For those of you that haven’t heard, I’m a member of a blogger review group that supports local businesses. It’s called “SassyScoops.com” and we recently had the opportunity to review the chocolate class at Caputos in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah. Let me just say, it was completely enlightening. Matt Caputo taught the class and opened our minds to the “culture of cacao” (the bean chocolate is made from).
Honestly, I was in awe the entire time by how much he knows, and how much there IS to know, about chocolate. Prior to the class I considered myself a major-league chocolate fan, but afterwards I realized that I know about as much as a baby when it comes to chocolate. My knowledge primarily consisted of knowing: chocolate is delicious. BUT even that knowledge was challenged as I found out what truly delicious chocolate tastes like. Oh… my… heavenly.
We learned all about the different kinds of cacao beans and where they come from. I found it absolutely fascinating that cacoa beans take on the flavors of the soil/elements from which they grown in and around. Certain cacao beans have fruity essences because they grow around a lot of fruit plants. One chocolate we tried had essences of banana that were easy to identify while tasting; the beans that made that chocolate grow around banana trees. My favorite chocolate was an Amano bar that tasted of blueberries – YUM.
Aside from a newfound awareness and appreciation for cacao beans, we learned about how much all the other parts of the process of taking a cacao bean and making it into chocolate affect how good the flavor and quality is. The best way is to do the entire process of bean to chocolate all in one place. Amano chocolates does this and they are here locally in Utah. Amano chocolates were my favorite that we tasted, even above the world-acclaimed “Best” fine chocolate. I preferred the flavor and richness in Amano chocolates, hands-down. I’m so proud that Art, a Utah man, started making chocolates here. He has put Utah (not to mention, the United States), on the map for chocolate making, which previously hadn’t been done. I’m also so proud of the Caputo family for bringing such a wide variety of fine food, cheese and chocolate to Utah. Their expertise and variety is astounding and is enhancing Salt Lake’s food culture, among other things.
Something Matt said really stuck out to me about all of this. He said that chocolate making truly is an art. There are a lot of companies that just go through the process of making chocolate as they’ve studied to make it. But then there are the companies who make truly special chocolate because they have the “palatte” and passion for it, like Amano chocolates. I was thinking how similar that is to many things in life, but especially my food photography passion. There are plenty of photographers who can get the technicality down and learn exactly how to take good pics of food, but no one can replicate the passion and perspective I bring to food photography. This fueled my passion to take my craft to an even higher level by constantly learning as much as I possibly can learn about food photography so I can someday be able to talk for days about it, like Matt could talk about chocolate.
I don’t intend to sound arrogant, I simply wanted to document the part of Matt’s chocolate presentation that really stuck with me and has led me to crave continued improvement and knowledge so that I can bring my passion for food photography to new heights with ever-increasing technical knowledge. I photograph most all of the SassyScoops.com events, but Caputos was my favorite. I’m realizing more and more each day that my “niche” in food photography is my love for photographing chefs and food “experts” (like Matt) in their element with all their passion for the food around them shining through. I do love studio work, but the on-location work really thrills me.