Step 1 of My Plan to Become One: A month of unsweetened chocolate!
Experience in tasting a lot of chocolate would be necessary as well. In order to be a connoisseur, you would need to try many, many kinds of chocolate, both good and bad. And different kinds of chocolate made from different beans from all regions of the world. So in theory, you could get a Master Chocolatier certificate and make beautiful showpieces, truffles, chocolate bars and filled chocolates, but not be a Chocolate Connoisseur...at least until you've gained more experience in tasting.
Also, should travel be a requirement to becoming a proper Chocolate Connoisseur? Would I have to travel to every region in the world and taste local chocolate from each? Or could I get away with just visiting the main ones, like Europe's hottest chocolate spots, including France, Switzerland and Belgium? And should a Chocolate Connoisseur have travelled to cacao plantations across the world in those wonderfully warm locations where cacao is grown? If so, how many plantations...is one enough, maybe two, or even 10 or 20?
Certainly I am not a Chocolate Connoisseur, according to my own standards. I have neither a certificate nor have I travelled to every corner of the world to taste chocolate. I do, however, have courses in chocolate making and have gained quite a lot of tasting experience over the last ten years. I have travelled quite a bit and made a point of seeking out chocolate in every region that I have visited. I've even devoted entire trips to seeking out all of the chocolate within the region I was visiting.
Although my ultimate goal is to be a 'proper' Chocolate Connoisseur one day, I fear that I never will be. I have set the bar too high and it would be impossible to meet the standards that I have set for myself to become one. However, I do plan to take it one step at a time and enhance my learning through actions that I think will get me closer to my goal.
The first step is one I have been thinking a lot about lately. I do not think I can officially become a Chocolate Connoisseur until I learn to like (or at least be able to taste and compare without cringing) pure cacao chocolate. I'm talking about chocolate with +90% cacao solids...all the way up to 100%.
So there it is. I have decided to be a Girl Gone Dark and Bitter. Well, for the month of January at least.
I've also decided to cut out all other additional sugar (other than naturally occurring sugars in fruit and other foods) so that I am fully used to the bitterness that I am expecting in the final two weeks of only eating +90% chocolate. I have purchased a variety of chocolate, from lower quality to very fine chocolate so that I can identify good quality versus bad.
So maybe I sound crazy. But we all have our goals in life that we must tackle, and this happens to be one of mine. So if you are the slightest bit curious about what it is like to (1) drop sugar for a month and (2) eat only the most bitter of chocolates and learn to like 100% unsweetened chocolate (this is only a theory at this point, I may not actually learn to like it!), please feel free to follow me via my blog, Twitter or Facebook. I will have weekly blog posts called "Diary of a Girl Gone Dark and Bitter" and my regular posts, like Sipping Sundays in Snowland or plain old chocolate bar reviews. The only difference is that there will be no writing about chocolate below 70% cacao content.
Thanks for reading my ramblings today. If you would like to read on, click here for my diary of Day 1.