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Tanya Tandoc

Death by Chocolate

I was a judge at the Death by Chocolate event this last weekend at Exploration Place. To some, it might have sounded like heaven—table after table covered with beautiful, inventive chocolates, cakes, and cookies. To me, it looked like an uphill marathon I hadn’t properly trained for. We had to taste everything, and that meant about a hundred individual sweets. My teeth hurt after the first 10 offerings. I got the sugar shakes after the 30th truffle. My vision blurred by the time we had finished the gauntlet and I had to sit down. By the time I got home I was as ill as I could be. I was quaking so hard I couldn’t get out of my cocktail dress. After that much chocolate, I had actually ODed.

After my hallucinations faded, I pulled out my notes. One of the best things I had eaten was from a bakery called Velvet Cream. They had made perfect French macarons, a delicate, meringue-like cookie filled with buttery cream. The spiced chocolate and the limoncello were my favorite flavors. I also adored a filled chocolate from Cero’s Candy. They call it a “Persian Jewel,” and it combines dark chocolate with exotic cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, rose petal and pistachio. It was fabulous and unexpected. I also remember a delicious chocolate surprise from Cocoa Dolce—a hard-shelled chocolate bomb that was filled with spiced rum that exploded in my mouth when I bit down.

Even though I had made myself sick with all that candy, I still had a great time. Next time I judge a candy contest I should definitely train for a couple of months in advance, to build up my endurance. I think I’ll start with a box of Persian Jewels.