Archive for the ‘Historic Events’ Category

The ChocolateDoctor Doughnut History Distorted

Friday, August 22nd, 2014
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

I read an article the other day that just got me damn mad. Heather Falvey, a so called British historian is now claiming that America didn’t invent the doughnut. How can that be? It is Homer Simpson’s favorite snack and US cops are addicted to them. Have you ever seen an English Bobby eating a doughnut? No, of course not! They eat fish and chips. Listen here, the doughnut is as American as apple pie. I don’t care that this Britt recently unearthed 213-year-old recipe book that puts the doughnut’s legacy into British hands. She claims that Baroness Elizabeth Dimsdale of Hertfordshire was given the recipe by the originator of the doughnut (or “dow nut” as she put it) in 1800, but it’s unclear who this unnamed woman is. The book recipe doesn’t give a lot of instructions on how to make them; It’s more what to use. Who knows, shaped differently, they could be just another English scone. So here’s the real story.

The origin of doughnuts has a disputed history, but it’s all within America. After all, why do you think they call the United States the Promised Land? One theory suggests they were invented in North America by Dutch settlers, who were responsible for popularizing other American desserts, including cookies, apple and cream pie and cobbler. In the 19th century, doughnuts were sometimes referred to as one kind of oliekoek (a Dutch word literally meaning “oil cake”), a “sweetened cake fried in lard.

Hanson Gregory, an American, claimed to have invented the ring-shaped doughnut in 1847 aboard a lime-trading ship when he was only 16 years old. Gregory was dissatisfied with the greasiness of doughnuts twisted into various shapes and with the raw center of regular doughnuts. He claimed to have punched a hole in the center of dough with the ship’s tin pepper box, and later taught the technique to his mother.

According to anthropologist Paul R. Mullins, the first cookbook mentioning doughnuts was an 1803 English volume which included doughnuts in an appendix of American recipes. I believe the anthropology of man, and our nation, can be traced more accurately through the foods and beverages of time, rather than through the riches of art, the prose of literature, the rhythm of music or the structure of architecture. So quit trying to steal our legacy, Heather Falvey, doughnuts belong to America and with a doughnut all things are possible.

Ed’s Chocolate Glazed Yeast Doughnuts

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Proof Time: 30 to 40 minutes
Fry Time: 2 minutes
Ready in: 1 hour
Yield: 2 baker’s dozen doughnuts (that’s 26!)

Ingredients:
For the Doughnuts:

3 1/4 ounce packages “Rapid Rise” yeast (3/4 oz total)
1/2 cup warm water (105-115ºF)
2 1/4 cups whole milk, scalded, then cooled
1 cup granulate sugar
2 teaspoons salt
3 large eggs
1/2 cup shortening
7 cups, plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Choclatique Rouge Unsweetened Cocoa Powder, sifted
canola oil for frying

For the Glaze:
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
6 ounce Choclatique Private Reserve Dark Chocolate
2 1/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
6-9 tablespoons evaporated milk

Directions:
For the Doughnuts:

  1. Proof the yeast by mixing 1 tablespoon of flour with the warm water. Mix it up and let it rest.
  2. Scald the milk in a microwave or on top of a stove, and let cool.
  3. Combine the yeast mixture, cooled milk, sugar, salt, eggs, shortening and 2 1/2 cups of flour and cocoa powder.
  4. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, scrape down the bowl.
  5. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally.
  6. Carefully stir in remaining flour until the dough is smooth and silky.
  7. Cover the dough and let rise until it doubles, about 30-60 minutes, depending on the yeast you used.
  8. After the dough has risen, turn dough onto floured surface; roll around lightly to coat with flour.
  9. Gently roll dough 1/2-inch thick with floured rolling pin.
  10. Cut with floured doughnut cutter. Separate donuts and holes, as they take different frying times.
  11. Cover and let them rise until doubled in sizes, about 30-40 minutes.

Note: Save your scraps! They are both great to test your fry time and to snack on while you’re making the rest!

