- Published on January 1, 2011
- Written by Nina Luttinger
Doug Dalton is the founder and co-owner of Cask, Bourbon and Branch, Swig, and Rickhouse.
We had the good fortune to co-host a few holiday parties with Doug’s awesome team recently. And we fell in love with bourbon paired with our chocolate. See TCHO chocolate & spirit pairings at the end!
1) You were in the technology world originally; what brought you to the spirits world today?
I have always had a passion for great spirits. My family is from Tennessee and Kentucky, so I have always loved Bourbons and Ryes. I have been lucky to meet great distillers who have helped me refine my palate. The way I got into the bar business was I had started a company called Gloss.com that was acquired by Estee Lauder.
During that time I got to go to many club openings and see what people were doing and how they were running things. Most were clubs that were built to flip very quickly, with short life spans. I want to be a part of something lasting that really influences a community. That is what I feel we have done with Cask, Bourbon and Branch, Swig and Rickhouse. We have helped spark the cocktail and mixology culture within San Francisco. At all of our locations, whether though ecommerce, point of sale or web-based commerce systems—we have made technology a key part of our business.
2) How do you think technology affects young people today?
It seems to have made our society one of instant gratification; more and more people expect things and they want them now. Email is considered slow, texts are faster… calling someone is almost unheard of.
3) What are the most exciting developments happening in the spirits industry right now?
The focus away from spirits being a component of a cocktail to them being the cocktail itself is a trend I notice more and more. People are enjoying a great spirit on the rocks.
4) Has the kind of person who drinks spirits changed over time? Is there a geographic difference?
Everything goes through popular phases. People who have tended to shy away from darker spirits are now embracing them. At Rickhouse and Bourbon and Branch we have made many cocktails with ingredients that you wouldn’t expect to help broaden people’s palates.
5) Do you think chocolate works well with specific spirits? If so, which chocolates work best with which spirits?
Chocolates work well with almost any spirit, I was surprised at how well TCHO worked with almost every bourbon or rye I tried.
6) What other foods do you think work best with bourbon, specifically?
Bourbon works well with almost anything but what I dont think people try enough is cooking with bourbon. It can add a complexity and smoked flavor to almost any food.
7) Which of your projects are you most excited about right now?
Cask just recently partnered with Williams-Sonoma and we are very excited about working with them in the future.
8) What do you think you’ll be doing 10 years from now?
I hope the same things; using my love for technology and the spirit world to create something that is unique and exciting for my customers. ********************************************************************************************TCHO Chocolate & Spirit Pairings:
TCHO “Citrus” Chocolate with High West Rendezvous (actually a rye)
TCHO “Fruity” Chocolate with Black Maple Hill Small Batch or Noah’s Mill
TCHO “Nutty” Chocolate with Pure Kentucky
Experiment yourself — and let us know if you have other recommendations! We would love to hear them.
- Published on December 1, 2010
- Written by Nina Luttinger
a fun little blog posted on Self Magazine’s website yesterday….
just in case you have the slightest hesitation about eating chocolate this holiday season….
10 Reasons Why You Should Eat Chocolate — Every Day
Monday, December 13, 2010 at 4:01 PM
| posted by Jenny Everett
As we mentioned last week, we refuse to diet in December. It’s just not realistic, and anyone who thinks it is has freakishly good willpower!
That said, we don’t want to blow any progress we’ve been making in our health and fitness goals. So, we set out to find out which sweet temptations we can guiltlessly dig into (in moderation, of course) this holiday season. The answer, not surprisingly, was dark chocolate.
What was surprising, however, was just how keen on it nutrition gurus are. They say it shouldn’t just been a holiday indulgence, it should be a regular indulgence. In fact, registered dietician Cynthia Sass, author of Cinch! Conquer Cravings, Drop Pounds, and Lose Inches (which hits shelves in January) insists that her clients eat dark chocolate on a daily basis.
