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Foodie Weekend

All about my food-filled weekend (don’t worry I ran 5k and biked 10 miles too).

Saturday we had breakfast at the Northside Grill before heading to the Farmers Market and Food Co-op. I had what is probably turning into my normal breakfast there– two egg breakfast: scrambled eggs, hash browns, wheat toast. The same way that my husband thinks that bagels are just a butter delivery device, I believe that toast is a jam and jelly delivery device. Northside Grill is great because you actually get a choice between regular coffee and an organic french roast AND it’s pretty awesome. The line to get in can be horrendous though.

Saturday afternoon, I went on a tour of Mindo Chocolate Makers in Dexter, MI, through Michigan Agritours. They are one of the few chocolate makers in the United States, and the only one in Michigan. From what I was told, the difference between a chocolate maker and a chocolatier (like Godiva) is that the makers actually do all of the fermenting, drying, and so forth themselves, and the chocolatiers get the chocolate in its cacao nib stage (read: super bitter. no sugar. none.).

Our guide gave us a talk on how they ferment, dry, and shell the cacao beans at their facility in Mindo, Ecuador and then how the process happens once the nibs are shipped up to Dexter. It is a very small facility (just a commercial kitchen off of the owner’s house) but they are able to make 900 or so 3.5 ounce bars per week. They make all sorts of flavors as well as brownies, cocoa powder, and hot cocoa mix.

ground up cacao nibs, once (twice?) through the grindy thing

opening up the press that extracts cocoa butter from cocoa solids

cocoa butter ready to cool and solidify in the bowl. solid cocoa butter in the plastic bag. the press in the back is filled with cocoa solids, a big block of cocoa powder.

some sample chocolates for us that set during our time there

On Sunday, we rode our bikes downtown to go to one of our cooking classes at Hollanders: Two Classic Curry Dishes. They’re such a good deal for $15 a person. We were taught how to make a Thai vegetarian red curry and an India cashew and chicken curry by Rita Conroy-Martin, personal chef and owner of The Sage Dish. We ended up buying a little baby food processor in hopes of actually making our own curry paste by hand (our instructor uses the food processor and then finishes it with the mortar and pestle). We have one last class this upcoming weekend, a Tropical Indian Dinner. Mango lassi? Yes, ma’am.

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Categories: Food
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