I’m a card-carrying member of the chocoholics club. I love dark chocolate in all forms; sometimes the darker, the better (though occasionally 100% bars can taste a bit like cocoa-dirt). The thing I like about chocolate is that everyone can find a favourite. I’m not in the camp that doesn’t classify white chocolate as chocolate; if it tastes good and is well made, it’s still chocolate as far as I’m concerned.
One of my aims for Food At Heart is to share great food events, which also means going along to quite a few myself. Anything involving chocolate is an extra bonus. I was pretty excited when I discovered Whole Foods in Kensington was running a special ‘Experience Madécasse’ lunch time chocolate event. This is part of a month dedicated to raising money for the Whole Planet Foundation initiative. Both Madécasse and Whole Planet Foundation are helping support developing areas of the world.
You may have spotted Madécasse chocolate popping up in Waitrose, or Whole Foods if you have one near you. The Sea Salt & Nibs is one of my go-to chocolates if I’m looking for something comforting. The company was started in 2008 by 2 Peace Corp volunteers after they spent time in Madagascar. Brett, one of the co-founders, gave us some background on the company and what they are doing for people living in Madagascar. Now, a few years down the line, there are over 8 bars in the core collection plus some seasonal specialities, all made to organic standards.
Following the expert advice of Lizzy from Cocoa Runners, I melted the first piece of Madécasse chocolate on my tongue to enjoy the full flavour and aroma. Personally I always find it a little hard to do this after the first bite, but it does make a difference. Starting with the 80% bar, we worked back to the Espresso Bean 44% milk. The most surprising moment was the chocolate with beer pairing, particularly the smokey Harviestoun porter with the sweetness of Espresso Bean. It’s one I’ll definitely be trying again at home.
There’s always a good excuse to eat chocolate in the lead up to Easter period, but it doesn’t all have to be about the eggs. We were given some bars to take away and I converted one of mine into ‘pre-Easter’ chocolate truffles. Madécasse make good chocolate with heart. If you’re even a little bit interested in the ethics of chocolate, or you just like to eat chocolate, I’d recommend giving a bar a go, over Easter and beyond.