Three Chocolate Podcasts You Should Listen To Now + My Favorite Local Food Podcast

You know what I like the best about being part of a new movement? Watching so many projects come to life. As the American craft chocolate scene has been booming over the past couple of years, I’ve been thrilled to witness the creation of several chocolate podcasts to help us all make sense of that world. These shows have informed, entertained, moved, and inspired me and I hope that they will do the same to you too. Happy listening!

Well Tempered, by Lauren Heineck

img_2180Hosted by Lauren Heineck of WKND Chocolate, Well Tempered is a podcast about the “smart and crafty women of the chocolate industry.” Each episode features an intimate conversation with an inspiring woman. Guests range from bloggers and brand strategists to makers and educators (I was the guest of Episode 2!).

This podcast’s for you if you have In The Company of Women* on your bedside table and could use some female inspiration to get to your next chapter. Lauren is a gifted listener and each episode makes me take action, whether that’s contributing to a crowdfunding campaign or book a visit to a chocolate factory. In short, I am a fan.

The Slow Melt, a Podcast about Chocolate, by Simran Sethi

IMG_6660Written by the author of Bread, Wine, Chocolate: The Slow Loss of Foods We Love*, this podcast’s mission to educate listeners about the complexity and sometimes harsh realities of the chocolate world. After a first season focused on the basics of chocolate (from the origins of chocolate to how to savor chocolate), the new season is dedicated to chocolate-makers. 

This podcast is best for anyone who already cares about the issues of sustainability and biodiversity in food and would like to expand their knowledge to the lesser-known world of cacao and chocolate. The episodes are short (30 minutes) and professionally edited. If you only listen to one episode, may it be this interview of Shawn Askinosie, founder of Askinosie Chocolate. A pioneer of the American craft chocolate movement, Askinosie left a job as a criminal defense attorney to become a chocolate-maker. You’ll relate with his struggle to transition careers and finding work that matters.

Unwrapped, a Conversation about Chocolate, by Sunita de Toureil and Brian Beyke

UnwrappedWhen two friends who “love to talk about chocolate” want to share their passion, guess what they do? They record their weekly chats and make them available to everyone (yay!). Hosted by Sunita de Toureil, founder of The Chocolate Garage in Palo Alto, California, and Brian Beyke, co-host of the I Brew My Own Coffee podcast, the show covers a variety of topics, from consumer expectations to subscription box business models, all while keeping it very real. The podcast stands out by it very laid-back tone (Brian will occasionally eat a bar during a recording!), making it the perfect road trip companion.

Unwrapped will appeal to chocolate-lovers who already have a good knowledge of the US craft chocolate movement. If you’ve already heard of Areté Fine Chocolate, Stephen DeVries, or Patric Chocolate, then this podcast’s for you.

Local Mouthful, by Joy Manning and Marisa McClellan

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Finally, I have to give a shout-out to Local Mouthful, a show about “living the food life in Philadelphia and beyond.” Each of the 30-minute weekly show has been helping me go through the Wednesday lunchbox packing duty for well over a year (will I find two snacks by 8:30 AM? Does dark chocolate count as one?). Listening to two food lovers dish about foods of all kinds is a good reminder that there’s a whole other world outside of cacao and chocolate. Local Mouthful keeps me up-to-date with food news, helps me discover new cookbooks,  and even inspires me to make pierogis from scratch.  Now, if Joy and Marisa would devote a whole show to chocolate, that would make my Wednesdays extra sweet.

* Affiliate links.

Interview with William Marx, Founder, Wm. Chocolate

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Owner William Marx winnowing cacao beans. Photo credit: Wm.  Chocolate

Chocolate conferences are like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get. Last month, I had the pleasure to meet William (Will) Marx, founder of Wm. Chocolate at the Fine Chocolate Industry Association New York City conference. He came across as hardworking and humble, and I could not wait to try his chocolate.

A week later, on the other side of the country, Pashmina of  the Choco Rush subscription box told me how fantastic his Belize bar was. We thought it would be great to interview Will for the company’s blog. Well, the interview is now up and I think you’ll appreciate his views on the use of unrefined sugar. You can find the interview here.

Now, tell me, have you had his chocolate? What are your thoughts on using unrefined sugars?

