Jan
4

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)

Dec
2

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

Mar
31

The History of Chocolate

by admin, in: Chocolate Basics
The History of Chocolate

The origin of this delectable confection traces its roots to Central and South America, where the cacao beans were first grown. The native Aztecs in modern-day Mexico and other civilizations in the area drank chocolate mixed with chilies and achiote called “xocotatl” (bitter water) or “chocolatl” (hot water). Cacao beans were so valuable among the Aztecs that it was even used as tax payments.

It was Christopher Columbus who first brought chocolate to Europe when he explored the Aztec Empire of its riches and introduced the cacao beans to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain, but it was the Spanish friars who brought cacao to a broader market.

The Spanish conquest of the Aztecs provided the colonizers an opportunity to export cacao beans to Europe, where it became a favorite among royalty and the aristocrats. The first recorded large-scale shipment of chocolate to Europe traveled from Veracruz, Mexico, to Sevilla, Spain, in 1585. The Aztec version of the chocolate drink, however, was instead sweetened with sugar, milk, and vanilla (a spice that was native to Mexico), while removing the chili pepper to suit European tastes.

Several European empires, most notably the Spaniards and the French, colonized parts of Africa and turned the land into cacao plantations, using Africans as slaves to help manage them. Because cacao was grown on different soil, the taste quality of chocolate changed, thus becoming a luxury item among the noblemen. Nowadays, Western Africa produces two-thirds of the world’s cocoa, with Côte d´Ivoire growing almost half of it.

England got to taste chocolate in the second half of the 17th Century, with its first chocolate house opened in London in 1657. By 1689, noted physician Hans Sloane developed a milk chocolate drink in Jamaica, which was initially used by apothecaries before being sold to John and Benjamin Cadbury, the founders of Cadbury chocolate company.

In the 1700s, during the Industrial Revolution, machines were able to squeeze out the cocoa butter from chocolate, creating hard and durable chocolate that became modern chocolate bars. From then on, people from all over appreciate the goodness of chocolate in its solid form.

Mar
19

Where to Buy the Best Chocolate in America

by admin, in: United States
Where to Buy the Best Chocolate in America

We may have heard about the finest chocolates in Europe, but do you know that there are also great chocolates that are found in good ol’ USA? The popular periodical USA Today has compiled a list of 10 places across the mainland where you can have the finest chocolates you can either give to your loved ones or savor for yourself.

John & Kira’s Chocolates

Philadelphia

At first glances, their chocolate may look the same thin squares of dark chocolate with squiggles on top, but each ganache has a fresh and distinct flavor. The names for each chocolate is based on the are where its ingredients were sourced, such as all-time favorites Glenn’s Raspberry (with fruits from Glenn’s Farm) and Drew Elementary School Garden Mint (with mint leaves picked from a school garden). Another best-seller is the Chocolate Figs, which were featured in The Martha Stewart Show. Call 800-747-4808.

B.T. McElrath Chocolatier

Minneapolis

This company maintains its tradition of doing everything by hand, from the chopping to the molding. The ingredients were sourced from sustainable programs as well as from local family-owned farms. Each box of chocolates contain a particular flavor like Passion Fruit, Salted Butter Caramel, Chile Limon, and Lemon Blossoms. Contact 612-331-8800.

Jacque Torres Chocolate

New York

Owned by the former pastry chef of Le Cirque, this shop is known for the limited-edition “bean to bar chocolate,” which Mr. Jacque Torres personally makes using vintage machines. His Champagne Truffles—combining milk chocolate, fresh cream, and Taittinger Brut La Francaise—are to die for. Call 212-414-2462.

Recchiuti Confections

San Francisco

This artisan chocolate shop only uses fresh and natural ingredients. Confections are made in small batches. Its array of flavors is an odd mix, such as the Burnt Caramel Hazelnuts, Dark Chocolate-coated Apples, or the delicate herbs and teas found in its Signature Truffles. Can’t decide what to buy? Try out its 88-piece Platinum Collection, with all of Recchiuti’s signature flavors in one box. Call 415-834-9494.

L.A. Burdick Handmade Chocolates

Walpole, NH

Apart from its handmade chocolates, this store prides of its Mice and Penguins, those adorable creatures made from dark, milk, or white chocolate. The mice come complete with a colorful silk tail, while the penguins are hand-piped and accented with white chocolate. People with specific allergies or restrictions may enjoy the store’s offering of nuts-free and alcohol-free chocolates. Contact 603-756-2882.

Garrison Confections

Providence

This line of artisan chocolates has intense flavors and beautiful craftsmanship. Let your eyes be amazed and your mouth be enthralled with its beautifully-decorated Seasonal Collection, with each piece containing a flavor from its current collection such as Raspberry Hibiscus, Earl Grey and Mandarin, and Dark Marzipan. Another recommended product is the Ultimate Candy Bar, a chocolate nougat with toasted hazelnuts, pistachios, and almonds, topped with caramel and covered with bittersweet chocolate. Call 401-490-2740.

Norman Love Confections

Fort Myers, FL

This shop prides of its hand-painted or airbrushed chocolate creations. It is best to treat each piece like wine, savoring it as you take in the rich bouquet of the likes of licorice, dried plum, and roasted hazelnuts, then take them in as you feel the flavors of fresh lemon, black currants, and grapefruit into your mouth. Call 239-561-7215.

Donnelly Chocolates

Santa Cruz, CA

Donnelly’s truffles should not be missed, each containing surprising flavors like lemongrass, organic lemon, and rosemary. Its small chocolate bars, meanwhile, are handmade and wrapped in Japanese paper with flavors like cardamon, Chinese five spice, rose, and smoky spicy chipotle. Contact 888-685-1871.

