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Our Tasters

Anya

Gourmet Greetings fellow chocolate lovers! My name is Anya and I am the founder of Gourmet Boutique in Boston. Recently, my staff and I decided to start a blog to share our chocolate tasting adventures with  fellow chocolate lovers. In our line of work we have the opportunity to sample numerous chocolates as well as other yummy treats to decide which we would like to bring to the store. We thought it would be fun to share our findings with all of you. My Chocolate Epiphany: My chocolate moment occurs almost on a daily bases – a few days ago I came across a nougat bar that I enjoyed as a kid back in Europe over fifteen years ago. A perfect combination of pure light and dark nougat – Yum! Favorite Chocolate: I have a favorite chocolate for every chocolate mood – some current favorites…

Pure Dark Choc Mood: Heart of the Ocean by Anna Shea,  Michel Cluizel’s 85%, Amedei Chuao Single Cru or Dolfin 88%

Extravagant Mood: Demel Rose Macaroon with dark chocolate ganache or anything from Laduree or Pierre Marcolini

Spunky Mood: Kalamata Olives/Sea Salt and Olive Oil bonbon from Chocolat Moderne or Smoke and Stout bar from Vosges or Chevere bonbon from Chuao (goat cheese, pear Williams and crushed pepper – YUM!) Newtree’s Thyme and Flaxseed bar – who new thyme/flaxseeds and chocolate are a great combo and maybe a bit of Cocanu Picasso for good measure

I can keep going but I will resist

Mack

Background: I graduated from Ithaca College in Upstate New York with a Bachelor's Degree in Writing. I am interested in narratives of all forms, game design, and web comic creating. My Chocolate Epiphany:  In 2002, I went on a school trip with friends to Yosemite National Park. At the canteen, we played a prank on a friend by pouring tabasco into his hot chocolate. Whether he liked it, or was just being tough, he said it was good, and we passed that mug around with a little more tabasco after every sip. I wouldn't  it, recommend but it gave me an appreciation and palette for unusual flavor combinations. You see more experimentation in chocolate everyday, and I say a leap of faith is well worth it. Favorite Chocolate: Mariebelle Aztec Spicy Drinking Chocolate. Subtle and sophisticated, this drinking chocolate is far from my tabasco and cocoa. This flavor is called spicy, and it certainly has a kick, but it blends the ancho and chipotle flavors with cinnamon and cloves for an unforgettable chocolate experience.

HARITHA 

 Background: I'm a graduate student studying public relations at Boston University. I am from the country of rich cultural heritage, India. I enjoy writing, public speaking, theater, swimming, martial arts and of course cooking and trying out all the amazing food in the world! My Chocolate Epiphany: I was born a chocoholic. I've been brought up in three different countries (India, Australia and Oman) so I have indulged in a variety of chocolates. Every moment with chocolate is always a happy moment for me. I feel so energized by just holding a piece of chocolate. Back home in India, my grandma would make sweets every week for our large family and I would be her "little taster."  Her soft cashew cakes always make my day. During my childhood days, my mom would always bring back different kinds of chocolates and candy from her shopping trips for me and my sister. When I was in Australia, I went to a chocolate factory and fell in love with the chocolate making process, the aroma that filled the room and the end result - a smooth bar of fresh chocolate. These small instances have contributed to my love for chocolates and have  inspired me to discover the world of chocolate be it, dark, milk or white! Favorite Chocolate: I enjoy all kinds but my all time favorite is the Cadbury Fruit and Nut bar. I could eat it all day. It's my go-to bar to satisfy my chocolate craving. I love the smoothness of the milk chocolate along with the crunchiness and chewiness of the dry fruit and nuts.

Amanda

Background: I am a student at Boston University, studying Public Relations. I love writing, public speaking and cooking. I've always loved food; I'll enjoy everything from Thai food to French food to a good Southern Barbecue. My foodie philosophy is that food brings an opportunity to be a little adventurous, and that is meant to be shared. My Chocolate Epiphany: Growing up in a family of eight, the kitchen was always the center of the house, where we would all come together, especially for dinner. One particular night when I was little, my parents opened the brand new fondue pot. That night, with all of us huddled around a pot of warm, creamy chocolate, with strawberries, bananas, and angel food cake for dipping, I felt the air around us grow still for a moment, while we all (messily) enjoyed chocolate. We reveled in its richness, relaxing for once. That night, chocolate was the buffer that slowed us all down, to not only savor the chocolate, but to cherish that one quiet moment in the house together. That was when my passion for chocolate, and its power, began. Favorite Chocolate: I love both extremes: the classic and the experimental. I'll savor a bar of pure milk chocolate one day, and the next I'll purchase Chuao's Firecracker bar for a multi-sensory chocolate experience. I never shy away from anything strange: I love being adventurous and trying new things, so there isn't a chocolate bar or candy I won't try!

