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A Map of the Chocolate World

27 Apr

If you travel, there are certain things you need to know when you arrive at a new destination.

If the language spoken is not your own, you need some basic phrases like “Please,” “Thank You” and “Where’s the nearest bathroom?”

You need to find your hotel, a few good restaurants/food markets, and the important historical sights to visit.

Oh, and if you eat chocolate, you need to know where the chocolate shops are located. There’s a website for that. Chocomap makes it easy for you to locate a shop by country, city or by shop name. Not only does the site give you the address, you also get a description of what the shop sells, the latitude/longitude location and the shop’s website. Chocomap boasts over 2,400 shops in its database and more are being added. The site invites map users to rate and review the shops they visit, to better assist future travelers. It hardly gets any easier or more fun to find your favorite fix or seek out a new one.

Chocomap’s site offers more than just the shop finder: there are chocolate reviews, chocolate history, lessons in making your own confections and all kinds of chocolate-related resources, from bulk chocolate suppliers to molds and other baking supplies.The site is the labor of love of Pam Williams of Ecole Chocolat Professional School of Chocolate Arts, based in Vancouver, B.C. Pam is the lead instructor, the head of curriculum development, the researcher and writer for both the school and the website. Talk about getting into your subject up to your elbows – and beyond! Check out her website. It’s a good read, and thanks to the map, getting lost while tracking down truffles won’t happen.

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And two more bars out of my NYC stash:

  • Butler’s Milk Chocolate: If you know me, you know I’m not the biggest fan of milk chocolate. But this Irish bar is about as far from U.S. milk chocolate as, well, Ireland is from America. Smooth, creamy, without sugar grit. It’s got a milky texture that makes it a pleasure to eat slowly. On the label, the manufacturer calls itself “Purveyors of Happiness.” Indeed, they are just that.
  • Vivani 100% Organic 85%: Italian-sounding name, but the bar is made in Germany. As organic chocolate goes, this is a little improved from others I’ve tried, but it still does not measure up to non-organics. It’s sweeter than you expect a bar of this percentage. It has a woody, earthy aftertaste, with no fruit overtones at all. Not a bar you could eat a lot of, or eat frequently. You’d find this to be a good after a large meal, when you’re craving just a little bit of something chocolately.
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