"Thank you, Tom." I said.
"What got you into making your own chocolate?" Gracy asked.
"Well, our family loves chocolate..." Tom said happily, "...but my son has a peanut allergy, and just about every chocolate bar made today has a high probability it has been cross contaminated with peanuts. After doing some research on how to make my own chocolate, I discovered a place called Chocolate Alchemy where I could buy high quality cocoa beans in a reasonable bulk-size to make my own chocolate!"
"How long does it take to make?" Gracy asked.
"About three days." Tom answered, just as we pulled into the parking lot of the hotel. The thought of making my own chocolate was intriguing and I wanted to know more, but the next day was the 2nd day of the expo and we needed our sleep for another big one.
As we walked out to our vehicles, Tom brought out his backpack to hand out more homemade chocolate.
"Hey, Phil. Do you like toasted sesame seeds and chocolate?" Tom asked, handing Phil a bar.
"I guess so..." Phil replied, not sure what was being offered.
"Here, Pete." Tom said, handing a bar of chocolate to him. "This one has Vermont maple syrup in it."
"What is this?" Pete asked, taking the bar.
"He makes homemade chocolate!" I said.
"I have started to experiment by adding some flavors together." Tom said, excited to share, "and my son drew the cover that we use... Take a look at the ingredients."
The bars were turned over, and we looked at the ingredients list: cocoa beans & organic sugar.
"It doesn't get better than that!" Tom said with a smile, as I brought up my camera to take a picture.
"Okay, Phil, let's get a picture." I said. Phil raised his chocolate bar and I snapped a shot, but not before Gracy jumped in for a photo-bomb.
Everyone said goodbye, and once more, Gracy and I were giving Tom a ride back to the hotel.
"Did you try the chocolate I gave you yesterday?" Tom asked from the back seat.
"Are you kidding me? There is no way I can get close to that chocolate bar." I replied, looking at Gracy, who was trying to look innocent.
"Well, here is another one for you." Tom said, pulling out another chocolate bar. "This one has sea-salt! Do you like that?"
"Yes!" Gracy said, once again taking the bar.
Tom explained the entire process of making chocolate at home, from roasting the cocoa bean to forming the chocolate bar. He did his best to describe the rich aroma making chocolate can produce at home, but I bet experiencing it firsthand would be even better.
Sadly, the night came to an end. Tom reminded me to pick him up at 3 a.m. to catch his plane before he said "good night".
The car ride home was quick. I opened the garage door and parked the car, then Gracy opened her door to get out.
"My chocolate bar!" I said happily, and grabbed it from the middle console.
"HEY, THAT'S MINE!" Gracy howled.
"No it's not. Tom gave it to me, because you took the first bar he gave us." I said, holding the bar away from her clawing hands.
"I decided I wanted the sea-salt one, and you can have the other one!" Gracy pleaded, while becoming more aggressive.
"NO WAY!" I yelled, and made a dash to get out. I flung the door open and slipped out quickly, but Gracy had anticipated the move and pounced like a chicken on a June-bug!
"Ahhh!" I screeched!
"GIVE ME BACK MY CHOCOLATE!" She demanded, as she held my leg to keep me from escaping!
She took each bar and split them both in half so that we could share the flavors equally. I took the chocolate in my hand and raised it up to take in a deep breath. The rich smell filled my lungs causing me to smile, then I did it again. The distinct clop sound of chocolate breaking sounded perfect as I took a piece, and let it melt in my mouth. Gracy was just as happy, trying one of her small squares of fine chocolate.
If Tom Rosenbauer were to ask me what I think of his chocolate, I could easily say it offers a deep rich chocolate taste that warms the soul, and would be the perfect remedy after an entanglement with even the fiercest dementor!