How to Say I Love You in Venezuelan
Naturally, you do it with Chocolate
By Madelyn Miller
An appreciation for the new taste of chocolate – as with fine wine, tea, cheese, and coffee – begins with understanding the origin of its primary ingredient: the cacao bean. As Cuba is to cigars or France is to wine so is Venezuela to chocolate. Venezuela is the leading producer of the criollo cacao plant. This is the cacao plant that produces the highest quality cacao beans and is native to Venezuela. Over the past 200 years, the supply of criollo cacao has been shrinking from disease and neglect. Only Venezuela has retained a healthy supply of criollo cacao and its hybrids giving the country a special reputation for quality.
ABOUT VENEZUELAN CACAO
“Though many attempts have been made to cultivate the cacao plant in other parts of the world, the finest cacao beans thrive in areas where the cacao tree originated, in a narrow band of tropical climates around the Equator, in countries such as Venezuela, Trinidad, Papua New Guinea, and Ghana. Though there is much controversy on the subject, most modern scientists would agree that the cacao plant is a native of South America. One variety, now called the criollo [kree-o-yo] variety, comes from Venezuela, while other varieties probably originated in the Amazon River Basin.”
“The New Taste of Chocolate” by Maricel E. Presilla, Ten Speed Press, 2001.
HOW TO TASTE FINE CHOCOLATE
First examine the chocolate’s coloring looking for uniformity of texture and nuances in the chocolate hues that hint at its source. Aroma is extremely important. Smells can range from spicy to flowery and are part of the subjective experience of taste. Beware of undesirable odors such as smoky or grassy that betray poorly handled beans. When tasting fine chocolate note where the flavor experience begins. Some chocolates start with a bang while others start slowly, gaining intensity and leaving a lingering taste. This is called a long finish, and it is a sign of a quality chocolate. A smooth texture indicates a well made chocolate, and nutty or fruity flavors will often distinguish the better quality chocolates made from Venezuelan cacao.
Chuao Chocolatier in Encinitas is Southern California’s only artisan chocolate shop. Named after the legendary cacao-producing region of Chuao in central Venezuela (pronounced choo-ow), Chuao Chocolatier melds traditional European techniques with world-class Venezuelan chocolate and fresh, natural ingredients to produce the finest handmade chocolates.
Chocolatiers Michael Antonorsi and Brian Vandenbroucke founded Chuao Chocolatier in San Diego County to bring Southern Californians the unique and, until now, rare taste experience of savoring world-class chocolates and bonbons.
Chuao chocolates are different from the majority of commercially available chocolates in the U.S. not only because of their Venezuelan cacao content but also because they are made with only natural ingredients and no preservatives.
Made with Venezuelan dark, milk, or white chocolate couverture Chuao creations include: the Zen made with a ginger ganache infused with green tea and covered with Venezuelan dark chocolate; the Rio Caribe, almond and hazelnut praline covered with Carenero Superior Venezuelan milk chocolate; and the Mulato, a pure almond marzipan and roasted macadamia nut filling covered with dark Venezuelan chocolate and a sprinkle of macadamia. Each bonbon sells for $1, $9 for a box of nine, $15 for a box of 15, or up to $45 for a box of 50. These may be purchased online at www.chuaochocolatier.com and shipped via one- or two-day courier to any U.S. address.
ABOUT THE CHUAO FOUNDERS
Michael Antonorsi is a Certified French Chef from the École Supéríeure de Cuísíne Francaíse Ferrandi in Paris where he also completed specialized training in Pastry and Chocolaterie at the École Lenotre. His brother entrepreneur Richard Antonorsi manages the business affairs of Chuao Chocolatier. Both brothers are originally from Venezuela; are University of California, San Diego alumni; and most recently successfully started up and managed the growth of Venezuela’s first computer and wireless networking company. Brian Vandenbroucke received his Diploma in Chocolate Manufacturing at the Provincial Institute of Food in Antwerp, Belgium and also specialized in French-style Chocolates at the École Lenotre in Paris. Brian is originally from Belgium, has additional training in ice cream and marzipan manufacturing, and has traveled the world practicing the fine art of Belgian chocolate making from Venezuela to China, and now the U.S.
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