I started my food fest day with the TCHO (pronounced 'cho') factory tour with 30 randomly selected other bloggers out of the many more attending the festival.
After an overview talk and playing with each of the chocolate's constituent ingredients we looked at the factory part where photographs were not allowed! Chocolate was originally medicine for the upper upper class and the squares come from defining dosage. It has little caffeine, but provides stimulation from theobromine.
A cacao bean pod. 150 of these goes into a chocolate bar!!! Women are more affected by chocolate due to anandamine, the stimulant that gives you some euphoria working with estrogen.
The internals once fermented and dried, originally they are mucous-y. Their factory is controlled by an iPhone app!
The key ingredient, chocolate liquor. After fermenting and drying the beans are ground so fine they turn into this and cacao butter. Mix it with some cacao butter, sugar (or not), and soy lecithin as an emulsifier and you get chocolate. Vanilla is good too.
We followed this up with a chocolate tasting. Little coins of every flavor, going from the darkest/most bitter to the sweetest/most creamy. The above wheel is all the flavors that come from a cacao bean. They make a bar for each except floral and earthy, because they haven't found a good bean for those ones yet (most taste 'dirt'-y or soapy). They don't add any flavors or other ingredients, these chocolates are different only from the different single origin bean from around the world!
There was also a color wheel for milk chocolates: Classic (sweeter), Creamy (like it sounds), and Chocolatey (like a brownie/hint of darker chocolate). We tried these as well, and finished off with a shot of there drinking chocolate which is unbelievable, and two new bars: Mochachino (using the infamous Blue Bottle Coffee sold in the Ferry Building) and 99%. I left with many 99% bars since i'm a no sugar eat it guilt free kind of guy and have worked my way to love it (plus it gives you the most kick), plus chocolatey milk for my mom (and the milk is from Humboldt GRASS-FED cows->only reason I got it), and an extra free Mochachino bar because they are too good.
Next post will cover all the amazing foods provided by the vendors at the Taste Pavillion!