I am Dr. Chocolate. In 2008, I earned a PhD from the University of Washington by studying chocolate. Now, I am on the hunt for the best chocolate in the world.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Saturday lineup: NW Chocolate Festival

Just one day to go now until the festing begins. Tomorrow this time I'll be at the Seattle Center, getting ready for the start of the Northwest Chocolate Festival -- the largest gathering of bean-to-bar makers, educators, and confectioners in the Pacific Northwest.

Buy your tickets now, they're going fast! http://nwchocolate.com/

As Education Director, I'll be on stage pretty much all day doing talks and other events. Tomorrow's lineup:

10am - Politics of Single Origins talk, World of Chocolate Room

11am - Meet the Maker interview with Amano's Art Pollard, a live interview for the volume I am co-editing with Brian Cisneros for UW Press, Chocolate: Turning the Wheels of the Food Revolution

1pm - Moderating panel, Sin or Saint? Guilty Pleasure or Healthy Treat: The Nature of What Draws us to Chocolate, with fabulous panelists Aaron Barthel of Intrigue, Autumn Martin of Hot Cakes, AJ Wentworth of Chocolate Conspiracy, Audrey McManus of Babeland, and Karlie Markendorf of Aphrodite's Attic.

5pm - Interview with Colin Gasko of Rogue Chocolate, also for edited volume.

See you there, come hungry!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Northwest Chocolate Festival - this weekend!

One minute I was on top of a mountain in California with the coyotes and bobcats, working on my chocolate book, and the next -- whoosh, back in Seattle, where I am now spending every minute getting ready for the Northwest Chocolate Festival. Though I had a pretty big stash of chocolate with me in the mountains (over forty different bars that I tasted and rated for a month), it was nothing compared to the choc-normous spread we'll have at Seattle Center this coming weekend:

October 22 & 23, 2011
Seattle Center, Northwest Rooms
Tickets in advance and at the door all weekend

We have twenty bean to bar makers -- an unprecedented number at any chocolate festival -- as well as confectioners, pastry chefs, dessert makers, sculptors, and more, all of whom will be sampling their chocolate wares. With three thousand tickets already sold, we're set to be yet again the region's largest gathering of chocolate makers and chocolate lovers.

I am Education Director for this festival, and my job is to work with the craft makers and confectioners to make sure that while our thousands of attendees are eating chocolate, they're also learning about it - where it comes from, how it's made, and why we should care about cocoa trees. Here are some of the highlights at this year's festival:

- Fresh cacao, straight from the pod, presented by Bill Fredericks, The Chocolate Man. This is unique! I'm still amazed myself that we're doing this, because outside of the farms themselvs, which are all in the tropics, you just cannot taste raw cocoa. But you can at NW Chocolate Festival, thanks to Bill, who will be treating us to the taste of this fruit when it's fresh, before fermentation, before drying, before it turns into a chocolate bar.

- The lost chocolate of Peru, from Dan and Adam Pearson at Maranon Chocolate -- the very same Fortunato #4 I blogged about a few weeks ago. The Pearsons will discuss their discovery of this rare pure strain of Nacional in Peru, and then Karen Neugebauer of Forte and Aaron Barthel of Intrigue will treat us to a taste of this delicate chocolate in their confections.

Happy festival-goers will also
* meet cocoa farmer Leonor Cayapa Tapuy, from the Kallari cooperative in Ecuador,
* watch the creation of chocolate sculptures,
* learn how to pair chocolate with wine, tea, beer, and gin,
* taste Autumn Martin's Chocolate Whiskey Milkshake,
* and watch bartenders go head to head at the Chocolate Cocktail Throwdown!

More to come soon about my talks and panels. For now, if you live in Seattle, buy your tickets!