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Go Savory with Micro-Batch No. 2 of the Maker’s Series: Umami 68% Dark Chocolate

 

Seaweed | Shiitake Mushroom | Black Garlic | Sea Salt

Total Bars made: 523
Handcrafted on: 9/6/17

Release date: 9/26/17

Each Maker's Series micro-batch is designed and handcrafted by our Chocolate Makers for you, the Flavor Fanatics.

NOW INTRODUCING: Umami (oo-mah-mee), our newest limited edition chocolate bar!  Those adventurous with food know Umami as the mysterious 5th dimension of taste.  The Japanese word, Umami, roughly translates to "delicious" or "yummy," and is that savory, broth-like or meaty flavor that tends to make your mouth water and kick start your cravings.  While not as loud-spoken or well known as its counterparts in taste – sweet, sour, salty and bitter – umami adds depth, dimension, and complexity to many of our most revered foods from aged cheese to tomato sauce, or bacon to ramen soup.  

After lots of chocolate trials with a variety of umami rich foods, our friends at Oaktown Spice Shop, in Oakland, California helped us dial in our perfect umami + chocolate profile. The umami-rich ingredients: shiitake mushrooms, kombu seaweed, fermented black garlic and a touch of sea salt, deliver just the right combination to balance with our dense 68% dark chocolate.  John Beaver and Erica Perez, co-owners and spice masters at Oaktown Spice Shop, describe the beauty of Umami as, “kind of like an orchestra where it’s hard to clearly pick out and hear the cello and viola sections… but you know they are there, and they create such an inner warmth, depth and richness to the whole experience.  Umami flavor can be similarly elusive but important to great food.”

While these ingredients may sound like odd or conflicting flavors to pair with chocolate, let your curiosity lead you.  The umami bar begins with the rich, dark and toasty warmth of a well-blended dark chocolate speckled with bursts of sea salt.   Ephemeral aromas of dried mushroom and kombu seaweed emerge to blend with the silky dark chocolate.  The experience finishes with the sweet, aged balsamic-like complexity of fermented black garlic.  Savory meets sweet in a surprisingly graceful interplay.

If you are learning about our Maker’s Series for the first time, not to worry, this is a new series of limited edition bars.  You’ve only missed one other, our Golden Milk Bar. We will be launching a new micro-batch bar every other month that will be hand crafted by our chocolate makers.  At TCHO we tend to obsess over flavor and the mesmerizing effects of pairing amazing chocolate with the perfect ingredients. New chocolate ideas find their way to us by many avenues; a daydream, a flavor memory or feedback from our fans. Some ideas find us, take hold and don't let go.  The only way to get them out of our minds is to make them and taste them. While most ideas never grow up to be full-fledged TCHO chocolate bars, the rare and unique flavors that do, become the Maker's Series.

Now that we’ve made your mouth water, try our Micro-Batch No. 2: Umami 68% Dark Chocolate and see for yourself!

The Beginner's Guide to Pairing Beer and Chocolate

The Beginner's Guide to Pairing Beer and Chocolate

While people have long paired wine with chocolate, here’s some great news for the all the chocolate-loving beer drinkers in our midst: Chocolate and beer are a match made in heaven.

There’s no need to enjoy these indulgences separately when they work so well together. But there is an art to pairing them correctly. If you’re new to the concept of pairing beer with chocolate, let this serve as your beginner’s guide to enjoying this delectable combination.

Emphasize quality.

This probably won’t come as a surprise, but as a general rule: The higher the quality of your beer and chocolate, the higher the quality of your beer and chocolate pairing. If you’re attempting to enjoy a truly sumptuous experience, go all out with artisan beers such as Sierra Nevada, The Bruery, and Fieldwork Brewing Co. and chocolate. (May we suggest TCHO?)

For the most part, dark chocolate is your best bet.

The deep flavors in dark chocolate are more likely to stand up to the intense flavors of beer, while milk chocolate and white chocolate are likely to be overpowered. However, for pilsners and pale ales, the opposite is also true. Lighter-bodied hoppy beers can be a great match for milk chocolates. The opposite is also true: For the most part, lighter-bodied beers (such as pilsners and pale ales) aren’t an adequate match for the intense flavors of dark chocolate.

Pair like with like.

A simple way to ensure a delectable pairing is to pair similar flavors within the chocolate and beer. For example, rich, dark chocolate pairs well with rich, dark stouts (hence why so many stouts include chocolate). Citrusy chocolates can complement citrus-infused beers, and chocolate containing raspberries can perfectly complement a raspberry porter. In general, porters, stouts, barley wines, sours, and barrel-aged beers are all viable pairings with dark chocolate but we don’t want to steer you away from indulging in these beers with milk chocolate too.