1. Compared to milk chocolate eaters, those who down dark chocolate eat 15 percent fewer calories, and report feeling fewer cravings for sweet, salty and fatty foods.
2. Dark chocolate contains a unique natural substance that creates a sense of euphoria (yes, please!). When you’re satisfied and happy, you’re less likely to binge.
3. Dark chocolate contains magnesium, a mineral that can help alleviate PMS symptoms, including cramps, water retention, fatigue, depression and irritability.
4. Dark chocolate contains the same type of antioxidants found in red wine and tea, which have been shown to boost brain activity.
5. Dark chocolate has been shown to correct imbalances in the body related to stress and can significantly reduce levels of stress hormones.
6. Dark chocolate has the perfect caffeine kick. One ounce of 70 percent dark chocolate contains about 40 mg of caffeine, compared to 200 mg in 8 ounces of brewed coffee and 120 mg in strong black tea.
7. The antioxidants in cocoa trigger the walls of your blood vessels to relax, lowering blood pressure and improving circulation. This means better delivery of oxygen and nutrients to every cell.
8. Chocolate’s protective natural substances also help prevent cholesterol from sticking to your artery walls, reducing your risk of heart attack and stroke.
9. Heart attack survivors who ate chocolate just twice a week over a two-year period cut their risk of dying from heart disease threefold.
10. The type of saturated fat in dark chocolate isn’t the same as the artery-clogging saturated fat in a hamburger or whole milk. It’s a unique variety called stearic acid, much of which gets converted in the body to oleic acid, a heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acid.
OK, OK. You talked us into it! We’ll eat chocolate!
The key, of course, is to eat it in moderation. So keep portion sizes reasonable and try to stick to dark chocolate with at least 65 percent cocoa.
- Published on November 1, 2010
- Written by Nina Luttinger
The article below discusses a new study on the positive health benefits of dark chocolate on Chronic Fatigue symptoms…
Polyphenol-rich chocolate may ease chronic fatigue symptoms: Study
By Stephen Daniells, 23-Nov-2010
Consumption of a flavanol-rich chocolate product may ease the symptoms of chronic fatigue, according to a new study by researchers from the University of Hull in England.
Results of a small double-blind, randomized, pilot crossover study with ten individuals indicate that daily consumption of a high cocoa liquor / polyphenol rich chocolate significantly improved symptoms of chronic fatigue after eight weeks, compared with a cocoa liquor free / low polyphenol chocolate.
“As both types of chocolate were iso-calorific and had similar glycemic indices and loads, it is likely that the improvement was due to the high polyphenol content within the active chocolate, rather than a difference in of the micro or macronutrient the composition of the two chocolates,” wrote the researchers in Nutrition Journal.
“The significance of the results is particularly surprising because of the small number of subjects in the study,” they added. Chronic fatigue has been associated with a range of biological systems amongst which oxidative stress is one of them. According to the Hull-based researchers, the benefits of chocolate may be due to the flavonoids protecting cells like neuronal cells from oxidative stress. They note however that additional studies need to explore this mechanism further.
The health benefits of polyphenols from cocoa have been gathering increasing column inches in the national media. To date studies have reported potential benefits for cardiovascular health, skin health, and even brain health.
Scientists active in the area are keen to stress that chocolate and cocoa are different terms however, and not interchangeable. According to a review published in the British Journal of Nutrition, “cocoa is the non-fat component of cocoa liquor (finely ground cocoa beans) which is used in chocolate making or as cocoa powder (commonly 12 per cent fat) for cooking and drinks.
“Cocoa liquor contains approximately 55 per cent cocoa butter and together this comprises cocoa solids, often referred to on chocolate packaging. Chocolate refers to the combination of cocoa, cocoa butter, sugar, etc. into a solid food product,” added the reviewers.
The benefits of the bean are reported to revolve around the flavanols (also known as flavan-3-ols or catechins), and particularly the monomeric flavanol (-)epicatechin.
