Art Inspired By The Blind Chocolate Tasting #2
Maja Milanovic's response to the Podcast and Blind Tasting
If you are new or have landed on Tarantula: Authors and Art for the very first time, welcome to the art by Maja Milanovic inspired by our first podcast The Transformational Power Of Chocolate. This is the first of four works by the Tarantula: Authors And Art crew. If a friend forwarded you this article, double welcome; if you like it, share it or why not subscribe?
To listen to the podcast that inspired Maja’s art click here. The chocolate was generously donated to us for this experiment by Taman Chocolates.
SAMPLE No. 3 by Taman Chocolates
BEAN-TO-BAR CRAFT CHOCOLATE, INDONESIA - RANSIKI - WEST PAPUA, Single Cooperative Cacao
Chocolate made of beans grown and harvested by the cooperative Eiber Suth in the area of West Papua’s Arfak Mountains, home to Vogelkop Superb, a newly discovered bird of paradise species.
The velvety-textured chocolate brings out a range of aromas and flavors, from mild fruit acids to the deep sweetness of the dark fruits with a pleasant bitterness at the end.
This chocolate brought on intense emotions, swirled me down memory lane back to two different locations and a feeling from my twenties. The rich flavors kept on bursting in my mouth, and with each new mini explosion, something else popped up. I wrote a short story inspired by the images as well as painted two pictures which was interesting as I haven’t really painted for many years. I hope you enjoy my short story and paintings.
The Chocolate Maker Tricks You
You know that feeling when you live in the moment, but the aroma of something foreign in your mouth, swirls you down memory lane and lands you in a place where you actually belong. Before the moves, and the flights, and the different apartments, and fights, and make ups. Before the masks, and the fancy dresses, and new dreams and goals, and focusing your whole existence on the meaning of life. You knew. And as that half a piece of snapped bar to bean chocolate given by the chocolate maker himself, bursts in your mouth, you know that you are home.
The terrace, the one you swear that you flew above with the help of the wind. Long grey terrace connecting all apartments on the fourth floor both physically and soulfully. The terrace where the neighbours liked each other and hang out. You didn’t know that underneath it wasn’t always the cordiality that you saw. But you have been in each and every of those houses, know the smells of the different families, their food, the long polished nails of one neighbour, the strange aunt living with the other neighbours, and the shy girl or rather her parents of the one living close to the main door of the terrace, the one all neighbours had to enter. It was paradise.
The tanginess of the chocolate breaks through the facade and brings you into the living room that was part of your childhood, the small toilet with the old water cistern that gurgled, the kitchen so small yet big enough for you to be thrown up and down in some spinning rock and roll dance move.
That apartment, Grandma with her back turned to the entrance, her hair finally left alone to turn grey at 80 something. A dark blue dress with white flowers imprinted. Sitting in her living room that was in one piece for 20 + years, in one piece before the war came and shattered it into many pieces. But it was repaired again. This was her second war, but the first one at an old age when she couldn’t go into the forest and fight for a collective freedom. This was a war of confusion, when who she fought were her brothers turned against her. The neighbours from the first apartment next to the entry door quickly disappeared, now realizing that they are of different faith. So she sat in her living room watching Rosa Salvaje or whatever Mexican soap opera occupied the screen while lunch was boiling on the stove. Lunches also stopped being a 7 course meal events that ended with a song or two and a long nap. It was just one pot of some mixed stew. Grandpa has passed away.
Retelling me the stories of the Mexican soap operas and their sad lives, she did with such passion you would think the characters were real and occupied the apartments connected to the balcony. It could be as well that Rosa Salvaje lived next door and not the neighbour that stole their unbroken bottle of red wine when the apartment was hit by the enemy missile. There was something promising in these stories, just like the chocolate maker creating a chocolate that gives hope and a break from the toughness of life. But it wasn’t a bad life, yes ok, two wars, but there was a sourness of a life passing by, a love gone. Love. Often she tuned and looked at me curiously wondering when will I fall in love. Or more precisely “Why don’t you marry?”
