Saturday, July 21, 2007
claudio corallo, chocolate god
Photo by Medicaster. Cacao tree in Hawaii Botanical Gardens. Wikipedia
I first read about chocologist Claudio Corallo in Chloé Doutre-Roussel’s delightful book, *The Chocolate Connoisseur: For Everyone with a Passion for Chocolate.* (note: I was fortunate to attend a chocolate tasting at Zingerman’s with Chloé, an event that transformed my relationship to chocolate). At the time of publication, Claudio Corallo’s chocolates were sold exclusively at Fortnum & Mason (where Doutré-Roussel is the chocolate buyer--what a job, no?), not available to chocophiles worldwide. Now, these amazing chocolates are available and...
But first, a bit of background on Corallo. According to Doutre-Roussel, Corallo was the creative force behind the plantation lines for Pralus, my previous number one chocolate. Corallo’s family’s small plantation in Sao Tomé e Principé is the site of their chocolate production, and Corallo is dedicated to keep chocolate plain, eschewing some of processing we’re used to in order to create chocolates that taste, well, like chocolate...
Last time I was at Zingerman’s I spied a new addition--a row of Corallo chocolates, but was unable to taste and buy at the time. This week I made my farewell visit to my favorite gourmety foodie mecca in Michigan, and decided it was time to purchase and to taste. I came home with a 75% bar--well, actually, when I opened the vacuum sealed packet (intriguing in its simplicity--silver vacuum pack with a white tag with limited info about the treat inside), I giddily discovered three bars. I snapped off a bite...well, as snappy as it could be given the less than ideal chocolate storing conditions here in my home...smelled its complex, warm wonder; and popped it in my mouth.
I nearly cried. Complex yet simple. Primitive. Wild. Rich, with a much less refined and creamy texture of most other chocolates, the flavor seeped into my whole being, and suddenly, poor Pralus was demoted to the number two spot. And I love the juxtaposition of the clean, modern lines of the packaging, and the old and otherwordly simplicity of the chocolate inside.