Since having one of the coolest jobs in the industry, Food Buyer, is not enough for Pablo Valqui of Specs Wine and Spirits; he also wants to educate people - what the what! Right, this guy wants to educate and bring the joy of food to the masses (we heart him). He is the brains that came up with the "deliciously genius" idea of showcasing two local artisan manufacturers, Tejas Chocolate and Trentino Gelato, to create Trentino Single Origin Chocolate Gelato.
Trentino Gelato, created by Marcelo Kreindel, is already a Texas favorite. This new line is taking gelato (Italian ice cream) and chocolate to a new level. The seven different single origin bean gelato recipes are created with locally roasted cacao sourced from the choco-centric regions of the world by Tejas Chocolate.
These gelatos are all natural and organic, and did we say DAMN good! The actual gelato making process ensures an intensely rich chocolate flavor. This process is also what makes gelato and ice cream different. Gelato has a much greater amount of whole milk to cream ratio - translation less fat baby (5 to 7 percent). Since gelato is churned much slower than ice cream, it has less air - translation it's much more dense. And get this...even though gelato is much richer and more concentrated than traditional ice cream, it surprisingly contains less calories and less than half the fat of traditional ice cream! Sold. The last game changer is temperature. Gelato is better served and stored at warmer temperatures than ice cream.
Rounding out this power team is the Tejas Chocolate. They are a new "bean to bar" producer located in Spring, Texas. By overseeing the long and extensive process of the cacao bean from farm to factory, their involvement provides an opportunity for a more complex and flavorful final product. They are the only beans to bar chocolate makers in Texas.
So, what's the big deal with the beans and why should you care? The beans from each country carry their own unique flavor characteristics and percentage of cocoa mass in the chocolate. The higher the percentage of cocoa and the darker the color means a more intense flavor profile. Here's how this all comes together in the Single Origin Gelato:
Venezuela – 85%: One of the oldest cacao growing regions of the world provides beans with notes of toasted cashews, complex and well-rounded with hints of toffee on the finish.
Brazil – 80%: Beans from this family farm carry notes of berry fruit, followed by toasted nuts and deep flavor. Hints of caramelized sugar are found on the finish.
Ecuador – 75%: A wild heirloom variety bean from high elevations provide fruit notes like plumb with a hint of jasmine and a lingering, rich finish.
Bolivia – 70%: Subtle notes hint of black pepper, fruit, toffee and gardenia from these beans, which are mild but complex in flavor.
Dominican Republic – 65%: These beans provide unique hints of malt biscuit, toffee and tobacco, followed by a rich, malt chocolate finish.
Madagascar – 60%: From the Sambriano Valley in Madagascar, this cacao produces a red-tinted chocolate with brilliant red very fruit notes that linger within the milder chocolate flavor.
There is one more that will round out the collection, but it was not ready the day of our tasting: the "Trentino Blend" – this unique blend is a special recipe combining several of the single origin beans.
So what makes Trentino Gelato so special? Well, you will just have to find that out for yourself. If the smooth and creamy texture doesn't get you, then the well rounded flavors will. But don't take out word for it...
Now available at Specs Midtown Houston, 2410 Smith Street, Houston, TX 77006. Try them out and let us know what you think!
~ Felice "Swanky Girl" Sloan, Urban Swank
Urban Swank did receive a complimentary tasting, but the opinions expressed are our own.