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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Xocolatl


That's chocolate in old Aztec.

The Daughter has developed an inexplicable taste for expensive chocolate... and she is on a mission to develop her chocolate palate. Till this afternoon, her strange passion was confined to reading books on chocolate. Today, we drove down to Jones the Grocer and... and... and... spent a lot of money on chocolate. I won't even tell you how much we spent because it would only spoil my very carefully constructed Frugal Petunia image. And of course, The Husband reads my blog... and I don't want him to keel over.

The Daughter is now engaged in an elaborate chocolate preparation exercise. Each bar has been carefully cut up into neat squares and placed in Ziploc bags. Space has been made in the herbal fridge where the temperature is an ambient 12 Deg Celsius to 18 Deg Celsius... Oh... you mean you don't know? Any other temperature just won't do!! Sigh! All that fuss for a bar of chocolate.

I was asked to run downstairs to taste a square made from Ecuadorean cocoa beans and then there was another made with extraordinarily fragrant cocoa beans from a single plantation called Chuao and another from the beans of the Porcelana Plantation. It seems that like coffee, good chocolate is made from good beans and like wine, growing conditions, plant cultivars and the harvesting process has to be rigorously controlled or the end product would suffer in some way or other.

For the moment, my uneducated palate can only discern that the chocs have more body and roundedness and much less sweetness than the candy bars one buys in supermarkets. I cannot discern the difference in fruitiness etc... One thing is sure though, the chocolate bars are very fragrant and the roundedness lingers on the palate for some few seconds after the swallow. Altogether, it was very pleasant indeed.

Usually, after eating chocolate, there is a cloying sweetness that lingers in the throat and causes phlegm (and later a sore throat) if not washed down with copious amounts of warm water. These chocs weren't like that. There was no cloying sweetness at all. But that's about all I can manage to discern (especially after a big bowl of the Amoy Street Food Centre's Han Kee Fish Soup).

Nonetheless, if you wanna hear it from the pros, I copy out here the Tasting Notes that accompany the Chuao choc - "It has an initial flavour of plums, red fruits and an aromatic and sumptuous roundness". Nope! I can't taste the fruits. It tastes like chocolate that doesn't hold the potential to make me sick... but maybe if I were willing to spend more money (and put my waistline at risk) I will learn to discern the red notes and the golden notes.

What I did was to tell The Daughter was that she would have to save up her pocket money to buy more of this kinda choc. So she said, "Next year, could you cook extra for dinner everyday? I'll pack lunch to school and save up everything to buy chocolate."

I'm rather ambivalent about this strange passion but then again, I don't want say no to something just because I am ignorant. But truly, teenagers do the oddest things!! But I am glad that she isn't into vodka tasting or opium appreciation! So yeah... I guess for love of The Daughter I will be laying out more cash (though not as much as today... good grief!!) for more chocolate. ESPECIALLY since she has identified the MUST VISIT European Chocolatiers and intends to have The Family detour there for chocolate tasting sessions.

4 comments:

Fresh Fry aka 福星 said...

your daughter impresses me! i gather she has tried Michel Cluizel already.

i've heard trying choco with different wines (mainly white for the tang to being it out, oh, champagne too) and food (e.g cheese) brings the flavour out better.

she can be an epicure in future!

petunialee said...

Not yet!

Ivana said...

Oh my, we have to meet up and I have to give you the list of chocolatiers that she has to go to!

I'm not as discerning as she is but I do love a good chocolate too. mmmmm.....

petunialee said...

How do I get that list from you? You have my email? Can send?

How is baby and Bel?