Bike Test + Woodblock Chocolate

15 Mar

Remember the bike test I was supposed to do Wednesday night but because of the my sickness…I did not do it. Well today was the day. The sun was out. Or kind of out. More importantly it was dry out. I was feeling much better. I headed to Marine drive. A very flat area. But also a windy area.

I warmed up and then had a 5 minute all out time trial(TT). I averaged 20.88 mph. I think I did the calculation right on that one! It was hard and a bit of a headwind. I had some easy riding to do to prepare for the next TT. The next part of the test was a 20 minute all out TT. I averaged 20.85 mph. I have no idea how good that is or bad. I think it is pretty good. I have no data on the first one I did because I did it on the trainer. I guess I just have to wait 4 more weeks when I test again!

Done with the boring stuff and on to the SWEET STUFF.

I was invited to the Woodblock Chocolate Manufactory discovery workshop. My friend had an extra ticket and she knows I love chocolate!! I had seen the bars of chocolate at Salt and Straw but did not realize they were Portland Made!! Yeah Local!!
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Woodblock Chocolate is a craft chocolate. It is a bean to bar process. They are chocolatiers. Not just chocolate manufacturers. The difference you ask?! Chocolatiers actually make the chocolate from the bean. Chocolate manufacturers receive the chocolate and add stuff to it! Who knew?!

The workshop started with Charley the owner giving us a little history on himself and his business.
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This was the FIRST time they had let the public into the manufactory!! EXCITING!!!

Charley and his wife Jessica moved here from New York via Vermont. Lets just say they like Portland better than Vermont! Long story short Charley was a furniture maker but was bored and it was not great money. He wanted to try his hand in chocolate! He talked about going to different places to find the best of the best cacao beans.

cacao beans: after roasting but before cracking

cacao beans: after roasting but before cracking

He had been all over: Ecuador, Costa Rica, Venezuela, and newest is Trinidad.

The process is actually pretty easy. They receive the beans. Sort through them (to make sure there is no foreign matter). Roast them. Crack and Winnow them (separate the hull and the nib(the good stuff)). They are then refined and conched (ground up to make more flavorful and sugar is added here). Then it is aged (about 3 weeks). Next it is tempered (to melt and put into bar form). Last but not least they are HAND-WRAPPED. Sold so we can then buy and eat.

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After learning the process we got to sample. He had discs of different ones. Then we just broke pieces off. He had the Madagascar, Trinidad(that has not come out yet), Ecuador 70%, Ecuador 100%, and a new dark-milk (60%) that he is experimenting with Ecuador that he is adding goats milk to. Those names are just from where the beans come from. The Trinidad was my favorite.
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All the chocolate is cacao and sugar. That is it. 2 ingredients. Except for the salt and salt&nibs bar. The chocolate is very simplistic and delicious. You can see what was popular (everything but…) and what was not (the Ecuador 100%)
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After the tasting, We each got to take a huge syringe of chocolate and make a design.
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It was so fun. He said it would be hard and we had to work fast. Everyone had lots of cute ideas. I wrote my name. I started after Jenny and than proceeded to finish before she did. I have been writing my name for a long time. She drew a dog and an ant. A little more work then me I guess. 🙂
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It was such a fun learning experience. I loved Charley’s enthusiasm and passion for chocolate! He was hysterical! If you see one around town pick one up…it does not disappoint!!!

Have you had a piece of Woodblock Chocolate yet?

One Response to “Bike Test + Woodblock Chocolate”

  1. Mrs. JLB March 19, 2013 at 12:22 AM #

    OMG! Chocolate heaven 🙂

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