Archive for the ‘Trade Shows’ Category

Chocolate Tops List of Most-Popular Specialty Foods

Thursday, October 6th, 2011
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

Choclatique by Ed EngoronOn Tuesday, September 27th, Choclatique—150 Simply Elegant Desserts finally arrived at bookstores and websites around the world. Yes, I did say around the world. I found Choclatique (The Book) online in England, Gemany, Sweden, Spain, France, Italy, Japan and China. After three years of hard work that was really rewarding. Even more rewarding are the comments that we continually get about Choclatique Chocolate.

Chocolate has always been popular, but now chocolate has knocked out coffee as the top specialty food purchase reported by consumers, according to a new report from the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade (NASFT). Or as Sally Field might say, “They love me! They really love me!”

Chill-Worthy Cherry from the Boo BoxAt the 5th Annual International Chocolate Salon held in Los Angeles last week, Choclatique was named The Most Gifted Chocolatier and Chocolate Maker for the second year in a row. Chocolate Sprinkles from the Designer Donuts CollectionWe sampled a variety of our newest truffles including Chocolate Martini from our new Retro Cocktail Collection, Dark Chocolate Sprinkles from our Designer Donut Collection. We treated guests to our Estate Chardonnay truffles from our Napa Valley Wine Chocolates, and some delightful Halloween ghosts from the Boo Box. Some of the most talked about confections at the show were our signature Dark Chocolate Caramel in Dark Chocolate and our most popular, best-selling Bubbly—Choclatique’s Champagne Truffle.

The growing popularity of gourmet chocolate comes as no surprise to me. The continued growth of well-made artisan chocolate has been steady even during difficult economic times.

Great economic challenges can be turned into big opportunities with products like artisanal chocolate, designer cheeses and creative condiments that have all become an integral part of the American culinary landscape. The exciting part is that today American artisan chocolatiers now rival the best of what Europe has to offer and it is exciting to see chocolate pushed to the top of the list ahead of coffee.

Seven years ago, Joan and I began the development of the Choclatique assortments; our only thought in mind was making the best damn chocolate in America. Our efforts have been rewarded with over 40 international awards. Last week not only were we named The Most Gifted Chocolatier, but we also received awards in the following categories:

    • Most Luxurious Chocolate Experience

Tower of Delight

  • Best Presentation & Packaging
  • Best Gift Set
  • Top Artisan Chocolatier
  • Most Artistic Designs
  • Best in Salon
  • Top Toffee in Salon
  • Best Milk Chocolate
  • Best Dark Chocolate Bar
  • Best Comfort Chocolate

Choclatique’s Chocolate Studios are located in West Los Angeles near the beach city of Santa Monica. We are a 7-year-old company selling chocolate online at, Amazon and upscale retailers across the United States.

Remember to watch for ChocolateDoctor sightings (that’s me) in your area, as I am invited to appear on TV programs around the country to talk about chocolate, and be sure to check out Choclatique—150 Simply Elegant Desserts found in bookstores around the world, Amazon, Walmart, Target and of course our website at

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Is It Rude To Blog with Your Mouth Full?

Friday, June 3rd, 2011
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

Are you someone who craves sweet nibbles or salty snacks? Or, do you prefer spicy or sour munchies? I must confess I’m a serial snacker. Even though I am a trained chef, my snack repertoire is not all that sophisticated. That’s not surprising among chefs who work long shifts and eat anything in sight when their hard day’s work is at an end. I’m a sucker for salted-in-the-shell peanuts—my trigger food—and I occasionally indulge on traditional sourdough pretzels. I like plain popcorn—I don’t like the artificial butter flavors—and I’ve never turned down a bag of Fritos. When it comes to sweets, I’m a chocoholic. I prefer dark, but a good milk chocolate is also fantastic when I’m in the mood and it’s usually Choclatique Prestige Milk Chocolate. At times like this I can even bring together some of my favorite flavors with our Chocolate Covered Peanut Brittle Bites.

