Monday, March 31

Cococlectic Giveaway + Fruit Infused Sake Party

One morning I woke up, my mind incepted with the idea that I had to infuse sake with various things. It suddenly became a must-do activity. I bought a large bottle of sake and a 4 for $6 set of mason jars from Target. Yes, I, who hates mason jars according to the rant from this post, bought mason jars. The one time it seems pertinent to own mason jars is when I want to store alcohol.

From left to right:
Toasted coconut flakes
Popped wild rice, barley, and green tea
Muddled persian cucumbers
Korean pear cooked in brown sugar
Mineola oranges

According to internet directions, it takes 14 days for the sake to extract the flavors. Plenty of time for me to plan a sake and chocolate tasting party. I prepared 3 dishes and my friends brought over other items to share.

In the white bowl: grape tomatoes cut in half, dressed in olive oil and Hawaiian black lava sea salt, chunks of burrata cheese, and garnished with microgreens.
Bottom: toasted baguette slices, spread with mascapone cheese, topped with capers and a slice of smoked salmon
Right: Citterio brand Bresaola cured and salted beef on crackers with cheese shavings

Baguette slices with fresh mozzarella and olive tepanade

Sauteed kale sprinkled with cumin and the juice of less than half a lemon, mixed with roasted yams.

For dessert, we tasted dark chocolates from the Cococlectic box I received. If you are a loyal blog reader, you will know that I have never liked chocolate before. Last year I had an informative class session sustainable and socially responsible cacao bean sourcing by The Chocolate Garage. It was from this session that I came to appreciate chocolate, the non-mass produced and highly commercialized kind. I was primed and ready to give Cococlectic a try.

I previously introduced San Francisco start up, Cococlectic, a craft Bean to Bar chocolate club a few months ago. They gave me their March box which features small batch chocolatier French Broad Chocolates who have an amazing personal journey story on their blog. Cococlectic sources small batch chocolatiers and sends members a box with 4 dark chocolate bars a month. If not interested in committing to a 6 month membership, you can always purchase a one time shipment for $34. It may sound like alot for 4 bars of chocolate but I have seen good quality dark chocolates like this run $8-$12 a bar. A membership like this is perfect for sharing with friends because one can only consume so much dark chocolate in one sitting. If you're having guests over, it's great for a tasting. You can do what I did and have a drink, charcuterie, appetizer, and chocolate tasting party at once.

The 4 bars I received in the March shipment looked like this. They were of varying cacao percentages and each yielded a unique taste. Below are photos and captions with my tasting notes. I had 2 friends who were dark chocolate lovers and myself and another friend who prefer the likeness of milk chocolates. We each had different preferences and all enjoyed the opportunity to really taste the difference in the chocolates. 

dark, bitter, slightly sour notes towards the finish, a tarty after taste

richer taste, less tart and bitter, slightly more sour/fruity than 81%

sweet start, rich, slight tartness, somewhat smokey cacao finish

initial acidity, slight sweetness, clean aftertaste

Cococlectic is sponsoring a gift code giveaway for three lucky winners. The first winner gets $20 off their purchase from Cococlectic. Second and third place will receive $15 off. Entry rules are simple. Go to my Facebook page, leave a comment on the link to this entry stating why you love chocolate. I will choose three random winners on Friday 4/4/14. Go to my Facebook page and enter now for a chance to win!

More about Coclectic on their website here

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