The chocolatier knows his magic, and just as you want to exit the memory, the beans like fireworks continue exploding in your mouth taking you out of your thoughts, but landing you in a spot from a few years before.
Now your blonde friend with her curls falling over her blue eyes and teenage cheeks, dressed in a blue jeans jacket holds a coffee cup in her hand. She, herself, is about to create magic. You hated drinking coffee with conviction. There was nothing among the sour and intense flavours that would lure you at the age of 16 to become an avid coffee drinker. But occasionally you needed to close your nose and gulp it down with disgust on your face. They would all laugh, some tease you but you didn’t care. You were always true to yourself. But that cup held predictions. And your friend was a priestess looking at the coffee grinds. And she told you all about your love life. And when it will come. When …
It took a long time, longer than many thought. And now when you have it you think that the meaning of life is about meaning, giving, truth. And you forgot and stopped believing that it is about Love all this time.
But the chocolate maker gave you some of his finest bean to bar chocolates, and you couldn’t escape. He tricked you.
SAMPLE No. 1
BEAN-TO-BAR CRAFT CHOCOLATE, PHILLIPINES - MANA - DAVAO, Special Selection Cacao
Chocolate produced from the MANA cacao, a special selection of cocoa beans selected by the Auro Organization from the Davao region in the Philippines is considered one of the best cacao growing regions in the world.
MANA Chocolate brings a well balanced flavor profile of dried fruits, rum, caramel, raspberries, chokeberry and tobacco. It has a mild and creamy mouthfeel with a medium long aftertaste of a pleasant and mild citrus bitterness
I tried this chocolate with my 9 year old. The interesting thing was that we both saw waves and blue water. However, the blue water in my mind became The Blue Cave in Croatia that I visited many times. But suddenly, I was inside of the cave, in the darkness, and the sunlight was trying to break through into the cave as it was setting down.
SAMPLE No. 2
BEAN-TO-BAR CRAFT CHOCOLATE, MADAGASCAR - ANTSAMALA - SAMBIRANO, Single Plantation Cacao
Organic cacao beans with a unique flavor profile, unlike typical Malagasy cacao, come from the Antsamala plantation, which is one of the eight plantations of the Mava Estate, in the Sambirano valley.
On nose, the chocolate opens with floral aromas with nuances of prunes and cacao gradually developing flavors of tropical fruit, peach, fennel, and pink peppercorn. It has a rather fast melt and a delicate bitterness in the aftertaste.
This one was the subtlest and the sensations that disappeared the fastest. My first thought was a tractor and a farm, then rolled up dry hay. I am showing the painting , but it is definitely not finishes. I think I would add many more rolls of hay if I had the time.
Also, check Kristina’s art inspired by our blind tasting. Stay tune for art works from the rest of the Tarantula: Authors And Art’s Creatives!
ABOUT TAMAN CHOCOLATES
„Taman” has two meanings in Croatian. The first one means “dark”, you know, just like chocolate. The other meaning doesn't have an English equivalent. The most accurate explanation would be that “taman” describes that liberating intimate sense when something feels just right - not too little, not too much, the right thing in the right moment, everything perfectly aligned. This is the philosophy we follow in our boutique manufactory and this is the exact feeling that we want you to experience when tasting our internationally awarded chocolate products.
For our bean-to-bar chocolates we choose cacao with exciting flavors as well as aromas that we want to preserve and highlight with the least amount of processing. Besides amazing flavors, we want our chocolates to tell a story of where the chosen cacao comes from and of the people who grow it. We use only high quality cacao of controlled origin, which we procure in cooperation with trusted partners to ensure that the cacao is well cultivated, fermented and dried; and that all those involved in the cultivation and processing of cacao are adequately paid for their work.
All our products are hand-made and crafted in micro batches with lots of love and passion.
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