History of Girl Scout Cookie

by admin, in: United States
Girl Scout cookies

Girl Scout cookiesThey come in different shapes and flavors, but every American refer to it by one name: Girl Scout cookies. They are named after Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA), whose members sell these baked goods to homes across the country to raise funds.

Cookies and the Girl Scouts have a long history together, dating back in 1917 when the Mistletoe Troop in Muskogee, Oklahoma, sold the cookies they baked in a high school cafeteria. Years later, the organization suggested cookie sales as a fund raiser and other troops and councils picked up on the idea.

The girl scouts are given prizes if they are able to sell certain number of boxes. These prizes range from stuffed animals to Girl Scout camp credits. In some councils, that number adds up to the troop total, which uses the sales from these cookies for trips or other expensive activities. This type of funding raising teaches the scouts valuable skills in planning, teamwork, finance, organization, communication, and goal setting.

The girl scouts used to sell these cookies door-to-door, but a growing concern for their safety has prompted some troops to put up cookie booths instead, where the scouts sell the cookies in a public area under the supervision of an adult troop leader. Some councils even offer the option for customers to sponsor boxes of cookies that will be sent to servicemen and women. As of 2007, about 200 million boxes were sold every year.

As of this posting, there are about 28 different varieties of Girl Scout cookies available. Some varieties go by different names, depending on the company that makes them. The most popular cookies include Thin Mints (thin, mint-flavored chocolate wafers dipped in a chocolate coating); Samoas (vanilla cookies coated in caramel, sprinkled with toasted coconut and laced with chocolate stripes); Tagalongs (crispy vanilla cookies layered with peanut butter and covered with a chocolate coating); and Trefoils (traditional shortbread cookie made in the shape of the Girl Scout trefoil).

So the next time a girl scout asks you to buy some cookies, buy some. You are giving them much more than the cost of these cookies, such as confidence, kindness, and happiness.


Cup Color “Affects” Taste of Hot Chocolate

by admin, in: Chocolate News
Cup Color "Affects" Taste of Hot Chocolate

These recent findings may sound strange, but please read along. Researchers have concluded that a person’s perception of how hot chocolate tastes can be affected by the color of the cup it is contained in. Scientists over at the Polytechnic University of Valencia and Oxford University discovered that an orange or cream-colored cup “definitely” makes chocolate taste better, while a red or white cup will not enhance the drink’s flavor.

The research, which was published in the Journal of Sensory Studies, involved 57 participants who had to taste the same type of hot chocolate in cups of different colors. Only the four colors stated were included in the experiment and all cups have white interior. Some participants in the study even commented that the chocolate in the cream cups was more aromatic and tasted sweeter.

The study is further proof how the color of food itself and its containers may affect our perception of taste. However, there are no set rules on what color would affect the taste quality of food, but it would depend on the food itself.

Betina Piqueras-Fiszman, one of the authors of the study, recommended that food companies should “pay more attention to the container because it has a lot more potential than what you imagine.”

To confirm their findings, the same team conducted similar experiments and they yield the same effects. In their studies, strawberry mousse placed on a white plate tastes more intense and sweet compared to a black one. Soda and lemon-based drinks in blue cans are more refreshing and lemony, while these same drinks taste sweeter in a pink container. Coffee tastes stronger and more aromatic in brown cups, while red makes coffee seem weak, and yellow or blue makes the drink taste smoother.

Source: El Mundo (in Spanish)


Cadbury Unveils Chocolate That Does Not Melt

by admin, in: Chocolate News
Cadbury Unveils Chocolate That Does Not Melt

Cadbury has revealed it is developing a type of “temperature-tolerant” chocolates that do not melt even at 40-degree Celsius, making it ideal for people in warm-weather countries to munch on.

The chocolate company’s research and development facility in Bourneville–just south of Birmingham, England–claims this new type of chocolate stays solid even when exposed to tropical room temperature for more than three hours.

Engineers in Cadbury have detailed how this breakthrough “temperature-tolerant chocolate” is made in an 8,000-word patent application. The secret is in the so-called “conching step,” wherein the ingredients such cocoa butter, vegetable oils, milk, and sugar, are ground together in a container filled with metal beads. This process breaks down sugar particles into much smaller pieces, reducing how fat covers them and making the finished product more resistant to heat.

