Savor the Small Chocolate Bites

SwirlsOne small chocolate taste is never enough. No matter the hype, no Platonic Ideal of the cocoa morsel has yet found its way from the mind of a master chocolatiere to taste buds of the supplicant. No satisfaction is found at the spectrum’s other end either: Those who worship the common prejudice that chocolate satiation can only come through quantitative consumption also want for satisfaction.

In the middle of the gamut — albeit, on a path searched with no guarantee of bliss — is the succession of small bites. Each tiny, delicate nosh of chocolate to be judged for the value it alone and through complement with the other bites adds to the overall aim of satiated pleasure.

How best to follow?

Opt from flight after flight of chocolate sampling as it is nearly impossible to keep the individual bites straight … and this is well before you try something like pairing them with wines at a marketing concept in search of a restaurant niche like NYC’s Ayza Wine & Chocolate Bar. Swallow bite after bite of drugstore candy bars and see if you don’t get sick. Nibble upon bean-to-bar after bean-to-bar and see if you just don’t end up confused.

As glorious as it may be to do your tiny bit grazing with a tiny mushroom shaped, chocolate dazzled funghetto, or as dark (and not in the chocolate way) as it might make you feel to swallow tiny chocolate feet, or as endearingly cutesy as you think you look while ingesting eensy-teensy chocolate hamburgers, courtesy Japanese vending …

… the most joy to be had is following the small bite path through your own kitchen.

It is always worth the effort to try, even if enough energy is invested to result in dreams about a tiny chocolate frog invasion, like the ones in @SweetOlenkas salted caramel brownies. Make yourself chocolate fudge micro-cakes, dwarfed chocolate chip cookies, or even tiny chocolate wine cakes. Bake and savor small.

Because, if you disdain the delicate and want to go big or go home when putting mouth to chocolate, you risk comparison to UKFA, gourmandizing his way through what look like four supermarket eclairs in eight rather indiscriminate gulps … with bits of abdominal-vicinity foreplay.

Your choice.

#chocolate #recipes

VDay. Ruining Good Chocolate Via Stress for at Least 147 Years

dead cupidSTRESS! But a few days left until #VDay2015! What to do, to do, to do, etc. The whole 24 hours are supposed to be about “love” … and not (in polite society anyway) the kind between mother and child. The love we’re talking about is fed by CHOCOLATE!

The tradition is a fairly long one. Richard Cadbury began to mass produce the “chocolate box” 147 years ago. The first one featured a picture of daughter Cadbury’s daughter cuddling a kitten and the success led to first Valentine Day candy box — for what it is worth, VDay and Candy begins 496 CE when Pope Gelasius I claims 14 February for St. Valentine and then meanders its way through history. Paradoxically, Cadbury’s time was Victorian, so in keeping with the age the giving of purpley-wrapped candy was a way both to suggest and sublimate sexual urges.

If perchance you want to suggest or sublimate in other, more modern ways and honor old St. Val on or before Saturday, there is always Nutella make-uping;

creating animal chocolates;

mixing your wines and chocolates; or booking a chocolate vacation or cacao-themed cruise.

Of course, you could just go it alone … and without even thinking about chocolate

But not thinking about chocolate can never be recommended. It’s probably better to give in, to not even try and face down this fiesta de amor. Better to live and love another day. Succumb to the pressures of what has become — thanks in no small part to that Victorian capitalist Cadbury — a “manufactured lovefest” no matter the cost in terms of taste.

#chocolate #valentines day #travel #humor #history

Funeral Cakes, Death, Chocolate & More

chocolate skull cakeOctober is National Dessert Month, and also in its build up to Halloween, a celebration of death in various but still appetizing forms. What could be a better time than to talk about the choice between cake and death, as Eddie Izzard does,

or a touch more soberly to discuss (Chocolate) Funeral Cakes?

Not yet completely soberly. We note that serving a chocolate skull cake might work for some, but is for most people a goober of bad taste at funerals.

Funeral cakes are traditional, and traditionally quick and easy to construct: death is not something for which one is supposed to prepare. Generally, they also aren’t the most sophisticated taste fusions, as there should not be that much time to make them, and, presumably, the baker has more imposing thoughts hanging above his or head. That said, they do come in a multitude of varieties, ranging from the out-of-the-box ordinary to the out-of-the-bottle versions such as Coca-Cola chocolate funeral cake with Coca-Cola icing.

