Monday, May 18, 2009

Double Chocolate Trip!

Did you ever see the movie, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? We did, and so when we went to The Mast Brothers Chocolate Shop, we were disappointed that there were no oompa loompas. However, there was a lot of really cool chocolatey stuff. They showed us real cacao beans from the Dominican Republic and Madagascar. Some of us are from the DR and didn't even know they grew chocolate there. We got to grind our own roasted cacao beans. When they are ground they are called nibbs. The nibbs are placed into a machine with two granite stones that spin and spin until chocolate is made. They add sugar, too. The amount of sugar depends on the type of chocolate. We tried dark chocolate that was about 80% chocolate. Some of us thought it was gross, but others thought it was kind of good. We realized what real chocolate tastes. And now that we know what real chocolate tastes like, the chocolate that they sell in the store doesn't taste as good or give as much satisfaction as the real stuff.

The Mast Brothers, Mike and Rick, add other stuff to their chocolate. We tried chocolate with the nibbs right in it, and another kind with sea salt. We liked the chocolate with the salt better. It seemed to add more flavor and take some of the bitterness out. Mrs. Simone liked the chocolate with the nibbs the most, like Mike Mast. We brought some chocolate home to Mr. Fineman, the prinipal.

We learned that people who are not used to chocolate won't really like it because they are used to things like Hershey's chocolate. But Hershey's chocolate has a lot of chemicals and sugar in it. But if you're a chocolatier, you will love the dark chocolate. We wanted to taste their milk chocolate but they didn't have any. We also learned that milk chocolate doesn't really have milk in it, but instead it has milk powder. Also, white chocolate is only sort of chocolate. It is made by pressing really hard on the cacao bean until the cocoa butter comes out of it. The white chocolate is just cocoa butter and sugar. We keep arguing about whether it's really chocolate or not.

But that wasn't even the end of our trip! When we got back to school, we met Virginie, a French chocolatier. We were disappointed because she didn't wear a berret. However, she did bring with her a lot more chocolate, dried chocolate beans that looked like nuts, cocoa butter, and nibbs. The dried cocoa beans were really weird. We disagree about whether we like them. At first when you chew them, they taste like flowers, but after a while they start to taste like dirt. We think the chocolate probably tastes like what grows around the cacao plant.

Virginie made chocolate mousse with us. It was really good when we added whipped cream. It was very strong and chocolatey. We got to use our own little kitchen. It was really nice and everything was new and shiny.

Now we're off to see what's growing in the garden. Catch you later!

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