It’s becoming clear that the nice gentlemen from the band Train are way into their good food and drink. Earlier this year we spoke with guitarist Jimmy Stafford about his love of wine, and how he helped launch Save Me, San Francisco Wine Co., the band’s partnership with Concannon Vineyard in Livermore, CA.
Now, frontman Pat Monahan talks to us about his new project, a line of dark chocolate bars produced in conjunction with Ghirardelli. Sea Salt Almond, Dark Cabernet and 72% Cacao Dark Chocolate is available at savemesanfranciscochocolate.com with some proceeds going to Family House in San Francisco. Now that is sweet. We asked him about how chocolate is a large part of his life.
What is your earliest memory of chocolate?
My mother would have Nestle Quik Chocolate Powder and Ovaltine — Ovaltine was the devil and Nestle was the angel! I remember stealing money out of my sister’s purse and go to the nearby market so I could get (what was called back then) the “Hundred Thousand Dollar” bars, now they’re called Hundred Grand. Also, Charleston Chew was part of the beginning of a lifelong commitment to chocolate.
How did you hook up with Ghirardelli?
I made a joke in an interview about our wine and that our next venture was my fulfilling my passion which was chocolate and hopefully to work with my favorite chocolate company Ghirardelli. They read the article online and reached out to my manager, which began the serendipitous relationship.
What was the process to creating your three bars?
Ghirardelli sent over many chocolate samples of different kinds of chocolate, especially dark chocolate. I love to bake and am a dark chocolate lover and I melt dark chocolate to make chocolate chip cookies. I love nuts, especially almond, so that’s how we came up with the Sea Salt Almond bar. They were coming out with a new bar that had a hint of grape, so that’s how we came up with the Dark Cabernet bar.
What do you look for in a good dark chocolate bar?
It can’t be too hard and not too sugary. I like the consistency of a creaminess texture, similar to milk chocolate. Ghirardelli does this very well.
Do you do hot chocolate?
I love hot chocolate, as do my children, but for me it’s seasonal. There’s no substitute for it when you’re at a ski resort.
Do you have chocolate in the studio? On tour? What brands are on your rider?
I have chocolate constantly in my backpack! The one I have right now is the Sea Salt Almond one that I’m going to enjoy right now.
How did you get involved with Family House San Francisco?
We love San Francisco and our children and doing anything we can to help children. I was on the show Who Wants To Be A Millionaire to benefit a charity. My charity was the Ronald McDonald House that helps children. We created a camp for children and it gave me inspiration to connect with a specific charity similar to the project I helped with.
You can catch Train at Saturday’s Trucks & Train food truck at the New York Wine & Food Festival. It’s hosted by THE MAN Andrew Zimmern. Tickets are still available.
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