Note: If you want to make these donuts for breakfast, let the donuts rise in the refrigerator overnight!

Directions
For the Glaze:

Make the glaze before frying so it can sit at room temperature until the donuts are fried and ready to be dipped.

  1. Melt the butter and chocolate and stir in powdered sugar, cocoa powder and vanilla until blended.
  2. Add the milk until desired consistency is reached.

For Frying the Doughnuts:

  1. Use a deep pan to heat the oil.
  2. Using a frying thermometer heat the oil to 350ºF. Use some of the scraps of the doughnut dough to test different frying times.
  3. Carefully place the donuts in the oil. Cook on each side for about one minute. Use chopsticks to flip the donuts and remove them from the oil.
  4. Place donuts on a rack or paper towels to drain.

For Glazing the Doughnuts:

  1. Dip the doughnuts in the glaze and set them on a rack to dry. It okay to dipped both sides of the doughnuts in the glaze.
  2. Let them set for 10 minutes to set.

ChefSecret: Scalding the milk prevents an enzyme from killing the yeast. If you don’t scald it first to kill the enzyme, the donuts won’t rise.

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From Rome with Love

Friday, September 20th, 2013
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

The earliest known reference to “French” toast is actually found in the Apicius, a collection of Roman recipes written in ancient Latin or Vulgar dating back to the 4th century. The recipe directs the “house slave cook” to soak the bread in milk—not eggs—although the ancient editor suggests eggs might make it richer. The dish doesn’t next appear until it is listed as a 14th-century German recipe under the name “Arme Ritter.”

There are references to recipes for “pain perdu” in several 15th-century English books. A 1660 recipe for “French Toasts” is different, but is nothing more than toasted bread soaked in wine, sugar, and orange juice. A similar dish, suppe dorate, was popular in the Middle Ages in England, although it is rumored that the English might have stolen the recipe from the Normans who had a dish called tostees dorees.

French toast topped with maple syrup, fresh fruit and whipped cream is a rather American recipe. Slices of bread are soaked or dipped in mixture of beaten eggs and milk or cream. The slices of egg-coated bread are fried on both sides until they are browned and cooked through. Day-old bread is often recommended by chefs because stale bread will soak up more egg mixture without falling apart.

The cooked slices are often topped with jam, butter, peanut butter, honey, maple syrup, golden syrup, fruit syrup, molasses, apple sauce, whipped cream, fruit, chocolate, cinnamon-sugar, yogurt, powdered sugar, marmalade and even ice cream topped with toasted pecans or almonds.

Stuffed French toast is a sandwich of two pieces of French toast filled with bananas, strawberries, or other fruit. It is usually topped with butter, maple syrup, and powdered sugar. But now there are Chocolate French Toast Sandwiches which can be served as a great breakfast or brunch entrée or an elegant dinner-time dessert.

Chocolate French Toast Sandwiches

In my family when I was growing up French toast was considered a weekend treat. I loved the flavors of the eggy custard blended with sandwich bread and topped with maple syrup and dusted with confectioners’ sugar. In this recipe I take it one step further to create a wonderful, chocolaty, Authentically American cousin of the original French toast.

Ingredients:
8 large eggs
1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup Choclatique Rouge Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1/2 cup half and half
8 slices of brioche bread, thick sliced (day old or stale bread works best)
6 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup Choclatique Dark Chocolate Chips
1 banana thinly sliced
1/3 cup chocolate syrup

Directions:

  1. In a blender jar mix together the eggs, sugar, vanilla extract, cocoa powder and half and half until the cocoa powder is completely absorbed, about 3 minutes, to make the chocolate custard. Pour the mixture in a large glass roasting pan.
  2. Place the cut brioche slices in the roasting pan to absorb the egg custard; after about 30 seconds gently turn the pieces over to absorb the rest of the custard.
  3. Using a large skillet or griddle, melt the butter and honey; when bubbly carefully place the bread in the skillet and sauté until lightly crisp and then turn over to cook the other side.
  4. Place a 1/4 cup of the chips on four of the slices of brioche and top with the other slices. After the chocolate chips melt top each with a few slices of cut banana and drizzle with chocolate syrup.
  5. Cut diagonally and serve immediately.

