Jungle Farming Below the Canopy

South America is the Epicenter for Climate Change Farmers in the jungles of South America are faced with deforestation from mining, logging, grazing and clear cutting for crops that are not native to the area. Cacao is an understory tree that requires shade under diverse crops like banana, plantains, guava and hardwood trees that also […]

Like Wine for chocolate

As a chocolate sommelier, I taste many chocolates from all over the world, experiencing countless flavor profiles – toast, citrus, berry, nutty, tobacco, smoky, coconut, earthy, nutmeg, jasmine, and roast to name a few. These flavors in a dark chocolate bar are not additives but come from the cacao beans themselves. As you slowly allow […]

Chocolate with a purpose

At every chocolate pairing or tasting event, a guest will ask how or why did I get into this business to create such a unique company? The short story is, seven years ago the new wave of craft chocolate makers inspired me to found Exotic Chocolate Tasting, here’s why… In 2010 there were a handful […]

The High Cost of Cheap Chocolate

Gifting chocolate for any holiday or occasion is big business, but before you comb the drug store isle, take a moment so I may persuade you to rethink your gift. The cost of that cheap chocolate bar, bonbon, or truffle has a price. Chocolate has noble roots, the food of the gods was once considered […]

Old School vs. Alternative Chocolate

Chocolate has evolved from a commercially made sweet milk chocolate bar that satisfied the WW2 and Baby Boomer generations to today’s intense dark chocolate that’s complex, pure and single-origin sourced though a transparent supply chain known as Direct Trade. The humble Hershey bar no longer resembles the explosion of alternatives that appeal to those that […]

Giant cacao pod found in Saint Lucia

My latest chocolate adventure brought me to Saint Lucia where I stayed at Boucan Hotel Chocolat. A five-year-old boutique hotel devoted to chocolate. Yes, they have the plantation chocolate spa, an Anglo-Saint Lucian dining experience with a twist of cocoa, and stunning 180-degree views of the majestic Piton Mountains 1,000 feet above the Caribbean Sea. […]

Women in Chocolate – The Few Pioneers in a Male Dominated World

While researching last month’s article “Cool Science to Crafting Chocolate – Aerospace Engineers & Techies Change Careers to create the Perfect Bar,” I discovered that unlike many men in the chocolate making business, women chocolate makers don’t have a science-oriented background. (The definition of a chocolate maker is that they produce chocolate in small batches […]

Are YOU a Chocolate Snob? Take this Quiz to find out.

In 2005, on vacation with my husband in Rome, we had gotten lost looking for a restaurant. When asking several locals for help, we were steered in the wrong direction. Maybe it was our lack of understanding Italian that we continued to wonder around. After an hour, I went into a little shop to buy […]

Everyday is Earth Day in the Amazon

As New York’s only Chocolate Sommelier, one of my missions is to visit the origins of chocolate and share it with the guests that attend Exotic Chocolate Tasting’s chocolate and wine pairing events. The Kichwa are native to the Amazon from as far south in Peru to the upper regions of the Andes mountains. They […]