With the excuse that I need more experience, I cranked my expertise in snacking up a notch. This week, I am insanely excited because I got to explore my snacking inner-child at Chicago’s Annual Sweets and Snacks Expo at McCormick Place. This is an annual “snackin’” trade show hosed by National Confectioners Association where over 14,000 buyers and 500 manufactures come to see what’s new. The expo offers everything from jelly beans to popcorn companies that put movie caliber snacks to shame (hello Popcornopolis) and chocolatiers who even challenge Willy Wonka’s magic. This is the largest confectionery, cookie and snack show in the Americas. The EXPO features companies showcasing their newest, sweetest, most sour, most crunchy confectionery and snack products in one place making it one of the most valuable, time-effective events in the industry. In fact, more than 130 new companies exhibited and more buyers than ever attended the event. The EXPO attracts all of the major US distribution channels and featurestop-notch experts in some of the educational keynote sessions, making it easier than ever to discover the latest trends and discover what’s new in the world of snacking.

As I walked the EXPO floor with more than 14,000 qualified confectionery and snack professionals, including nearly 1,000 international visitors traveling from more than 60 countries. We all munched the hall from one end to the other leaving trails of crunchy crumbs.

We snacked on lentil and hummus chips with unusual and exotic flavors like black pepper, dill, chili and mint, and sweets snacks that claimed to be fortified with vitamins slated to offer consumers greater snack options when the three o’clock munchies hit.

Consumers can expect to see more snack foods and sweets that layer multiple, complex, and sometimes unexpected flavors. Combinations like habanera and lemongrass-flavored sweets, dual-filled truffles, and gourmet, artisanal flavors like cracked pepper and Asiago cheese-flavored chips.

Napa Valley Wine ChocolatesI found wine-flavored chocolates by a New York company that are very similar to our Napa Valley Wine Chocolates that we introduced over 2 years ago. There was even a wine-flavored caramel—Cabernet to be exact—with a hint of sea salt. I discovered flower, troll and monster-shaped gummies, chocolate-coated jelly beans, straws filled with flavor beads like cookies and cream, strawberry, or vanilla that instantly transform a regular glass of milk to a snacking dessert, and crisp rice puffs dipped in dark chocolate, infused with vitamin D3 and sealed in a chocolate candy coating.

Despite a lagging economy, the snack and sweet markets experienced growth in 2010, as they’re considered affordable indulgences.

Designer DonutsThis month we are releasing our own “holey” indulgences—Choclatique Designer Donuts. Now you can enjoy the flavors of a chocolatiers’ dozen (15 different, wonderful flavors), including Almond Coconut Flake, Carrot-Cream Cheese, Chocolate Caramel, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Chocolate Sprinkles, Cinnamon Spice, Dark Chocolate Devil’s Food Cake, Fluff-a-Nutter, Jelly Donut, Johnny Appleseed’s Apple, Marshmallow Mint Chip, Mocha Kreme, Vanilla Kreme, Vermont Maple Crunch, and Wicked Red Cherry.

Shameless Plug: I know for many it’s too early to think about the end of the year holidays, but here’s a thought for some great gift giving—Choclatique (the book). And guess what? You don’t even have to wait for the end of the year. It’s the perfect gift for brides, grooms, grandchildren’s birthday, anniversaries… actually Choclatique (the book) is perfect for just about any occasion. Signed copies will be available after October 1st.

CHOCLATIQUE by Ed Engoron ––––––––––––––– Full-Color Throughout 256 pages • 8 x 10 $27.00 /$31.50 CAN /£14.99 UK ISBN 978-0-7624-3964-5 • hc Available on the Choclatique Website and Book Stores, September, 2011

Full-Color Throughout 256 pages • 8 x 10 $27.00 /$31.50 CAN /£14.99 UK ISBN 978-0-7624-3964-5 • hc Available on the Choclatique Website and Book Stores, September, 2011

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Up in the Air

Thursday, May 5th, 2011
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

Ed aka The Chocolate DoctorApril was a diverse month peppered with lots of travel. I was in San Francisco, Newark, New Haven, Denver, Chicago, London, Lisbon and back to San Francisco. Tomorrow I leave for Cincinnati by way of Denver and then finally back to Los Angeles. I kind of feel like the George Clooney character—Ryan Bingham—in Up in the Air. He finds himself on the cusp of reaching ten million frequent flyer miles. I’ve already traveled well beyond ten million miles reaching some of the 131 countries I’ve visited over the last 30 years.

