The LETumEAT Takeover Dinner series kicks off this week with the ultimate Valentine’s Day dining experience: dinner in the Woodblock Chocolate Manufactory in SE Portland. Who wouldn’t want to spend Valentine’s Day with their sweetheart in a chocolate factory-turned-intimate dining room?
The LETumEAT team met Charley Wheelock (yes, that’s Charley the chocolate maker) less than a year ago and he has been a great supporter and friend ever since. Charley is a bean-to-bar chocolate maker, meaning that he sources whole cacao beans straight from source and then processes them in his manufactory to make chocolate. His beans come from farms he has direct connections with in Peru, Madagascar, Ecuador and Trinidad. Woodblock Chocolate has been around since 2011 and was one of the first chocolate making operations in Portland. Note the difference between a chocolate maker and a chocolatier: Charley gets the raw cacao beans, roasts, winnows, conches and tempers them himself and actually makes the chocolate; chocolatiers start with already-made chocolate and remelt and/or mix other ingredients into it to form chocolates.
Woodblock Chocolate makes small, 25 gram chocolate bars of 70% cacao, either single-origin or double-origin. The goal is to really showcase the agriculture of the chocolate- you can taste the differences in the chocolate based on where they come from! Read more about Woodblock Chocolate on their LETumEAT profile.
Charley was the one who inspired us to supplement our pig’s feed with his cacao husk. We now have 9 pigs on the farm in Salem whose diet is about 20% cacao husk, in addition to organic feed, spent brewers grain. And what better place to debut this chocolate-fed pork than back at the Woodblock Chocolate Manufactory on Valentine’s Day?
In addition to the chocolate-fed pork, LETumEAT chefs Karl Holl, James Serlin and Cory Melanson are using Woodblock Chocolate throughout the menu, showing that chocolate can be used as a savory ingredient and not just in dessert! See the full menu below.
Tickets are still available for this beautiful feast and celebration of Charley and his chocolate Manufactory. Seatings at 6:00 and 8:30 pm. The menu is 5 courses and wine/beverage pairings are included and is $115 per person. Make your reservations below!
Soter Vineyards Brut Rosé
Celery root, grated foie gras, coco-nocino granita
Cocoa bean cured fish, blood orange, hazelnut, fennel fronds
Brooks 2011 Ara Riesling
“The Garden” smoked chocolate soil, roots and greens
Brooks 2013 Rosé
Chocolate polenta agnolotti, doug fir, matsutake, pine nuts, vin brulée
Terue 2010 York Hill Pinot Noir
Chocolate fed pork, apple, kale, currant condimento
Brooks 2011 Muska Pinot Noir
Chocolate budino, salted caramel, barley cream
The Commons Brewery Brotherly Love
Ransom Spirits Sweet Vermouth