In our last neXtworking event of the year, we indulged our Rampant Curiosity through a virtual chocolate tasting and explored the world of bean-to-bar chocolate. While past events have focused on organizational models or approaches, we recognize that there are lessons to be had in many aspects of our lives, and we are fortunate to have a former chocolate maker, Justin Smith, who was able to share his insights on the chocolate history and process.
Justin walked us though the origins of the cacao plant, the European obsession with it, and the beginnings of modern chocolate. He spoke about his experiences in learning how to take raw cacao beans and turn them into award-winning chocolate bars. Justin took us through each step of the chocolate-making process and the extreme Do-It-Yourself machines that he and his partner made to get the chocolate just right.
More importantly, we tasted some excellent bean-to-bar chocolate! While chocolate tastings are much better as part of a group, we adapted and were able to have a virtual tasting via zoom. Eleccion provided boxes of chocolates to our neXtworking participants, which allowed each person to sample six different bars from River Sea Chocolate—located in Herndon, VA—which included single-source bars from Colombia, Dominican Republic, India, and Fiji, as well as a rum caramel and coconut milk chocolate.
This neXtworking was a great microcosm of our company culture at Eleccion: Having fun while exploring new and innovative topics. Justin demonstrated how inventiveness, innovation, and persistence could overcome challenges to develop a satisfying product. As we look for correlations, we can see how bringing the same curiosity and innovation to our projects can yield amazing results.
A special thank you to Deanna who organized the virtual session—including buying and distributing the chocolate tasting boxes—and to Justin who gave us a unique perspective on the chocolate making process. This will be our last neXtworking of the year, but we are looking forward to our first session of 2021 in January.
See you next year, neXtworkers!