26 November 2013
Giving More Thanks (Next Year) for Chocolate
The problem with Thanksgiving is also its strength: TRADITION. They don’t get started very easily.
So, it’s mostly the same food year after year. Not that this is a necessarily bad thing, but it does leave out enough (in our opinion) chocolate. So, since it is hard to start traditions and you don’t want to throw something into the mix that might just fail, the days after [Chocolate] Turkey Day [Earlier: Not Yet Ready for Chocolate Turkeys] when all ingredients are on hand is perhaps the best time to chocxperiment for next year.
21 November 2013
It Says “Crunchy Frog,” Can’t You Read?
With appropriate hullabaloo, the Monty Pythons announce a reunion, scheduled for summer 2014. We can’t help but think that the appropriate catering would be the Whizzo Chocolate Assortment:
Turns out MP has more to say, and they have bills to pay … and so say all of us!
31 October 2013
Horror, but Not Horrible Chocolate
There is a time and place for chocolate … and for many that is today’s Halloweenapalooza. And there is a time and place for horror … (see above). For those whose All Hallows eve is the time for a horror update to the more refined observance, but not the place for the crapchocolate that is passed out in “fun sized” globs, then we suggest some horror in keeping with the chocolate theme, or an evening’s entertainment spiced up (and down and in fact run through) by Masters of Horror: Chocolate, the unsettling 2005 teleplay of a young divorcee aromatically and psychicly linked to a beautiful, deadly woman. It was written and directed by Masters of Horror creator Mick Garris, director of The Standand The Shining: MORE
22 October 2013
Ate Through Any Good Books Recently?
Publication of The Mast Brothers collection of stories and recipes Mast Brothers Chocolate: A Family Cookbook is the news in the Venn Diagram of chocolate and book circles. However, it shouldn’t be discounted how much the power of beards, as displayed in their sales video, helps catapult the gourmet chocolatista authors onto best seller charts.
The buzz around the book and authors is a reminder of a fantasy MORE…
Just found the press release, and October is “Chocolate Heritage Month” in Santa Lucia, a hey-why-not-visit isle of fun in the eastern Caribbean featuring cacao plantation tours, chocolate making from scratch, and a chocolate infused gourmet meal and a (non-chocolate, but by color keeping with the theme) sulphur springs mud bath.
As far as tourism goes that is nowhere near as exciting as visiting the site of a possible, extended chocolate war. Ecuador and Peru MORE…
Sounds disgusting, but those are the basics for the joy d’kitchen, chocolate bark. More appetizing now, right?
The easiest, most versatile and almost always delicious bark is pretty much anything anyone wants to make, as long as it includes chocolate and doesn’t look like a cake or pie or cookie.
A quick Google offers, among other guides Moms MORE…
Perhaps more accurately written as GORP, the informal mix of fruits is acronymaticaly named from “good old raisins (and) peanuts,” or, alternatively and arguably, “granola, oats, raisins, peanuts.” Satisfying (while not perhaps not always as wholesome as the packaging or salesperson promises) and easy to create in one’s own image may make it THE quintessentially American foodstuff — not that we offer it here at CAC, just saying….
Checking the ingredients of a packaged version can lead to the discovery of a corporate manufactured amalgamation of high calorie sugars and processed fruits — which is not a big deal, admittedly, if you happen to climbing Mt. McKinley or riding the Tour of California. It is also an ahistoric food found in closely related forms around the world, with an assumed provenance that traces to 1968 surfers, that doesn’t quite gel with literary references including Jack Kerouac’s The Dharma Bums and even a role as “student oats” MORE…
Starting at the happy end of the scale, reading about the glories of Yerba mate led us to a couple yerbamateplanet.com bros chilling in a seemingly slightly dystopic bachelor pad and talking cocoa nib/shredded coconut yerba mate brew
And that got us thinking about and then moving MORE…
17 August 2013
Pierogi, Chocolate, Haiku Mashup
Not everything goes with chocolate, but it’s worth exploring and experimenting and daydreaming about. So, while some avow there be few more unlikely pairings than chocolate and pierogis — the doughy dumplings of Eastern Europe cuisine usually stuffed with fried meat or potato — there are, in fact, those who have gone there.
