I’m really looking forward to these events for so many reasons. Firstly, I’ve never seen this kind of taste matching done in New Zealand before, so I’m excited to play around with these new and delicious possibilities. Secondly, it’s an opportunity to get to know some of my customers more personally, and to have decent conversations about what everybody enjoys when it comes to chocolate. Lastly, it’s the start of the more educational side of this business, which is something I really want to focus on this year. Bean-to-bar chocolate is a relatively new thing in New Zealand, so I’m really looking forward to explaining in depth about the whole concept and process.
As for the tastings themselves, I think it’s going to be really fun to try out these different combinations and to introduce people to some unique and wonderful flavours. I’ve organised several taste matching events in the past, but what I particularly love about this is the level of subtlety involved. Tea and craft chocolate both involve very intricate flavours that you have to appreciate calmly, allowing the mysteries to unfold on your palate in their own time. I think - and hope - people are going to be pleasantly surprised by some of the things that they encounter.
I’m also excited to be collaborating with two of the best tea companies in New Zealand - Ritual Tea in Wellington and Fine & Dandy in Auckland. Both of these companies are using exceptionally high quality single estate tea that is Fair Trade and organic. Likewise, the chocolate we will be tasting is all single origin and made with Fair of Direct Trade cacao. The similarities between tea and chocolate are manifold, and what I find really interesting about both is the influence of the terroir in the final flavour. It’s an infinite world of joy to be explored.
These events are going to be an appreciation of so many things: they are a way of giving thanks for the natural bounty of the earth; a way of paying gratitude to the people who harvest this bounty; a celebration of the talented crafters who turn this bounty into something delicious, and a general enjoyment of the fine and delicate things in life. In a world that can often be cruel and overwhelming, it’s important to take some timeout to bask in these gifts.
I hope some of you can join us for these events.