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The first person to help me see chocolate in a new light was Dave Cook, owner of the Fire Roasted Coffee Company, and my original coffee roaster of choice when I lived in Canada.
Dave had expanded from roasting coffee into also roasting cocoa into chocolate through a new venture, Habitual Chocolate Roasters. It was a very cool experience for me to learn more about the similarities between coffee and chocolate, the same ideal climate and conditions for growing the coffee cherry as the cocoa bean, and so naturally, the same people bringing this to the world. With those similarities, also the opportunity for a roaster to differentiate between the commodity chocolate product that we all know and take for granted, and something more akin to gourmet chocolate.
It was Dave who brought to my attention that the Pacific Northwest’s largest chocolate show was in my city of Portland, OR this weekend: ChocolateFest.
The event is hosted by the World Forestry Center, and this will be its seventh year. The mission of the WFC is simple: educate and inform people about the world’s forests and trees, and environmental sustainability. On their campus in Portland’s Washington Park for the first ChocolateFest, they attracted over 1,000 people. Last year, over 8,000 people. This year, they bring it to their largest venue yet, the Oregon Convention Center.
I’m happy to be there and continue my education in the world of chocolate. I’ll be looking for similarities with coffee to help me understand the chocolate process better. And I’ll also eat a stupid amount of chocolate. If I see the woman from the above picture walking around with that bar, I will probably take it from her.
Read: Cafe Mocha Recipes
Stay tuned! If you live in the area, check out the show. Here is some further information:
Location: Oregon Convention Center, Exhibit Hall A
777 NE MLK, Jr. Blvd., Portland, OR 97232
Dates: January 20 – 22, 2012
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