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 Post subject: Free Chocolate Tasting in Portland, Oregon! 2/11 - 2/12
PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2012 3:27 pm 
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Elephant
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If you live in Stumptown, you are one lucky vegan this weekend. New Seasons is once again holding their most popular event of all time: The Chocolate Tasting!

About two dozen companies and up to a hundred different flavors from all over the world will be set out in sweet little squares on plates from 11 AM to 5 PM both Saturday and Sunday. You better come early and plan on staying a while, the crowd is usually three deep for this holiest of days. I recommend stretching first. :lol:

Yes, there will be many vegan varieties to melt on your tongue and New Seasons usually labels them for you. Most are on sale right now to boot, I saw a bunch that were half-off. That comes in handy when you don't feel like shelling out six smackers for a chunk of cocoa. Even if it is amazing, delectable, insanely delicious dark cocoa with cherries and almonds and Madagascar Vanilla in it. I'm gonna have that one and then ride the sugar high like a Lear jet all the way through a killer leg workout. Prior planning.

:heart: :heart: :heart: Happy Valentine's Day! :heart: :heart: :heart:

Baby Herc

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 Post subject: Re: Free Chocolate Tasting in Portland, Oregon! 2/11 - 2/12
PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2012 5:21 pm 
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Stegosaurus
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Jealous!

Well, I'm always jealous of people who live in Portland, but now I'm more so!

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 Post subject: Re: Free Chocolate Tasting in Portland, Oregon! 2/11 - 2/12
PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2012 9:56 pm 
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Elephant
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lobsteriffic wrote:
Jealous!

Well, I'm always jealous of people who live in Portland, but now I'm more so!


There's still time to cash in your frequent flier miles for the weekend. Come hungry. :D

Baby Herc

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 Post subject: Re: Free Chocolate Tasting in Portland, Oregon! 2/11 - 2/12
PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2012 10:15 am 
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Manatee

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There are a few good places in San Jose...kind of. The big Whole Foods in Stevens Creek...and you all just got a Sprouts, too. Not as good as portland, but head into Santa Cruz...just a few down the road...Staff of Life has amazing vegan and raw Treats...as well as New Leaf ( and they opened one that is huge..not the one downtown, but west side)..and there is a newer Whole Foods there and also one in Aptos,I think. But Staff and New Leaf both opened two new storefronts with really yummy goodies...and I know both have kill vegan and raw treats to eat!

Eat some chocolates on my be half and for my bottom..I don't need the kcals..will live vicariously through you!


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 Post subject: Re: Free Chocolate Tasting in Portland, Oregon! 2/11 - 2/12
PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2012 5:35 pm 
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Elephant
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Okay, I'm back from the chocolate tasting marathon and I am hiiiiiiiiigh. If my typing peters out, it's because I've collapsed onto the floor in a monumental sugar crash, so just wait a few minutes and I should come to....

First of all, I'm glad I got there early. It's imperative to experience the staff while they are still fresh and amiable. Later in the day, after hours and hours of reciting the same information over and over to hordes of hungry, impatient cocoa-happy customers, they get snippy and petulant. Hell, I would. So far, crowd control seemed to be going well; no one had to bring out the fire hoses. But then, there's always tomorrow.

Here's how it works. The customers mob the twelve-foot-long, multi-tiered display of chocolate bars shoulder to shoulder and three deep. You stand in the back and wait for an opening, then pounce on it like a New York subway patron looking for a seat. When you manage to work your way up to the front, you hold up the chocolate bar you want to sample and the frenetic staff quickly grabs a labeled Ziploc baggie of pre-cut squares and hands you a small chunk. You roll it around in your mouth and swallow while you eyeball the next one you want to try. You've got to try all the ones you want while you've got a spot because once you leave the counter, you'll never get back in. At least six other customers are doing the same thing on either side of you. It's humorous and death defying at the same time. I'm not sure why they couldn't have split up the merchandise into stations and positioned them around the store. Perhaps logic doesn't apply to chocolate.

So, here's what I learned, good and bad.

Dagoba is darned tasty when it comes to added flavors, they don't skimp on the fruit and spices. As a matter of fact, the chili pepper one was so hot my nose almost began to run. I recommend the lavender & blueberry for an exotic taste adventure. The lemon & ginger flavor tied for my favorite overall.

