[The following post was commissioned by Dove.]
Last week I talked about the incredible opportunity I had to tour the Dove Chocolate factory in Elizabethtown, PA. After the factory tour was over, we got to have a chocolate tasting, with a chocolate expert.
I’m not sure what, exactly, you have to do to become a chocolate expert, but Ed Seguine started out by getting a degree in chemical engineering. He’s been working for Mars since 2009. He’s like a walking encyclopedia of chocolate knowledge. Most of what I’m going to tell you in this post came directly from Ed.
Ed Seguine, chocolate expert
The lengths that Dove’s parent company Mars is going to in order to ensure that the cocoa bean trade is sustainable is quite impressive. They’ve pledged to buy 100% of their cocoa from certified sources by 2020, and are on track to meet that goal. This means that the cocoa comes from farms that use the land in a sustainable way – good for both the farmer and the environment.
Every year the world wants a little more chocolate. The problem is, cocoa yields didn’t really change from 1930 until 2000, even though demand was going up. Farming cocoa beans is very labor intensive, and many farmers were barely making enough money to survive.
Enter Mars. They partnered with IBM and the USDA to map the cacao genome (and put it in the public domain), which allows better crops to be bred much faster – it now takes seven months, as opposed to seven years, to see if the crop you bred is healthier, hardier, tastier – whichever “er” you were going for.
What this means for farmers is that they can increase their yields, and make more money. You can read more about the sustainability initiative here.
While I’m sure that there are many many people at Mars who want to help farmers out of the goodness of their hearts, it’s also just good business. If the farmers can grow more, there won’t be a cocoa bean shortage. Which wouldn’t be good for anybody. I mean, talk about rioting in the streets (where’s my pitchfork?!?).
So it turns out that a chocolate tasting is a lot like a wine tasting: it’s a slow, appreciative taste, taking in the smells and textures. As opposed to the way I usually eat chocolate, which is to try to shove as much into my face as I can at one time. I can’t say that I’ve eaten chocolate quite this way since my day at the Dove factory, but it was an interesting experience, and I do try to slow down a little bit now and enjoy the experience even more.
Slowing down and really experiencing several different flavors of Dove Promises, I definitely noticed things that I usually wasn’t stopping to appreciate. The subtle differences in texture between the different flavors. The caramel undertones of some of the Dove Promises. The way the flavor changed the longer I held the chocolate in my mouth.
Stopping to smell the chocolate (with Colleen).
Mint and Dark Chocolate Swirl
The star of the show was Dove’s newest flavor, Dove Promises Silky Smooth Mint and Dark Chocolate Swirl. I’ve been a huge fan of mint and chocolate together since first trying Royals when I was a kid (remember those?).
The “silky smooth” part of this new flavor is important, because dark chocolate can sometimes have a coarser texture than milk chocolate. But not the dark chocolate in these new Promises. The whole thing melts in your mouth. They were absolutely delicious! I’m a big fan of eating chocolate with breakfast (hey, there’s science behind it!), and I had some of these Mint and Dark Chocolate Swirls almost every morning until they were gone.
My day at the Dove factory was really special, and while I wish I could have smuggled all of you in with me (my mom would have been first in line), it was not to be. I can, however, share some chocolate and other great prizes with one of you, so look out for a really great giveaway in a few days!
Originally posted on Selfish Mom. All opinions expressed on this website come straight from Amy unless otherwise noted. This post has Compensation Levels of 2, 5, & 7. Please visit Amy’s Full Disclosure page for more information.