in one word describe that perfect ride.
or that night, and the way their laughter sounded like rain on the tin roof of your aching soul. the morning you opened your eyes to something bright which seemed an awful lot like a dream you'd once had and almost forgotten. the time you nailed it. the time you looked far, far ahead and saw absolutely nothing, and it was terrifying in the way that the most beautiful things always are.
yeah, we can't do it either. but sometimes all it takes is one look, one foot out the door, one hand, one bite. and you just know.
what we've been making.
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no.1 nightswimming: 70% dark without the drop off
the bean: 2013 organic + fair trade venezualan canoabo cacao. crafted with: organic + fair trade cocoa butter, organic + fair trade sugar. dark meets citrusy bright.
listen to the r.e.m song. take a long ride and don't look back. ask her anyway. tell him what you want to hear. take a dive and do not fear because this one, despite a dark and citrusy bite, has no drop off. invite a friend (or three) and do exactly what your mother warned you not to do.
no.2 lost + found: 45% milk chocolate with a kick
the bean: 2014 organic + fair trade belize criollo/trinatario cacao. crafted with: organic + fair trade cocoa butter, organic + fair trade sugar, organic whole milk powder, and wandering goat coffee company "hair of the goat" espresso. milk chocolate that actually tastes of cocoa.
what started as a mistake morphed into a loud clamor for more. good thing we don't have a heart for tossing things out: first time making milk chocolate, which has oh so much more to it than a sugar high, like more cocoa butter and milk powder. who knew how full the melanger would be? a lovely milky chocolate hurricane and some had to go, so straight into a few molds.
now we think of it as a sweet reminder amongst the dark chocolate hoopla that what might seem lost can be found. my favorite goat (what, you don't have one?) was named iceman. he was white-bearded, ancient for even an old goat, prone to explore the hinterlands, disappearing for days to re-appear in calm repose in a patch of sun by the barn. which brings us to admiral richard byrd: who in 1934 lived in isolation from his crew for 5 months at a meteorlogical station in antarctica. happily for byrd his crew did not forget him in the blank expanse of the polar ice field, and happily for them like any good expedition leader he'd listed 2 critical ingredients on the expedition packing list: chocolate and coffee. sometimes what we find has nothing to do with what we've lost.
dear milk chocolate, no matter how dark it gets we will always love you.
no.3 here kitty kitty: 72% kick ass for when all hell breaks loose
the bean: 2014 organic + fair trade belize criollo. crafted with: organic fair trade cocoa butter, organic fair trade sugar.
just what do you eat when you get into camp after dark and the propane tank is clogged and the last of the TP is sinking somewhere in an eddy back upriver where the baggage boat hit that unfortunate rock and everyone is hungry and just a tad cranky, and the famous TV journalist and her husband want to discuss their wet tent and what about those sandy sleeping bags you handed them? um, nothing much, until the truth comes out: that somebody had swilled the emergency single malt back on day two. then you eat what makes sense. thus my fellow boatgal pals and i perfected the art of ringtailing, aka the art of eating the lunch treats when no one is looking: in the canyon at night ringtails (small mammals with cute faces, quick + greedy paws, and long tails) are prone to rustling through un-stowed food supplies, shredding packaging and destroying the last of the fig newtons. we, on the other hand, went straight for the good stuff. in the morning we'd awaken to the boat boys swearing about the mess of twix wrappers strewn about and we would shake our heads and blame it on the kudamundi.
no.4 lost mitten: 45% milk chocolate with cardamon + nutmeg.
the bean: 2014 belize criollo. crafted with: organic cocoa butter, organic sugar, organic whole milk powder, and dusted with a winter worthy blizzard of warming spices.
i've never stopped looking for it, nor do i intend to: that perfect snow day blizzard. the lights flicker, the streets go sweetly silent, and suddenly the stranger next door with the really hefty snow shovel is your new bff. snow might just be the great equalizer.
crafting february 2015:
no. 5 yes, we all need one, a 70% dark wteffever bar
the bean: organic 2014 peru maranon criollo "nacional." crafted with: organic cocoa butter and organic sugar.
our everyday go-to bar for when that $18 bar seems a bit much. dear chocolate lover, thank you for your leap of faith in purchasing this humble bar crafted by this humble bean to bar small batch chocolate maker. good chocolate, like the best things in life, knows no boundaries and fears not the demographic fault zone. nor does it fret the irksome edges of the map, or the scary cliff zone called Unknown Territory. and did we mention, ever-so (humbly, i think we mentioned that earlier) affordably priced at $1.80 with no parts unknown (ahem) and ever so delicious, wrapped up in this WTEFFEVER bar. say it however you like cuz yeah, what the eff ever. and don't be chintzy, buy one (or 4) for those long suffering friends.
no. 6 tiny nibbles of big joy: roasted cacao beans coated in dark chocolate + tumbled mercilessly in craft cocoa
the bean: organic 2014 peru maranon criollo "nacional." the lovely dip: 2014 organic ecuador rain forest alliance. the tumble: the same ecuador, roasted + ground.
now, why. why why why would a lowly bean become the stuff of so much legend, the focal point of a famous chef's own chocolate enterprise and so much hoopla? because it tastes amazing. because it is gentle, not a smackdown in sight kind of a bean, and because it is in limited and very short supply and only grows in one place in the world, and did we mention it is a canyon? and that canyons are our favorite places on earth? anyway, the roasted beans were wonderfully nutty-ish eaten out of hand and there was that irksome idea about dipping some in chocolate. if you figure out why i chose the ecuador for this role send me an email and i'll send you a sweet bundle of joy. on the house, er, forge.
no. 7: my sister's tattoo. 70% dark with lapsang souchong tea. bold, bright, and a bit bohemian
the bean: organic 2014 eduador trinitario, rainforest alliance certified. crafted with: organic cocoa butter, organic sugar, and lapsang souchong tea steeped in cocoa butter plus a tad more sprinkled on top.
my sister might be the original wild child. not one to take no for an answer. designed and built her own home, whips up a mean kimchi on a whim, is kind + generous + smart, and ever the head turner. if you like your tea slightly mysterious, if you dream of traveling off the beaten path but in really nice shoes, then this is the chocolate for you.