One exception to this rule: If you’re drinking an exceptionally bitter beer, you probably want to stay clear of extra-dark chocolate. In this case, the pairing could lead to an excess of bitterness.

Experiment with contrasting flavors.

While pairing similar flavors is a simple way to find a good chocolate-beer combination, it’s also true that opposites can (sometimes) attract. Just as rich, dark chocolate can pair well with light, fruity notes (as in our Triple Berry bar), so too can sweet beers pair well with bitter dark chocolate and citrusy chocolates pair with earthy wheat beers. The discovery is the best part of pairing.

Consider cooking.

While a bottle of beer and a bar of chocolate can make for a delicious pairing, that’s not the only way to enjoy beer and chocolate together. You could also consider incorporating both ingredients into a variety of baked goods such as cakes, truffles, brownies, crème brulee, and other pastries.

When you’re first learning how to pair beer and chocolate, the most important thing is to have fun with it. So embrace the process of experimenting—because no matter what, you’re getting to drink good beer and eat delectable chocolate. And that’s something to smile about.

6 Delicious Recipes Using Creamy Drinking Chocolate

6 Delicious Recipes Using Creamy Drinking Chocolate

When you think of hot chocolate, odds are good you picture cradling a steaming mug of the stuff on a cold winter’s day. And while that is an exceptional way to consume drinking chocolate, the reality is there are many other ways to put this creamy, fudgy drink to good use. Need some proof? Here are six delicious (and unexpected) recipes that incorporate drinking chocolate.

Best Ever Hot Chocolate French Toast

If ever there was a decadent breakfast, this is it. The toast itself is made with coconut milk, drinking chocolate, thick challah bread, and plenty of butter before getting doused in a hot cocoa ganache (which includes more coconut milk or heavy cream, nine ounces of semi-sweet chocolate, coconut oil or butter, and espresso powder) and a coconut-marshmallow-whipped-cream topping. Give yourself plenty of time to nap after this meal—you’re going to need it!  

The Famous Drinking Chocolate Cake Recipe

You may not have heard of this recipe before, but you’re likely to spread the word once you give it a try. The instructions are the result of a group of friends passing around the recipe and adding their own improvements and embellishments in order to come up with the final product. One of the secrets to the sponge cake’s light, moist texture is the use of drinking chocolate in the batter. The recipes goes whole-hog on chocolate by topping the cake with chocolate icing.

Hot Chocolate Brownies

This recipe is perfect for anyone who hates cleaning up in the kitchen: It only requires one bowl! You’ll stir all the ingredients—which include butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, flour, drinking chocolate, salt, baking powder, and chocolate chips—together into a medium bowl before spreading the mixture into a prepared baking pan. After that, it’s just a matter of waiting for the brownies to bake and cool before digging in.

Hot Chocolate Krispie Treats

We’re all familiar with the classic Rice Krispie Treat. This recipe builds on that childhood staple by adding in the rich flavors of hot chocolate and topping off the whole shebang with chocolate chips. (The recipe calls for using hot chocolate mix from packets, but you can elevate the recipe by choosing a higher-quality drinking chocolate.) Just as with the original recipe, these are simple and quick to make—in less than 45 minutes, you’ll have yourself 24 crispy, chocolatey treats.

Hot Chocolate Pancakes

Once you’ve had these hot chocolate pancakes, you may never be satisfied with the plain variety again. Drinking chocolate gets folded into the batter to ensure you get chocolatey flavor in every bite. Then—this is the best part—the pancakes get doused in a hot chocolate syrup made from a combination of maple syrup and drinking chocolate. Top the plate off with a dollop of whipped cream to complete your decadent brunch.

Hot Cocoa Cookie Bars with Marshmallow Frosting

Are you salivating yet? These nicely balanced bars combine a gooey, chewy base (complete with drinking chocolate, marshmallows, and even more chocolate in the form of chocolate chips) with light, creamy marshmallow buttercream frosting. To achieve the right chewy texture, avoid over-mixing the dry and wet ingredients and be sure to remove the bars from the oven after the edges and top have set but before the center fully browns. The recipe can easily be converted for anyone who’s gluten-free.

As you can see, there’s no sense in waiting until cold weather hits to break out the drinking chocolate. Put your stash to good use all year long with these delicious recipes.