If you're in Seattle and you've got a hankering for chocolate, this is the place to be!
For years I've been meaning to visit San Francisco for their annual International Chocolate Salon. Drooling over the list of vendors, my fingers twitched and nearly bought air fare more times than I can count.
You can imagine my delight when I learned...the fine folks at Taste TV are putting the show on the road...and coming to Seattle!
Personally, I'm thanking my lucky stars...'cause I've been asked to be on the Tasting Awards Panel. (Whoo hooo!) Joining me will be Molly Wizenberg (Orangette, Bon Appetit), Eric Scigliano (Seattle Metropolitan Magazine), Matthew Amster-Burton (Roots & Grubs, Gourmet), Viv (Seattle Bon Vivant), Ritzy Ryciak (Conscious Choice Magazine), Julien Perry (KOMO TV) and Dana Cree (Tasting Menu.com, Pastry Chef - Veil Restaurant).
All I'm saying is...bring on the chocolate coma!! And I have been warned....unfortunately there's no medical cure for a chocolate-induced comas. (Do you sign a waiver for this kind of thing???)
Check out this line up of featured chocolatiers and confectioners:
Amano Artisan Chocolate, Kekau Chocolatier, Cocoa Chai Chocolates, Petit Noirs, Guittard Chocolate, Poco Dolce, Theo Chocolate, Blissful Brownies, Island Angel Chocolates, Alma Chocolate, Lula's Chocolates, Intrigue Chocolates Co., Andy's Handmade Chocolates, Fiori Chocolatiers, Dilettante Chocolates, Posh Chocolat, GrendelSweets Handcrafted Chocolates, Oh! Chocolate, Decadent Tastes, Cadeaux Chocolates, Emily's Chocolates, Cosmic Chocolate, Sweet Beauty Organic Chocolate Spa, Sol Rouge Wines and more.
When I saw the line up, I was thrilled...and worried. How am I going to try all that chocolate? And at what point do you experience palate fatigue? Is there any way to avoid it?
I had the opportunity to talk with Chocolate Maven, Alice Medrich, who provided some invaluable advice...
Chocoalate Tasting Notes from Alice Medrich:
- Taste from Dark to Light
Be aware that when you move from dark to light, the sugar content increases. Starting with the higher percentage chocolates, your palate will perceive the lower percentage chocolates as being much sweeter than they are. If at all possible, take a break before moving on to the next variety.
- Block out Distractions
Tasting nuances requires concentration. Close your eyes, wear ear plugs, find a quiet place...some people turn their backs to the audience. It's personal, but do whatever you can to block out other stimulus in the room.
- Use All of Your Senses
Sight, Smell, Touch, Sound, and Taste...all play a factor in the chocolate experience.
Sight: Is the chocolate shiny and tempered properly? Or is it dull?
Smell: Warm the chocolate between your fingers, cup your hands to your nose and smell. Is it fruity or smoky? Do you smell leather or coffee or vanilla? Be aware of aromas.
Touch: Warm the chocolate in your hand. Is it granular, waxy, or smooth?
Sound: When you break the bar, can you hear a resonate snap?
Taste: Take a small bit of chocolate and slowly let it melt slowly on your tongue. Lift your tongue to the roof of your mouth. What do you taste?
- Dealing with Palate Fatigue
Have you ever tasted a dish over and over again, and eventually failed to taste anything? All subtlety is gone and you no longer taste fine nuances. This is what's known as palate fatigue and it's a common occurrence. That's why, when you taste wine, they serve bland crackers. It cleanses the palate (like clearing the slate), enabling you to taste again....
Palate fatigue also happens after tasting chocolate over and over again. Alice advises eating water crackers....and drinking warm water. Warm water? Yes, the fat from chocolate accumulates on your tongue, and warm water melts the fat, clearing your palate in the process.
If you're in the Seattle area, do stop by. The Luxury Chocolate Salon is a bargain at just $20. You can expect tons of samples, chef demonstrations, book signings, and tons of chocolate available for sale.
Seattle Luxury CHOCOLATE SALON
Sunday July 13th, 11am - 5pm
Bell Harbor Conference Center
2211 Alaskan Way, Pier 66