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New business gives chocolate lovers a tasting experience they’ve never had before

LaNae Dickson, left, is the owner of a business called SNAP Chocolate Tasting. She provides an experience for customers. | LaNae Dickson
RIGBY – For many women, few things are better than a good piece of chocolate. That’s certainly the case for LaNae Dickson.
She’s loved chocolate her whole life and recently opened a business called SNAP Chocolate Tasting that gives customers an experience with chocolate that utilizes all five senses. But it isn’t just any chocolate — it’s bean-to-bar chocolate, or chocolate whose makers provide not just the bar but the chocolate as well. They actually source the cacao beans themselves, which isn’t the case with traditional chocolatiers who make the commercial products sold in stores.

Pieces of chocolate on display for a class at SNAP Chocolate Tasting. | LaNae Dickson
Chocolate trivia

Cacao beans date as far back as the ancient Mayans but it wasn’t used for consumption at that time. Scientists have traced theobromine, a chemical alkaloid found in cocoa, as far back as the 1300s. It was apparently used in pottery.
Christopher Columbus was the first known European to come in contact with cacao beans. He wrote about it when he discovered America. On Oct. 15, 1502, Dickson says he stole cacao from a Mayan trading ship near Honduras.
J.F. Fry and his sons created the first chocolate bar suitable for mass production in 1847. Prior to that time, chocolate was primarily a drink.

Dickson tells an artisanal process is used to create bean-to-bar chocolate and a customer can’t really appreciate it without having an experience like the one she provides.
It comes in the form of a class, where participants sample five pieces of chocolate, snap it in half and feel it with their hand, smell it and let it melt on their tongue to try and identify all the flavors that are present. Participants discuss with each other what they’re tasting.
“If you just eat it, you’re not going to get the flavor notes and you’ll have wasted your money on a chocolate bar that you don’t really like,” Dickson says.
Throughout the experience, Dickson shares trivia and historical facts about chocolate. Some of it is included in the side bar on the right.
Dickson’s introduction to artisan chocolate happened about eight years ago. She’d always been a mindless connoisseur of commercial chocolate, but it had become unsatisfying and she wanted something different.
She found a Thai restaurant that served artisan chocolate. She and her friend Googled how to taste it and had an “intriguing” experience at the restaurant.
“We both began a journey of finding places (with artisan chocolate). The more I found, the more excited I got. I shared with friends and family endlessly and earlier this year, I decided I needed to pay for my habit,” she says. “I wanted to share on a bigger scale what had become a passion for me.”
That’s how SNAP Chocolate Tasting was born. It officially launched in August and Dickson says it’s off to a good start.
Brian Hanks, a dental consultant in Draper, Utah and nephew of Idaho State Representative Karey Hanks, says Dickson recently hosted a tasting party for he and his colleagues and they haven’t stopped talking about it.
“She had everything set up before we walked in the room. It looked beautiful,” Hanks says. “We were with her for about half an hour and everyone left happier. It was a fantastic opportunity to come together as a team and experience something we’ve all tried a little differently.”
Dickson says SNAP has taught her to think about what she puts into her body and to enjoy tasting it.
With the holidays coming up, she hopes businesses will see this as a fun team-building activity or party. She’s inviting people to give it a try.
The cost is $20 per person and she can host a class at any venue. She’ll be hosting two classes on Nov. 19 at the Blue Heron Inn north of Rigby. To be part of it or to schedule your own party, call (253) 653-5309.

A tasting party at SNAP Chocolate Tasting. | LaNae Dickson
The post New business gives chocolate lovers a tasting experience they’ve never had before appeared first on East Idaho News.

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