Six women and four men with an average age of 52 and chronic fatigue, as measured using the Chalder Fatigue Scale, were assigned to receive eight weeks of either the high or low chocolate, followed by two weeks of washout and cross over on to the other intervention. The study used chocolate provided by Nestlé PTC York, UK.
Results showed a significant improvement in Chalder Fatigue Scale scores following the high polyphenol chocolate intervention, whereas a deterioration was observed in the low-polyphenol chocolate intervention.“Since there was a consistent improvement of symptoms with high cocoa phenol chocolate and deterioration with iso-calorific chocolate, a placebo effect is unlikely,” stated the researchers.“
Moreover, the taste panel of healthy people before the study could not differentiate the taste between high cocoa and iso-calorific chocolate.
“In summary, this study suggests that consuming high cocoa polyphenol rich chocolate 15g three times daily has a beneficial effect in improving fatigue and residual function in subjects with chronic fatigue syndrome over a period of 8 weeks compared to simulated iso-calorific cocoa mass free/ low polyphenol chocolate,” they concluded.
Source: Nutrition Journal 2010, 9:55, doi:10.1186/1475-2891-9-55 “High cocoa polyphenol rich chocolate may reduce the burden of the symptoms in chronic fatigue syndrome” Authors: T. Sathyapalan, S. Beckett, A.S. Rigby, D.D. Mellor, S.L. Atkin
- Published on June 1, 2010
- Written by Nina Luttinger
I have a few comments below the article…
HFC: Sweet News — Chocolate Boosts Vascular Function
By Peggy Peck, Executive Editor, MedPage Today
Published: June 01, 2010
Reviewed by Zalman S. Agus, MD; Emeritus Professor University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and Dorothy Caputo, MA, RN, BC-ADM, CDE, Nurse Planner
BERLIN — Within just hours of eating a flavonol-rich chocolate bar, patients with congestive heart failure had measurable improvements in vascular function, researchers here reported.
Flow-mediated vasodilatation measured at the brachial artery significantly improved from 4.98% to 5.98% (P=0.045) two hours after eating 40 grams of chocolate, Andreas Flammer, MD, of University Hospital in Zurich, reported in a late-breaking clinical trial poster presentation at the Heart Failure Congress.
Moreover, among patients who ate 80 grams of chocolate a day for four weeks, flow-mediated vasodilatation improved from 4.98% to 6.86% (P=0.027), he said. But while platelet adhesion significantly decreased — from 3.9% to 2.99% (P=0.03) two hours after eating chocolate, this effect was not durable. There was no change in platelet adhesion at two weeks or four weeks.
Flammer and his colleagues evenly randomized 20 heart failure patients to 80 grams of flavonol-rich chocolate bars or cocoa-free, flavonol-free placebo bars specially manufactured to resemble and taste like a chocolate bar.
Endothelial function was assessed noninvasively by flow-mediated vasodilatation of the brachial artery, and platelet function was assessed by a cone and platelet analyzing system.
There was no improvement from baseline measures of endothelial function or platelet adhesion among the 10 controls.
He noted that the dose — 80 grams — is “a lot of chocolate” and may be more than many people — especially elderly congestive heart failure patients — could easily consume. A Hersey bar, for example, is 43 grams.
Moreover, Flammer said that the chocolate bar used in the study “is commercially available in Europe, but not in the U.S.” The closest U.S. available product, Flammer said, would be Lindt dark chocolate bars — “80 grams would be almost all of a Lindt bar.”
And he said that the key to finding flavonol-rich chocolate is not, “the cocoa content, it is the flavonol content.
“Flammer noted that candy makers have responded to news stories about the health benefits of chocolate by increasing the cocoa content in chocolate and prominently displaying the cocoa content on labels. “But the manufacturers boost cocoa content by increasing cocoa fats, not cocoa itself,” he explained. That process does not, he said, increase the flavonol level. Wayne Levy, MD, of the University of Washington in Seattle, said the small study was interesting for several reasons beyond the natural appeal of chocolate.
