The Chocolate Life

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Clay Gordon's Blog (63)

Perú and the 2014 Salon del Cacao y Chocolate - Part 2

Here I am with Roberto Granja of Transmar, one of the larger cacao companies in Ecuador. Roberto was at last year's Salon as well and they buy production from San Martin and Huanuco in Perú as well as other places.

Above: I am wearing a real Panama hat. Although they are called…


Added by Clay Gordon on July 15, 2014 at 2:00pm — No Comments

Perú and the 2014 Salon del Cacao y Chocolate - Part 1

The 5th annual Salon del Cacao y Chocolate was held in Lima, Perú July 4-6. This was followed up by La Ruta del Cacao, a trip into la selva (the jungle) in and around Tarapoto in San Martin province July 7-9. I was one of a group of more than 20 invited international guests who attended both the Salon and La Ruta.

As with last year, the two events were organized and enjoyed the support of a broad range of organizations and government ministries including the Perúvian federal…


Added by Clay Gordon on July 15, 2014 at 1:46pm — 1 Comment

Being a Tourist in Amsterdam

Tomorrow is the first day of the CHOCOA conference on sustainability in cacao and chocolate in Holland and this is the first time I have been to Amsterdam - this is my third visit - where I have had a free day. I am going to be slamming busy from tomorrow (Thursday) through Monday, so I have decided to enjoy the day: get a late start and be a tourist and enjoy the city by walking around.

Amsterdam is often called the most bicycle-friendly city in the world. The same cannot be said… Continue

Added by Clay Gordon on March 26, 2014 at 12:56pm — 2 Comments

A Visit with Andrea Slitti

As I hinted to many, my March trip to Europe was going to start with a special visit. I did not want to jinx the visit by mentioning it and then not being able to make it. But it happened!

Following the path of my Chocolate Life has led me to interesting places and to make interesting decisions. For some reason, many of those decisions seem to involve travel. For example, on my first trip to Bolivia I flew to La Paz then scrambled to catch a flight to Santa Cruz to be met by Volker… Continue

Added by Clay Gordon on March 26, 2014 at 12:15pm — No Comments

Euro2013 Road Trip: London part 1

It's Thursday morning here on London, barely 48 hours after I arrived at Heathrow for the start of my Euro2013 Road Trip.

This year's trip will see me traveling to Amsterdam, Milan, and Paris after I leave London. It's chocolate festival season here in Europe. It is true, however, that I am missing some events in the US - the festivals in Chicago for example, as well as Dallas. While I would enjoy being able to attend either or both those events, the lure of being back here in Europe…


Added by Clay Gordon on October 17, 2013 at 6:07am — No Comments

Anatomy of a Tasting Menu

I am often asked ... about how I approach my pairings, where I get my inspirations, and what my thought processes are. I recently had the opportunity to conceive and prepare a five–course prix fixe tasting dinner at Jimmy's #43, a craft beer bar and restaurant in New York's East Village. The occasion was April, which at Jimmy's is the inspiration for April Sours month - a celebration of sours, Lambics, and wild ferments. As I was working on the menu I…


Added by Clay Gordon on April 21, 2013 at 12:00pm — No Comments

The Salon du Chocolat in NYC - The Chocolate Show

This weekend (November 9-11) saw The Chocolate Show in New York City. The show is organized by Event International, the company that organizes the Salon du Chocolat in Paris and more than 15 other cities around the world. New York is the only location that does that does not incorporate the Salon du Chocolat brand into the name.

I like The Chocolate Show for a number of reasons, including the fact that it brings out the core of the NY chocolate community every year while bringing…


Added by Clay Gordon on November 11, 2012 at 3:51pm — 2 Comments

Chocolate Relief Efforts for Hurricane Sandy

To All Members of TheChocolateLife:

I was thinking this morning about the ways in which the ChocolateLife community might be able to aid in Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts. And not just aid ChocolateLife members who make their livings making chocolate, but also people whose lives have been been tossed upside down and inside out who are in need of assistance.

After all, I know that there are ChocolateLife members up and down the East Coast that were within the path of the storm…


Added by Clay Gordon on November 5, 2012 at 2:30pm — 1 Comment

Euro 2012 Chocolate Adventure - Origin Chocolate Conference, Amsterdam

Check out the album of photos.

Traveling to Amsterdam

I have only ever been to the airport in Amsterdam before - Schipol - changing planes 'twixt here and there. So I was looking forward to spending a few days to learn and explore. 

I know why I took the early train from London (8:05am out of St…


Added by Clay Gordon on October 21, 2012 at 6:25am — 3 Comments

Euro 2012 Chocolate Adventure - Days 3 and 4, Chocolate Unwrapped

Check out the photo album from the weekend. [ Note: I am working on a new approach to blogging, which is to put all the photos in an album and to write detailed notes for each photo. Blog entries cover topics not shown in the photos. ]

Featuring well over 50 exhibitors this year from all over the world and representing a wide variety of styles of chocolate and confectionery,…


Added by Clay Gordon on October 14, 2012 at 6:30pm — 2 Comments

Euro 2012 Chocolate Adventure - Day 2, Friday, London

Friday dawned just as many days do in London, chill and damp.

