Thursday, March 22, 2012

Coffee and Chocolate

Coffee and chocolate. The only thing better than having one or the other is to have both at the same time. There are many ways to mix and enjoy them together. They both come from beans, after all. Coffee can be the best compliment to a chocolate bar or just mix the two and have a nice cup of cafe mocha. Chocolate is also flavored with coffee, like chocolate covered espresso beans. But as any coffee connoisseur or chocolatier could tell you, all are not created equal.

The Best Coffee:

Just any bean won't do. If you are looking for the best coffee, start with the best beans. First, no more buying your coffee at your local grocery store. The best beans will almost always be found at specialty or gourmet stores. Finding the freshest roast is your next step. At speciality stores, your beans could be roasted on the same day or even right in front of you. At the grocery store, you can usually see the roast date on the back of the bag, which will give you a good idea of just how not-fresh those grounds are. Beans should be whole with no splinters or cracks and should look and smell appealing.

The Best Chocolate:

The best chocolate comes from the best beans too, and the beans have to be well cared for. Overroasting is the most common mistake chocolatiers make. Chocolate can be compared to wine in that many people need to aquire a taste for it in it's unsweetened, unprocessed form. Cocoa beans comes from several different geographic areas and each one tastes different. Many chocolate connosieurs are able to decipher between these subtle flavors. Even chocolate that is made well can still go stale. Local chocolatiers can explain to you where their beans come from and how they were processed. That's how you know you are buying from the best.

Want to know more? All your questions, curiousities and cravings can be answered at the Southwest Chocolate and Coffee Fest March 23-25th at the Albuquerque Convention Center. There will be tastings, seminars, contest, performances and other entertainment. Don't miss this fun event!

If you'd like some great books on chocolate and coffee check out these great titles:

Chocolate Wars by Deborah Cadbury

The Book of Chocolate by Nathalie Bailleux

Coffee Creations by Gwin Grogan Grimes

The Joy of Coffee : The Essential Guide to Buying, Brewing, and Enjoying by James Scherer

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