He noted, for example, that the daily chocolate intake had no adverse effect on other parameters including total cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure, and — most interestingly — there was no weight gain associated with the chocolate regimen.
Flammer had an explanation for the lack of weight gain. “They weren’t hungry after eating the chocolate,” he said.
Three things I note about this article:
1) I’m not sure why the researcher says Lindt is the closest you can come to the dark chocolate used in the study; it shouldn’t matter what brand it is as long as they use a similar % of flavanol-rich cacao in their formulations.
2) The researcher says that manufacturers boost cacao content by increasing the cocoa butter content not the flavanol-rich cacao itself. While this might be a tactic used by manufacturers who use low quality cocoa beans (you can mask bitter notes with added cocoa butter), TCHO is focused on expressing the primary flavors inherent to cacao, and cocoa butter blands down these flavors. Therefore, we use just enough cocoa butter to meet our flavor and texture goals—and, based on my personal tasting experience, it’s quite a bit less than many of the chocolate bars out there.
3) Very interesting that eating a fair amount of dark chocolate per day did not seem to affect total cholesterol, triglycerides, or blood pressure. And there was no weight gain associated with the chocolate regimen. This might explain why I’ve been working here 4.5 years and eating probably 10 times more chocolate daily than I ever have, and somehow have not gained any weight (and I’ve never dieted).
- Published on May 1, 2010
- Written by Nina Luttinger
Interesting article from ScienceDaily suggests epicatechins in dark chocolate limit nerve damage in brain following a stroke—possibly by stimulating the body’s own defenses:
How Dark Chocolate May Guard Against Brain Injury from Stroke
ScienceDaily (May 5, 2010)
Researchers at Johns Hopkins have discovered that a compound in dark chocolate may protect the brain after a stroke by increasing cellular signals already known to shield nerve cells from damage.
Ninety minutes after feeding mice a single modest dose of epicatechin, a compound found naturally in dark chocolate, the scientists induced an ischemic stroke by essentially cutting off blood supply to the animals’ brains. They found that the animals that had preventively ingested the epicatechin suffered significantly less brain damage than the ones that had not been given the compound.
While most treatments against stroke in humans have to be given within a two- to three-hour time window to be effective, epicatechin appeared to limit further neuronal damage when given to mice 3.5 hours after a stroke. Given six hours after a stroke, however, the compound offered no protection to brain cells.
Sylvain Doré, Ph.D., associate professor of anesthesiology and critical care medicine and pharmacology and molecular sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, says his study suggests that epicatechin stimulates two previously well-established pathways known to shield nerve cells in the brain from damage. When the stroke hits, the brain is ready to protect itself because these pathways — Nrf2 and heme oxygenase 1 — are activated. In mice that selectively lacked activity in those pathways, the study found, epicatechin had no significant protective effect and their brain cells died after a stroke.
The study now appears online in the Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism.
Eventually, Doré says, he hopes his research into these pathways could lead to insights into limiting acute stroke damage and possibly protecting against chronic neurological degenerative conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease and other age-related cognitive disorders.
The amount of dark chocolate people would need to consume to benefit from its protective effects remains unclear, since Doré has not studied it in clinical trials. People shouldn’t take this research as a free pass to go out and consume large amounts of chocolate, which is high in calories and fat. In fact, people should be reminded to eat a healthy diet with a variety of fruits and vegetables.
Scientists have been intrigued by the potential health benefits of epicatechin by studying the Kuna Indians, a remote population living on islands off the coast of Panama. The islands’ residents had a low incidence of cardiovascular disease. Scientists who studied them found nothing striking in the genes and realized that when they moved away from Kuna, they were no longer protected from heart problems. Researchers soon discovered the reason was likely environmental: The residents of Kuna regularly drank a very bitter cocoa drink, with a consistency like molasses, instead of coffee or soda. The drink was high in the compound epicatechin, which is a flavanol, a flavanoid-related compound.
