In agreement on how to taste chocolate

Join about the way to taste chocolate

So a while ago I wrote about Zotter chocolate’s tasting tips.

Savouring chocolate?

I shared it out as usual via Twitter and Mastodon. But didn’t really think much more about it, till yesterday during TVX 2019 when a Austrian man offered me a bar of  Zotter chocolate from Zotter, who happens to be just around the corner from where he lives..

Zotter schilcher-kurbisnougat chocolate Amazing gift and completely out of the blue, I forget people actually read my posts. I was dumbfounded when he offered me the chocolate and explained everything, so shocked I forgot to take his name while taking the selfie. Hopefully he  will see this post and add a comment.

The chocolate is tricky one, as I’m not totally sure whats in it.

Using Google translate, it says

Schilcher + pumpkin nougat

Two Styrian specialties mix with unique dark milk chocolate with 60% cocoa content. A ganache with sparkling Schilcher rosé wine combined with a tenderly melting layer of pumpkin seed nougat. 

The ingredients translate to

Extra dark milk chocolate ° filled with Schilcher ganache ° (30%) and pumpkin seed

nougat ° (16%) – containing alcohol Ingredients: raw cane sugar °, cocoa butter °, cocoa mass °, pumpkin seeds °, whole milk powder °, butter °, glucose inverted syrup °, grappa °, Schilcher ° (contains sulfites), raisins °, skimmed milk powder °, sweet whey powder °, rock salt 
Emulsifier: soya lecithin °, whole cane sugar °, vanilla 
bean powder °, cinnamon ° Cocoa (cocoa mass and cocoa butter): 60% at least in extra dark milk chocolate ° Tradeed

May contain traces of nuts, peanuts, eggs and sesame.

So nothing I don’t think there is anything I can’t eat in it, except I wonder about Nougat.

Wonderful present and massive thank you…

 

Savouring chocolate?

Attention do not eat chocolate but savour it
Attention do not eat chocolate but savour it. If you would like to be a chocolate connoisseur, you should not munch the chocolate, savour it by letting it melt

Little reminder of how to really eat chocolate.

Place the chocolate on your tongue and press it to the roof of your mouth. Within thirty seconds, the chocolate should slowly begin to melt around your tongue. Take a deep breath, aerating your palate as you stimulate your sense of smell through the back of your throat.

Try doing this with bog standard mass produced chocolate and you will get a very different taste.

A review of my 2018 resolutions

Ian Forrester #ib100

2018 has been quite different in a good way.

Looking from the Quantified Self point of view

  • My sleep deficit over the whole year has massively increased to 367 mins,   My average sleep this year has been 8 hours 2mins (slightly down). Average deep sleep has been 4.03hrs now only 48% of my sleep.
  • According to Gmail I have had 47,769 conversations, have 27,280 emails in my inbox and sent 7241 emails this year
  • Have 60,460 photos and 3,220 photos albums in Google photos.
  • Tasks wise I have 212 open tasks and completed 2,635 over the year
  • Been on 52 trips including Lisbon, Madrid, Barcelona, Skopje, Brussels, Berlin, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Helsinki, Dublin and Edinburgh this year.
  • According to Trakt, my most played show is Doctor Who and film was Avengers Infinity War. Most listened to podcast is the Daily Tech News Show.
  • I spent 236 hours watching films (19.7 a month) and 409 hours watching TV series (46.6 a month)
  • Spent 847.9 hours working in Media City UK, 104.2 hours working in many coffee shops in Manchester’s Northern Quarter, 82.9 hours in Liverpool, 40.5 hours working on a train and 73.3 hours working at home. Theres a very long tail with lots more locations like hotels, Nottingham Uni, York Uni, Berlin, Dubin, Ravensbourne, etc.

Regardless of the data he’s the review of my new years resolutions from 2018.

This didn’t happen, maybe Kates appetite for adventure has dimished?

Either way, I’m also quite impressed with work friend Jimmy Lee’s travelroulette to Hong Kong. I keep seeing good prices to fly from Manchester in early 2019.

