I recently received free chocolate from another Blake Makes giveaway. This one was for three bars of Amano Artizan Chocolate.
To win, we had to leave a comment explaining how much we love dark chocolate. I wrote, "According to Italian researchers, women who eat chocolate regularly have a better sex life than those who deny themselves the treat. Those consuming the sugary snack had the highest levels of desire, arousal, and satisfaction from sex. Please send me the chocolate. My sex life depends on it."
Amano was started by Art Pollard in 1996. The story, according to Amano's website site, is that while on his honeymoon, Pollard "decided that there had to be better chocolate than what was being produced in the United States or that of numerous imported varieties. Thus began his search for the 'ultimate chocolate,' which is not bland or flat, but has superior flavor and texture." After much research and experimentation, Pollard's chocolate started getting rave reviews from local chefs. Art's business partner, Clark Goble, suggested Art make his chocolate available commercially. After studying chocolate making in Europe and traveling throughout Mexico, Art felt his chocolate was comparible to the very best European chocolate and was ready to produce commercially. Since 2006, Amano chocolate has won numerous awards.
When the chocolate was shipped to me, I received an email from Art Pollard. He wrote, "Each and every day, we wake up in the morning with the singular goal of making the very best chocolate. Sometimes it involves my flying out to the country of origin to meet with the farmers who supply our cocoa beans. Sometimes it means modifying our equipment to get our machines to do what we want. And most importantly, some days it involves our staying at the factory late into the night to make sure that our chocolate turns out "just-right." We hope you enjoy our chocolate; it means the world to us."
While Amano uses machinery to produce their chocolate, Art says that their "special process still requires a huge amount of labor." They are one of only a few American chocolate makers that obtains superior quality cocoa beans direct from the source.
I was lucky to try three of their small batch chocolate, single-origin, 70% cocoa chocolate bars: Ocumare Grand Cru Dark Chocolate, Madagascar Preminum Dark Chocolate, and Cuyagua Limited Edition Dark Chocolate.
My favorite was the Madagascar. The description notes that it has a "strong, fruity flavor" that includes "hints of citrus and berry." And, OH MY GOD, I could really taste the fruitiness. It was as if there were raspberries in it! So good!
My friends also liked the Cuyagua, which is richer in chocolate flavor.
They were all really good, though, and it was interesting to taste these three chocolates together. It enabled us to see how very different chocolates, like wines, can be.
Anyway, I am excited about getting to play around with this chocolate. Check back in the next couple weeks to see what I am going to do with it....