Not just chocolate-covered pierogi, mind you. Saskatchewan pierogi blogger Marianne Possberg Cablooshki took on dark chocolate and The Recipe Circus’s Booper had a go with chocolate raspberry flavored pierogis.
Tangentially, the internet coughed up the eye-catching comparison of chocolate barfi, the Indian dessert bite, and baked beans on toast, which as segues go will have to do as we move to the even more tangential idea of haikus and chocolate. MORE…
8 August 2013
Baking Up Some August Romance
August. Hot, sweaty, escape-anywhere-else-on-vacation August. However, there are days in the store, even in this month, when we forget the woes of weather outside and romance perfumes the air.
One of those days recently, the folks in the backroom “lab” were for reasons too difficult to explain thinking ahead to Valentines Day (13 August on the this year’s Chinese Calendar). They started with chocolate as an aphrodisiac as inspiration but then veered to pairing cacao creation with other libido jump starters, like garlic, licorice, cinnamon and clove. MORE…
4 August 2013
Can’t Go Wrong on Nat’l Chocolate Chip Day
Think outside the cookie. It’s national chocolate chip day – for which we have to thank Ruth Graves Wakefield,who sold promotional rights to her Toll House Cookie to Nestle for a lifetime supply of their chocolate — and her mistaken genius.
To give the day the due it deserves, do more than whip up another batch from some foolproof CC recipe, or go too far in the other direction by stuffing an Oreo CC , or mashing up a peanut butter and bacon and chocolate chip doughball.
Consider thinking in (so called) health terms of a first course of MORE…
27 July 2013
Commerce Destroys Perfectly Wonderful Chocolate-Peanut Butter Marriage
Some days it feels like promoting chocolate is a crusade. And on those days we can’t help thinking how ridiculous that sounds. The point is, we woke up feeling a bit ambivalent talking up and wishing everyone a HAPPY National Milk Chocolate Day (tomorrow) while feeling ambivalent about how we often run down a perfectly good chocolate, because of how much sugar is larded with it in so many recipes.
Fortunately (?), we had our mind redirected by a horrible, horrible article. Oddly, it was while John Lennon’s Imagine played in the background on the radio that we read a glowing review for Chocolate Peanut Butter Pop Tarts. The first amendment is all great, all powerful and all good, MORE….
7 July 2013
Marrying Chocolate with Pregnancy
While June is a traditional month for weddings — and not to rush things for people we do and don’t know — thoughts have turned to pregnancy and chocolate as we begin July. Not surprisingly, we’re believers in them being an outstanding pairing. (N.B. If you want to see the really, really happy pairing of a pregnant woman and her chocolate skip to the end of the post.)
Given the situation there should be health concerns regarding the caffeine component in cacao and a need not to overdo sugar intake, but those are concerns for the non-pregnant as well. As for the good news for women uncomfortable and growing for two, there’s research that it may reduce risk from preeclampsia and gestational hypertension, and a vaguish study that eating chocolate during pregnancy makes for happier babies, in addition to other ideas of how chocolate can help with a woman’s general health.
A couple ideas, in case one wants to tempt fate by making eating suggestions to a woman of a certain condition, MORE…
29 June 2013
How About Some Love for a National Chocolate Sorbet Day?
May we propose a National Chocolate Sorbet Day? Admittedly, the question(s) is (are) more properly, “to whom may we propose 1 July as NCSD?” and “how do we get help to make it so?”
Tangentially, we’d also readily get aboard a NC Granita Day, featuring a dessert/palate cleanser with basically the same pleasures and recipe of sweetened, flavored with iced-up fruit water, but chopped by hand while freezing instead of being machine blended smooth. However, the more important interroratives are why chocolate sorbet and why the first day of the seventh month? Well, it is an exceptional taste on a hot summer’s day, has fewer calories than ice cream (which lets the consumer delight in more), is regularly infused with liquor (which lets one dress it up for afternoon or evening meals) , and it seems like a pleasant enough way to remind people that chocolate is a fruit, if you chase it back to its origin within the cacao bean.