I had business meetings, a very successful restaurant opening, a couple of critical tasting sessions and two weeks ago Choclatique participated in the fifth annual San Francisco Chocolate Salon at Fort Mason. There, in a 50,000 square foot exhibit space there was a lot to see and taste including lots of chocolate, of course.

In addition to chocolates and other sweets, there were food demonstrations and cookbook signings, wineries and the judging for awards for great chocolate. It was educational, too, as many visitors found it fascinating to learn more about the different methods used in the chocolate making process, from stone grinding cacao to finding the perfect combination of soils and environments to create different tasting chocolate.

Brian BoitanoRoot Beer FloatOlympic star, Brian Boitano, one of the celebrity judges, chose Choclatique as his favorite chocolates of the day. He sampled our Root Beer Float—always a show stopper, and Peanut Butter and Jelly—my all-time favorite. In his column he told his readers that the Choclatique assortment and the look of the chocolates were outstanding and drew particular attention to our Caramel AppleWatermelon Patch, Carrot Cake, Creamy Orangesicle, Caramel Apple and, of course, our Chicks. The latter is too cute for words as you see an emerging Chick hatching through a cracked egg in a variety of fifteen different flavors and designs.

Choclatique ChickDesigner DonutWhat Brian didn’t have a chance to see were our two new, latest and greatest assortments—Designer Donuts and Retro Cocktails. We will talk about both of these in future blogs as they are released.

2011 SF Chocolate Salon Awards

And then there were the prizes where Choclatique won in all three categories Gold, Silver and Bronze. Choclatique was named The Best Gift Set, The Most Artistic Designs, Most Luxurious Chocolate Experience, The Best New Product and The Best Chocolate in the San Francisco International Salon. Not terribly shabby for a small artisan chocolate company.

But that’s not all the excitement coming from Choclatique this month. We received the first delivery of our new, keepsake leather chocolate boxes—a big upgrade from the original Tiffany-style boxes that we started with. These new boxes are so attractive that people will keep them for years like the old cigar boxes of yesteryear.

Joan, Vicki, Dave and Matt have been working like crazy putting all the finishing touches on our new Choclatique website, which makes shopping not only a lot easier easier, but certainly more fun. There are numerous new features that provide more information in a less complicated format. Of course, Build-A-Box (8, 15 and 30-Piece boxes) is still a major part of our new, entertaining store front where you can mix and match from any of our large assortment of truffles and choose your own custom assortment and save it in your shopping bag for future gift giving. Imagine having your very own named assortment of chocolate ready to go any time you want it.

Choclatique—The Book— is complete. I have reviewed all of the final design pages complete with beautiful photo images and QR Code links (for smart phones) that demonstrate many of the ChefSecrets. This will be the first interactive cookbook with a tasting kit and live action video. My editor, Geoffrey Stone, and his entire team at Running Press did a great job exceeding our high-expectations for a quality cookbook that properly represents Choclatique.

CHOCLATIQUE by Ed Engoron ––––––––––––––– Full-Color Throughout 256 pages • 8 x 10 $27.00 /$31.50 CAN /£14.99 UK ISBN 978-0-7624-3964-5 • hc Available on the Choclatique Website and Book Stores, September, 2011

Full-Color Throughout 256 pages • 8 x 10 $27.00 /$31.50 CAN /£14.99 UK ISBN 978-0-7624-3964-5 • hc Available on the Choclatique Website and Book Stores, September, 2011

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Meet Me Next Sunday at the San Francisco International Chocolate Salon

Thursday, March 31st, 2011
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

Sunday, April 17th
The San Francisco International Chocolate Salon

My brother, Roy, wouldn’t put a price on the luscious chocolate truffles he nibbled on at last year’s International Chocolate Salon at Fort Mason in San Francisco. After all, it’s difficult to quantify bliss.

Hot, Hot Cocoa TruffleAlthough the troubled economy has forced many Californians to economize, there is still one must-have indulgence—chocolate. Coming soon on Sunday, April 17th, this year’s 5th Annual Chocolate Salon will offer hundreds of sweet treats, a very worthwhile expenditure. Chocolate, says my brother, simply puts you in a happy place.

