the goals of Chocolatour: to educate and entertain

My goal in writing the Chocolatour: A Quest for the World’s Best Chocolate series is three-pronged: to educate chocolate lovers about the exciting and extensive world of chocolate, to entertain my readers with insightful and informative profiles and chocolate events, and to inspire them to engage in chocolate travel.

Understandably, the most well-liked events involve chocolate tastings. I was thrilled to be able to share an assortment of single origin Guittard Chocolate yesterday at a gathering of chocolate lovers.


Guittard Chocolate is made in the San Francisco area, but uses cocoa beans from around the world.

We tried single origin 65% dark chocolate from Ecuador, Venezuela, Columbia, and Madagascar. Single origin chocolate means the beans are from one specific country. This enables you to taste the difference between sources of origin and find your preference.

And we sampled 38% milk chocolate, a 72% bittersweet dark, and a 91% extra dark chocolate made from cocoa mass blended from a variety of sources. Blending cocoa beans is popular among commercial brands. Less so, in handcrafted artisanal chocolate. Read the labels carefully to know what you’re getting/eating.

I always prefer the single origin chocolates as they really give you the chance to close your eyes, inhale the aroma from the chocolate, and then taste the difference between the varietals. In almost every taste test I do with different chocolate companies, I invariably prefer the Madagascan chocolate. The Guittard Madagascar chocolate uses exclusively Criollo beans, thought by many around the world to be the finest tasting cocoa beans you can buy. The result is cocoa with a higher level of acidity, producing chocolate with a fruity flavour that immediately transports you to the tropics.


I really enjoyed Guittard’s Hawaiian chocolate bar featuring chunks of Hawaiian cocoa nibs from the Waialua Coffee and Chocolate Company.

Guittard also produces fantastic chocolate made from Hawaiian cocoa grown on the Waialua Estate on the North Shore of the island of Oahu. I’ve definitely got to get there and further explore the Hawaiian chocolate scene. I especially enjoyed the 53% cacao semisweet chocolate bar featuring small chunks of Hawaiian cocoa nibs. You can bet I didn’t share that one!

Doreen Pendgracs

Known throughout the Web as the "Wizard of Words", I've been a freelance writer since 1993. I'm currently researching and writing volume II of "Chocolatour: A Quest for the World's Best Chocolate". Volume I was published in September, 2013.

14 Responses

  1. Jeri says:

    I’ve really loved the pairing your suggested with the sea salt chocolate and Malbec. If you and Susan both swear by the Guittard chocolate, it only make sense that I’ll now be keeping that in the forefront of my mind as well.
    Jeri recently posted…Editing Sample: Lessons from an Ordinary LifeMy Profile

    • doreen says:

      Jeri: Keep in mind that Guittard is not quite the same as small batch artisanal chocolate. I was fortunate in that Guittard sent me a generous amount of chocolate for tasting, so I was able to set up a proper tasting with their samples and enable attendees to taste the difference between chocolate from different sources (origins). Do explore some of the small chocolate making shops that I have profiled on my sister blog at Cheers, and happy tasting!
      doreen recently posted…acknowledging our accomplishmentsMy Profile

  2. I’m afraid to confess I’m a fan of milk chocolate, which I’m told waters down much of the chocolate’s real flavour, but though I have tried, I generally find the taste of dark chocolate too bitter. Any suggestions for food/fruit/beverage pairings that might make that bitter taste more appealing? I love coffee, so not sure why I can’t translate that appreciation.
    Debra Yearwood recently posted…Going Viral, It’s As Easy As 1,2,3My Profile

    • doreen says:

      My advice to you, Debra, is to graduate from milk chocolate to a lower percentage semi-dark chocolate. Try a chocolate in the 62-64% cocoa range. It won’t be as sweet as milk chocolate, but won’t be as bitter as a really dark chocolate. A great place to start is the Lindt Excellence Bars series. They are widely available, moderately priced, and really good quality. I love the Lindt dark chocolate with sea salt. It’s not a really dark chocolate, has a hint of fleur de sel, and goes exceptionally well with a red wine like Malbec. Try it!
      doreen recently posted…acknowledging our accomplishmentsMy Profile

  3. This is getting me thinking about splurging on something for my husband for the holidays. HE is the one who loves chocolate in our home.

    Thanks Doreen.
    Patricia Weber recently posted…Grateful for Etiquette of Responsible Guest BloggersMy Profile

    • doreen says:

      Thanks, Pat. Your husband will love you (even more!) for it. Remember to read the label of what you are considering purchasing. The main ingredient should be cocoa mass or cocoa liquor, followed by pure cane sugar. Anything else should be strictly a natural flavour enhancer (such as cocoa nibs, figs, almonds, passion fruit, etc.) If you want to investigate chocolate more, please check out my chocolate travel blog where I’ve listed many chocolatiers and chocolate makers from around the world.
      doreen recently posted…the goals of Chocolatour: to educate and entertainMy Profile

  4. This is a perfect post for the beginning of the holidays! I always give some sort of chocolate as a hostess gift. Looks like I’ll be looking for Guittard!
    Jacqueline Gum (Jacquie) recently posted…Thanksgiving Turkey Neck… WHERE’S THE JUSTICE?My Profile

    • doreen says:

      Hi Jacqueline and thanks for the post.

      I wasn’t specifically emphasizing Guittard chocolate as much as I was reading the labels, knowing where the chocolate comes from, and learning how to properly taste the chocolate. But yes, Guittard chocolate is certainly a fine choice for American chocolate made in the French tradition.
      doreen recently posted…the goals of Chocolatour: to educate and entertainMy Profile

  5. Mark Brody says:

    I can honestly say that I have never had the privilege to taste some finer chocolates, however, as I am thinking of some holiday gifts this year, it may become a chocolate year. Of course, I would have to sample some before sharing….just sayin…

    Thank you for sharing!
    Mark Brody recently posted…Take a moment for othersMy Profile

  6. Guittard Chocolate is my cocoa of choice when I need any cocoa in a recipe. Why? It is consistently good, delivers an amazingly clear chocolate taste in whatever I happen to make it with. I also feel the same about their chocolate bars for eating and for baking. 🙂
    Susan Cooper recently posted…Celebration Wines RecommendationsMy Profile

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