ChefSecret: Can’t find brioche bread? Use thick cut white bread, Texas toast or Jewish challah bread. In place of the bananas you can substitute fresh berries or sliced grilled peaches in the summer months.

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The ChocolateDoctor’s Cuckoo for Chocolate…Churros

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

This is my favorite Mexican fast food dessert and it’s perfect for a Cinco de Mayo celebration. The long strips of fried dough are comparable to New Orleans beignets or southern-fried fritters… only they’re easier to make. They are a common street food and can also be found at fairs and carnivals in both America and Mexico. In recent years many vendors have resorted to frozen churros choosing to just fry them off. I think my freshly made version presented here is far better than frozen. I made them even more delectable with the addition of Choclatique Cocoa Powder to give it a light chocolate flavor. Fried chocolate-how bad could it be?

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Fry Time: 30 minutes (to fry them all)
Ready In: 40 minutes
Yield: About 24 Churros

Ingredients:
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 quarts vegetable oil for frying
1 cup water
1/2 cup margarine (not butter)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup Choclatique Rouge Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs

Directions:

  1. Stir together the sugar and cinnamon and set aside.
  2. In a heavy deep skillet or deep-fryer, begin to preheat heat the oil to 360º F (use a thermometer). The oil should be at least 1-1/2 inches deep.
  3. In a medium saucepan, heat the water and margarine to a rolling boil. Combine the flour, cocoa powder and salt; stir into the boiling mixture.
  4. Reduce heat to low and stir vigorously until the mixture forms a ball, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and beat in the eggs one at a time.
  5. Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip.
  6. Carefully squeeze out 4-inch long strips of dough directly into the hot oil. Fry 3 or 4 strips at a time, until golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes on each side.
  7. Remove from hot oil to drain on paper towels.
  8. Roll each of the churros in the cinnamon-sugar mixture while still hot.

ChefSecret: If the oil isn’t hot enough the churros will be greasy; if you fry the pastry at a higher temperature than noted they will not get fully cooked on the inside.

Dress the churros up for a dinner time dessert by drizzling a little dark chocolate sauce over the top and garnish with fresh seasonal berries.

To make the Chocolate Drizzle:

Ingredients:
2 ounces Choclatique Private Reserve Dark Chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon white vegetable shortening

Directions:

  1. Place the chocolate and shortening in a small re-sealable freezer bag.
  2. Microwave on HIGH for about 30 seconds until chocolate is melted.
  3. Massage chocolate and shortening together in the bag.
  4. Snip off corner and drizzle over the fried churros that have been dredged in cinnamon-sugar.

Special Note: Leave it to Joan to find another use for churros. While surfing the internet for Cinco de Mayo festivities she came across a recipe for Churro Cupcakes on The Curvy Carrot website. I think it a great idea that we will be trying here this week. Go and grab a quick peak for yourself and see what you think. Think of the possibilities… I would consider making a Tres Leaches Churro Cake just to make sure you have a totally indulgent dessert for the May 5th.

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Are People Who Eat Chocolate Smarter?

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

einsteinAlbert Einstein use to eat a three ounce bar of dark chocolate everyday. Thomas Jefferson had his chocolate imported from France and Spain. Theodore Roosevelt always had chocolate packed in his steamer trunk for his excursions into the wilderness and it isn’t by coincidence that more chocolate is consumed in California’s Silicon Valley than in any other place in America. If this is all true, then one has to assume that chocolate is “brain food” and the smartest people in the world eat chocolate.

We are right in the middle of what one might say is the most important election of our life times. Then, it’s only logical that if these people—chocolate eaters—are so smart, they should be able to accurately predict who is going to be the next president of the United States. More than that, chocolate lovers should also be able to forecast who will control the Senate and The House of Representatives.

