Three Ring Circus of Flavor

“Just share the love, and everything will turn out fine”

        Sage advice to anyone presenting a pairing and lecture. If nothing else, we set out to convey the love of flavors, and the love of our products, and that is exactly what we did. I think we also had a really fun event! We took single origin coffees, single origin chocolates, and the delightful workings of a talented chef and shared them with a nice group of interested patrons.

       David Mejia of Nibble chocolates led a fabulous explanation of how chocolate is sourced and made. he explained some of the differences in chocolates from different origins, and that there are different varieties of chocolate int he same way as there are different varieties of wine grapes. He led the group in tasting exercises that emphasized his points, and his years of work in the wine industry really showed!


       Guests peeled cocoa apart, tasted cacao, and learned details about chocolate and chocolate quality that many had never considered before. Of importance was how impressive the sensory experience of a piece of Peruvian Chocolate was from that of Venezuelan of Madagascar chocolate.

As a Coffee Roaster I don’t think in terms of coffee but of coffees. For me, the idea that Terroir, variety/ cultivar, and processing are all important contributors to what the final product will be is totally normal. I’m accustomed to thinking about wine in similarly nerdy terms, however I hadn’t given anywhere near as much thought to chocolates, and I greatly appreciated the learning experience. And the chocolate squares. I also appreciated those chocolate squares!!


        The evening included four trays consisting of a chocolate, a coffee, and a small serving of a delicious food item designed to bring out the flavors in both. Each tray was accompanied by a short talk on both coffee and chocolate.

       Chef Andre Fuentes of the Patio Restaurant on Lamont St, served up amazing foods. Everything from pork belly over blurred strawberry, to raspberry goat cheese and Temecula honey. That these amazing bites were designed to harmonize with the specific coffees and chocolates presented doesn’t sound right to the nonbeliever. But thats why it sucks to be a nonbeliever.

Yes….pork belly and strawberries go well with a dry processed Ethiopian Sidamo and Madagascar chocolate. Don’t knock it until you try it! We tried it and we loved it!

The only missing element in this pairing event was a DJ and an afterparty! What to do with yourself all hopped up on chocolate, coffee and goat cheese!

If you are kicking yourself for not attending, there is good news! After tasting the difference between OK Chocolates and Amazing chocolates we felt the need to change the chocolates we use in our mochas. Nothing less than the best would do, so we are now using Nibble Peru as the chocolate in our Mochas at The Swell Cafe. The new mochas are delicious, less sweet, but more rich.

I have to admit its been a battle to get away from the sweet stuff! Sweet is so easy, but it can be also distracting from many of the best flavors you can find in coffee, and in chocolate as well. It turns out that the key to getting away from over-sweetening might be turning up the quality! Amazing chocolate is best served minimally messed with. Who needs sugar when you have FLAVOR!