But Doré says his research suggests the amount needed could end up being quite small because the suspected beneficial mechanism is indirect. “Epicatechin itself may not be shielding brain cells from free radical damage directly, but instead, epicatechin, and its metabolites, may be prompting the cells to defend themselves,” he suggests.
The epicatechin is needed to jump-start the protective pathway that is already present within the cells. “Even a small amount may be sufficient,” Doré says.
Not all dark chocolates are created equally, he cautions. Some have more bioactive epicatechin than others.
“The epicatechin found in dark chocolate is extremely sensitive to changes in heat and light” he says. “In the process of making chocolate, you have to make sure you don’t destroy it. Only few chocolates have the active ingredient. The fact that it says ‘dark chocolate’ is not sufficient.
“The new study was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health and the American Heart and Stroke Association.
Other Johns Hopkins researchers on the study include Zahoor A. Shah, Ph.D.; Rung-chi Li, Ph.D.; Abdullah S. Ahmad, Ph.D.; Thomas W. Kensler, Ph.D.; and Shyam Biswal, Ph.D
- Published on May 1, 2010
- Written by TCHOsen
If you were in Port au Prince, Haiti, in the days and weeks following January’s earthquake you were almost certainly exhausted. For those whose homes and workplaces were in the areas affected by the earthquake, exhaustion was a result of the daily effort put into reestablish normalcy and coping with a dramatically changed world. For those like me who had arrived to help in the days following the quake, exhaustion came first from confronting the overwhelming needs and then from doing all you could to address them.
In the Spring of 2009 I had the good fortune of working as a student on a project for TCHO’s sourcing division. My team helped evaluate the social and environmental benefits to Peruvian farmers of partnering with and selling beans to TCHO. I’d been introduced to the company by my friend Ann Cleaveland, who over the course of the semester helped me to understand the science behind phenomenal chocolate, the nuances of chocolate flavor and the need for language to talk about it. In that semester of graduate school, with a seemingly endless workload and a seemingly endless supply of what I’ve come to believe to be the finest chocolate around, I also came to understand the benefit of a well placed taste of quality chocolate in the midst of long hours of hard work. With this in mind, I reached out to Ann when I got the call from Medicins Sans Frontieres to head to Haiti.
“Ann, I got the call… They need me to be a sort of hospitality manager for 65 exhausted nurses, doctors and surgeons from all over the world… I need chocolate.” Within 24 hours I was packed and ready to go with what must have been 5 lbs of TCHO chocolate. Over the course of the following 2 months I administered the chocolate to my team of doctors and nurses and the patients we were serving at the critical moments; the moments when they needed strength to combat the exhaustion. And strength it delivered. I was so pleased to be there contributing to the relief effort and sharing the magic of TCHO chocolate with people of all walks from all over the world.
Thank you Ann. Thank you TCHO!
- Published on April 1, 2010
- Written by TCHOsen
Today was the Google Micro Kitchen Fair at the Mountain View Campus. For anyone who isn’t familiar with the Google Micro Kitchen concept, I’ve included a brief description:
Google Micro Kitchens
Since 1999, Google has taken the concept of a “free lunch” to the next level –providing lunch to all employees globally and establishing an innovative and precedent setting standard for on-site vendor provided corporate meal services.
Google’s unique Micro Kitchen (MK) program was developed from the founders’ ideal that no Googler should be more than 150 feet away from food at any time.
As a result, the Micro Kitchens have become a fixture in every Google office. The Google MK is an open pantry, grab and go area complete with packaged snacks, cereals, coffee machines, and cold beverages. Googlers have come to rely on the MK’s as a place that provides quick, convenient healthy snacks and beverages.
The Google Culinary Team puts just as much effort in creating delicious, nutritious Cafe meal offerings, as they do in instilling the food values in 80% of the MK offerings by pledging: We will engage local artisan vendors, We will strive to offer high quality, nutritionally balanced snacks and beverages, We do not use MSG and avoid products that contain them.
