Tasty Harmony, chocolate tasting

Naturally, I am keeping mental lists of restaurants to take Dan to, restaurants my friends will love, restaurants my mom will love, restaurants my in-laws will love…

But yesterday I had an interesting dilemma: a lunch hour to myself with all of downtown Fort Collins at my disposal. What would I love?!

I ended up at Tasty Harmony, a local restaurant with an entirely plant-based menu. Now I’m not saying this is what I’d eat every day if left to my own devices, but it was the kind of day where I was actually craving something green — the past few weeks have been pretty overloaded with pizza and pasta and fried foods and cider. (And, as you’ll see, chocolate.)

I ended up ordering one of those meals I could easily make at home but never do: steamed vegetables, quinoa, tofu. Peppermint tea. The end.

It was a heavy day for walking, too, which I have sorely missed. I generally gadded about town for a few hours, taking pictures of murals and popping into shops, then walked the Poudre River Trail back home. Later, Dan and I walked back to Old Town for an event at Old Firehouse Books. Author Megan Giller was heading into town to talk about her book Bean-to-Bar Chocolate, but she got caught in Denver — Toby Gadd of Nuance Chocolate instead gave a fairly detailed introduction to chocolate-making (a “Show and Smell,” as it were).

When Giller arrived, she and Gadd tag-teamed a Nuance chocolate tasting. It made me miss my friend Sherri immensely — Sherri had just held a celebratory chocolate tasting on my last day at work with the CSO, including a few bars of Nuance. Many of the “secrets” of chocolate tasting I’d already learned from Sherri, including the fact that room-temperature polenta is considered the best palette cleanser.

Toby Gadd’s go-to palette cleanser is whole milk and the blandest store brand cracker he can find. He says he buys the King Soopers brand of milk instead of local dairy milk because, just like his chocolate, the local dairy milk is subject to inconsistencies by batch. He goes to far as to say the milk can be too flavorful. The grocery store brands are large-batch blends, and so from gallon to gallon they are essentially the same.

P.S. Tonight I also learned the term tree-to-bar, a step beyond bean-to-bar, for chocolate makers who grow the cacao trees and create the chocolate.


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