On February 17, 2005, the Berkeley Chocolate Club held an Extraplenary Session of chocolate tasting at the home of club members David and Carrie Olson.

That afternoon, while in San Francisco, Carrie made a quick visit to Fog City News on Market Street, and Michael Recchiuti Chocolates in the Ferry Building, where she bought yummy chocolates to add to her stash for club meetings. On the way home she stopped by Leonard's to show him her purchases - all bars, plus a small selection of Recchiuti truffles.

"Lenny," she said, breathlessly, "we have to try these truffles tonight." She carefully took them out of the chic little Recchiuti bag and placed them on the table for show as if they were prize gems.

"But the club doesn't meet until next Tuesday, he replied."
"I know, but I don't want to wait. They're single varietals from Ecuador, Columbia, and Venezuela.
I'm sure they're really good. Look, they even have the name of the bean's origin written in gold on the top."
"I'd have to consult the club's bylaws to see if this is permitted," Leonard said.
"Screw the bylaws," Carrie said, her voice tensing. "Can't you just have a little fun! No one will know!"
At that point Leonard felt it was his duty to comply.

Carrie had to attend a City of Berkeley meeting that night and called Leonard on her way home. "I'll be there in two minutes," she said. "Meet me in front." Leonard approached as Carrie was walking up the steps. In the house they were both greeted by David, sitting comfortably reading a magazine.


Carrie grabbed the Recchiuti bag sitting on the kitchen counter and opened it in anticipation.

The bag was empty."What happened to the truffles?" she said, looking at David.
"I ate them," he said, totally nonplussed.
"You did what?"
"I ate them."
"You what?"
"I ate them."
"You mean you ate the truffles?"
Yes, I ate them."
"Wait a minute. You're telling me that you ate these truffles!"
That's right, I ate the truffles."
"Why did you eat them?"
"They were there."
"I told you we were going to have them later with Lenny."
"No, you didn't," David said, utterly unphased.

Carrie was speechless, staring down at the empty bag.
"I guess it was a misunderstanding," David said with a hint of a smile.


Caught in the lurch, the only thing to do now was to taste a couple of the bars Carrie had brought back from the City. "Let's do only Venezuelan," she said as she pulled three bars out of the pile. The first was El Rey, Gran Saman, 70%. Second, Scharffen Berger, Cuyagua, 75%. Third , Amedei, Chuao, 70%. A quiet fell over the room as the tasting got underway.

Now, as a rule the club does not make public the results of its tastings. The reasons for this are complex, and there may be exceptions, and we might change at some point, but for now that's how things stand. But this tasting was so interesting, and since it was not an official tasting we feel it is okay to release these results.

First of all, Leonard, Carrie and David were all in agreement. The best by far was the Sharffen Berger. In fact, the trio agreed that this was the best Sharffen Berger they had ever tasted. Amedei came in second, and third was the El Rey.

Leonard exulted over the Sharffen Berger. "This is a chocolate that knows it's a chocolate and doesn't mind telling you about it. Very muscular. It loves to strut it's stuff." Pensively, Carrie chimed in, "Very robust, yet subtle. On a scale of one to ten I'd give it a ten plus." David sat quietly, nodding his head in agreement (but perhaps he was still thinking about the taste of those Recchuiti truffles). Amedei, the runner up was not even close. Relatively speaking, a very timid chocolate. If this were a person he'd blow his nose under his hat. Afraid to stand up for himself. The El Rey didn't get any further than the smallest first bite. First of all, it lacked the clean, crisp snap of a good bar when you break it. Rather, it almost folded in our fingers. With that as an opener, it landed in the mouth and went nowhere. As the French would say, "Un navét au ras du sol." A turnip that never got above ground. So sad.

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