The Taste of Joy

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So long, France, thank you to everyone who met, fed, hugged, and inspired me. This trip was the very first I took back to my homeland as a chocolate-lover and it was neat (and, in some way, comforting) to understand how a French upbringing influenced the way I talk about chocolate.

I have often said Madagascar chocolate tastes like joy because of its citrus notes. Many have smiled at the description or look at me like I have three heads but in France, I always heard wine tasting notes tied to a specific setting (a picnic, for instance) and even an emotion. Although wine was not part of my culinary background, the approach forever affected the way I talk about food. This less literal way of describing food is what I want to see represented in the chocolate world and the reason I decided to stay in that space.

So it was good to be back where I grew up and I smiled when I read the story behind Christian Dior’s latest perfume, J’adore Joy. In his write-up, master perfumer Christophe Demachy explains how the sweet-salty combination of the fragrance literally smells like joy. He goes on to explain the ylang-ylang used in Joy comes from… Madagascar.

Chocolate Shops & Independent Coffee Shops in Paris

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Guess what: I’m going to Paris in May! Plane tickets to France are at an-all time low so I finally booked that long overdue trip to my homeland. This will be my first trip to Paris as a chocolate-lover and I am excited to see the city through the lens of chocolate. As I was imagining myself hopping from one shop to another, I started compiling a list of chocolate shops in a notebook, but notebooks get lost and stained, so I thought why not compile them all on my blog instead? As an added bonus, it may help some of you plan your own visit. So there you have it, a list of chocolate shops to check out in Paris: some are bean-to-bar storefronts, others chocolatier shops, but all have been recommended by a friend or fellow chocophile.

I made sure to add the name of the closest subway station as well as opening hours. And because coffee is a chocolate’s best friend, I have added a list of independent coffee shops in Paris, too. I hope you’ll find the lists handy and please feel free to list your favorite Parisian chocolate (and coffee) shops in Paris in the comments.

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Photo credit: Le Chocolat des Français

Chocolate Shops

A l’Etoile d’Or
30 rue Pierre Fontaine
75009 Paris
Open Monday, 2 – 8 PM
Tuesday – Saturday, 10:30 am – 8:00 pm

According to David Lebovitz, this is “best candy shop in Paris.” It is also the only place outside of the original shop in Lyon that sells Bernachon chocolate.”

Ara Chocolat 
54 Rue de Dunkerque
75009 Paris
Open Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday: noon – 8 PM.
Tuesday: 4:30 – 8 PM.
Closed on Sundays

Atelier C
123 Avenue Daumesnil
75012 Paris
Metro Gare de Lyon, Reuilly-Diderot, or Montgallet.
Open Tuesday to Sunday, noon – 8 PM

Atelier C hosts 2-hour bean-to-bar workshops one Sunday per month. You can contact them on Instagram for a schedule of their classes.

Chocolatitudes 
57 rue Daguerre
75014 Paris
Metro Denfert-Rochereau, lines 4 and 6
Open Wednesday, Friday, Saturday: noon – 7 PM; Thursday: noon – 8 PM; and Sunday: noon – 2 PM, 4 – 7 PM

Laurence Alemanno, owner and founder of the company, is also the author of several books in French about cacao and chocolate, which you can discover here.

Chocolaterie Cyril Lignac
25 rue Chanzy
75011 Paris
Metro Charonne on line 9 and Faidherbe-Chaligny on line 8
Open everyday, 8 AM – 8 PM.

Cyril Lignac is an acclaimed pastry chef and the host of Le Meilleur Pâtissier, the French equivalent to the Great British Bake-Off. His latest venture is a boutique entirely devoted to chocolate. I have seen chocolate bars in gorgeous, colorful wrappers, pralines, and bonbons.

Comptoir du Cacao

192 av de Versailles
75016 Paris
Open Tuesday through Saturday 10:30 AM to 7PM
Sunday 10:30AM to 1PM

118 rue Ordener
75018 Paris
Open Tuesday through Saturday 10:30AM to 7PM
Monday 2 PM to 7PM

The chocolate factory is located outside of Paris in Bazoches sur le Betz. You can check out directions to the facility here.

