Thursday, June 26, 2014

Recipe - Dick Taylor Craft Chocolates "Ecuador" Hot Chocolate

I've mentioned before that I'm very much a fan of artisan chocolate makers. Many artisan chocolate makers also create their own hot chocolates, and I've even reviewed a few already, like Chuao and Askinosie.

Today we're going to make a hot chocolate using chocolate from an artisan chocolate maker who doesn't yet offer a drinking chocolate. Dick Taylor Craft Chocolates is a tiny company in Northern California, and they are cranking out some of the best chocolate being made anywhere on Earth.

The first time I tried one of their bars, I fell in love. Some of their chocolates are fruity, some are much more of a deep, strong chocolate flavor, and many of them have things like coconut or fig mixed in.

Last fall, I attended my first Artisanal LA show here in Los Angeles. It's a small local convention type of thing that is mostly about foods, condiments, and candies. Anything local and edible turns up here.

To my surprise, Dustin Taylor and Adam Dick had a booth there! I got to chat with them a bit and had a great time sampling most of their bars. For every compliment I paid them regarding their chocolate, they returned the favor, praising us chocolate bloggers for helping spread the word about their amazing products.

That's Adam on the left, with the mustache. Dustin is in the plaid on the right.

The packaging they do is just amazing, probably my favorite artisan chocolate wrappers out there. So detailed, on beautifully textured paper, each one is a work of art. Both Dustin and Andy are carpenters and have built and refurbished furniture and boats. That idea of pride in craftsmanship and really creating something by hand, from scratch, is what inspired their ship-building wrappers.

We're going to use their 76% Ecuador bar, which is one of my favorites. Their 72% Belize, however, is a Good Food Award winner and would also make an excellent choice.

Even the bar itself is a masterpiece! The detail work in the molding is gorgeous! It's almost a crime to break it and eat it. Once you taste it, though, you realize the crime would be NOT eating these bars. So delicious!

To make the hot chocolate, I heated 1 cup of water. Once it was almost boiling, I broke up about half the bar and dropped the small pieces into the water, whisking as I went. You can add as much chocolate as you like. Pay attention to the thickness and texture as you go, and just stop adding chocolate when you reach the consistency you prefer. I added a bit more than half the bar, and it made a nice, thick sipping hot chocolate.

I served mine with some Plush Puffs Vanilla Bean marshmallows. If you like to make your own marshmallows, that's the way to go. If not, then these are the ones I recommend buying. Plush Puffs are wonderful!

Wow, what a perfect after dinner dessert! Using water lets the flavor of the chocolate really come through unimpeded, which is exactly what you want when using chocolate like this, chocolate made by hand, directly from the bean, in a small workshop. You can taste every nuance of the bean. I like to add the marshmallows and eat them quickly, as if I just ran them through a chocolate fountain.

Do you have a favorite chocolate maker? Try it out with one of their bars. If you haven't yet tried Dick Taylor chocolates, I strongly suggest ordering some. There is absolutely no way you could be disappointed!

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