Chocolate and Coffee
June 28, 2011
Chocolate and Coffee. Two things I can’t, and don’t want to do without. I love them both.
I remember the old days, when I considered a Hershey’s milk chocolate bar, or a Nestle Crunch to be the most awesome treat. Then came Dove and Ghirardelli – nice improvement, richer and darker than the former two. But now, gourmet chocolate has become widely available, and what a wonderful plethora there is! Dark chocolate (which we have been lucky enough to be told is good for you), spicy chocolate, chocolate with marzipan, sea salt, dried fruit. Switzerland and Germany provide a bonanza of wonderful chocolate. We gave Lindor Truffles, made by Swizz chocolatier Lindt, as a favor at our wedding. And Ritter Sport bars are just fun, because their candy bars are square(!) and they have such an interesting assortment of flavors (check out the Dark Whole Hazelnut and Marzipan varieties).
Probably the best place in Boulder to find a huge variety of chocolate from all over the world is The Peppercorn, on Pearl Street. They have a dizzying array that makes your mouth water just standing there. A Boulder company, Chocolove, has become my gourmet chocolate supplier of choice. I’m hard pressed to choose a favorite between their Coffee Crunch, Peppermint, and Chilies & Cherries – all in 55% dark chocolate. I was once given a gift of a bar of green tea chocolate from Japan by some visiting coworkers. I can’t even begin to describe the nirvana this chocolate bar was. Since then I have tried every brand that I can find in the US offering green tea chocolate — and none even come close. That’s the one elusive chocolate that I can’t find here.
And then there’s coffee. Freshly ground coffee always smelled good to me as a child, but when I tried it – YUCK! I remember the day that I started drinking coffee. I was on a high school trip to Ireland and England. At breakfast, the waitress at the hotel came by offering coffee, and I declined, but I swear the she seemed disappointed, even sad. (Yeah – I don’t know if she really was, but hey, I was 18 and very sensitive.) So the next day, I accepted the offer, and added milk and sugar, as others at the table did. That was the magic. From that day on, I was a coffee drinker.
The two pinnacles of coffee for me are Kona coffee (100% only, no blends, and ideally imbibed while in Hawaii) and Blue Mountain coffee from Jamaica. They are both so smooth tasting. Kauai coffee is definitely not an equal to Kona coffee, but while on the island we stopped by the Kauai Coffee Company for a walking tour. In the tasting area, they had samples of their Kauai Estate Reserve Coffee, which is only available in small quantities. These coffees were phenomenal – smooth, rich, and very fresh.
As far as espresso drinks go, my husband and I have yet to find a domestic cappuccino that equals one made in Europe. It doesn’t even have to be Italy. We have had divine cappuccino in Germany. I’m never quite sure if it is just the being in Europe part that makes it so magical, or if there really is something different in the technique, the milk, or some other critical factor.