  • Head further a field with the new scooter
    New Scooter, new waterproof wear, its time for a ride into Europe before the UK leaves Europe (said with a very heavy heart)

No go on this one. I had planned to head to Rotterdam to visit my volleyball friend Barbara then drive around the Netherlands and maybe into Beligum and north west Germany? Going to some theme parks on the way, before going back to Rotterdam and then back to Hull.

  • Ride a roller coaster in another country
    Closely related to the previous one, its got to happen in 2018. I love them and its time to go further a field to see what others are doing.

Oh I busted this resoultion mutliple times over.  Starting with Parque Warner Madrid and Parque de Atracciones de Madrid.

Then in my next trip to the nordic countries I went to Gröna Lund

Then hit my person best of 49x times on one ride by visited Tivoli theme park in Copenhagen, Denmark.

49 times on the Demon, people asks why didn’t I do a round 50? Well I did try but the ride closed just as I made the last journey. Unlike UK parks, the park was open very late 11pm so I took it easy and stopped for food, etc. So I wasn’t trying to break some personal record or anything. Just going around and around enjoying each ride.

Then I thought it would be just too rude to not visit Linnanmäki in Helsinki, Finland while attending Mydata 2018 which happened next door! Although I didn’t like much of the rides and it opened at 4pm?

Then finally I got to Port Adventura Barcelona, Spain. A very popular theme park with Rollercoaster fans.

253 rides in another over  country…

Truly smashed this one into pieces and loved every moment.

  • Go to a new part of the world

This year I got to two new countries. Finland and Macedonia. Both suprised me, the Finnish was fancinating and massively different from the Swedish in many ways I didn’t quite get till I was there. Also great to see old Manchester friend Gabrielle while I was there.

Macedonia was also really interesting and I couldn’t help but link what I saw in Romania with Macedonia. One of the highlights was seeing and walking around a set of flats (centar) which I had only really seen on the screen while creating the living room of the future.

  • See more comedy

I got to the Edinburgh Comedy Festival with my partner this year. The last time I was in the fringe festival was in 2007 during the TV Un-Festival.  This year I did a lot of comedy from Edinburgh to a more local Cholton Chuckles.

Very enjoyable and something I’d like to keep this going for sure.

  • Explore more about the brain using neuroscience

This didnt happen enough, I went to a MCR Talk: Retrain Your Brain but not much more, something to explore more next year? But I’ve given up on Funzing as the last event was pretty poor.

  • Only eat artisan chocolate unless its Kitkat, Twix or Maltesers

So this worked out well except I broke it a few times with some poor chocolate choices. One such time was eating a milkyway out of a box celebrations, there was no Twix left and I didn’t realise Teaseers were Maltesers.  But I have been pretty good most of the time and its really changed my tastes when it comes to chocolate. Now I find milk chocolate far too sugarly and milky, almost sickly.

Cocoarunners has done a excellent job providing different types of chocolates monthly and the range has been super impressive. Theres a blog post previously highlighting my favourate ones.

  • Do more with my Estonian e-residency

I have a task to extend my e-residency card to 5 years which I need to do ASAP, likely in the next few weeks. After that I also have a task to look into self-signing using my estonian e-residency.

  • Make better use of the online services I have paid or invested in

Started to reduce the amount of services but theres a lot more that can be done. But this year I have been making my home server more stable which runs Plex, Tinytiny RSS, etc.

  • Be more daring in matters of the heart

So my partner asks…
“More daring?”
“Yes more daring” I reply with a slight smile

I have been dating my partner for almost 10 months now and like all relationships its needs work, time and effort. Luckily my partner is understanding, patient and caring…sometimes! (smile!)

  • Explore the future of online dating

Still very interested and theres some chatter about doing something around this with a potential new project in 2019. Although I’m not dating myself, theres still a moral problem I see and would like a hand in changing, regardless of my own status. Decentralise dating for the win of team human!

  • Decentralise more and use POSSE more

This has happened, especially since I starting using Mastodon.

However Facebook dropped support for third-party tools to automatically share posts to Facebook Profiles, which is annoying and means my facebook is very quiet. Twitter also changed their API breaking a lot of my linux twitter clients forcing me to use the web interface. This meant my use of twitter has dropped too.

So generally I’m doing less POSSE because each platform is locking down their systems.

