Like most Americans, I was raised to love chocolate. Summers involved making s’mores around bonfires, where Hershey bars were always a requirement. Halloween was an excuse to consume mixed bag assortments of M&Ms, Reese’s, and Snickers. Christmas and Valentine’s Day consisted of both giving and getting copious amounts of chocolate. Almost every celebration included it in one form or another. I didn’t realize it then, but what I was actually eating was just candy disguised as chocolate. Real chocolate tastes much better, as I discovered during a trip to Trader Joe’s.
Let me first mention that I love wandering around grocery stores, farmers markets, bakeries—pretty much any place where I can discover new foods. I should also explain that the closest Trader Joe’s was over two hours away from the city I grew up in, so going there was a rare and exciting experience. It was on one of those trips to Trader Joe’s I stumbled into the world of artisan chocolate. On a whim, I picked up a chocolate bar because I wanted something sweet. The bar was labeled Ocumare and it didn’t taste like any chocolate I’d had before. The chocolate tasted fruity, yet the only ingredients were cacao, sugar, cocoa butter, and soy lecithin. Ocumare, as I later discovered, was the region of Venezuela where the beans were grown. This was what real chocolate tasted like, and suddenly a Hershey bar wouldn’t cut it anymore.
Moving to Seattle gave me access to an amazing array of opportunities to learn more about chocolate. In culinary school I learned how to temper chocolate and transform it into beautiful works of art. I discovered the nuances of over 100 different bars during my time working at a high-end chocolate shop. I took a job at a chocolate factory, so I could see the process of turning cocoa beans into bars. I read books about chocolate in my spare time and continued to taste as many bars as I could find.
I used to share my findings with only friends and family, but being a part of the Chococurb team allows me to share my passion with the world. At Chococurb, our goal is to encourage you to set aside the candy and give real chocolate a try. And the best part is that we’ll deliver it straight to you—no trips to Trader Joe’s required.