Jacques Genin

Turenne Shop:
133 rue de Turenne
75003 Paris
Métro : République, Filles du Calvaire, Temple
OpenTuesday – Sunday, 11 AM – 7 PM (7:30 PM on Saturdays)
There is room to sit and enjoy your chocolate at this location.
Varenne Shop:
27 rue de Varenne
75007 Paris
Métro : Rue du Bac, Sèvres Babylone, Varenne
Open Tuesday – Saturday, 10:30 AM – 7 PM
I only knew Jacques Genin by name until I read Franckie Alarcon’s graphic novel Les secrets du chocolate. The graphic novelist followed the chocolatier for a year and wrote about his experience in the book. Genin comes across as a generous, passionate, and approachable, which made me eager to check out his shop.

Kosak 
106 rue Caulaincourt
75018 Paris
Metro Lamarck-Caulaincourt
Open Tuesday – Sunday, 11 AM – 11 PM

Kosak is an ice cream shop located in Montmartre that also specializes in bean-to-bar chocolate. The shop carries a lot of the brands I tried during the “37 Chocolates” challenge, such as Dick Taylor. From my interactions on Instagram, the owners of the shop seem super friendly.

Le Chocolat des Français

The chocolate is available in many locations across the country. Find a list of retailers here.

La Manufacture de Chocolat Alain Ducasse
40 rue de la Roquette
75011 Paris
Metro Bastille, lines 1, 5, 8
Open Tuesday – Saturday, 10:30 AM – 7:00 PM

Chef Alain Ducasse opened his bean-to-bar operations in Paris a few years ago. I was not too crazy about his Colombia bar but French writer Martin Page swears by the unconched chocolate, so I plan on giving a try.

Pierre Marcolini
235, Rue Saint-Honoré
75001 Paris
Open Monday to Saturday 10:30 AM – 7:30 PM

89, Rue de Seine
75006 Paris
Open Monday to Sunday, 10:30 AM – 9 PM

3, Rue Scribe
75009 Paris
Open Monday to Friday, 10:30 AM – 7 PM
Saturday, 10:30 AM – 7:30 PM

Yes, Pierre Marcolini is from Belgium but for those of us who cannot take the trip to Brussels, we can always head to one of his Paris shops. A pioneer of the bean-to-bar movement, Marcolini is also the author of an imposing book about chocolate, which my friend Penny recently reviewed.

Pralus
35 rue Rambuteau
75004 Paris
Metro Jacques Bonsergent, line 5
Open Monday to Saturday, 10 AM – 8 PM; Sunday, 10 AM – 7 PM

Coffee and Cream

Independent Coffee Shops

Café Lomi
3 rue Marcadet
75018 Paris
Open everyday, 10 AM – 7 PM

Coutume
47 rue de Babylone
75007 Paris
Open: Monday – Friday : 8 AM – 6 PM
Saturday –  Sunday: 9 AM – 6 PM

Fondation
16 rue Dupetit Thouars
75003 Paris
Metro: Temple (line 3)
Open 8 AM – 6 PM on weekdays, 8 AM – 6 PM on weekends.

Hexagone Cafe
121 rue du Chateau
75014 Paris
Metro: Line 13 Pernety or 13 Gaîté; line 6 Edgar Quinet
Open 8 AM – 6 PM on weekdays; 10 AM – 6 PM on weekends.

Hollybelly
19 rue Lucien Sampaix
75010 Paris
Metro Jacques Bonsergent, line 5
Open 9 AM – 5 PM on weekdays, 10 AM – 5 PM on weekends.

Ob-La-Di
54 rue de Saintonge
75003 Paris
Metro Temple, Line 3
Open Monday-Saturday, 8 AM-6 PM; Sunday 9 AM-6 PM

Ten Belles
10 rue de la Grange aux Belles
75010 Paris
Metro Gare de l’Est (lines 4, 5, 7); Jacques Bonsergent (line 5); Goncourt (line 11); Colonel Fabien (line 2)
Open 8 AM – 5 PM on week days, 9 AM – 6 PM on weekends.

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How is Chocolate Made?

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How Cocoa Beans Become Chocolate: Graphic Developed by Ecole Chocolat and Megan Giller of Chocolate Noise

How is chocolate made? Find that out in my latest post on the Choco Rush blog. A big thank you to Ecole Chocolat and Megan Giller of Chocolate Noise for providing the fun and educational graphics, including the one here. Happy reading!

