Crafting Chocolate Pairings

Blue cheese and chocolate? Discover why artisanal, single-source chocolate is trending in food circles by pairing various bean-to-bar delights with beer, cheese, and spirits.

| Summer 2020

chocolate-pairings
Photo by Shutterstock/smallblackcat

You’ve probably never thought about how a chocolate bar got to be, well, a chocolate bar. And you’re not alone: Art Pollard, the owner of Amano Artisan Chocolate, thought “chocolate comes from chocolate” before he started making his own. Turns out, making chocolate is actually a pretty involved process. Before we get to tasting, let’s look at where the raw materials for your chocolate bar come from.

Cacao to Chocolate

Chocolate is a specialty food from its inception, growing only near the equator and needing careful harvesting and processing to produce its familiar flavors.

chocolate-beginnings
Illustration © by Amber Day



Cacao trees (Theobroma cacao) grow from about 20 degrees north of the equator to about 20 degrees south of it, and much of the cocoa that bean-to-bar makers use comes from Central and South America. Many makers actually visit the farms themselves and work with farmers to make sure that the cacao is fermented and dried in a way that creates the flavors they want.

The pods grow. Cacao flowers grow into pods when midges pollinate them. The pods ripen over five or six months, and typically mature at the end of the local rainy season.






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