Candinas Chocolatier

Verona, WI

Assuring only the finest ingredients, Candinas recommends to consume their signature truffles as soon as possible and it shouldn’t be a problem. The truffles, covered in very thin shells, have a variety of flavors like Jasmine Green Tea, Champagne, Irish Crème, and Dark Hazelnut. Call 800-845-1554.

Bridgewater Chocolate

South Bridgewater, CT

This factory uses only local dairy products with no preservatives, additives or artificial flavors. They may only offer traditional flavors like Hazelnut, Orange, and Coffee, but these classically-made chocolates are bound to take you back to nostalgia. Best sellers include Assorted Truffles and Toffee Assortment. Contact 800-888-8742.

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Feb
19

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.

Mar
21

Leonidas

by admin, in: Belgium
Leonidas

If there is one chocolatier that represents Belgian Chocolate, it is definitely Leonidas. The company, Leonidas Conifeserie SA, was founded by Leonidas Kestekides, a Greek confectioner who moved to the United States in the late 1800s.

Kestekides traveled to France in 1900 to participate in the international food fair as an exhibitor. Ten years later, he represented Greece in the World Fair held in Brussels, the capital of Belgium, where he was awarded the bronze medal for his chocolate confectionery and gold medal for his patisserie. Kestekides was also part of the 1913 World Fair in Ghent, where he met and married his wife from Brussels.

Kestekides settled permanently in Belgium and opened tea rooms in Brussels, Ghent, and Blankenberge. He was then joined by some of his relatives in Ghent to help him in creating delectable pralines and began importing fine ingredients like almonds, lokum (a sugary confection also known as Turkish Delight), and fruits confit. Since then, his relatives continued to innovate chocolate confections with the introduction of the Manon (coffee butter cream dipped in white chocolate). They have incorporated the logo of an effigy of Leonidas, King of Sparta, as an homage to the company’s founder.

Today, Leonidas offers over 100 unique chocolate confections, which is sold in over 1,400 retail outlets around the world.

Feb
25

Top Online Gourmet Chocolatiers

by admin, in: Reviews
Top Online Gourmet Chocolatiers
A piece of chocolate candy.

Image via Wikipedia

Everybody loves chocolate. But there are those who may have finer tastes in chocolate than others. There are those that fond of chocolates of the gourmet kind. For those who are interested in gourmet chocolate, here are some of the top gourmet chocolate makers that you can find online.

L.A. Burdick

L.A. Burdick is an online gourmet chocolate shop that specialized in making fine quality chocolates by hand. You can be sure that you have a truly special brand of chocolate with L.A. Burdick since everything is being made and refined by hand. Each chocolate has its own special touch given to it and no two batches of L.A. Burdick chocolates are exactly alike.

Christopher Norman Chocolates

If you are looking for more artistic looking gourmet chocolates, then you might go for those coming from Christopher Norman Chocolates. These chocolates are not just merely made for your taste buds; they are also a feast for the eyes. Christopher Norman Chocolates are not just your ordinary chocolates, each one is hand painted and even sculptured to make them unique in both appearance and taste.

MarieBelle New York

MarieBelle New York specializes in hand made and designed chocolates. Each one is meticulously made to resemble valuable gems and intricate works of art. Quality ingredients make their way into creating the chocolates with just that special touch to make each signature line quite unique.

Lake Champlain Chocolates

This specialty chocolate shop from Vermont prides itself of making quite delicious chocolate treats. The company first became known for their uniquely delicious handmade truffles. It has since grown to include signature chocolate bars and other chocolate novelties.

Romanicos Chocolate

Romanicos Chocolate is known for their delicious and unique truffles. Their hand rolled chocolate truffles are not only delicious but also beautifully made to become visually appealing to complete a total sensory experience.

Jan
20

Daniel Le Chocolat Belge

by admin, in: Canada
Daniel Le Chocolat Belge

One of the most popular chocolate shops in Canada is the Daniel Le Chocolat Belge, which is run by chocolatier Daniel Poncelet.  Born and raised in Belgium, Poncelet trained in chocolate making under the guidance of master chocolatier Clovis Harmegnie.

Daniel Le Chocolat Belge, or simply Daniel Chocolates, assures customers that its confections are created using Belgian chocolate, 100% natural ingredients with no preservatives, and Belgian chocolate-making techniques.  This is part of the company’s “adherence to purity.”

Customers would be delighted with the assortment of products Daniel Chocolates offers, from delicately-flavored ganache packed in ballotin boxes, to hand-made truffles with mint flavors or creamy butter centers, and even chocolate bits spiced with ancho pepper, chipotle, lemongrass, and cardamom.  All boxed products are guaranteed made upon order.

Chocolates here consist of ganache, truffles, pralines, gianduja, and caramels.  The ganache includes flavors of espresso, mint, Orvieto orange, raspberry, Dublin Irish cream, ice wine, Cilantro lemon, and Wepion strawberry.

The shop also offers Cube Box Delights, small boxes of single-variety chocolates flavored with a specific taste like organic orange peel, organic ginger, Kirsh-soaked sour cherries, natural peanut butter, and hazelnut.  It also has a Canada Collection, featuring its best chocolate products packed in specially-design packaging that illustrates different Canadian symbols such as hockey pucks, Inukshuks, totem poles, and the maple leaf.  Meanwhile, its sugar-free chocolates are flavored with maltitol, a natural sweetener made from maltose, a sugar component of corn.

Customers with specific food allergies should note, however, that Daniel Chocolates does not guarantee the presence or absence of nuts, eggs, soy, and dairy products.

The Daniel Le Chocolat Belge has nine branches across Canada, including five in Vancouver and one in Toronto.  Check out www.danielchocolates.com for more information.