A Coven of Chocolati

I wrote about my plan to stop at Aslam’s Rasoi last Wednesday, and i did just that for an early supper on their saag gosht. Afterwards i segued on down Valencia to Dandelion Chocolate, where i joined about forty other chocolati to watch Caitlin and Greg’s talk and slideshow about their five day blitz through four chocolate farms in the wilds of Venezuela, getting to know vendors and encourage them to strive for quality rather than quantity in their production.

Caitlin and Greg were fine narrators, and we all got a good feel from this presentation that the adventure, like all excellent adventures, consisted of a mixture of terror and exhaustion leavened with learning and excitement, not to mention some real joy. Well, some relief, too, as their van managed to get safely across numerous rural Venezuelan versions of a bridge, two stout logs planed flat on one side and positioned so that the tires of the van would stay on them if the vehicle were guided across by someone on foot indicating minute course corrections to the driver while the passengers gazed far below, fascinated, at the water seething with piranha between the anaconda-infested banks.

Gives you a good appetite for a rustic supper. Well, that is, if you don’t look too closely at it. The supper…of umm, different vegetables and unidentifiable meats.

We chocolati, on the other hand, were seated in comfortable chairs in the squeaky clean Dandelion cafe being plied throughout the show with cups of hot chocolate, chocolate delights from the bakery case, and samples of the various chocolate bars.

The best time to go is on a Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday (11:00 – 6:00) since that’s when the production line is running and the place is buzzing with worker bees. You can walk all along the right side and get great views of the process.

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