In addition to flavor there is history. MORE…
21 June 2013
Respect the (Chocolate) Bar
Why is the chocolate bar a drugstore staple and not a bakery highlight? That was growling-ever-louder debate earlier today between Swiss intern Hans Subebraune, our assistant baker Theo Panadero from Honduras and the all-American (as in Archie Bunker American) Grumps that at one point nearly frightened a couple customers out the door before picking up their cakes, worried that fisticuffs were likely to break out and spill out beyond the display cases.
None of the three tell the same story of what started the argument-to-the-death that ended in a draw, at day’s end. Maybe it was just all the recent chocolate bar “news.” A British journo declared the winner of his “chocolate ‘world’ cup” competition was Twirl Chocolate. There was the heart-warming story of a Giant Gourami — which maybe should be renamed a Giant Gourmet-mi — being raised on KitKat Bars in a London aquarium. And one of the her majesty’s 25-year-olds, Aneesh Popat, created chocolate mouth-pop-em, with 20 calories, featuring flavoured waters in a cocoa-rolybit.
In news away from HM’s realm, Mars introduced MORE…
15 June 2013
The Why Not Men and Chocolate FD Rant
Father’s Day couldn’t possibly be the wrong day to ask when did common sense die and leave chocolate to the ladies? Moms get chocolate (and flowers, but that whinge is for a different site), but on “his” day, dad gets a handshake and left alone while he grills the FD dinner. Or, maybe as a joke he is handed a necktie of chocolate — really, is there a dad alive made gleeful with receipt of a silk or silk/polyester work noose — that is often crap chocolate poured in a necktie mold that will be eaten by non-discriminating kids or tossed after only a few good will bites?
If men could talk about the pleasure they take in chocolate (and we know from experience and talk every day in the store they do) as women can, perhaps shopping for dad on “his” day wouldn’t be such a trial? We aren’t ready to rail from a soapbox — in our case more of an overturned milk carton — but something definitely went wrong in the culture a long time ago. Where are the claques of men who society lets be connoisseurs of chocolate in the way it is socially acceptable to be of wines, beers or cigars (and, no, we’re not talking chocolate cigars)?
Whatever one may think of a sensory pleasure comparison, MORE…
11 June 2013
German Didn’t Invent “His” Chocolate Cake and Was an Englishman
Sam German got swallowed by his cake. A southern belle lost her name altogether. And a cake was given origins not its own. Happy National German Chocolate Cake Day!
History (with editiorializing) and recipes.
Sam German is credited for a sweet chocolate unveiled 1852 for the company of mid-18th century chocolatiere John Hannon and financier James Baker (and, yes, we notice whose name stuck). An Englishman who worked first holding Walker Baker’s horses, he rose to “senior chocolate maker,” MORE…
6 June 2013
TJeff Is National Chocolate Ice Cream Day Man of the Year
We’re celebrating POTUS III, Thomas Jefferson, on Friday, June 7, National Chocolate Ice Cream Day. Not for a particularly historical reason — and despite the centuries of other ice cream history available.
Among his greatest claims to fame, Jefferson gets credit as the first citizen to leave an ice cream recipe on printed paper. Admittedly, this adoration of TJ might be a better fit with National Vanilla Ice Cream Day, July 23, since that is what his recipe was actually for, and the same loose connection could probably tie him to any other of the other “national” ice cream day holidays.
We don’t care. We’ve chosen the Sage of Monticello as NCIC’s man of this year and we’re sticking by it. The final tests are going on in the lab to get the chocolate aspect correct (currently adding 2/3 cup cocoa powder and 1 cup honey to the recipe below). For the day, there will be free tastes of our chocolate version of America’s oldest homemade ice cream recipe (h/t to Four Pounds Flour who includes a modern revision) and the current site of the recipe, the the Jefferson Papers collection at the Library of Congress): MORE…
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