gmhTODAY 22 gmhToday Oct Nov 2018 - Page 49

Since she always enjoyed baking, Trish decided to enroll in a culinary school to perfect her pastry making skills. “I was the oldest kid in the class,” she noted. “Part of the curriculum included a chocolate module. I fell in love with the science of making chocolate. With chocolate making, everything needs to be in perfect balance, or rather, be in ‘temper’ (the right temperature). First, you must bring the mixture out of temper; then bring it back into to temper. The crystals have to form together perfectly. When it’s done properly; it’s magic!” After learning to perfect her pastry skills and receiving her diploma from culinary school, Trish pursued her new passion for chocolate. “I signed up for additional chocolate classes and started making chocolates for my family and friends.” Andy Mariani of Andy’s Orchard tasted Trish’s chocolate and purchased some for his Christmas Fair last year. It quickly sold out. “I’ve greatly appreciated the opportunity to show and bring my work to the community of Morgan Hill and Gilroy,” Trish said. A typical box of Ór Dubh chocolates contains eight different kinds. No two are the same. Each chocolate is a work of art, swirled with bright colors of cocoa butter. And although a complete list of ingredients is noted on the box, you will need to taste each chocolate to see which ingredient may be inside. As Trish explained, “We eat with our eyes first, and then with our perception of the taste we think we are going to get. If we eat without any preconceptions of what we should taste we will enjoy the experience more and in fact be able to determine what is in the bon-bon.” Trish always recommends cutting each chocolate in half and sharing it. “Typically, my red colored bon-bons will taste like cherry or some red fruit, and purple ones will taste like blueberry. And when I am in a blue mood, I’ll make a lot of blue colored bon-bons. It really depends on my mood on the day.” Working with chocolate and making bon-bons was just one facet of the O’Dwyer’s chocolate passion. They became curious to know where chocolate originated from, who was the first to discover it, and the many uses of chocolate. With this in mind both Michael and Trish began looking at making ‘bean to bar’ chocolate in addition to their bon- bons. They started with organic cacao beans that are direct- traded from small fermentation plants in South/Central America, Nigeria, Tanzania, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Bolivia and Ecuador. The process of taking chocolate from GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN ’bean to bar’ is labor- and time-intensive. Using teamwork, they roast and crack the beans by hand in order to get the nibs out—a slow and painful process. Then the nibs are put into a melanger (made of two stone wheels) which pulverizes them into a liquid. The mixture rests in between stages of the process. After taking a one-day course in Dandelion Chocolate in San Francisco, and after many trials, they got what they wanted. A two-ingredient chocolate: cacao beans (70%) and sugar (30%). A simple combination that brought the ‘magical smile’ to their faces. Some of the bars may have a higher percentage of cocoa to sugar (e.g. 75% or 80%). When they taste the beans in their raw form they decide if more or less sugar is needed to bring out their many flavors. Michael and Trish traveled to the Dominican Republic last year to meet the farmers and visit the fermentation plants; to see the whole process from the tiny flower to the beautiful beans. “Chocolate making is similar to wine making,” Trish said. “Like wine grapes, cacao beans have vintages which produce distinctive flavors from year-to-year. Flavors can range from a fruity blackberry to a citrusy-orange or even smoky notes. Some people ask me, ‘How did you get the fruit flavors into the bar?’ That’s the gold dust [magic] to me. Let the chocolate slowly melt on your tongue so you can experience all the complex flavors.” This holds true for the Ór Dubh bon-bons and their bean to bar chocolate. Ór Dubh, the name of the company, translates to “black gold” in Irish. And their logo is an ogham—a symbol derived from the ancient Celtic alphabet. Danielle Zappa, from Accurate Print Pro, makes all their labels, placing a flag on the wrappers to indicate the country of origin of the cacao beans.