As i made my way to our Notting Hill boutique last night, slightly jaded by a long hours at the atelier, my mood was dominated by lack of sleep. Nevertheless, if our two guests from Trinidad, Ashley Parasram (founder of the Trinidad and Tobago fine cocoa company) and Dr Darin A Sukha (research fellow at the Cocoa Research Centre at the University of the West Indies) could make it  despite landing from paradise that same day, so could I. 

Our shop floor quickly filled with with guests for this evening of fine flavour chocolate tasting and pairing with Rum. And not just any Rum, Angstura's celebrated rums made also on the island of Trinidad. 

Darin was true to the institution he comes from, a quiet man but possessing immense knowledge on chocolate and specifically fine flavour chocolate. He introduced us to a brief history of cocoa on the island, from its glory days of being the second largest producer of beans in the world, to the ravage of pod disease, the economic shift to oil and gas leading to dwindling production and finally to the revival project with The Trinidad and Tobago Fine cocoa company. Artisan du chocolat has been a partner to this project since its inception about 2 years ago and  will celebrate chocolate week in October by launching 5 products made from liquor processed in Trinidad's very first own chocolate factory. The chocolate tasting took us on a journey of discovery from a flat commodity Ghana chocolate, to an Ecuadorian one with a little more personality  and to an exceptional Trinidadian chocolate, made in the lab of the University of West Indies, packed with flavours of raisin and honey - the equivalent musical journey would go from nursery songs to Carmen, from inoffensive but bland to intense and unapologetically bold.

Surprisingly, the pairing of Angostura 1919 pale rum improved the experience of the flat Ghana chocolate with its notes of vanilla. But then again a good rum would probably save anything edible! Our milk chocolate from Trinidad (launching in October) was beautifully enhanced by the 7 years old Angostura rum. Its  full-bodied  tasting notes of   maple, chocolate, honey and toffee cut through the sweetness and creaminess of the milk chocolate. For the finale, from the combined craftsmanship of master blender and master chocolatier, Angostura 1824 rum with our famous liquid salted caramel truffle was a carnival of flavours dancing with our taste buds.
I returned to the atelier just in time to catch up with the night elves, still longing for my bed but a little merrier.
Have a intense chocolate week, Miss Anne X      

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