those dates you get with your husband after a baby are about as rare as monolo blahnik mary janes. and after joining howaboutwe.com, josh and i were bright-eyed and hopeful at rejuvenating and recharging our batteries with a night out without our beloved little baby. seriously, for all you couples out there, howaboutwe.com is the way to go!
so a truffle tasting was our free date of the month, and when we first arrived, we were skeptical. from outside, we could see signs for the chocolatier from the second story. and it looked like we were looking into somebody’s apartment. was this a rouse to possibly harvest our organs? as we tentatively climbed the stairs, we were not reassured. it looked a bit seedy…like we were stepping into a brothel, or maybe a secret rave…it looked like the way into neo’s apartment in “the matrix”…or actually, like any other building in that movie. walking through the hallway was a trip. i felt like alice in wonderland except i’m sure alice wasn’t wishing she had a knife. there were odd bits of furniture and objects like the pink furry bicycle you can see up top. we had officially fallen down (up?) the rabbit hole.
however! once we got past the red hallway of fury (has anyone seen “insidious”?), we finally arrived at the door of intrigue chocolate. and this is what (or thankfully, who) greeted us!
how can you be afraid at such friendly faces? our trepidation melted away, (much like the life-changing ganache they happily fed us). also, what we expected to be a restaurant ended up being what looked like a large, professional kitchen. we sampled their chocolates, which are all made there, with the widest array of spices you had ever seen. we sipped vanilla steamers that were brewed with whole vanilla beans, we inhaled the aroma of different vanilla plants around the world, we munched on cocoa nibs, (which were wild!). we even delicately sniffed the spices that were responsible for the explosion of flavor that left our tongues tingling. the entire experience was so sophisticated, i felt like drinking my steamer with my pinkie out.
it was lucky for us that that night we also had the chance to sample things off the menu created by the chef, aaron barthel, who was there in the flesh. it felt so personal, so authentic, to meet the man behind the chocolate versus a shelf brand chocolate bar made by some nameless, faceless factory individual. the chocolates were so real (by real, i mean preservative-free) they had to be refrigerated. ganache signifies that the chocolate is teamed with cream, which gave it the most incredible texture that was so soft, it melted like butter in your mouth the second it hit your tongue. i don’t know about you, but i’ve never had chocolate that real before. anything i’ve ever had was purchased from a grocery store and i never knew the date it was made.
this was an experience. i would say that we rarely go on dates that cater to arouse all of the senses. it wasn’t like a date to the ballpark or the movies. intrigue chocolate co. specifically aims to seek out every single way to really experience chocolate. now, the chocolatier, aaron, answered my question, “why chocolate?” in the way that had me scrambling for a pen. it was something along the lines of…
chocolate is the perfect flavor delivery method because of the way it traps aeromatics and releases on-demand in your mouth. cocoa butter sets up the flavor, traps, and releases it in your mouth, leaving the fat soluble flavor at the end.
and this, ladies and gents, is why a botanist turned into a chocolatier. i mean, once he explains it, it prompts an “ohhhhh…” of course, why not? it just makes sense. the man loves plants. like, why not put what you are most passionate about and put it into the most delicious sustenance on the planet? and really, he makes it into a science. the quantitative equations of what flavors, and how much, would equal to this string of formulas only left to an eager and contemplative mouth only too ready to identify the solution. but the way the melodious symphonies played off the roof of my mouth…and the cues given for the climax where whatever chosen flavor is to play their solo… it’s also very much like an art as well as a science. and the mad scientist is a bearded man with a nose ring. who knew?