February 25, 2019

The artisan chocolate capital of America is . . . Utah? Local Partner Feature: Amano Chocolate


Believe it. Although the East and West coasts are well known and boast some wonderful chocolate, the most highly awarded and innovative chocolate is most abundant here in the mountains! One of our favorite local chocolate makers is Amano, located in Orem, UtahImage result for amano chocolate Having been at the forefront of the revolution celebrating single-origin chocolates, Amano is perhaps Utah's best and most recognized chocolate. Art Pollard is the founder, owner, and chocolatemaker. Amano’s initial splash of awards and recognition raised a lot of eyebrows. How was a relatively unknown Utah chocolate maker coming from nowhere to rival the top European brands? Over the next decade though, Amano continued to bring home top American and International awards and accolades. Now, they are widely considered one of the world's very best. Art has traveled the world searching for the best cocoa beans with unique and exciting flavor profiles. Amano cuts no corners. They process with vintage equipment, often taking 2 months or more to produce a chocolate bar after receipt of the cocoa. When tasted, the chocolate is replete with surprises and pleasures. Often you’ll swear there are other elements added to the recipe - fruit, nuts, booze, citrus, flowers, spices, and more. However the dark bars usually only have four ingredients (cocoa beans, cane sugar, cocoa butter, and vanilla). This array of flavors comes from the bean selection. When tasted, Art’s commitment to producing the best chocolate by starting with the best beans is clear   We love using Amano in countless dishes. From our flourless chocolate black satin fudge cake, to our chocolate pot de creme, to our signature dark chocolate gelato.  It’s even one of the ingredients in Ryan’s chili recipe. Despite the wide application of the chocolate in larger recipes, perhaps the best way to enjoy and appreciate Amano chocolate is straight from the package. Indeed, one of of our favorite ways to conclude an elaborate and indulgent meal is to enjoy a little cheese sampling, followed by an artisan chocolate tasting. Pro tips when tasting dark artisan chocolates like Amano (or some of our other local favorites - Ritual, Milcreek, Solstice, Durci, Chocolate Conspiracy, Taste, Cocoa Bean Project):
  • Cleanse the palate. Many flavors of good dark chocolate are subtle and will be lost or ruined when tasted against lingering flavors from a meal. Apples, citrus, and other light fruits can work well. Sparkling water is an excellent option. Fruit and sparkling water together are ideal. Cleanse before each new chocolate. Yes, this may mean your cleansing the palate multiple times if tasting multiple chocolates.
  • Smell the chocolate. Smell again. Break a piece apart and smell the freshly exposed surface once more. This will prime your palate for the upcoming tasting. And it will zero in on the most subtle flavors that may be overpowered by others when tasted.
  • Don’t taste cold chocolate. The bar should be at room temperature when you start. And it’s recommended to warm the chocolate in your fingers for a few moments before introducing to the mouth. Warming up the chocolate will help the flavors release and be perceived as you taste.
  • Don’t rush. Although chewing 1-3 times can help accelerate things, this is the upper limit. Wait for the chocolate to melt. Massage the chocolate between your tongue and the roof of your mouth. Breathe in through your nose. Try to smell the chocolate while your tasting it. Slow down and focus on the flavors - especially how they change from start to middle to finish.
  • Use a proper sample size. Too large, and you’ll be tempted to chew too much. Too small and you’ll miss flavors before it’s melted away. 5 - 15 grams is good window to target.

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