Standard chocolate has a melting point of 34 degrees Celsius, which is why this new breed of chocolate would be appreciated in tropical countries like India and Brazil once Cadbury puts them on sale.

These new chocolate bars, however, have a side-effect: they would not have the same melt-in-your-mouth quality experienced in traditional chocolate.

Source: Times of India


Forbes’ Five Best Chocolates

by admin, in: Reviews
Forbes' Five Best Chocolates

Despite the economic crunch, chocolate remains a lucrative industry. The International Cocoa Association reported that net sales of confectionaries reached $55 billion worldwide in 2011.

And with so many gourmet chocolate around, clearly you need some guidance on which ones to purchase and savor. Forbes contributor Carol Pinchefsky lists down the five “best chocolate you’ve never tasted,” which she assures would leave chocoholic lovers hooked. Note that some of these bittersweets are not commonly seen in stores and you would have to look really hard to find them, either online or in specialty shops.

Goldkenn Black Praline Goldbar (pictured) – This Swiss chocolate bar is fashioned like a gold bar, with the right amount of sweetness and “unctously smooth.” Thin layers of almonds and hazelnuts offset its creaminess.

E. Guittard Ambanja – “Almost everything Guittard makes is terrific,” writes Pinchefsky. “However, this bar excels thanks to its bright, fruity notes and a berry finish.”

Amadei Bar Chuao – Although its manufacturer claims this bar has hints of fresh fruits and “closes with a sensation of honey and preserves,” you might not notice its fruitiness in actual tasting. Pinchefsky writes: “What I did get was a serious chocolate kick that started chocolatey, evolved more chocolatey, and stayed with me for hours.”

Uli Mana Dark Cacao Truffles – Organic and raw, the Dark Cacao Truffles by Uli Mana is known for its earthiness and dense richness. They are flavored with agave instead of sugar, so you get the chocolate rush without the sugar high (notoriously followed by the sugar crash). These confections come in ball form, not bar.

Mast Brothers Fleur de Sel – Mast Brothers is one of the most exhorbitant chocolate brands and rightfully so. What they do to chocolate is close to perfect, such as its Fleur de Sel bar. As every chocolate lover knows, just the right amount of saltiness could dial the flavor of cocoa to 11, and this bar did just that.

Source: Forbes


Japanese Chocolatier Crowned Best in the World

by admin, in: Chocolatier
Japanese Chocolatier Crowned Best in the World

For the second straight year, Kyoto-based chocolatier Susumu Koyama has been awarded with top distinction among foreign chocolate masters by France’s Le Club des Croqueurs de Chocolat.

Meanwhile, his Patissier es Koyama confectionary store in Sanda City, located north of Kobe, was awarded the highest rating of five bars (an equivalent to five stars, also for the second straight year) in the latest edition of the group’s guidebook, Le Guide du Club des Croqueurs de Chocolat.

The awards ceremony was held last November 2nd at the Salon du Chocolat global chocolate fair in Paris, France. “I appreciate that I have been given an opportunity to experiment with chocolates to such an extent (since winning the 2011 award),” Koyama said.

With no overseas training, 48-year-old Koyama became the first Japanese five-star winner in 2011. This year, he was awarded for creating five new varieties of chocolate, some of which have butterbur sprouts and sake lees as ingredients.

Koyama said he is already developing new chocolate recipes, including one that uses ingredients unique in Kyoto, in preparation for next year’s contest.

Source: The Japan Times

Photo credit: KYODO


Climate Change Puts Cocoa and Chocolate Under Threat

by admin, in: Chocolate News
Climate Change Puts Cocoa and Chocolate Under Threat

No matter how some people deny it, the effects of climate change have been very evident from shrinking glaciers, rising sea water levels, to shifting regional climates. This rapid escalation of change in Earth’s climate, which has been scientifically concluded to be man-made in nature, is significantly affecting agriculture including the cocoa beans that make up chocolate.

Crops grow within a relatively narrow range of climatic conditions, with the right amount of rain and sunshine, as well as the right kind of soil among other requirements. For instance, coconuts do not grow in places with cold climate, while strawberries cannot be harvested in warm environments.

