Bean to Bar Chocolate Adventure

I don't think it's a dietitian's delight, but chocolate for dinner certainly is filling, especially if you think of it as 10+ courses.

"Don't eat much before you come" were the instructions from Carla Burns who owns Vanilla Pod, a delightful cafe deli at Ascot on Brisbane's northside. Carla organised Steve Sheldon, who has Monty's Chocolates at Paddington, to share his 15 year chocolate journey to a packed room of chocolate lovers. 

Steve's chocolate is a perfect fit for the first of my top food criteria - it's definitely worth the calories. There's a double whammy punch of flavour in every mouthful.  He imports his chocolate from around the world but one of his faves, and mine, is Pralus from France.  Joining him in this workshop was Hugo Pralus, son of the chocolatier.

There's a lot that can go wrong in the complicated business of making chocolate but at Steve's shop you'll find those chocolate manufacturers who have gone to a lot of trouble to get it really right.

Steve's stories certainly kept us entertained throughout the night, especially his recollection of his first Brisbane storm.  The only thing that stopped him thinking that the world was going to end as the rain pelted down and the sky thundered, was the nonchalant attitude of others on the footpath.

Carla Burns and Steve Sheldon

I learnt a lot about chocolate on the night including -

*despite rumours to the contrary, chocolate is not high in caffeine, but there is a chemical is chocolate that behaves similar to caffeine.

* chocolate grows in a band around the world about 10 - 20 degrees north and south of the equator.

* the best way to taste chocolate is to start with a small corner of the block, put it in your mouth and move it from cheek to cheek and then take a deep breath through your nose.

*dark chocolate is suitable for vegan, vegetarian and gluten free diets. 

Steve started our chocolate tasting journey with a piece of chocolate made with no sugar at all.  We worked our way around the plate to finish with the sweetest pieces last.

Hugo Pralus holding some truly delicious chocolate - a must try.

My favourite chocolate on the night.

Bottom line: A great treat for chocolate lovers
Best tip: Don't eat before you go.

Vanilla Pod
Monty's Chocolates