Last evening Poh and MJ had the honor of being part of an intimate gathering at the World Affairs Council event in Portland, Oregon where Master Chocolatier Julian Rose of local Moonstruck Chocolate gave us a lesson on the process for chocolate from the harvest at the farms near the equator to the table in one of Moonstruck's 5 local cafes. Learning the journey from the correct growing conditions to the science behind mastering the 3rd highest traded commodity in the world! Julian Rose delivered an engaging and informative course with a sprinkling of stories and chocolate politics. He demystified this historically amazing fruit.
As the science gets closer to proving that cacao originated in Central America, Julian Rose detailed for us his crowning accomplishment this past year in rediscovering the believed to be extinct Nacionale cacao tree. Over 100 years ago this crop was wiped out by fungi disease in Equador. Last summer Julian Rose, through a happy accident, bought some interesting beans from a farmer in a remote wild forest in a valley of Peru. Finding the flavor to be good he questioned some of the basic structures of the cacao pod that he had not seen before. The farmer, Fortunato, also found the pods odd with the expected "purple" beans, but also some white beans in each pod. After examining and having the documenting of the Gnome, it was discovered that the bean was from the Nacional line and that the mother tree was actually part of this small wild crop. This news was monumental for the global chocolate industry and for proving that Peru has the actual origin Nacionale, not Ecuador. For Julian Rose it was a rare discovery and professional accomplishment to his already recognized talents as one of the top 10 Master Chocolatiers in the world.
The good news for us Oregonians is Julian Rose bought the beans and formulated two versions of single source chocolate for the Moonstruck label. Named after the farmer and the number of tests to confirm its origin, Fortunato No.4 is available in a 68% bar or the sophisticated Dark Chocolate Tumbled Cacao Beans. Our tasting of the single source Moonstruck chocolates was amazing. I may be awake all night, but the smooth and fruity tumbled bean was OH so worth it! Promising to tease our senses even further, Julian Rose is creating a drinking chocolate from Fortunato No.4 in time for Fall 2011!
Run, don't walk to experience this rare treasure or go online to Moonstruck to order the closest thing to Inca Gold available! ~ MJ