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These 4 chocolatiers will star in TFS' first tasting
Have you bought your ticket to The Food Section’s online chocolate tasting? It’s not too late—yet. But the registration window closes tomorrow night, so now’s the perfect time to sign up for the January 26 event.
As a reminder, the event is virtual, but the chocolate is real. Prior to the tasting, you’ll receive a box of bars from Piety and Desire in New Orleans, Family & Future in Carrboro, North Carolina, Xocolatl Small Batch Chocolate in Atlanta, and Brasstown in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
You may not have heard of those chocolatiers. That’s by design, since one of The Food Section’s goals is to connect its readers with new and meaningful culinary experiences representing the best of the American South. But you shouldn’t have to wait for the online event to find out what makes these craftspeople so special. Allow me to introduce them, traveling from east to west:
Family & Future, Carrboro, North Carolina
Steven Lambeth’s first name for his chocolate-making endeavor was Raw Chocolate for the Soul, although it may have been his soul which was in raw shape. Lambeth started eating chocolate obsessively after a heartbreaking split from a woman who counted it among her favorite foods.
Ten years later, the name of Lambeth’s business reflects a shift in focus to the family he’s built and families of cacao farmers, who face an uncertain economic future in regions dealing with the consequences of climate change. Lambeth uses fair-trade and organic ingredients exclusively to make his vegan chocolate bars.
Brasstown, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
In North Carolina, the phrase “Brasstown” is synonymous with dropping possums. But in chocolate circles, Brasstown is known for its fair-trade chocolate made from Latin American beans.
(Regarding the possums, which may have made The Food Section’s international readers do a double take: In his excellent newsletter, Jeremy Markovich recently explained the debate around the tradition and why there’s a five-day period every year when “all possum crime is legal in North Carolina.”)
Brasstown has won numerous awards for its bars, including an International Chocolate Award Gold for its Sea Salt 62%, and a prestigious Good Food Award for its Ecuador 75%.
Xocolatl Small Batch Chocolate, Atlanta, Georgia
Krog Street Market resident Xocolatl makes peppermint bark and drinking chocolates, but it’s the company’s Good Food Award-winning single-origin bars which got the attention of O: The Oprah Magazine, and Conde Nast Traveler.
As Elaine Read, who in 2014 founded Xocolatl with husband Matt Weyandt, wrote in a blog post: “With no added flavor ingredients to hide under, this ‘plain’ dark chocolate showcase(s) complex, widely varying, and sometimes totally wild flavors on the dark chocolate flavor spectrum.”
Xocolatl is providing its single-origin Ugandan bar for the tasting.
Piety and Desire, New Orleans, Louisiana
There’s plenty that’s recognizably New Orleanian about Piety and Desire, from owner Christopher Nobles’ fedora and handlebar moustache to the king cake and Sazerac bonbons in its retail line. But most reflective of its Crescent City roots is its new shop on Magazine Street.
Its centerpiece, of course, is a bar. Piety and Desire pours drinking chocolate and cacao juice, made from the white pulp that cushions the seeds. As Ian McNulty of The Times-Picayune wrote, some customers “throw open the heavy front door and beeline for the bar, eager to knock back a mood-altering dram.”
Do you have questions about the event? Respond to this newsletter, and I’ll write right back.