Chocolove is very smooth and has the added sweetness of containing love poems printed on the inside of each wrapper, so if you're looking for a high-impact Valentine's Day gift, this would be a good item to pair with flowers. Their raspberry one was intensely berry-fied while the peach & pecan was silky and sweet, like a sundae. My favorite bar all day was their dark chocolate mint. I'm a sucker for mint and this one brought on flashbacks of chocolate peppermint bark at Christmas.

Theo had been described to me as the best chocolate on the planet but it didn't send me: too bland and chalky. They had a coconut & curry flavor that left an unpleasantly potent and lingering aftertaste in my mouth. The 91% dark was surprisingly smooth, though.

Other brands included Scharffenberger, Equal Exchange, Vivian (sp?), Endangered Species, etc. but I didn't bother to try them all. When it comes right down to it, I'm just not a chocolate addict. I'd rather wait all year for something I really like than settle, kind of like with furniture, vacations, and men. :wink: This was a golden opportunity to add a few names to my list. But I'm all cocoaed-out until summer. Bring on the hot guys and chifferobes.

Baby Herc

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 Post subject: Re: Free Chocolate Tasting in Portland, Oregon! 2/11 - 2/12
PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2012 11:54 pm 
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I was too hopped up for a nap so I went for a walk, which turned into a hike, which turned into a bushwhack through steep forest that I like to call "Beat the Clock." If the sun goes down while you're messing around in the Northwest temperate rainforest, you're SOL the second the shadows fade. Gets dark as a World War II bunker out there, you can't see your hand in front of your face at 9 PM. In the end, I did a massive amount of slimy, muddy incline through waist high ferns and branches and I have an overdose of good chocolate to thank for it all. See? Being naughty pays off. I'm going to crawl between my warm sateen sheets now.

Baby Herc

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 Post subject: Re: Free Chocolate Tasting in Portland, Oregon! 2/11 - 2/12
PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 9:58 am 
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Manatee

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yum

have had / tried all over the years...at trade shows, as until Oct--I traveled extensively in Natural store---hope to again...anyone know someone hiring? :) . I mentioned in another post somewhere...XAN is a So Cal choclatier ..some of the best higher end vegan chocolates../www.xanconfections.com/ like to die for. pricey, too!

sounds like a fun hike of sorts...did you make it out before sunset?


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 Post subject: Re: Free Chocolate Tasting in Portland, Oregon! 2/11 - 2/12
PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 12:00 pm 
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Elephant
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divamom wrote:
sounds like a fun hike of sorts...did you make it out before sunset?


Just barely. I cut it awfully close. It was so steep and slick, I had to climb a lot of the time on my hands and knees. I snuck up onto the road again between some private property and the fire station just as the lights were coming on a thousand feet below me in Beaverton. I heard three different owl songs while I was out there--there was some pretty hot and heavy hooty-hooing! Then I took the long walk back to my truck. All in all, not a bad workout for having a dislocated rib the whole time.

Baby Herc

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 Post subject: Re: Free Chocolate Tasting in Portland, Oregon! 2/11 - 2/12
PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 2:44 pm 
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divamom wrote:
There are a few good places in San Jose...kind of. The big Whole Foods in Stevens Creek...and you all just got a Sprouts, too. Not as good as portland, but head into Santa Cruz...just a few down the road...Staff of Life has amazing vegan and raw Treats...as well as New Leaf ( and they opened one that is huge..not the one downtown, but west side)..and there is a newer Whole Foods there and also one in Aptos,I think. But Staff and New Leaf both opened two new storefronts with really yummy goodies...and I know both have kill vegan and raw treats to eat!



Thanks, yeah, I've been to most of those places as I already live here. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Free Chocolate Tasting in Portland, Oregon! 2/11 - 2/12
PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 9:07 pm 
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Elephant
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I needed supplies for a fresh black bean salad so I went back to New Seasons today and...ahem...tried a few more chocolate bars. I can safely say I am now sick of chocolate. But I met the nicest people while I was there and laughed a lot with them. Folks are friendly when they're hopped up on cocoa. :lachmal:

Baby Herc

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