Results tagged Patric from David Lebovitz

Chili with Chocolate

chili

I used to wait tables in a vegetarian restaurant many, many years ago, and one of the items on the menu was Cashew Chili. I would say about one-third of the customers would look at the menu, then look up at me, and ask – “Are there really cashews in the Cashew Chili?”

rancho gordo beans

It was hard to respond to that. Although the answer “Yes” seemed pretty obvious (at least to me), it was hard to say “Yes, the Cashew Chili really does have cashews in it” without sounding like a wise-ass. Thinking about it now, I probably could have come back with a more interesting retort and I guess should think of another one for this chili recipe, because it is made with beans, and likely to raise some hackles.

cooked beans for chili recipe

Therefore, I would like to officially recognize that real Texas Chili does not have beans in it.

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Patric Chocolate

New chocolate-makers are springing up across America, in the most unlikeliest of places. Like Missouri.

Who’d a thunk it?

Patric Chocolate

Using good ‘ol American ingenuity, a little over a year ago, Alan McClure started grinding up beans and molding them into lithe bars of very dark, and very sleek, bittersweet chocolate.

His company, Patric chocolate, makes bars that are “micro-produced,” and he’s got two in his line-up, both using cacao from Madagascar.

When I asked Alan what attracted him to the cacao from that region, he said “Since the bars are made from cacao that come from one single estate, and since the family there has owned it for quite some time, they really have been able to exert an extremely high level of control on the quality and consistency of the fermentation and drying, which is actually quite rare in the cacao world.”

Alan proclaims that this isn’t pure “criollo” chocolate, a much-touted term for a varietal that almost all chocolate experts say no longer exists in its pure form. (Some chocolate-makers are claiming to the contrary.) Right now, the all the beans for Patric’s bars are from a plantation in the Sambirano Valley.

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Chocolatiers and Chocolate-Makers

The other night I was having dinner in a restaurant, and struck up a conversation with the fellow dining at the next table, who turned out to be Swiss. As we talked, the conversation turned to what I did and when I replied that I wrote cookbooks on baking and chocolate. His curiosity was piqued…as well as that of the two Belgian women at the other table.

I knew exactly where the conversation soon would be heading, and of course, I was asked the inevitable question: “Which country do you think makes the best chocolate?”

bonbons2.jpg
Belgian Chocolates

In all honestly, it’s really a pointless question. What if I asked; “What country makes the best wine?” Well, you might answer that there are great wines made in Italy, France, the United States, Switzerland, Germany, etc. And there are lousy wines made in all those countries too.

But is there one country quantitatively better than at making wine than another? Is there some formula that one can follow to show who wins the mantle of Best Winemaking Country in the World? Perhaps one could argue that the soil in one county is better than another, or the weather, or maybe other factors. But for making chocolate couverture, pure, solid chocolate, most of the time the cocoa beans aren’t grown in the countries where chocolate is produced, with a few exceptions.

And is there really a country that makes the Best Chocolate In The World?
Is there some competition going on that no one told me about?

So I answered, “The best chocolate in the world is made in the United States.”

theochocolate.jpg
Theo Chocolate, Hand-Made In Seattle

The man was surprised, and the two women started rolling their eyes and laughing. And my French dining companion just smirked at me, since he knows that I said that matter-of-factly as well, just to irk them. But seriously, I don’t know what was so funny. Maybe they were laughing at themselves for not realizing that there’s very good chocolate produced in the United States.

How silly of them; what were they thinking?

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