Portland Pedal Power has teamed up with local chocolate maker Pearl Chocolate!
We’re very excited about working with the chocolatetiers at Pearl, as they make delicious bonbons from some of the best flavors from around the globe. We asked Pearl Chocolate what they do to make such good chocolates, and they had some enlightening information behind how the magic happens.
Pearl Chocolate makes every bonbon and chocolate bar by hand through time-tested methods. Using couverture from Brazil, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Fiji, Ghana, Hawaii and Venezuela, chocolatier Teresa Ulrich has developed the first Pearl Chocolate bonbon line with an emphasis on blending flavors from different origins. Couverture is chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa butter used by chocolatiers to create bonbons. It has great flow properties for molding and a smooth mouth-feel. Each of Ulrich’s bonbons is made of chocolate from up to three regions, infused with flowers, herbs, spices, fruits and nuts. She offers new flavors seasonally, highlighting tropical and local berry flavors for spring and summer and warmer flavors such as ginger, cinnamon and hazelnuts for fall and winter.
“It’s all about getting creative with the process,” Ulrich says. “I like to blend bold, unique flavors to create a bright and long-lasting taste experience. And I’m always experimenting, looking for new ways to pair the familiar with something fresh. My goal is to broaden awareness of all the complex flavors that cocoa beans from different regions offer — the depth of fruity, earthy, spicy, coffee and floral notes — while creating bonbons with respect to classic techniques.”
Pearl Chocolate has done an extensive amount of “bean-to-bar” research. Ulrich has a particularly close relationship with Fiji, having discovered the cacao of the region on her first visit in 2008. She has since returned to the islands twice and has been working closely with Fijian farmers on research and education as well as making chocolate with their beans.
“Fiji was my inspiration behind chocolate making,” Ulrich says. “I’m inspired by the cacao tree and working with farmers, which brings the energy of the plant back into my chocolate. It’s critical for me to work with beans that either I have sourced myself or chocolate and beans coming from a source that took the farmer into consideration. In Fiji, we call this ‘cocoa awareness.’ ”
Using direct trade cacao sourced from Fiji as well as sustainably sourced beans from other regions, Ulrich is perfecting the process of transforming raw cacao into tempered chocolate for making bonbons and bars. In addition to using sustainably sourced chocolate and beans, Pearl Chocolate is made with predominantly local ingredients. More information is available at www.pearlbakerychocolate.com
If you’d like to order through Portland Pedal Power, Pearl Chocolate offers several different box sets allowing you to try all of their variations of chocolates, like two-piece collections with a pair of great flavors, as well as 10 and 16-piece collections that sample most of Pearl’s varieties. Of course, you can even build your own custom order through our site!