Not just another pretty face, Dandelion Chocolate has more to offer than just gorgeous packaging and a label design that should be framed and hung on my wall. Last night, my husband and I had the pleasure of attending a reception dinner at 18 Reasons, prepared by in-house chefs, with Dandelion Chocolate, and paired with craft beer from The Abbot’s Cellar. Along with about a dozen diners, were the chocolate and beer experts: Todd, Cameron, Alice, Caitlin / Dandelion Chocolate, Mike / The Abbot’s Cellar. While I’m not a beer drinker (the last one I had was a Red Stripe over 20 years ago), the pairings were very interesting in the breadth of aromas and flavors (who knew?). If you like craft beer, you should certainly try the ones listed below.
Pickled beets, avocado, and cocoa nibs from Ambanja, Madagascar paired with Kili Wit from Logsdon Organic Farmhouse Ales. It was refreshing with a punch of pickled flavor, peppery arugula, and complimented with citrus burst and crunch from the cocoa nibs. The beer was light and fruity which I found pleasantly surprising.
Next, Gulf prawns, tomato, cacao pulp from Brazil paired with Humming Ale from Anchor Brewing Company. I’m sorry to say that cacao pulp looks a bit like brain. Thankfully, for this dish, it’s melted down into mildly sweet bath for the prawns. Nice.
The main course consisted of pork belly, chili, 100% coarse-ground chocolate from Rio Caribe, Venezuela paired with Péché Mortel from Brasserie Dieu du Ciel! Big flavors all around, starting with the coffee-like beer (if you didn’t know any better, you’d probably have it with breakfast) which soon turned sharp after one bite of the pork belly. What’s not to love about pork belly, especially mixed with sweet corn and mildly tangy chili.
Homemade marshmallow, graham cracker, 70% chocolate from Rio Caribe, Venezuela paired with St. Bernardus Abt 12. A rich and slightly bitter layer of chocolate on top of graham flavor with some fluffiness… Not sure who wouldn’t LOVE this dessert but I probably don’t know you.
I left with lots of inspiration for my next dinner party but will probably call on some volunteer tasters before any invitations are sent out. Dandelion Chocolate factory and cafe will be opening in October at 740 Valencia Street in San Francisco. Get updates on construction, see pictures from their latest creations, and read about their visits to cacao farms on their blog.