My best Cocoarunners Chocolates of 2018

My best chocolates of 2018 from Cocoarunners
These are some of my best selection of chocolates from Cocoarunners monthly delivery

Following this years new year resolution…

Only eat artisan chocolate unless its Kitkat, Twix or Maltesers.

I signed up to the monthly Cocoarunners chocolate box and its been great. Out of the box, I found the above Chocolates really noteworthy in taste, texture, etc. I guess I should have written a review for each one but its hard to do this, so I kept a photo of the ones I would easily go for again.

From top left and across to the right line by line.

I have to give another shout out to these chocolates which simply blew me away

42374300494_cf9e4d1192_c

  • Georgia Ramon – Carolina Reaper Chili 70% – Just incredible taste, really powerful impactful chilli taste but the dark Chocolate is good quality and pretty tasty too. Real compliment to each other.
  • Manufaktura Czekolady 100% Ghana Grand 100% – I describe this as simply the best 100% dark chocolate you can ever get. Never had anything like it, and although I like 100%, this one really makes you wonder if there’s a mistake and it’s actually 85-90% instead.

I’ll be continuing my subscription to Cocoarunners for another year for sure…

Dormouse Chocolate now has a shop in Manchester

Cocoabeans

A hidden chocolate shop is now open just off Deansgate https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/whats-on/food-drink-news/hidden-chocolate-shop-manchester-dormouse-15283210

I read about dormouse chocolates in my feed and was excited to hear they have opened a shop in Manchester. I met them at the cococarunners event in takk a while ago and quite liked their chocolate although generally too milky for my personal tastes but they have darker too and they are good too.

Some of the best chocolates in their class

https://www.flickr.com/photos/cubicgarden/42374300494/in/datetaken-public/

I have been sticking to my new years resolution.

Only eat artisan chocolate unless its Kitkat, Twix or Maltesers
I like chocolate but I decided a while ago that I should only really eat a certain percentage or higher. My tolerance for lower cocoa is dropping and like my cocktail choices; its time to avoid the rubbish stuff. Chocolate tasting confirmed this and the cocoarunners subscription should offer enough to keep me away from the rubbish stuff. I decided I should give myself some outs.

And there are two very noticeable ones which I have to blog about.

Carolina reaper I wrote about briefly before, but I also want to give heads up on the Manufaktura Czekolady which is simply the best 100% chocolate I have ever tasted ever. This 100% chocolate tastes like 90% dark not 100%, making it far less bitter than others I have tasted in the past.

Both are well worth looking out for or ordering from Cocoarunners.

Hot Chocolate with the Carolina Reaper

Carolina Reaper Dark Chocolate

When on holiday, I’m always interested in different teas and chocolates. I happen to come across urbandeli when seeking brunch and decided to go back and check it out in full. I saw a whole shelf of chocolates but one stuck out a mile away, mainly because it had a tag underneath it saying something in Swedish about danger not for Children!

To be honest I thought it was some gimmick but as I love chilli & dark chocolate I bought a bar and decided to try it out in store, as the store is part of a bar and hotel, meaning anything you bought you could consume too (they even have microwaves).

On further investigation I realised while eating my first tiny bit. This wasn’t a joke, the chilli flaked bars I had in the past were nothing like the heat this was delivering to my tongue and mouth. It was the real deal, proper heat from a small chunk of chocolate.

It wasn’t till I looked it up, I realised everything. I heard of the Scoville number but didn’t know the scale of the numbers. I had also misread the number on the packet as 1.569 not 1569300! Massive difference!

The name of the chocolate came from the chilli with the same name.
With a Scoville value of 1,569,300 which was officially the hottest chilli in the world 5-7 years ago. Gizmodo did a nice piece about the chilli which I found interesting.

I finally found it on Cocoarunners site with a review

This is not just a chilli chocolate bar, this a Carolina Reaper chilli chocolate bar.

Bred in South Carolina, the Carolina Reaper has held the Guinness World Record for the world’s hottest chilli since 2013. When tested for the record, the batch of chilies had an average heat level of 1,569,300 Scoville Heat Units. The hottest individual pepper measured 2.2 million Scovilles. For comparison a Jalapeno generally has a heat range of 1,000 – 20,000 Scoville units.