As for the cocoa trees, they grow in tropical climate. However, several cocoa-growing regions such as West Africa are getting too hot to support the cocoa crop. Farmers are also worried about a fungal infection that could ruin cocoa trees and drive the price of cocoa beans significantly high. While it will take time before cocoa becomes unsustainable in areas where they used to flourish, steps have to be undertaken to prevent it.

Researchers, for instance, can develop drought-tolerant plants that can handle hotter, drier conditions. They can also develop plants that are resistant to fungal infections.

Source: The Guardian


Xan Confections' Spicy Chocolate Featured in the Food Network

by admin, in: United States
Xan Confections' Spicy Chocolate Featured in the Food Network

A chocolatier in Irvine, California, will be featured on the Food Network because of its chili-infused chocolates. Xan Confections, along with six other companies, will appear on the network’s show “Unwrapped” as part of its “Hot and Spicy” episode beginning July 17. The chocolatier’s ancho chili jewel caramels have captured the tastebuds of food experts and will be included in the show.

The non-dairy caramel candy is infused with alderwood-smoked salt and ancho chilis, creating a complementary combination of buttery and spicy flavor. The Jewel Caramels come in six flavors, including bananas foster, coconut pecan, espresso almond, and butterscotch snickerdoodle.

Xan prides itself in creating sweets from 100% natural ingredients, many of which are produced locally in Irvine.

Source: Earth Times

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Breathe in Chocolate to Curb Appetite

by admin, in: Chocolate News
Breathe in Chocolate to Curb Appetite

A Harvard University professor unveils his invention that may help people reduce their food cravings simply by inhaling chocolate.

Le Whif is a lipstick-shaped aerosol filled with minute particles of dark chocolate. Inventor David Edwards, a professor of biomedical engineering, claims that a single puff provides all the pleasures of chocolate minus the loaded calories. Its aroma, meanwhile, also discourages users from grabbing a plateful of cake or raiding the fridge. As tiny particles of dark chocolate coat the tongue and throat, signals are being sent to the brain telling it that the stomach is full.

Edwards claim that the particles are small enough to become airborne, but not too big to enter the lungs, which would have caused choking and other lung damage.

Le Whif chocolate inhaler is available in three flavors: plain, raspberry, and mint. There is also a Le Whif coffee version that promises to give users a kick without having to take a cup of Joe. Each tube costs 1.80 euros (about US$2.30), while packs of three costs 4.99 euros (US$6.30).

Source: Daily Mail


Chocolate: Medicine for Bad Liver?

by admin, in: Chocolate News
Chocolate: Medicine for Bad Liver?

A group of Spanish researchers have found that eating dark chocolate after meals stopped the usual rise in abdominal blood pressure, which can reach dangerous levels among people suffering from cirrhosis and, in severe cases, lead to blood vessel rupture.

The study stated that flavanols, a type of antioxidants found in cocoa, could be the reason why chocolate is beneficial in lowering blood pressure because the chemicals help smooth the muscle cells of the blood vessels, causing them to relax and widen.

The research was conducted with 21 patients suffering from end-stage cirrhosis, a chronic liver disease causing it to scar. The subjects that were provided with a meal containing 85-percent dark chocolate had a significant smaller rise in blood pressure in the liver compared to those who were given white chocolate.

The results were presented at the annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of the Liver in Vienna.

Source:  Reuters


Swiss Chocolatier Builds Taj Mahal From White Chocolate

by admin, in: Chocolate News
Swiss Chocolatier Builds Taj Mahal From White Chocolate

Swiss chef Adelbert Bucher would have to add another feather on his cap after finishing his latest work of art: A replica of the Taj Mahal made entirely of white chocolate. Bucher, the master chocolatier of the Swiss chocolate brand Lindt for 10 years, has already created models of the Emirates Towers in Dubai and the Blue Mosque in Istanbul out of dark chocolate. The latest exhibit of his fine replica making was part of the promotions for Lindt in India.

Measuring three feet by three feet, the replica of India’s famous landmark will be on display at The Maurya lobby in New Delhi until April 11, Sunday.

“Fifteen years ago, I had designed the Taj Mahal in white sugar crystals,” the chocolatier said during an interview. Despite his fascination with the monument, Bucher has never visited the Taj. “I have only seen pictures in magazines and on the Internet,” he added.

Photo source: PTI