Winter’s here, and Christmas is right around the corner. If you’re a do-it-yourself type like me, you might prefer to make your gifts instead of purchasing them. And if that’s the case, why not whip up some chocolate truffles this year — they’re not all that hard to make, and everyone loves chocolate!
Here’s a foolproof recipe for the holidays: (more…)
As a chocolatier, I’m always looking to share knowledge of my craft with others. Amid a sea of books on the subject, I’ve compiled a list of those I think are the most invaluable resources. Whether you’re new to the world of chocolate or skilled and looking to advance, get ready to dive in!
Here’s my go-to list of resources for all things chocolate:
The former Chez Panisse pastry chef gives readers a brief but thorough look into everything from how cacao is grown and chocolate is created, to resources on where to purchase quality chocolate. Not to mention, he includes over 30 of his own solid recipes (all containing chocolate, of course!). I love this book because Lebovitz delivers spot-on information in a concise manner, interwoven with his own personality and humor. That makes for an entertaining and reliable resource. (more…)
Ah, yes. Chocolate and hazelnuts — a marriage made in heaven! Especially when it comes in the form of a sweet spread. These days you’ll find a wide range of these chocolate-hazelnut concoctions, spanning the spectrum from a classic $4 jar of the ever-popular Nutella to a $12 artisan jar of microbatch goodness.
Is there really any difference between Nutella and its pricier, small-batch counterparts? And where did the idea for a product like this originate? The answer begins in the northwestern Italian region of Piedmont, where gianduja (pronounced “john-doo-yah”) was invented. (more…)
What do Chicken Dinner, Milkshake, and Whiz Bar all have in common? Maybe Snickers, 3 Musketeers, and Butterfinger ring a louder bell? You guessed it — they’re all candy bars!
While the first three are no longer in production, they join a slew of other sweets that live on in memories and the wrappers they left behind — vintage candy bars with rich backgrounds and intriguing stories. So if you’re ready to take a trip through candy-land history, I’ll introduce you to a few of my favorites. (more…)
In America we use the word truffle as a catch-all for a dizzying variety of chocolate pieces. Something of a chameleon, the truffle can appear in every imaginable shape and size — from spherical to square, and even dome-shaped — as well as an inviting palette of colors. Depending on ingredients, truffles can be simple and understated or bold and exotic. They can be made assembly-line fashion in a large-scale facility, or given the white-glove treatment at every step of their handcrafted, small-batch journey.
It’s enough to make you wonder: “Will the real chocolate truffle please stand up?” (more…)
Easter is the Christian holiday celebrating Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead. It’s also a time for renewal, rebirth, and acknowledgment of the coming of spring.
So why do we celebrate by giving and enjoying chocolate bunnies and all manner of delicious candy eggs? What do these things have to do with Easter at all? And while we’re at it, what’s the answer to the #1 question on every five-year-old’s mind: Where does the Easter Bunny come from? (more…)
As someone who works with fine chocolate every day (hard life!), I often wonder why it doesn’t come with care instructions attached, just like the tag on your cashmere sweater. Now, wouldn’t that be handy?
After all, not everyone knows how best to take care of chocolate — and without the equivalent of “hand wash, cold water, lay flat to dry,” what’s a chocolate lover to do?
Have no fear! Here, in a nutshell, is all you need to know to give that next artisanal chocolate bar or tasty box of bonbons the love and attention they deserve, so you can enjoy every last bite. (more…)
by Roger Myers
Our love for almighty chocolate often borders on devotional, using words like dreamy, to die for, and divine, with eyes drifting up to heaven. For the ancient Mayans, however, chocolate really was a religious experience. Theobroma cacao, meaning “food of the gods,” figured prominently in their religious ceremonies, burial rites, and even their creation story.
Local Nectar of the Gods
The Mayans cultivated and propagated their sacred cacao trees in the fertile soils of Mesoamerica. And even if they didn’t know it, when they tasted the fruits of their labor, they were experiencing terroir: that distinct sense of place exhibited in a particular region’s agricultural products, a direct result of the soil (terre) and climate in which those products were grown. (more…)
Nothing signals winter like a cup of hot chocolate, perhaps topped with marshmallows or swizzled with a peppermint stick. While hot cocoa and hot chocolate are used interchangeably, cocoa and chocolate are two different things. Hot cocoa is made from cocoa powder, which is chocolate pressed free of the fat of cocoa butter. Hot chocolate is made from chocolate bars melted into cream.
Whichever you fancy, restaurants and dessert venues are stepping up their hot chocolate game. The soothing cup is becoming a dessert in its own right. Here’s a few places to try for a cup of chocolatey, creamy deliciousness! (more…)
Peek into different cuisines, comparing their spices, ingredients, and flavor profiles. This infographic by RecipeFinder offers a comparison of national dishes, accompanying drinks, and how different countries consume chocolate, coffee, and ice cream. (more…)