Monday, October 6, 2008
When Lindsay was invited to judge The Los Angeles Luxury Chocolate Salon, we imagined chaise lounges and champagne. Unfortunately, it was more like matriculating at your local junior college. The judges were given the impression it was a competition, the chocolatiers were given the impression it was a trade show, and the 20-dollar-a-head guests were given the impression it was an all-you-can-eat chocolate orgy.
Most of the tables had chopped samples up into itsy-bitsy powdery flakes that melted in your hands, not in your mouth. Lindsay, as an official judge, still had to practically beg for samples to judge.
We were glad to see Caroline on Crack, This Delicious Life, E*starLA, and a few other bloggers there. Traditionally loners, bloggers are really fun and kind of scary when we travel in packs.
My two favorites of the day were:
The Ginger English Toffee, an unexpected pairing, from Valerie Confections. The chocolate was smooth and silky on the tongue. The boxes were also tasteful and elegant. Lindsay loved their salted and orange toffees.
The most exciting offering was from Chuao, WOW! Their firecracker chocolates burst on the tongue with a deep chocolate and chipotle, combined with the light crunch of a wafer and a sparking surprise. It IS like celebrating 4th of July - in your MOUTH!
Their new ChocoPods had unusual, yes, pod-shaped chocolates filled with delicious banana goo.
My main photo card went missing, so I'm short on pictures. I will do my best to give you the flavor of the event. I will have to borrow a photo of the trippy rainbow chocolate man from TheFost on Flickr. Let your freak flag fly!
Although Chocolatique had lovely boxed confectionaries, with some truly exciting flavors, the real stars were the chocolate-drizzled nuts.
The salesman at Vermeer was not only nice enough to give us cool, refreshing shots, but little airline bottles of the chocolate liquer as well. A little less coffee-flavored, and a little more chocolatey than Kahlua, you can down an airline bottle with a xanax and blow that PMS out of the water.
Christopher Michael Chocolates, home of "The Cacao Bar" was having PTSD from what must have been wild hordes of clawing, clutching women devouring all of his chocolate. he had no idea why Lindsay wanted his chocolate. He had no idea it was a competition. He had no idea when the Viet Cong's choppers were landing to attack. I tried a "mojito" that was pretty good, but was so heavily airbrushed with silvery-green paint it looked like I'd just blown Godzilla. The "Lemongrass" tasted like green tea and vomit. So maybe those flavors got mixed up.
Sacred Chocolates had a trippy mushroom flavor that would only have been good if it had contained hallucinogens. But I did like the Hibiscus Chai. This butterfly lady and trippy Willy Wonka hat guy started making out heavily as Caroline approached their table, so she passed on that one.
Sunfood Nutrition offered whole cacao beans and goji berries for making your own trail mix. So they took the hippie crown away from the Cosmic table. The whole raw chocolate was kind of cool, and the people were super groovy, naturally.
Amano had a lot to teach us about chocolate making. But the speakers had been droning on the loudspeaker all day, and if I heard the word "cacao" one more time I was going to scream. So let's just wait and let Lindsay interview them at a later date.
Rushburn offered old-school toffee and super-excellent customer service.
The San Francisco Toffee Company had a white chocolate toffee that was a nice change of pace.
The Chocolate Traveler had cool packaging and interesting gift ideas, but their table was too crowded for me to check out. It was a favorite amongst the kids and I couldn't penetrate the swarm.
Marti Chocolates had the most exotic selection by far. It was exciting to try Durian. Totally worth it. But the goat cheese chocolate? Oh my God, I felt like my mouth had been assaulted! Somebody call the police! This chocolate is a felony!!!
Links to Chocolate Purveyers