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Love Shack

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A piece of Love (Shack)

Happy Valentine’s Day, chocolate-lovers! This Love Shack bar by Map Chocolate is the perfect bar to eat today and not just because of its name. Let me explain.

This bar features Tien Giang cacao beans, which are sourced in Vietnam. I experienced the beans for the first time in a dark chocolate bar and all I remember is a strong (albeit nice) acidity with a faint chocolate flavor. It was good but it felt like it needed a loving arm to hold onto.

There is a belief in the chocolate world that you honor cacao by making dark chocolate with no inclusion so you can “let the beans shine.” Well, let me tell you something. I liked myself before I met my husband but I became a stronger, better person after I fell in love with him (and yes, he’d say the same thing about me.) Sometimes, cacao is like us and it needs a partner to make it stronger. If you dare to listen, it will tell you what it needs.

Last fall, I welcomed Map Chocolate’s Love Shack into my life. Mackenzie Rivers, chocolate-maker at Map Chocolate turned the Tien Gang beans into a work of art. She honored the Tieng Gans beans by giving them a partner to play with: lemon cookies. The cookies echoed the acidity of the bean, while bringing enough sweetness to balance the chocolate. Now that’s what I called “honoring the bean” and I am grateful for Mackenzie for this match made in heaven.

Map Chocolate is currently running a crowdfunding campaign to get equipment that will help her stay small (yes, I know), and I hope this post will encourage you to contribute. If anything, please watch the video because you can see me at the 3 min 29 second mark (just saying.)

To learn more about Map Chocolate, read my  interview with founder Mackenzie Rivers here.

Eat, Listen, and Read: My Winter in Chocolate

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A snapshot of my previous chocolate tasting workshop at the Kennett Library last November

Last fall, I was training Philter Coffee’s staff on the shop’s chocolate bar selection when it suddenly hit me: this is my role in the world of chocolate. Sharing my knowledge, telling stories, and encourage others to trust themselves – and their palate – this is what I am meant to do. The realization did not come overnight, but through a long series of trial (OK, tastings) and error.

Whether you have found your true calling or are still looking for that spark, I urge you to gather the courage to sign up for that journey. And if you don’t know where to start, here are some words of encouragement by Elizabeth Gilbert:

Follow your curiosity (…) It might lead you to your passion or it might not. You might get nothing out of it at all except a beautiful, long life where all you did was follow your gorgeous curiosity. And that should be enough too.

Because a piece of chocolate will make the journey that much sweeter, here is some chocolate inspiration to help you along the way.

EAT

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Do you live in the Philadelphia and Chester County area? If so, I’d love to see you at one of my upcoming tasting events in Kennett Square next week:

  • Join me at the Kennett Library on Saturday, February 11 for a FREE chocolate tasting workshop. Space is limited so make sure to register here. The event was completely booked last time so don’t wait to save your spot!
  • This year again, I will be a judge at the Kennett Chocolate Lovers Festival on Sunday, February 12. Note to self: do NOT finish that slice of cake.
  • Looking for the perfect Valentine’s Day gift? Head out to Galer Estate Winery on Sunday, February 12 for the winery’s annual Valentine’s Sip & Shop. I’ll be there from 2-7 with several chocolate bars for sampling and purchase.

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Looking to add some spice to your chocolate life this winter? Look no further than Turmeric of a Goat Thing.

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Photo credit: WKND Chocolate

I live for chocolate crushes and this golden milk-flavored goat milk white chocolate by WKND Chocolate is my latest one. It has the perfect balance of sweet/spicy and you can barely detect the goat milk.To order, send an email to Lauren, founder of the company, at: lauren@wkndchocolate.com.

LISTEN

The Slow Melt is a brand new chocolate podcast devoted to – you guessed it – chocolate. The first episode is a lively introduction to the multiple facets of chocolate, I think you’ll like it.

READ (AND EAT)

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It’s no secret Choco Rush is my favorite chocolate subscription box so imagine my excitement at the opportunity to start blogging on their site! My very first post features a Valentine’s Day craft chocolate selection inspired by Paris, caramel truffles, and milk chocolate. Discover it here and let me know in the comments what you think.

Now, tell me, what chocolate is helping you go through this winter?