Where do you even start to blog after a day like this? The lunch time mojito class? The extensive displays of locally produced breads, salamis, jams, pies, and oils, all brought to you by the friendliest of faces at the Automnales? The happy surprise of finding my favorite chocolate maker among the stands? And mind you, all that was in the space of a single hour at les Automnales…!
But no, tonight that is not what I will be writing about. You can check back in for news on that manana. Because tonight I got to attend a beautiful fundraiser for an inspiring cause….which so happened to be a chocolate and wine tasting event. Whatever enlightened mind came up with that one, I warmly congratulate!
Act In Kind
Before I get to the “mmmmm” part, let me first introduce you to the star of tonight’s show. Act In Kind is a new way for everyday people to make an impact on the world through everyday purchases. In AIK’s own words: “many brands already give back to the nonprofit sector but since it’s the consumers making the brand purchases, why not ask them where they would like those donations to go?”
Funny you should ask. It so happens that Act in kind distributes funds from your for-profit brand purchases to non-profit projects throughout the world. When you shop, you decide where the donations go. As its moto says, it’s not about buying more, it’s about buying better!
Good thinking AIK! I know I’d sleep better if I knew my binge consumption was going towards something meaningful.
Savoring a Good Cause
A ticket to attend the fundraiser essentially got you a wine and chocolate tasting, and at the door you get to choose which charity your money goes to. As if that were not brilliant enough, you never notice the money was spent because of how much you get in return right there on the spot.
The chocolatier, Marc-André Cartier, is the latest in a line of the Cartier chocolatiers, and runs a store called O’ Saveurs. Concerned about holiday gifting? Look no further. He has an incredible chocolate (85% cacao!) from Italy that will wow your family, friends, colleagues, cleaning ladies, kids teachers, postmen, you name it. The magic of it is that it keeps the intensity of a chocolate that is dark like midnight, but has just the right balance of cocoa butter and sugar to keep it from having that ashy bitter taste that you find in most other chocolates at that percentage of cacao. Also among his treats were a salted caramel chocolate, orange flavored truffles, and chocolate bonbon with passion fruit filling. I’ll be honest, I’m a purist when it comes to these things, so I couldn’t bring myself to recommend the orange or passion fruit ones. But if it’s good quality cocoa you’re looking for, any and all of them will do the trick.
The chocolates were then paired with wines. Sadly I didn’t get the names of most of them, but it made me think that more dinners should close not with some rich, heavy dessert, but rather with a selection of fine chocolates carefully paired with dessert wines. A sauterne for example went nicely with the salty caramel chocolate, and a white wine from the Jura, aged 6 years in oak barrels that were left open was a nice complement to the hazelnut chocolate. Another option is to look for an aged rum, such as Ron Zacapa 23, aged 23 years, which, when paired with a nice dark chocolate, is just…. mmmmm.
Maybe we should all Act in Kind
Keep an eye out here for more news from Act In Kind in weeks to come. Especially as we approach holiday shopping season, consider looking for gifts at one of their partner stores! More info on all that coming soon.