This was a meeting not to be missed! Chocolate tasting? yes please! Gloria Lilley, a co-winner of Divine chocolate’s ‘Three Choclateers’ competition, took us on a journey from the fascinating beginnings of chocolate in Mesoamerica to it’s present form as one of the most loved confectionaries in the world.
After a brief history lesson we went back to the cocoa farms of Kuala Kokoo in Ghana and she guided us through the bean to bar process - showing us samples of the hardy fruit the beans come from and how they are transformed into the chocolate we know and recognise. Gloria also talked us through the different ways in which Divine ensures they keep to their mission of being 100% fair-trade. There are so many chocolate companies around that do not use ethically sourced beans and to this day still implement child labour. It was refreshing to hear the lengths Divine go to in order to help their farmers become sustainable and allow them to share in the success.
By this point we were all ready for the next stage… it was time to taste! Gloria passed around small sample bars and almost as if she had read our collective minds - issued an instruction NOT to eat them. Well not just yet…
She led us through a sensory chocolate experience, teaching us the proper way to judge the quality of chocolate we were about to eat:
Look - A well tempered chocolate should have a glossy shine to its surface.
Touch - Rub the bar to see how easily it melts.
Smell - A quality chocolate should smell like chocolate - not like sugar or vanilla for example.
Listen - Break off a piece by your ear, it should have a strong ‘snap’ sound.
Taste - She did ask us to keep it still to melt slightly on our palate, but I’m pretty sure most of us had resisted biting into it for long enough!
She ended with a quick chocolate truffle demonstration and after a few questions, it was time to move on to usual business…
There was plenty of chat about charities and volunteering opportunities, the Tress of Hope were looking for helpers and it was time to nominate charities ready for selection at this years AGM.
The raffle for Cyril Flint Befrienders had an unusual prize for this month, a voucher for 2 to go axe throwing at Whistlepunks (yes you read that right, axe throwing!).
But aside from the fabulous chocolate bars Gloria was selling, the star of the evening seemed to be our brand new limited edition badges which went flying off the shelf (well the piano actually). A brand new sisterhood badge to celebrate the anniversary of women’s right to vote and a new rose and bee badge designed by our very own, very talented, Katie Paddock.
Bursary applications, lots of sub group announcements and of course there was still time to network and catch up with tea and treats.
Our next meeting is a big one on Tuesday 29th May. Check out the Facebook page for up to date information on Mays monthly meeting and any other events happening between now and then.
See you next month!