Q: What's your favorite chocolate? A: Any real educator can only answer this one way - it depends. On what? - mood, connections, flavor preferences, time of day and experience. I used to have some "mid-price" ($3-$5) chocolate bars that I would eat when I wanted a fix...now I have enough bars from higher end makers that I maybe have too many choices. Favorite origin, however, might be Hawaii.
Q: Where does chocolate come from? A: Chocolate represents the outcome of processing the seeds from the plant, Theobroma cacao, which grows between +20 N and -20 S latitudes in places called "origins". More commonly called beans, these seeds get fermented, dried (and then often shipped), sorted, roasted, de-shelled, ground, pressed into a liquid, tempered and then poured and set in a mold.
Q: Where does "bean to bar" chocolate mean? A: Not too much really. All chocolate "bars" come from a bean. But, intention of this term focuses on craft or artisan chocolate that selects the beans and processes them with careful purpose to create chocolate with a myriad of deep flavors. Some of this takes place in small batch or at larger companies that still pay attention to the process. Equal Exchange provides a nice step-by-step explanation or you can also watch a video from Soma Chocolate using large-scale equipment.
Q: Where do I buy my chocolate? A: See this list on my credentials page. At specialty stores when I'm on vacation or often direct from maker.
Q: What's your favorite chocolate education resource? A: I find myself increasingly appreciate of the podcast, The Slow Melt, by Simran Sethi. The Fine Chocolate and Cacao Institute also has a great list of resources for those interested in being a consumer, a maker, a chocolatier, a retailer or a buyer.
Q: Do you eat Hershey's chocolate? A: No. First, Hershey's "milk" at only 11% cacao does not qualify as chocolate to me. And I prefer to know from where my chocolate originates. Overall, I find it best to refer to the mass-market options as "candy" and to leave the chocolate to the real makers.