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Experience Lindt EXCELLENCE

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Allison Hudson New York City
I'm an amateur athlete who loves to eat, cook, run, cycle, climb, sail and take pictures!
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Experience Lindt EXCELLENCE

 
Article by Allison Hudson
Photography by Clay Williams
The Experience EXCELLENCE event at Feedfeed Brooklyn kicked off Lindt's Summer of EXCELLENCE! Guests sampled and paired the variety of flavors of dark chocolate in the Lindt EXCELLENCE line.
We couldn’t have been more proud to host Lindt Chocolate at an all-inclusive Experience Lindt EXCELLENCE event at Feedfeed Brooklyn this Spring to help kick off summer and celebrate the variety of flavors comprised in the Lindt EXCELLENCE line of dark chocolate.  The Lindt Master Chocolatier Ann Czaja joined us on a live panel which also included Feedfeed Senior Editor Molly Adams, cookbook author Susan Spungen (@susanspungen) and Food Network contributor Chelsey White (@chelsweets).  This all-star group fielded questions from Feedfeed Editorial Director Jake Cohen, while an audience of Feedfeed community members soaked up the information before experiencing the Lindt EXCELLENCE line first hand. Below are excerpts from the conversation:

Lindt Master Chocolatier Ann Czaja joined our live panel for a conversation about dark chocolate and the Lindt EXCELLENCE line, and then guided Feedfeed community members through a Five Senses Chocolate Demo.

Feedfeed:  What are some of your favorite chocolate recipes to make and why is it so important to use a high quality dark chocolate?

Susan: Chocolate *chunk* cookies, where you really taste the chocolate and experience the texture.

Molly: I would have to say a classic sheet cake with a rich dark chocolate ganache.

Susan: I want to second that!  A ganache is more unadulterated, you can really experience the chocolate.

Chelsea:  American buttercream. With the sugar and powdered sugar, a high quality dark chocolate helps balance out the sweetness.  There is nothing better than a super rich, dark chocolate frosting. When you eat a chocolate cake and say ‘that is incredible’, that’s from using high quality chocolate.

Ann: Hand-rolled truffles.  The irregularity of the shapes makes them unique, plus I love to infuse the ganache.

Feedfeed: What is your favorite Lindt Chocolate bar to work with (and to eat!):

Susan: To work with, Lindt 70% or 80%. These higher percentages have less sugar, which is great for a flourless chocolate cake.  Less sugar means the cake will crack less. And the one I buy the most to eat is Lindt EXCELLENCE Sea Salt!

Molly: Lindt 70% for baking. My favorite to eat is Lindt EXCELLENCE Hazelnut, or a higher percentage with a glass of wine.

Ann: For baking or cooking, Lindt 70% or 78%. I’m loving our Sea Salt bar right now with a glass of Pinot Noir.  In general keep in mind that if you wouldn’t eat it, don’t cook or bake with it!

Feedfeed: For the self-taught home baker and cook, how did you learn and what inspires you?

Chelesa: Baking was a creative outlet for me, which is so important.  Chocolate too, because you can do so many things with it. For me the first step was just learning to do.  Then, I could eventually look up and watch others, and be inspired by others’ work.

Ann: When I first started out, I worked in a restaurant in Switzerland.  I did not have formal training, but the chef there mentored me because he saw that I was a hard worker.  It was there that I was introduced to chocolate and then became hooked. I enrolled in a traditional Swiss apprenticeship as a Confectioner/Pastry Chef and didn’t look back.

Following the panel, Ann led the group through a Five Senses Chocolate Demo. As she reminded us, our senses don’t lie, and we can trust them when it comes to recognizing and enjoying high quality chocolate! Here’s what we learned during her demonstration:

  1. Look: Chocolate should be shiny (vs. dull or streaky).

  2. Touch: A smooth surface indicates premium manufacturing processes and proper storage temperatures.

  3. Smell: While you’ll pick up different aromas, you don’t want to pick up a burnt or an intensely smokey smell - this can result if cocoa beans are hurried to dry over fires before shipping.

  4. Sound: The chocolate should make a *snap!* sound when you break it, as cocoa butter is a hard fat at room temperature.

  5. And of course, Taste: Let the chocolate melt in your mouth and coat your taste buds.  The flavor will evolve as it melts in your mouth - with Lindt EXCELLENCE 70% many people experience citrus at the end of the melt.

Finally, guests and Feedfeed team members alike enjoyed a self-guided chocolate pairing experience, which included some unexpected and surprisingly delicious combinations. Our favorites? Lindt EXCELLENCE Sea Salt paired with Aged Gouda cheese, followed by Lindt EXCELLENCE Hazelnut paired with Gruyere Cheese.

Guests enjoyed a self-guided chocolate pairing experience, with surprising and interesting combinations like Lindt EXCELLENCE Sea Salt and Aged Gouda cheese. Everyone also enjoyed snacking on the beautiful snack boards and passed hors d'oeuvres created and prepared by Feedfeed team members.

We know, we know - chocolate paired with cheese? But trust us and give it a try, we promise you (and you taste buds) will be delighted by the way the nuances in flavors compliment each other. In addition to the cheeses, chocolates from the Lindt EXCELLENCE line were paired with the following:

The pairing experience included a variety of Lindt EXCELLENCE dark chocolate. Beverage pairings ranged from Iced Earl Grey Tea, French Roast Coffee, and a selection of Josh Cellars red wines.

Try a few of these unique combinations yourself, or create a chocolate pairing pot-luck for an exciting twist at your next gathering, and enjoy a Summer of EXCELLENCE!

Feedfeed gives a huge thanks Josh Cellars for the generous wine donation provided for the Experience EXCELLENCE pairings.  

The Feedfeed team had such a wonderful time discovering Lindt EXCELLENCE with our community members, an all-star panel, and a Master Chocolatier to guide us through the decadent, rich, and quite fascinating world of dark chocolate that defines Lindt EXCELLENCE!
Want to join us next time?  Please click here to sign up for our events distribution list!