Liz

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Background: I am a senior at Boston University studying advertising in the hopes to be a copywriter. My favorite things are reading a good book and going out for a great meal. I could eat sushi all day long and I have a huge, huge sweet tooth.
My chocolate epiphany: Chocolate and I became friends when I began baking with my mom. For every birthday or special occasion, she would make a sinful chocolate cake and i always had icing duty. I lost that job when i licked more icing than what was there to actually put on the cake.
Favorite Chocolate: I'm a salty-sweet girl, so my favorite chocolates would be B.T. McElrath Salty Dog chocolate bar, or Vosges Smoke & Stout Caramel bar. Both give me that chocolate fix while still being savory!

Emily

Background: I am a Culinary Institute of America grad with a passion for making (and eating) sweets.  I am currently a full time baker at Sofra in Cambridge and I work part time at GB.  I love talking about food and teaching others how to bake in their homes.  And I love chocolate and candy so GB is the right fit for me!  My Chocolate Epiphany: For as long as I can remember, Grandma’s was the place to go for chocolate.  While she wasn’t much of a baker, she did had a sweet tooth.  Her cupboards were full of all types of candies and sweets.  My memories of chocolate come from eating candy and sitting in my grandmother’s kitchen.  I’ve been hooked ever since.  Favorite Chocolate:  I love a deep milk chocolate. It’s the best of both worlds, creamy and smooth but not too sweet.  Anything with nuts, sesame, or caramel will usually win me over too!

Ashlee

Background: I graduated from Quinnipiac University with concentrations in Pyschology and Women's Studies. I have many interests in interior design, making jewlry, triathlons, red wine, and eating my way through exotic places! My Chocolate Epiphany: I had never considered myself to be a chocolate person until I discovered my love of dark chocolate. I was at a friend's house and her mom was making home-made dark chocolate covered strawberries rolled in kosher salt. It was literally life changing! I fell in love and never looked back! Favorite Chocolate: Dolfin Masala Spice. I wasn't really a huge milk chocolate fan but this is so smooth and spicy and delicious. It reminds me of an impeccably made chai latte.

Alexandra

Background: I am current senior Boston University, majoring in Journalism. I like to read and write, and I cannot go a day without a little taste of chocolate. I also enjoy swimming, yoga, music, and film.

My Chocolate Epiphany: During a normal day of shopping, or running errands, my mom and I would always manage to find and wander into a little chocolate shop for an afternoon truffle - and we still do!  It's been a habit that I've grown up with. I also recall a particularly divine chocolate cake  that my dad brought home as a surprise one day. I must have been 5 or 6 years old. The intense chocolate flavor was one I knew I couldn't go without.

Favorite Chocolate: Anything rich, smooth and sweet. A classic Cadbury milk chocolate bar will satisfy my craving.

Mary Ellen

Background: I'm currently studying Hospitality Administration at Boston University. I love dancing to Salsa, Merengue, and Bachata. I also love to run in my spare time. My Chocolate Epiphany: The moment I really began to appreciate chocolate came on the day I finally was able to eat chocolate after 40 days of depriving it from myself. I decided to have the brilliant idea of giving up chocolate for lent since I really wanted to test my willpower. Again, brilliant idea. But when I finally was able to eat chocolate again, I took my time to enjoy it. Instead of scarfing it down, I've learned the importance of really stopping what you're doing and focusing on the flavors of the chocolate that you're eating to truly enjoy it. Favorite Chocolate: Butler's Mint Crunch. One thing I've learned while working in a chocolate store is that the flavors that are in chocolate bars can really surprise you. I've never been a big fan of mint and chocolate combinations but this bar blew me away. The crunch from the minty toffee makes this experience worth while. The mint is not overwhelming like most bars and it leaves you with a nice aftertaste, preventing some chocolate breath.

Marie

Background: I am currently studying Anthropology and Education at Boston University. I love eating, reading, watching the Food Network, and giving back to the community. My Chocolate Epiphany: I was born to love chocolate. With both of my parents being certified chocoholics, it was inevitable. My love of chocolate began when I was just a child. My mom always had a drawer of her office desk filled to brim with pieces of chocolate. She would always have one piece a day, and if I behaved, I got a piece too. But it wasn't until traveling abroad in France that I really appreciated the quality of chocolate. I will never forget the day that my French host mom taught me how to make home-made nutella and crepes. After that experience, my life has never been the same. Favorite Chocolate: Chuao Caracas Dark. With the delicious single-origin cacao from Venezuela, whole almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios, and a hint of sea salt, this bar is to die for. I buy it almost every week as a nice treat.