If you know me well enough and perhaps if you've visited my home, you will learn that I keep a very tiny stash of plain chocolate for emergencies. Emergencies that involve satisfying my sweet tooth when I realize there is absolutely no dessert in the house. When there is nothing in sight or for those moments when only cocoa can allay my fears. So you can only imagine, how excited I was when I got the opportunity to join a chocolate maker's immersion class by the Food Craft Institute and spend some time learning all about chocolate making, sourcing and the business from some of my favorite makers in the Bay Area. The Food Craft Institute is a local organization based in Oakland that is focussed on providing classes and courses to folk who are interested in entering the food business.
This photo essay will give you a taste of what I experienced and of course, tasted. We started with a chocolate immersion class with the kind folk at Barlovento and learned to make truffles and chocolate bars. Later at the TCHO factory, I got to sit in and nerd out on a very informative class on chocolate plant biology and got a tour of their facility. I picked up on a common thread that runs between each of these places, every owner has a deep and personal commitment to creating great chocolate products that they believe in but they also have a strong commitment to their suppliers. TCHO for example, is heavily involved in improving the lives of the farmers in South America and also protecting the environment that the bean is grown in while Barlovento makes sure they know where they source their products from. Thats what makes businesses like these so special!
Beware some of these photos are messy but I don't think it will deter you from the visual experience ;)
Disclaimer: This trip was sponsored by the Food Craft Institute. However, all opinions expressed are solely my own.