Holiday Tour Day 2: Goatfury Writes and Sabadì
This chocolate be guarded by some dangerous cats
Did you enjoy our first tour day with The Chocolate Life and that drop-your-jaw silky smooth Dos Cielos bar from Chocolate Bonnat?
I know, I know. It’s cruel to write about, and take beautiful photos of, a chocolate bar when you can’t actually taste it.
There is only one thing I love more than telling stories about chocolate, and that is sharing the chocolate. And so, I’m going to be giving away some special prizes at the end of this Holiday Tour. As in, actual chocolate. I’ll publish a separate post about it and link to it from each day of the Tour, but real quick to give you a little appetizer:
Prizes: Three prizes, all involving real, tangible, material chocolate.
Rules: Yes. We will have rules to separate the unruly barbaric warlords seeking to conquer the chocolates for themselves at any cost to life and tongue, from the gentle civilized folk (who would otherwise turn into unruly barbaric warlords)
Participation: All ya gotta do to participate is be a card-carrying member of The Cacao Muse. Hit this button below:
Or you can go for the special offer we’re running now for the duration of the Holiday Tour, and become a TCM member forever, and qualify for all the special treats and prizes from now until the AI overlords take all our chocolate away. And that, if I have anything to do with it, will be a very, very long time.
Welcome to Day Two of the Cacao Muse Holiday Tour! Today we pivot to a very different world. A world of coffee-drinking Turkish keyboard artists, a world of TikTok-dreaming goat herders, a world where every day—literally—is a dive into a rabbit hole you never knew you wanted to slide down, and certainly never thought you’d ever have the time for.
Welcome to Andrew Smith’s Goatfury Writes. I pair his Substack with the Sicilian chocolate company Sabadì. I had to. I had no choice.
TCM Holiday Tour Day 2 pairing:
GOATFURY WRITES and SABADÌ
You should know one thing about Andrew Smith, and that is that he is at least five people. Three of them to write his posts (which come out d.a.i.l.y!), one to hang out on Notes, and the fifth one to reply to emails and comment on everyone else’s posts.
I don’t know any other way to explain how a single human can possibly be this prolific—and this lovely of a human being.
Andrew and I connected early in my Substack journey, via my first publication The Muse, and ever since then have been in touch. We found we share more than just a love of writing—we both love martial arts. I’m a little more serious now than when I knocked the breath out of a young Frenchman in my karate class in Paris in my early twenties (“Ohh! Elle frappe!” “Ohh! She hits!” the surprised practitioner exclaimed), but Andrew… Andrew is a 4th degree black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. This means he can make you experience what it’s like being a pretzel. Respect!
Even more worthy of respect, Andrew loves dogs and puppies. And they love him right back.
When he andwrote the deeply aromatic post “Ode to Coffee,” I knew I had found my people. And yes, we’re doing a collab, yes it’s on the world’s favorite food, and no I won’t share more deets right now. Soon though!
Please welcome Andrew Smith and his Substack publication Goatfury Writes.
The Cacao Muse: Welcome to the holiday tour Andrew! Tell us about Goatfury Writes.
Andrew Smith: I write every day about things that interest me, and there’s a good chance they’ll interest you, too. I really enjoy daily dialogue with the community, and folks who read will often join in the conversation.
TCM: What’s your favorite chocolate?
Andrew: I have to confess that while I’ve been interested in learning about types of chocolate, I don’t really have a favorite per se. I’ve certainly had my share of Lindt, Ghirardelli, and Dove, among others, and I had plenty of trash chocolate growing up (milk chocolate, mostly, but also stuff where dark chocolate sneaks in, like Mounds, which is certainly still a guilty pleasure today). I’m not proud, but I love chocolate, and I love to learn about it.
Birgitte: You are forgiven! Everyone starts with the trash, er, commercial chocolate. It is the natural commencement of your path to chocolate enlightenment. Many years of practice it takes, many years and many bars, but remember, little grasshopper, it is the journey that builds the man, and the tastebuds that make him speak.
TCM: What’s the one burning question you've had about chocolate that you'd want an expert to answer?
Andrew: I sincerely hope we will answer any of my own lingering questions in our upcoming collab! I don’t have any amazing stories centered around chocolate, but I certainly remember getting those little Hershey’s Minis in my Christmas stocking every year growing up! There would be an orange and some nuts in there, which I hastily threw aside to get to the good stuff.
