Life is good when you get invited to a chocolate tasting. I ventured over to my old neighborhood, Ukrainian Village, to Takito Kitchen for a chocolate tasting hosted by TCHO Chocolate and Fortune Fish & Gourment . The whole event was inspiring from the restaurant space, friendly wait staff, incredible food and of course, amazing chocolate.
The first thing you notice is the techie looking packaging and it was not surprising to find out the CEO and President started Wired Magazine. Cat Carp from TCHO took me through how the chocolate is made starting from the farm up. According to Cat, sourcing is what sets TCHO apart. What is important is the where and how. Most chocolate manufactures buy beans that are already roasted and sealed in a bag. TCHO works with the farmers for each crop which has its own flavor and only sugar cane, milk, cocoa butter and soy lecithin are added. The flavor comes from the beans sourced from Peru, Ecuador, Madagascar and Ghana. Descriptions are in the form of flavor profiles and I got to try them all.
By the way, it is pronounced with a silent T and is a play on the phonetic spelling of Chocolate.
Madagascar – “Bright” Acidic chocolate with grapefruit qualities that hits you in the finish. My personal favorite of the 4.
Ghana – “Chocolatey” Rich straightforward flavor (reminded me of less spicy Mexican chocolate).
Ecuador – “Nutty” Harvested in the winter for the best flavor this did indeed have nutty flavor. Although which nut I was unable to distinguish.
Peru – “Fruity” I tasted a very pleasant raisin flavor.
Unbelievably, in the 21st century, human slavery still exists on a large scale. And it exists in the chocolate industry that TCHO is a part of…Since 37 percent of the world’s supply of cacao comes from the Ivory Coast, a third of all chocolate may have been touched by slaves’ hands.
TCHO caught the eye of chefs but with a single origin chocolate being inconsistent they had to come up with different blends to satisfy food service professionals. Completely different in taste but the flavor profile still held its own. My second favorite chocolate of the day was the chocolate covered nibs! So flavorful and way to easy to eat by the handful. Throw them in rice krispie treats, popcorn with a bit of chili powder (thanks Cat for that suggestion), use in baking and keep them in the freezer….oh and use for drinks.
After all the chocolate there was still appetizers, desserts, and cocktails created by Chef David Dworshak to consume. The El Tamarindo with crushed cocoa nibs, tamarind, lime, and Novo Fogo Cachaça was delicious. The sweetness of the chocolate worked well with the sour notes in the shot. Another shot with hibiscus and sugar rim was addicting, I wanted to eat a spoonful of it. I was so focused on the chocolate that my food notes went out the window so short descriptors and photos only.
Pork belly tacos with chocolate tortillas. These were my favorite (appetizers) of the event. Wow, the pork belly was perfectly cooked and did not taste too fatty. The chocolate tortillas were amazing and added a great mellow chocolate flavor to the taco.
The space at Takito Kitchen is long and narrow with exposed brick and graffiti but is surprisingly warm and cozy. The waitstaff is one of the nicest I’ve encountered. The bar tender went out of his way to make my friend a special mocktail (no alcohol) when he heard she wasn’t drinking. In addition, Fortune Fish took the initiative to request a fully cooked piece of fish for someone who couldn’t eat raw fish. Everyone did their best to make everyone happy. I for one left a happy camper and will be back to Takito Kitchen and buying up some TCHO ASAP.