It was mothers day here in the UK a few weeks ago and I received an intriguing gift from my son. A box of chocolates, but not the usual kind, milk tray or dairy. No this was a plain cardboard box containing a selection of different fair trade chocolates, individually wrapped. He had already warned me not to eat them because there was another step. It turned out this was part of a virtual chocolate tasting. I had to go online and book a session.
Last night was the night. Straight after dinner we got the laptop ready at the dining table and furnished ourselves with wine and water (to cleanse the palate of course). Then we connected to the zoom link and along with about 60 other participants spent over an hour learning about chocolate. Plus we tried quite a large quantity of excellent chocolate.
As gifts go this was an excellent one. Over the past year I have tried to use more local and / or independent companies when choosing a gift. It seems he has too. Cocoa Runners run a monthly chocolate club and also the virtual tastings. They sell chocolate that is sourced from small producers across the world, ones that are properly paid. During the tasting I discovered that some of my favourite chocolate providers (Lindt and Hotel Chocolat) don’t sell good quality, well sourced chocolate. Which is a bit of a blow.
We enjoyed the various flavours, soft and silky, bitter and sweet. Smooth and grainy. We definitely weren’t disappointed. I’m not a huge chocolate eater, but I do like the odd nibble. Indeed I hadn’t eaten any chocolate over easter so this was quite the treat. Not only did we do the tasting but we learned so much about the history and production. This was pretty much the perfect gift and I highly recommend it.