A Malay apple, picked 20 minutes before the class began, is paired with melted chocolate. The chocolate at the event was used from ‘single origin’ cocoa beans and were paired with red wines from lightest chocolate to darkest.

Chocolatier Eric Gilbert pairs chocolates and wines at Grimal Grove

Cacao trees, a tree that produces the pods which hold the seeds to chocolate, are usually only found 20 degrees north and south of the equator. So the discovery of a flowering and fruiting tree on Big Pine Key at Grimal Grove, 24.5 degrees north of the equator, is an exciting find. (It may be one of just a handful in the continental United States.) The recently rehabilitated hosted a seminar on choosing healthy and sustainable chocolate since “eating chocolate sets off the same mental feeling as being in love and being happy.” Spoiler alert: confections with 70 percent dark chocolate or more is the best for health reasons, and white chocolate has no health benefits because it doesn’t use the cacao bean.


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