The dark chocolate is a blend oh Ghanaian and Dominican beans but honestly this serves as nothing more than a base for the chilli. Break off the smallest piece imaginable, put it on your tongue and discover what is almost certainly the world’s hottest chocolate (and certainly the hottest chocolate we’ve ever tasted).

There is no question of subtle flavours and different tasting notes. The chilli flavour starts deceptively slowly and keeps on building and building. Waves of heat pass across the palate, overwhelming anyone with a low spice tolerance. Long after the chocolate itself has melted away you are left with a tingling sensation on the tongue – a piquant reminder of the Carolina Reaper’s passage. A unique chocolate experience, this is not a bar for the faint-hearted.

Always good to find these type of things…!

Chocolate Tasting Evening with Cocoa Runners at Takk

It all started when I tweeted some chocolate I bought from Takk coffee shop in the northern quarter.

I was showing Brian Suda (Never was sure if Brian actually saw the original tweet, as I missed a space in the original tweet) that they have Icelandic chocolate from Omnom in Manchester. Out of the blue Molly (who I’ve never met or spoke to before) jumped in with

I was slightly shocked, Hershey’s KitKat is one of the worst Chocolates I’ve ever tasted. Of course I quested how she could make such a statement but at the same time savvy Takk jumped in, saying their partners Cocoarunners supply many types of Chocolates and they are doing a chocolate tasting night in December. I was sold!

Having been to another Chocolate night under Funnzing, I was very happy to see the format was very different and much more interactive. The whole thing was fun and less of a lecture. My worry about nuts was crushed when I asked at the start, to which the answer was none of the chocolates have nuts but may contain traces.

Chocolate Tasting Evening with Cocoa Runners at Takk

Cocoarunners ran through the different types of chocolates and dispelled a load of myths including the cocoa percentage myth. Higher percentage of cocoa doesn’t always equal more bitterness. The first two chocolates were similar percentage but from different locations changing the nature of the taste quite a bit.

She also talked about why we should consider artisan Chocolate over the others, comparing the choice to artisan coffee and artisan wines.

Chocolate Tasting Evening with Cocoa Runners at Takk

She showed us how to really taste chocolate (snap, smell, place on the tongue and let it melt). It was a great night and found some chocolates I certainly want to have.

Chocolate Tasting Evening with Cocoa Runners at Takk

A few of my questions I came with were answered including;

  • Why is there little chilli really dark chocolate?
    Trends in chocolate making have just moved on, some stick some don’t. Most people who have very high percentage chocolate want to taste just the Chocolate.
  • Why is American chocolate so horrible/why does Molly like Hershey Kitkats?
    Hershey tried to copy chocolates from elsewhere and got the milk slight wrong but it was too late to change the formula (that would be brand suicide if they did, as cokecola found out with new coke)
  • How is 100% chocolate classed as chocolate, and if its 100% how does it gel together without something else? The definition of chocolate is everything from the bean and doesn’t include fat, milk or sugar. Out of the bean you get cocoa powder and cocoa butter. Both combined keeps the whole thing stable enough to make a bar.
  • What is the trend for Raw Chocolate? Marketing nonsense and likely a not very safe one if it really was raw.

Chocolate Tasting Evening with Cocoa Runners at Takk

Ultimately I was half convinced of artisan chocolate before I even went along, and still like a UK Kitkat and Maltesers. But life is too short for rubbish wine, coffee, tea and chocolate. Even some of the white chocolate surprised me to be honest.

I was introduced to some very nice chocolates and I will be adding a category for great chocolates to my notes. From the same evening…

65% Naive Ambrosia from Boliva/Lihuania was good, balanced and tasted quite sweet.

100% Manufaktura Czekolady from Czech Republic was so smooth and took quite a few people by surprise. As they assumed 100% would be like “eating dirt” – someone said surprised. To me it was like eating a 85% dark.

70% Solomans Gold from New Zealand had a smoky Lapsang taste and was wonderful to eat. Can imagine it as a late night treat while drinking lapsang tea.

Chocolate Tasting Evening with Cocoa Runners at Takk

I’m signing up for a monthly chocolate delivery! Can’t wait! Just need to make sure they don’t send me any Hershey nonsense, no matter what others say/like…