Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Spooning with Chocolate was an event that satiated campus cravings for rich, delicious chocolate. On February 9 in Paganucci Lounge, samples of Fair Trade chocolates, graciously donated by the local Co-op Food Store, were circulated. Flavors ranging from hazelnut, to lemon ginger, to crunchy caramel, to sea salt, with intensity ranging from forty to eighty percent cacao, allowed for both mild and bitter tinges to add richness to every bite.
Prior to the tasting, participants watched a short video introducing the chocolate making process, following chocolate’s production from cocoa pod to creamy comfort food. Harvested from the Theobroma cacao bean, or “Food of the Gods” (no wonder it’s irresistible), the beans first ferment and later on are roasted to help draw out flavor and savoriness.
After the video, participants indulged themselves in playing the Co-op Chocolate Tasting Game, which encouraged group discussion and floated buzzwords such as “tangy,” “velvety,” “fruity,” “spicy,” “crisp” and “smooth” to classify quality through snap, aroma, mouth feel, appearance and flavor. By the end of the tasting, everyone was an expert at describing their palette’s reaction to the variety of flavors, slowly savoring and reflecting rather than mindlessly munching.
Chocolate fondue added an extra layer of chocolaty goodness to cover fruits, marshmallows and pretzels. Even sweeter was the fact that all the chocolate at the event was Fair Trade certified in an effort to promote awareness, responsibility and accountability on the part of the consumer and producer. To ensure quality standards, chocolate should be lustrous and evenly colored, free of bloom, gray streaks and spots on the surface, and fine chocolates will never contain vegetable fat substitutes, only real cocoa butter. This Valentine’s Day, skip the mundane and tame chocolate as well as any fat substitutes and spice it up with some Fair Trade, zesty flavors.