Colorful Chocolate StackRoy isn’t the only one willing to swap cash for some tasty chocolate truffles or cup of hot chocolate. As a number of other industries declined in recent years, “Sales for chocolate continue to be sweet,” said Susan Smith, spokeswoman for the National Confectioner’s Association.

Industry annual chocolate sales have steadily risen three to four percent in the last several years, with artisan chocolate sales even higher. Overall, retail chocolate sales in the United States are currently at about $16 billion. It seems with chocolate, people can savor a small luxury without shelling out a lot of money. Chocolate is a gourmet product at a value price. You can still enjoy a little taste of happiness and indulgence that remains quite affordable.

Last year about 4,000 people purchased tickets to attend the one-day Chocolate Salon where you can graze from table to table in some of the finest chocolate and wines California has to offer. You can find chocolate at most any price point, and most everybody who visits does leave with at least one box.

The International Chocolate Salon showcases an assortment of treats for sale from local chocolatiers, demonstrations and classes by noted chocolatiers, and competitions for various important industry awards.

Advanced purchase tickets are $25. Tickets purchased at the door are $30. But forget about the money… just one bite of the sweet stuff helps melt away people’s everyday concerns. A little piece of chocolate can make you feel like a million bucks.

San Francisco International Chocolate Salon

SF International Chocolate SalonGeneral Ticket Information
Adults: $25 Advance Purchase
Adults: $30 Door
Children under 6: Free*
Children, 6 to 12: $10
*Applies to 2 children per adult. Each additional child under 6: $10

For more information:

Ed Engoron is the ChocolateDoctor heard on A Million Cooks Network

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Convenience Stores

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010
— Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique

Small Businesses that Help Fuel the Economy

The National Association of Convenience Stores, aka NACS, held their annual conference and expo this month in Atlanta, Georgia. I was one of more than 21,000 attendees and 1,200 exhibitors that covered nearly 400,000 square feet. The show rotates between three exciting food cities: Las Vegas, Chicago and Atlanta.

NACS is an international trade association representing more than 2,100 retail and 1,500 supplier company members. NACS member companies do business in nearly 50 countries worldwide, with the majority of members based in the United States. The U.S. convenience store industry, with nearly 145,000 stores across the country, had sales of over $500 billion in 2009.

Even though the top 50 convenience stores in the United States are members of NACS, the majority of its members are small, independent operators with more than 70 percent of its total membership comprised of companies that operate 10 stores or less. Sixty-two percent are owned and operated by someone who only has only one store!

Over the last 30 years C-Stores have been transformed from selling cigarettes, condoms, adult magazines and dusty canned goods and emergency supplies to a plethora of immediate consumable foods including a large array of snacks—some more healthful than others—a giant selection of cold beverages—Big Gulps and Guzzles—and coffee bars rivaling the likes of Starbucks and Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. Today many C-Stores are contemporary, well-designed road stops that feature everything from fresh deli sandwiches, hot soups and pizza to gasoline, motor oil and windshield wipers.

All of this is a far cry from the earliest “milk stores” such as 7-Eleven with its origins in 1927 Dallas, Texas. It was there and then that an employee of Southland Ice Company, Joe C. Thompson, started selling milk, eggs and bread from the ice dock. Joe and his family went on to become the largest C-Store operators in the United States.

But I digress… meantime back at NACS, I saw a variety of new products that you will soon find at your nearby, neighborhood convenience store.

My favorite was International Delight’s new Flavor Shots… a neat and clean dispenser that adds a burst of true flavor to coffee, tea and soda. I tried the Burnt Caramel, Chocolate Mint and Tahitian Vanilla, but my favorite was the Roasted Hazelnut. These added flavor thrills were also 100% sugar-free leaving no negative aftertaste.

There was also a large assortment of energy drinks, gums candies and even an energy enhancing lip balm. I tried the latter, but it only made my lips a little numb.

While there was plenty of chocolate exhibited at the show, none compared to the wonderful quality back home in the Choclatique Chocolate Studio. And, if you’re looking for convenience, Choclatique is just a mouse click away at

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