Birgitte: [wipes sweat off brow: whew I thought he was about to give away the collab details!] Whoa hold up. Orange and nuts? Those are some of the best inclusions!
Reader: The what…
Birgitte: Inclusions are solid food items added to chocolate bars outside of the basic ingredients, such as fruit, nuts, herbs, salt, things like that. So if you’ve had a chocolate bar with dried raspberries and pistachios, you’ve had an inclusion bar.
So, I was going to suggest the Moser Roth Dark Orange Almond bar for you, which blends pieces of almonds with an infusion of orange juice and a hint of pineapple, but I was made an offer I couldn’t refuse. I got visited by this guy.
Yeah he’s small but that’s always how it is. The big cat at the top of the post? That’s not the boss. That’s the guard. The bouncer. The tough guy. Noooo, this little guy in the sharp glass tuxedo, he’s the real boss. He’s the one who sits you down, talks in a real low voice, measured, quiet, slow—so you can understand every word as if your life depended on it. Because it does.
He’s da Boss. Boss Cat to you.
All those other cats behind him? Nothing to see here, meow along. Did I mention this chocolate company is Sicilian?
As Boss Cat gently explained to me, Moser Roth’s Dark Orange Almond is a little suspect. Yeah sure the taste is pretty good, but if you’re a real chocolate professional, if you’re a real judge, you know the sugar’s been overdone. But there’s an ever darker truth here… the Fair Trade label.
Fair Trade cocoa may be mixed with non-certified cocoa, on a mass balance basis.
You can’t trust them, the Boss told me. But you can trust us. Trust our Modica bars. We use Nacional cacao from Ecuador and organic ingredients. We are certified by the important people in Europe. But of course, it’s your choice.
I’ve seen the movies. I’ve read the books. I even interviewed a real life wise guy from New York who’d fled to Hawai’i when things got tight, for a movie script once. So I knew, when Boss Cat tells you you have a choice, technically that’s true, but that choice is one, and it has been made for you.
And so, Andrew, allow me to introduce you to Rossella. The red orange zest chocolate bar from the Sicilian chocolate company Sabadí.
Chocolate: Rossella Arancia Rossa
Ingredients: Organic cocoa mass (varietal: Nacional Fino de Aroma), organic sugar, organic red orange zest
Tasting Notes: Just like the cats that own this company, the bar itself is understated in its unassuming elegance and simplicity. No fancy designs, no intricate patterns. Tellingly, no logos or identifying features either. This bar keeps a low profile for a reason. All you need to feel its power is a little taste. A small piece is enough to send you hurtling against the walls of chocolate nirvana—that dark, almost coffee-like initial punch, bathed in red orange essence, and as you fly backwards in slow motion, the sugar granules come at you from all angles. Little zingers, everywhere. Crunch! Pop! Zowie! You land on the floor a crumpled heap of humanity, shreds of red orange zest still landing to remind you of the flavor power of this bar. Yet somehow, you want more.
Andrew, the floor is yours. You’re the 4th degree black belt. I’m sure you’ll know how to negotiate with Boss Cat. But maybe bring the dogs along just in case.
TCM: If there is one thing you had the power to change or improve about the chocolate industry, what would it be?
Andrew: At the risk of sounding cliché, I’d probably make it so that no child labor was used, even if this meant the price would go up. I would love to see chocolate treated more like a luxury and less like a right.
Boss Cat: We Italians appreciate fine things too. Yes, yes, chocolate is a privilege! I like the way you think, Andrew. We might have a good job for you. Ah yes. We’ll take good care of you. When you’re ready, you come talk to my people.
Two down, twenty-three to go. Chocolates I mean, of course. What did you think I meant?
Now I need to ask you to bring in a favor for me. Because, ya know, Boss Cat is asking. He wants this post to break the charts so he doesn’t have to break any knees. Share, like, comment, cross-post, restack, call up your friends at The New York Times.
Most important, check out. In this dangerous and unpredictable world, where cats make chocolate and goats program Excel spreadsheets, you need a place where you can read about any topic under the sun.
COMING UP! DAY 3 of the TCM HOLIDAY TOUR
On December 3rd, we split our minds and bodies into multidimensional quantum entities capable of multiple tasks, professions, and talents, and existing in multiple places at once.
~ You mean doing what all moms do on a daily basis.
Well, yes, but increasingly, dads too. Tomorrow’s feature brings you one such Dad—and he also likes dogs. And cats. But not those kinds of cats.