It's official. We found a house and we're moving in. Built in 1864, it's been home to a goldsmith, a bookbinder, the underground railroad and has had as a regular visitor Daniel Chester French, among notable others. There's still a well in the basement that was used to pump water into the kitchen. The roof is made of slate from which the snow slips off gently. The house has all of the historic features we were hoping for including lots of light, big rooms and high ceilings. It needs a lot of work but we're thankful to have our own place and to have our health on the mend.
I've been overwhelmed your kind words and support. Your comments, emails and messages have meant more than you know.
Since this is a time of thanks and celebration I decided to give something away that will enliven your palate and introduce you to a world of rich, creamy pleasure. The giveway? All of the chocolate you need to conduct Your Own Chocolate Tasting.
On our last trip to Montreal, I loaded up on some tempting chocolate and I want one of you to have it all. The assortment includes:
Amedei Italy Grenada Dark 70 %
Michel Chaudun Paris Dark 70 %
Dolfin Belgium Milk with Cinnamon and Tea 32%
Valrhona France Manjari Orange 64%
Cote d’Or Belgium Dark 70 %
Duke & Mandarine Belgium Milk, Sugar-free, Gluten-free
Marquise de Sevigne Paris Ultimate Dark Chocolate 70 %
Michel Cluizel France Dark 99%
Guittard California Dark 72%
Chocolate Stella Switzerland Milk 33%
Here's a few guidelines to help you conduct your own tasting.
How to Conduct a Chocolate Tasting
1. Conduct the tasting in a quiet, odor free location.
2. Allow the chocolate to come to room temperature.
3. Line up small samples (no more than 6 at a time) of one type of chocolate (e.g. dark) on a table. Taste light before dark, plain before flavored. Hide the labels. Have a note pad handy to jot down your thoughts.
4. Cleanse your palate with warm water, a cracker or piece of bread.
5. Allow the chocolate to rest at room temperature before tasting.
6. Look at the chocolate. Is it well-crafted. Does it have a sheen? What colors does it reflect?
7. Break the chocolate. Well-tempered chocolate should snap.
8. Smell the chocolate. Cup it with your hands and breathe in the aroma. What do you smell? Nuts? Caramel? Fruit? Vinegar?
9. Let the chocolate melt on your tongue. Close your eyes and try to taste the different flavors. What is the texture? Smooth? Grainy? How is the feel? Does it melt easily? Is it creamy or waxy? Press it against the roof of your mouth. Does the flavor change over time? What is the finish? Bitter? Heavy? Is there an aftertaste?
10. Repeat with the next square of chocolate.
This is great fun alone or with a few friends. It's more fun if the tasters work in pairs and one is blind-folded. And if you don't like one of the brands, turn it into chocolate chips for cookies or melt it into ice cream.
How to Win
Entering to win is easy.
- Leave a comment on this post before midnight on Wednesday February 3rd.
- Make sure your comment links back to a site where you can be contacted. Otherwise include a Twitter or email address.
- One entry per person.
- The winner will be selected at random and contacted on Thursday February 4 before noon (EST).
- Be sure to check your inbox, messages or comments. If no response is received by February 6 at noon (EST), another winner will be selected.
- I will ship anywhere in the world.