Still, I am in London where it is warmer than New York, and by the time I make my way from the Sloane Square tube stop to Piccadilly and make my way to the Royal Automobile Club (venue for the Second Academy of Chocolate conference) the sun is shining and I am very much looking forward to the day even though I was too rushed to have coffee before…


Added by Clay Gordon on October 14, 2012 at 5:00am — 1 Comment

Euro 2012 Chocolate Adventure - Day 1 London


Believe it or not, London is probably the most dynamic city on the planet for chocolate It's hard to overstate just how much creativity and interesting work is going on here.

My plane arrived about 15 minutes ahead of schedule and the best thing that can be said for the flight was that it was uneventful. The only downside is arriving at a sleepy 7:30 am (2:30 am New York time). I sailed through immigration, customs, and baggage claim, and found my way to the…


Added by Clay Gordon on October 11, 2012 at 8:29pm — No Comments

Euro 2012 Chocolate Adventure - Day 0

I am writing this in the chocolate factory I have been helping to build for Fine & Raw Chocolate. I am getting ready to leave for London - I leave for the airport in less than six hours. There is still much to do and I am going away for two weeks at a critical juncture. Sigh. Construction projects do tend to stretch, but this has taken longer than even a stretch schedule.

It's less than four hours before I head to the airport and my Heritage Radio Network program streams live at…


Added by Clay Gordon on October 10, 2012 at 12:18pm — No Comments

Chocolate and Beer Pairings at the New York City Craft Beer Festival

The New York City Craft Beer Festival took place on Saturday, March 3rd, at the Lexington Avenue Armory in Manhattan. Close to 60 craft breweries and cider makers from around the country were pouring over 100 different offerings covering the gamut of beer styles.

I was asked by Jimmy Carbone, owner of Jimmy's #43 and the host of…


Added by Clay Gordon on March 6, 2012 at 12:00pm — No Comments

Holiday Party Wine, Beer, and Chocolate Pairing

The Setup

I was given the opportunity, earlier this week, to do the chocolate, wine, and beer pairings for a holiday party, co-sponsored by Valrhona, Fresh Direct, and Manhattan magazine, to which over 200 people were expected to attend.

There are always challenges with doing large scale events like this, but the major hurdle for this particular event was that I'd never tasted any of the wines that were going to be served and it had been a while since I'd…


Added by Clay Gordon on December 15, 2011 at 6:12pm — No Comments

GetRealNY Belgian Festival Roundup

GetRealNY's 2011 Belgian Festival took place July 8-9 at New York City's Altman Building.

Featuring brewed-in-Belgium and Belgian-style beers brewed in the US, the event attracted well over 2000 beer lovers during its four sessions. Nearly 80 beers of all styles were served from an innovative central…


Added by Clay Gordon on July 13, 2011 at 3:44pm — No Comments

Do Your Chocolate Shopping Online - and Support TheChocolateLife

Now you can shop for chocolate on-line anywhere in the world and support TheChocolateLife at the same time.

You can shop at major merchants like (and - or anywhere, including eBay) for chocolate products:…


Added by Clay Gordon on December 7, 2010 at 4:37pm — 2 Comments

Hotel Chocolat – Not Your Average Chocolate Company

Hotel Chocolat.

The name conjures up romantic images of languorous days spent in tropical splendor. Which is precisely the point, according to Angus Thirlwell, co-founder of the UK-based company. “The company has been around for nearly twenty years, originally as a catalog retailer,” explains Thirwell, “but about seven years ago we realized that our brand really didn't reflect our aspirations for…

Added by Clay Gordon on July 15, 2010 at 11:03am — 1 Comment

The Most Unusual Cacao Pod I Have Ever Seen

At The Chocolate Experience in Mexico City I was presented what has to be the most unusual cacao pod I have ever seen. This pod was on the stand of CACEP, a co-operative in the Tabasco area of Chiapas and was described to me as "cacao prehispanico." Or, a type of cacao pod that existed before the Spanish arrived in Mesoamerica. The person who showed this to me is the manager of… Continue

Added by Clay Gordon on February 12, 2010 at 9:30am — 2 Comments

Off to Bolivia :: The Hacienda Tranquilidad

Sometime in 2006 in the oppressive summer heat that invades Phoenix, AZ, I was introduced to a new chocolate - Cru Sauvage; the newest entry in Felchlin's Grand Cru line and made from "wild" beans harvested in the middle of absolutely nowhere in Eastern Bolivia.

The story of their making it to market is quite remarkable and is testament to the patience of my host on my trip, Volker Lehmann. Convinced the beans he had were something special Volker traveled around the world… Continue

Added by Clay Gordon on January 5, 2010 at 3:00am — 3 Comments

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