Kelly the Culinarian: Happy National Chocolate Day!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Happy National Chocolate Day!

As if every day in my life wasn't National Chocolate Day ... but seriously, it's today and it's awesome. I didn't even realize how fortuitous my previously scheduled Chicago Chocolate Tours event was. A representative there contacted me a few weeks ago to ask if I'd be interested in attending one of their tours.

Um, yeah. I live for this.

So my tour was free, but the opinions, as always, are entirely mine.
Charbonel et Walker
Rachael agreed to be my urban ambassador and meet me for an early-afternoon tour. I figured after the event I worked for the past few days, I'd need something fun to help me recover. Chocolate always helps.

We met our tour guide Brianne at the Marshall Field's downtown (I will never call it by its new name - represent!) and began the tour with a history of chocolate, Marshall Field's and the business founder, Valerie. Rachael and I were jonsing for chocolate, so I tried my best not to zone out.

Frango mint
The first stop was Frango mints within Marshall Field's. Interesting fact - the makers now add a pinch of salt because the swirl on top has always been added by hand. When technology changed and the candy makers started wearing gloves, people complained they didn't taste the same. The secret missing ingredient? Perspiration.
Charbonnel et Walker

The next stop was right around the corner in Marshall Field's at Charbonnel et Walker, a British chocolatier that is the official provider to the queen. I do like to think of myself as royal, so it was fitting. Our tour guide also shared that the maker of the truffle we sampled was likely the chocolate that played a pivotal role in the film "My Fair Lady."
Tiffany ceiling
Before we left our meeting spot, we saw the candy kitchen, the chocolate Chicago sculpture and a few interesting features of the building, including this Tiffany ceiling that was crafted without plans. I appreciated that this tour featured lots of Chicago and chocolate history.

Our next stop was Toni Pastisserie, which is a place I would have never wandered into otherwise. We ate a rather scrumptious brownie sample there and also ran into Valerie, who posed for pictures.
Toni brownie

FM Artisan chocolates
The next stop was Fannie May, which I initially gave the side eye since they're everywhere around here.

However, it was the highlight of the tour, in my opinion. We sampled the pixie, which is their most popular item. But what really caught my attention and taste buds was a white chocolate lemonade truffle from the purveyor's artisan line. It was so creamy, tart and light that I had to buy a few. We also tried the dark chocolate truffle from the same line and it was quite good. The people here were very friendly, too.

Our final stop was Argo Tea, where we ate a chocolate croissant and tried the chocolate mate latte. Again, not something I would have tried on my own, but it was quite delicious. Slightly creamy, a bit smoky and definitely chocolate while still a bit earthy because of the tea.
Argo Tea

In all, it was a lovely way to spend a day. The tour started a bit slowly, but it turned out to be very informative and fun. The samples were generous and plentiful, and the information will make me so much more fun at cocktail parties.

1 comment:

Losing Lindy said...

I used to drink argo all the time while Preggo with V.