Tag Archives | Ecole Chocolat

The Fruit of Costa Rica

As said I went to Costa Rica with an open book, no expectations, just an extra big sponge under my preverbial cranial hood to soak it all up. From the first day it was subject to unexpected information, however all the more relevant regarding my first ‘food of the gods’ experience.

On Saturday, Steve voluntarily took some of the early arrivers to the vibrant fruit market and showed us around through the various colorful stalls, exposing a wealth of fruit known and unknown to me. The usual mango I had turned out to be unlike any mango I had before, and the cainito was unlike any fruit I ever saw. There were varieties of pineapples, guavas, papayas and limes, fruits with flesh or pulp, with seeds or juice. A contest of deliciousness in flavors unknown!

This extremely tasteful start of the Costa Rica tour triggered a first reflection on appreciating cacao, and more specific chocolate bars. What is the relevance of reviews that focus on listing a series of references to what we know. What use in describing a food to taste like apple, peach and mango if everybody may have a different experience and reference to that flavor? Or even doesn’t know the fruit. I’d love to point out a bar has hints of cas or limon dulce, who will tell me wrong where I live.

In extension of these philosophical meanderings, it reminded me that the places where cacao grows and where chocolate is eaten are far away from each other. Another disruptive thought on appreciating chocolate as we know. Well, just some ‘food for thought’ here, but it intrigues me.

Steve warned us, at the end of the week you will merely know what you don’t know. So what are your thoughts on appreciating and reviewing food?

Costa Rica finally changed my relation with chocolate.

When I ran into the chocolate tour in Costa Rica organized by Ecole Chocolat, I didn’t really have an idea of what to get out of it. I just knew I had to go badly, and so I did.
When the tour kicked off the first day, we all got to talk a bit about our goals and ambitions for the trip.
To that I replied that I was in Costa Rica to find out what Belgian chocolate really is (pun), and secondly to stop the “platonic” part of my relation with cacao.

Costa Rica. On the Chocolate Tour
You may be enjoying the thing you like as much as you want, read books on it, do activities around it, and some more. But at a given moment you’ll get that itch that makes you go to the true source. To understand a tiny bit more what it really is that you like so much. To get a different angle. To reinterpret why you love it, and why it’s fun. Finally embracing cacao physically and mentally shaped my ambitions.
After 10 days in Costa Rica, I come back from a succesful ‘de-platonizing’ experience, and I now know what I don’t know yet. And even if I did not have any particular expectations, this trip exceeded all of them, and I will share it as much as I can with as many people.

Through some following blog posts, photo and video, let’s take you to the fruit of the gods. Thank you Ecole Chocolat for the great tour, thank you Steve Devries for being the geyser of knowledge and inspiration, and all the enthusiast people for the never ever ending talks.

And thank you cacao for being here, the food of the future. Pura Vida!

Crushing My Passion, all the way to Costa Rica!

I’m crushing my passion. Steven ‘minorissues’ wrote it a year ago. Gary Vaynerchuk confirmed it (well, his book did). And some hundreds of Facebook Fans, Twitter followers and people who attended a Choqoa Tasting event continuously fuel that passion.
I think it’s been pretty great so far, but far from enough…My first blog post said something about cacao plantations; well that’s where I’m going soon! It’s time for the next level of Choqoa.

Choqoa. [photo By Corey'sWorld]
[photo by Corey'sWorld]

I’m seizing the unique opportunity to join an international program to explore cacao in Costa Rica with Ecole Chocolat. Led by one of the grand icons of fine origin cacao, Steve Devries, we will tour with a small group through different locations:

A week long adventure will take you to the historical roots of cacao growing during harvest. Not only will your chocolate making benefit from a much better understanding of cacao cultivation and processing but you will engage in spirited dialogue on the future of fine chocolate flavor.

On many occasions people ask me where I want to go with Choqoa. The answer is always that I can’t tell. Eventually it’s not me who decides. It’s where my passion leads me, or more correct: the way all of you keep responding to my passion. That’s why I keep on crushing it as hard as I can. Costa Rica will certainly give new directions and inspiration to share.
And I’m looking forward to shake hands with Gary Vaynerchuck tomorrow too on the Phare conference.

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