Because the Culinary Team wanted to keep the Google culture alive in the MK’s, they began
giving Googlers the opportunity to vote on the remaining 20% of the products via a survey.
Our Cafes, MK’s and CP’s are a part of Google’s philosophy that work should be fun – and that it is a company’s responsibility to give employees healthy and mind engaging programs to keep our company strong and innovative. With a core standard of local, organic, nutritionally balanced snacks and beverages along with the Googler 20% weigh-in of “fun” items, our MK’s and CP’s are sure keep you happy and healthy!
20% Voting and Micro Kitchen Food Fair
There is a 80 / 20 rule that is central to Google’s MK’s – 80% core products are available in all MK’s and 20% are voted for periodically to add variety and to make it fun for Googlers. For a period of one week, Googlers will be allowed to log into an online survey tool to indicate their favorite snacks for each product group.
Emi, Larry and I attended the fair today and there was a great response to TCHO. We gave out over 4,000 5 gram samples and made a lot of Googlers very happy that we were there. Googlers were able to vote by SKU so they were voting for our individual bars. The voting process began today at the Fair (see photos below) and will continue for the next week via an online survey. We won’t know the results for approximately three weeks.
My thanks to Larry and Emi for an amazing job today and to everyone else who helped support today’s program.
A day in the life at MK 4.0…
Red Bull set up a cafe complete with DJ
Luna and Clif Bar side by side
Googlers equipped with Nexus One phones get their voting instructions here
VOTE FOR TCHO!!!
Larry sharing the TCHO love…
… and working the crowd!
no really, there’s no fruit in Fruity!!
Emi helping a hungry Googler stock up on TCHO
Flavor Wheel tutorial
- Published on April 1, 2010
- Written by Nina Luttinger
The article below just came out in the Guardian UK…. sounds like a great reason to go buy a TCHO-A-DAY gift for all your loved ones–and yourself!
The dose in our TCHO-A-DAY (8g/day) is even about the same as that used in the study cited below.
It’s official: Chocolate is good for you
Chocolate reduces the risk of stroke or heart attack by increasing flow of blood around the brain and lowering blood pressure, study finds
Chocolate lovers and those eagerly awaiting Easter eggs, rejoice. Your indulgence means you are less likely to have a stroke or heart attack, especially if dark chocolate is your thing.
New research shows that regularly consuming as little as a square of chocolate a day helps to reduce your blood pressure and thus your chance of succumbing to cardiovascular disease (CVD), which is Britain’s biggest killer.
Scientists have found that people eating just 7.5 grams of chocolate daily were at a 39% lower risk of having a heart attack or stroke compared to those who ate just 1.7 grams.
The study, published in the European Heart Journal, found that modest chocolate intake had a significant effect on people’s blood pressure. The benefits were more pronounced for a reduced risk of a stroke, but also brought less chance of a heart attack too. Cardiovascular diseases are the UK’s biggest killer, claiming 200,000 lives a year, including 67,000 from strokes.
Researchers led by Dr Brian Buijsse, a nutritional epidemiologist at the German Institute of Human Nutrition, made the link after studying the health of 19,357 Germans aged 35-65 for at least ten years, including their food intake. They believe that flavanols, substances in cocoa that boost the body’s supply of nitric oxide, contribute to the chocolate eaters’ lowered blood pressure.
The new research confirms an association which other studies have made. The lower likelihood of stroke may be due to cocoa increasing the flow of blood around the brain, the authors say.
Among 1,568 participants whose chocolate intake was tracked 57% ate milk chocolate, 24% preferred dark and just 2% ate white chocolate. The dark variety contains more flavanols, and so is thought to have a greater effect.
