Although chocolate itself can hardly by considered local, who can resist a bit now and then? Seattle is lucky to be home to Theo Chocolate, specializing in fair trade, organic chocolate. A dark chocolate fan myself, I became a customer after visiting their factory in Fremont and tasting their excellent 84% Dark Chocolate Bar.
Before the Thanksgiving holiday, I was given a box of Theo’s “Chef Sessions” chocolates by a friend who works at Theo. The box is a small collection of confections created through a collaboration between Theo and seven well-known West Coast chefs. So in the spirit of exploration, my Thanksgiving guests and I concocted a simple taste testing. Not everyone was a fan of the savory flavors introduced into some of the chocolates and some of the confections were clearly more successful than others – but overall it was a wonderful way to explore new marriages of flavor. Although we originally had some trouble determining which confections were which (they didn’t seem to line up with the cover of the box), we managed to sort it out. The favorites, were the tamarind lime chili caramel (“thumbs up for the bitter lime flavor”, “pleasant”) and the candied beet pate de fruit & almond praline (“that’s really good”, “nutty, not as earthy as I had hoped”). The agro dolce brittle was the least liked, and one taster was particularly unhappy with the flavor. Although the pine resin evoked the most interest, tasters found the taste “forgettable”. The huckleberry & cinnamon basil ganache was controversial – with several tasters wondering why the basil was present and even gaining one “awful” vote. I personally found it an interesting attempt, but ultimately agreed that the combo didn’t really work – reminding me more of pizza than chocolate.
If you are interested in pushing the culinary envelope or just like new flavor combinations, I can recommend picking up a box. (Additionally, Theo is donating $15 from every box to Food Lifeline, a local food bank.)