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  • Tea and craft chocolate tasting nights

    Tea and craft chocolate tasting nights

    Tea and craft chocolate night

     

    As you may have already seen, I will be running two tea and craft chocolate tasting nights over the next few weeks, one in Wellington and one in Auckland.

    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.

    Thanks,

    Luke.

  • Chocolate, cinnamon and orange dates.

    Chocolate, cinnamon and orange dates.

    chocolate cinnamon orange dates

    Looking for a way to get more chocolate involved with your Christmas Day? Here's a really simple recipe for some delightful treats...

    What you'll need...

    1 pack of organic Medjool dates (around 12 dates)

    1 Taza Mexicano Cinnamon Disc

    1 Orange

    Handful of chopped hazelnuts (or whatever nuts you've got in the house)

    chocolate orange cinnamon dates

     

    Step 1 - break up the chocolate into segments and place in a glass jug or bowl. Place this in a pan of boiling water and wait for the chocolate to melt.

    Step 2 - zest your orange and add the zest to the melty chocolate goodness. Now stir.

    Step 3 - slit the dates down one side and remove the pip. Spoon in a little of the chocolate mixture and close the date up again. 

    Step 4 - leave the dates in the fridge to cool for about twenty minutes. Arrange on a plate to serve and sprinkle with chopped hazelnuts.

    Step 5 - EAT! YUM!

     

    Such an easy recipe, which is handy if you're attempting to cook an epic Christmas lunch. I used the Cinnamon Taza but I think this would also be great with the Coffee or Salted Almond.

    Enjoy!

     

    taza bean to bar chocolate

    taza bean to bar chocolate

    chocolate orange cinnamon dates

  • Bean-to-bar Chocolate in the Dom Post!

    Bean-to-bar Chocolate in the Dom Post!

    We made it into the Dominion Post today! 

    Only a small thing in the listings but still really cool to see 'the bean-to-bar movement' printed in a mainstream newspaper. Hopefully there'll be much more of this to come.

     

    bean-to-bar chocolate in the Dominion Post

  • The Pitch Dark is here

    The Pitch Dark is here

    Pitch Dark bean to bar chocolate

    Yesterday the Pitch Dark arrived. The postman handed it to me as if it was just another parcel. Little did he know that it contained some of the finest chocolate in the world.

    Brian Flick, owner/operator of Pitch Dark, is a bit of a legend of the bean-to-bar chocolate scene; a maverick, if you will. Part artist, part scientist, he’s been obsessed with chocolate since a very young age and started making his first bars at age fourteen. At twenty-one he took some time out and lived on a cacao plantation in Fiji, learning everything about the plants and understanding the whole chocolate process from start to finish. Now he trades directly with that same plantation, paying way above market prices.

    Brian has an inherent knack of bringing out the intricate notes of rare types of cacao. He exposes the terroir like a master winemaker, and tasting Pitch Dark’s chocolate is very much like tasting a fine wine. The palate is long and develops over time, offering more and more flavours that swirl subtly in your mouth. You have to experience it to truly understand.

    This is the finest chocolate we stock. A little pricey, I’ll admit, but this is the absolute Rolls Royce of bean-to-bar chocolate. The champagne to be popped on a special occasion or the special crockery that you only use for guests. It’s something to be remembered.

     

    Check out the Pitch Dark products in our shop.

    The Rugoso is potentially my all time favourite chocolate.