a 70% chocolate bar.

I never would have thought there would be such a dramatic difference.

How Does This Post Relate to Cupcakes?

A Patric Chocolate ganache will be making an appearance on a Cupcake Project cupcake. Consider yourself forewarned.

Learn More about Patric Chocolate and How to Buy Some

patricchocolatebar2The St. Louis Post-Dispatch had an interesting article about Patric Chocolate and what makes it special.

Slow Food St. Louis also did a write-up of the event.

However, your best bet is to go directly to the Patric Chocolate website. Alan says that he considers half of his job to educate the public about what good chocolate is and the website is loaded with chocolate facts. You can also buy chocolate from the website.

Two warnings:

1. As mentioned before, Patric Chocolate just has plain chocolate bars, no fancy flavors like Vosges (the company I raved about when I made Naga Bar cupcakes). This chocolate stands alone. It doesn’t need flavoring.

2. The chocolate is expensive. This should not surprise you.

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