Ok, I have to admit I set up a choice assignment for myself; getting a closer look at, and taste of, the three Maverick Chocolate bars declared winners at The International Chocolate Awards June 27, 2017 in New York.
- Prohibition Dark Milk Chocolate with Bourbon and Smoked Sea Salt
- Espresso Dark Chocolate
- Dark Milk Chocolate with Cocoa Nibs
Co-founder of the Cincinnati store at Findlay Market, Paul Picton, welcomed me in describing the thought process that goes into making award winning chocolate. "I think a lot of it is just trying different foods, having an open mind as to what flavor combinations can be and experimentation."
Picton is no stranger to chocolate. For years he traveled the world as a jet engine salesman, sampling the candy that was more bitter than sweet. His favorite bars are from Germany and France.
He pops a small piece of the "Prohibition" bar in his mouth and savors it. Picton says the salt is what you taste first. "The sweetness of the bourbon comes as an after-finish to the chocolate. That's the flavor that lingers in your mouth for several minutes afterwards."
Maverick imports cocoa beans from Ecuador, Peru, the Dominican Republic and Belize. He explains some are very fruity while others taste like honey.
There are health benefits associated with chocolate and you can bet Picton told me about them, including the fact that it acts as a appetite suppressant and contains a chemical that makes you feel good.
"I eat chocolate throughout the day. I eat chocolate at my afternoon coffee break. I eat it at home after dinner, before I go to bed, so I am still a chocolate lover."
Soon Maverick Chocolate will start using the Findlay Kitchen to make cookies with its chocolate.