Q | What is your most popular item? Why?
A | It is a tie between the 70% Dark Tanzania and the 40% Sour Cream White Chocolate — they are both very familiar items but with a lot of unexpected flavors. For example, most people are surprised by the complex flavors that the Tanzanian chocolate delivers. The classic chocolate flavor that most people expect takes a back seat to fruitier flavors of sweet cherries and lemon. And instead of the bland and overly sweet flavor of typical white chocolate my Sour Cream White Chocolate has lots of flavor from Dominican cocoa butter, Madagascar vanilla beans, and a mild tangy flavor from sour cream. The interesting array of flavors from both of these chocolates have converted more than a few people to small batch chocolate.
Q | You’ve mentioned (on your website) that the taste of chocolate varies depending on the country of origin of the cocoa beans. Do you use certain countries’ cocoa beans strategically in certain products?
A | My strategy is to find the highest quality cocoa beans possible, and let the naturally occurring flavors shine through. However, on the occasion that I do add flavor I make sure that the flavors in the cocoa are complimented by the inclusion. For instance, the intense, nutty flavors of Ecuadorean cocoa are really brought to the surface by a small addition of ground coffee beans. And the mellow earthy flavors of Trinidad cocoa develops a wonderfully rich flavor when I include the fruity Turkish Urfa chili pepper.
Q | Where can we find your delicious chocolate around town?
A | There are a few retailers around Columbus that carry my chocolate such as Little Eater in the North Market, Wholly Craft, Bexley Natural Market, and Actual Brewing Company’s taproom. I also sell periodically at the Worthington Farmer’s Market and enjoy partnering with some great Columbus companies to set up tasting events like Rockmill Brewery, Balanced Yoga, and Actual Brewing Company.
Q | Ohiyo – is there a significance to the “Y” in Ohio?
A | Yes, the word Ohiyo is the original Native American word meaning “good river” which is where the name Ohio came from. I felt that it was especially significant because chocolate was originally a Native American food, and was used for thousands of years by a number of Native American tribes.
Q | You seem to have a great relationship with Actual Brewing Company. Do beer and chocolate pair as well together as wine and chocolate?
A | I find that a really good wine and chocolate pairing can be a bit tricky because they both tend to be acidic and tannic. However, craft beer is much easier to pair with chocolate because it has many complimentary flavors, less acidity, and a bit more sweetness. A chocolate such as the 70% Dark Trinidad chocolate that I make has a mellow and nutty flavor with a very light sweetness that pairs well with a lighter beer – I recommend trying it with Actual Brewing’s Photon lager, and Rockmill’s Witbier. While a spiced chocolate goes really well with the crisp bitterness of an IPA; I use Urfa chilies in dark chocolate to create a mild heat and dense fruity flavor that pairs well with Rye IPA’s – I recommend trying it with Rhinegiest’s Hustle, and Actual Brewing’s Conductor. White chocolate is the most difficult to pair, but I find that the chocolate and vanilla flavors along with the creamy texture pairs nicely with a full-bodied stout – I recommend trying it with Wolf’s Ridge’s Dire Wolf, and for the perfect pairing try it with Actual Brewing Company’s Fat Julian stout on nitro.
The white chocolate made with sour cream (instead of milk) is pretty dreamy. I highly recommend it!