None of this should be confused with Day of the Dead cakes — often, surprisingly enough, baked for weddings. That holiday, blooming from Mexican roots is celebrated post-Halloween, over November’s first two days.

Back to funeral cakes, which also (in hopefully the final tangent) are also not to be confused with the popular restaurant dessert, “death by chocolate,” which is usually an excuse for a junior, so-called,”patissier” at a chain restaurant to see how much chocolate s/he can cram into a dessert at an appropriate for the owner price point.

While death by chocolate is not related, food studies Ph.D. candidates will surely be able to trace the links between funeral cakes, funeral biscuits, funeral cookies and journal cakes. All of which is apparently within the domain of knowledge required of your average funeral director.

For most non-funeral directors, however, all the knowledge of funeral cakes usually required is that it be relatively easy to make and that it mostly arrives as a sheet (or half sheet) cake in the spirit of what The Pioneer Woman calls The Best Chocolate Sheet Cake. Ever.

One last (promise!) side note, while name-brand chefs have recipes for almost everything, none seems to have put their name on a funeral cake concoction. It’s not clear at all why. Would it really be that bad for their brand? It’s not like they would likely be dragged into a bit of funeral cake and workplace noir (as envisioned by Team Action Seal for the 2014 Austin 48-hour film project), featuring stolen break room swag and the may-it-live-forever-online quote, “My [funeral] cake was gone and my life was over. Things couldn’t get any worse. Then things got worse …”

#chocolate #halloween #dayofthedead #foodhistory

Awaiting America’s Great Chocolate Soap Opera

woman biting chocolate barThomas Marshall, America’s 28th vice president and one-time Indiana governor, may be remembered for nothing except for stating his belief that “what America needs is a good five-cent cigar.” But he is remembered.

In that spirit, let the CAC suggestion go forth unto the interwebs that “what American needs is unlimited segments of a good five-minute chocolate-themed soap opera.” Hopefully it will get us remembered, or, more importantly, spark some quality entertainment for those downtimes between choco-bites. This is not to ignore the work already done in this area from the beginning of telenovela Dame Chocolate (Give Me Chocolate)

to the end of its too-short life.

We also do not want to ignore the Brazilian competition, Chocolate com Pimenta (Pepper Chocolate), revolving around work and dreams at a chocolate factory, instead of Dame’s chocolate shop.

It’s just that we’re haven’t found what works for our customers. (Admittedly, there was a 2009, weak-tea, LA-themed attempt: Google if you must.) Taken as we are with the faux behind Broadway scenes Submissions Only and with the concept of free-video possibilities ever-changed by Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog — discoverable, too, in free versions — it just seems like the time is right, now and for the foreseeable future, for a comedy-drama celebration of the fruit of the cacao tree and how some particularly melodramatic acolytes can be imagined to behave.

C’mon content creators!

We’ll take the time awaiting this breakthrough to create some appropriate snacking and adapt The Great British Soap Opera Cake. This recipe was whipped together as part of a British reality-show cooking competition. Its French-Joconde-cake-inspired ingredients and directions provide intriguing twists and turns (e.g., five eggs and five additional egg whites in the cake base with the remaining yokes saved for the icing) as will, hopefully, make their way into the The Great American Chocolat-Themed Soap Opera.

Let’s get inspired.

Not Health, but Magic and Hot Chocolate Truffles

Cocoa/Cacao is healthful, but in all honesty and despite Hershey Syrup’s FDA disputed claims to the contrary, what is usually sold as “chocolate” with its dumpload of sugar and chemical additives usually isn’t. What chocolate is, as famed chef Julia Child (whose wouldabeen 100th birthday 15 Aug. 2012 was celebrated with the Google Doodle left) is whatever magic a great chef (or any chef) can make of it. And as she said, as has been remixed in as another birthday celebration: “What makes a great chef? Well, training and technique of course. Plus a great love of food, a generous personality and THE ABILITY TO INVENT HOT CHOCOLATE TRUFFLES.”

As for Child and chocolate, she can be sweetly remembered with a chocolate mousse, crème brûlée chocolate cake, or by poring (and pouring) over her cookbooks“.