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The best chocolate in the world

[Updated with a schedule at the bottom]

Well, that might be hyperbole, because all really good chocolate is magical.

I’m hoping you can join me on a tour and a tasting of some of my favorite chocolates and conversations with the folks who make them.

By chocolate, of course, I mean real chocolate, no fooling around, made by hand, bean to bar, by someone who cares. I mean beans, a little sugar and that’s about it. No fillings, no flavorings and no Nestle’s crunch.

The act of making a simple bar of chocolate is unbelievably complicated, and the flavors the effort produces are the reward. You can taste the terroir of the land, the variety of the bean, the hard work of the farmer, the care spent in conching and the transformation that tempering creates. It’s a smile for the mind, an affordable luxury and fun to share and talk about.

Chocolate farmers are some of the poorest people on Earth, and creating more demand for what they make, together with supporting the artisans who work with them, offering a fair wage, pride of output and dignity is part of the motivation for this series. That and chocolate is delicious.

In March 2021, on my Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram pages, I’ll be posting the interviews. If you’ve got chocolate in hand, feel free to join in with comments or live feedback as we go.

Megan Giller of Chocolate Noise will be my first guest, and she’s been instrumental in helping me get this thing to work. I’m also hoping we’ll be able to chat with Kristy Leissle: chocolate scholar and author of Cocoa.

[Update! You can get a bunch of the bars, AND a book, all at once from Megan. Here’s the link.]

Here are links to confirmed guests and their suggested bars, so feel free to buy ahead and join us as we talk and taste.

Askinosie: We’ll be tasting this bar from Ecuador.

Kristy Leissle: We’ll be tasting this bar from Sierra Leone.

Kahkow: We’ll be tasting this bar from the Dominican Republic.

Soma: We’ll be tasting this bar from Venezuela.

Fruition: We’ll be tasting this bar from Bolivia.

Luisa Abram: We’ll be tasting this bar from Brazil. (here’s another source).

Letterpress Chocolate: We’ll be tasting this bar from Peru.

Mission Chocolate: We’ll be tasting this bar from Brazil.

French Broad: We’ll be tasting this bar from Nicaragua.

Chocolate Naive: We’ll be tasting this bar with pulp.

Cuna de Piedra: We’ll be tasting this bar from Mexico.

Castronovo: We’ll be tasting this bar from Colombia.

Solomon’s Gold: We’ll be tasting this bar from the Solomon Islands.

Original Beans: We’ll be tasting this off-the-charts bar from Peru.

Sun Eater’s Chocolate: Now available in the US! Here’s the link

Cacao Hunters: This selection from Colombia.

57 Chocolate: This bar from Ghana.

Jinji Chocolate: Lots to choose from, all with beans from Trinidad.

Megan and I chose some of these artisans, and then they nominated their peers.

The next time you say, “I got it from Amazon,” what you might actually be saying is, “I got it from the Amazon.”

See you then.

Tentative schedule (all times Eastern–New York City):

Monday, March 1

11:00 AM to 11:20 AM Megan Irven

Tuesday, March 2

1:30 PM to 1:50 PM Arcelia Gallardo from Mission Chocolate

Wednesday, March 3

11:00 AM to 11:20 AM Shawn and Lawren Askinosie from Askinosie Chocolate

Thursday, March 4

1:30 PM to 1:50 PM David Menkes from Letterpress Chocolate

Friday, March 5

11:00 AM to 11:20 AM Domantas Uzpalis from Naive Chocolate

Monday, March 8

2:00 PM to 2:20 PM Jael Skeffington from French Broad Chocolates

Tuesday, March 9

9:00 AM to 9:20 AM Kimberly & Priscilla Addison from 57 Chocolate

Wednesday, March 10

10:00 AM to 10:20 AM Kristy Leissle from DocofChoc.com

Thursday, March 11

3:30 PM to 3:50 PM Massimiliano Wax and Nadia Rizek from Kahkow.com

Friday, March 12

11:00 AM to 11:20 AM Carlos Velasco from Cacao Hunters

Tuesday, March 16

9:30 AM to 9:50 AM Denise Castronovo from Castronovo Chocolate

Wednesday, March 17

3:30 PM to 3:50 PM Gillian Goddard from Sun Eaters

Friday, March 19

12:30 PM to 12:50 PM Enrique Pérez from Cuna de Piedra

Wednesday, March 24

3:00 PM to 3:20 PM Philipp Kauffmann from Original Beans

Thursday, March 25

4:30 PM to 4:50 PM Glenn Yeatman from Solomons Gold

Friday, March 26

11:00 AM to 11:20 AM David Castellan and Cynthia Leung from Soma Chocolate

Monday, March 29

10:00 AM to 10:20 AM Bryan L Graham from Fruition Chocolate