However, these findings should not lead to chocolate gluttony, said the authors. “Given these and other promising health effects of cocoa, it is tempting to indulge more in chocolate”. But further research was needed before small amounts of chocolate could be prescribed as part of a diet aimed to prevent CVD.”This sounds like a dream for chocolate lovers and just in time for Easter too, but it’s important to read the small print with this study,” said Victoria Taylor, the British Heart Foundation’s senior heart health nurse.
“The amount consumed on average by even the highest consumer was about one square of chocolate a day or half a small chocolate Easter egg in a week, so the benefits were associated with a fairly small amount of chocolate.”Those tempted to indulge should remember that chocolate contains large amounts of calories and saturated fats, which are related to weight gain and high cholesterol – two risk factors for heart disease. And people should also eat fruit, vegetables and oily fish and be active for at least half-an-hour daily, Taylor added.
“Basic science has demonstrated quite convincingly that dark chocolate particularly, with a cocoa content of at least 70%, reduces oxidative stress and improves vascular and platelet function” said Professor Frank Ruschitzka of the European Society of Cardiology.
“However, before you rush to add dark chocolate to your diet, be aware that 100g of dark chocolate contains roughly 500 calories.
- Published on March 1, 2010
- Written by Louis Rossetto
Wondering what works and doesn’t in that fistful of supplements you down with your orange juice in the morning? Just check out this interactive infographic. (Thanks and a tip of my hat to Ed Dumke.)
NOTE: THERE IS A LINK.
- Published on March 1, 2010
- Written by TCHOsen
Two weeks ago a lucky few of us at TCHO were lucky enough to be guests of NOPA, super restaurant on Divisidero and Hayes here in San Francisco. There are a lot of restaurants that use local ingredients and have jumped on the sustainable foods bandwagon because it is the right thing to do, or because it sells well. At NOPA, this is not adaptation to a trend but what they are really about.
Last month we had the pleasure of having Pastry Chef, Amy Brown, a good part of the kitchen staff, wait staff and wine director and blogger Caleb Taft over to our factory for a tour. It was great to share what we are doing at TCHO, how we bring our relationships with farmers through the chocolate making process to create great products that bring lasting value to our producer partners, our employees, shareholders, investors and to our customers. After visiting NOPA for dinner shortly afterwards, reading their blog and an entire section of their website dedicated to their purveyors, I began to understand what a great connection TCHO and NOPA share.
After visiting their purveyors, learning more about the ingredients they use and the people behind them, in an incredibly gracious and generous commitment, NOPA ‘completes the circle’ by reciprocating and inviting their suppliers to a special lunch featuring their ingredients in thoughtful and creative ways. We shared the table with guests from Sonoma County Poultry - Liberty Farms, a fantastic producer of delectable Sonoma Duck and from Radio Coteau, a unique winery that broadcasts ‘coastal expressions of soil, seasons, people and place’.
Here is the food NOPA created, bringing us all together:
Cara Cara arugala salad with blood orange marmalade
County Line Rose, Anderson Valley, 2009, Champaigne clones
Duck pate with cocoa nibs on toasted bread
Radio Coteau, La Neblina Pinot Noir, Sonoma 2007
Liberty Farms braised duck leg in chocolate infused duck jus
Grist mills polenta, Yolo county (milled a week ago!)
Black beans from rancho Gordo (Eddie’s favorite beans!) with TCHOPro 68% blend, ancho chile, garlic cayenne and cinnamon and choco duck jus
Radio Coteau, La Colina Syrah, 2007
CHOCOLATEY Pot de Creme with cocoa nib cream
FRUITY Chocolate sauce with dried fruit compote from Blosom Bluff
NUTTY Gianduja Ganache on toasted brioches – hamburger bun!
CITRUS semifreddo (frozen mousse) on a fuilatine crust with candied kumquat
What an incredibly creative and delectable combination of ingredients, inspiration and talent.
In keeping with NOPA’s goal of creating a sense of community and shared experiences, we were invited to come early and share in the preparation of this incredible food, but alas, we do have to work as well…. NOPA walks the talk and in doing so creates relationships, lasting experience and value for all.