This week Choclatique launched the first-ever chocolate election poll to predict who will take a bite out of the 2012 election. As experts in chocolate, we felt compelled to add our expertise for the debut of the world’s first and only chocolate political poll.

American FlagNow chocolate lovers can cast their vote at www.PresidentialPoll2012.com and follow the voting progress of their favorite candidate during the Presidential Election, as well as which party will control the House of Representatives, Senate and even the Supreme Court. These poll results are ‘easy to swallow’ and practically foolproof, with a “fudge” factor of + 2%, for people who eat chocolate “never” lie.

Our Presidential Poll is a great indication of both political preferences and the overall mood of the nation since the world’s greatest mood elevator is chocolate. We think you’ll find it fun to play politics in a non-threatening, safe environment that is a ‘tasteful’ way to predict the election.” My partner, Joan Vieweger, is the lead pollster for this campaign, as well as a leading market researcher for several Fortune 100 food companies.

At the same tome Choclatique is also unveiling our new Capitol Collection, a new line of truffles, each piece representing either Democrats (blue donkeys) or Republicans (red elephants). Each individual piece of chocolate is a hand-decorated white chocolate truffle filled with soft, creamy, dark chocolate ganache.

BlueDonkeyThese limited edition, authentically American-made chocolates are available now through the November 2012 Election with 15 percent of the proceeds benefiting Operation Homefront. Supporting returning veterans, Operation Homefront provides emergency financial and other assistance to the families of service members and wounded warriors.

This is where Democrats and Republicans can put aside their differences and unite with chocolaty, bipartisan goodness. “We have created the perfect union in our Capitol Collection established upon principles of peace, freedom, equality, justice, liberty and the love of chocolate for all.

RedElephantThis stately collection is available in Donkeys, Elephants or Bipartisan gift boxes, which come in an array of sizes including: 8-pieces ($18.00), 15-pieces ($30.00) and 30-pieces ($55.00). For election viewing party favors, customers can purchase mini gift sets of two pieces (12 sets of two for $50.00). Orders can be placed at www.Choclatique.com. Choclatique ships nationwide in elegant, reusable, leather gift boxes with hand-tied ribbon that are sealed for ultimate freshness.

For additional media information, please contact:
Tracy Rubin
JCUTLER Media Group
323.969.9904

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Cinco de Mayo Holiday Brownies

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

El Dia de la Batalla de PueblaDo not confuse Cinco de Mayo with Mexican Independence Day, which is actually on September 16.

Cinco de Mayo (Spanish for “fifth of May”) is a celebration held on May 5. It is celebrated nationwide in the United States and regionally in Mexico, primarily in the state of Puebla where the holiday is called El Dia de la Batalla de Puebla (English: The Day of the Battle of Puebla). The date is observed in the United States as a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride, and to commemorate the cause of freedom and democracy during the first years of the American Civil War. In the state of Puebla, the date is observed to commemorate the Mexican army’s unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on that fateful day under the leadership of General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguín.

Cinco de Mayo Holiday BrowniesNormally we celebrate at bars around the country where people enjoy tequila shots, Cadillac margaritas and nachos. I decided to add a little chocolate to the equation with my Cinco de Mayo Holiday Brownies. I felt that cinnamon and chili peppers are such an integral part of Mexican cuisine that they were an appropriate addition to an all-American favorite—the brownie. They are the closest flavors to what Montezuma himself may have consumed when he downed nearly 50 golden goblets of a roughly made chocolate beverage.

MargaritaSo enjoy the rich, spicy flavors of chocolate, cinnamon and chili, in this wonderful brownie. Better yet, make it really easy and bake-up a bag of our Choclatique Dark Chocolate Brownie Mix adding in the required cinnamon and chili.

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Ready In: 70 minutes
Yield: About 30 brownies

Ingredients:
1-1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter
3 cups granulated sugar
6 large whole eggs
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 cups Choclatique Natura Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1/4 cup Choclatique Black Onyx Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablepoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup Choclatique Milk Chocolate Chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350º F.
  2. Line a 12×15-inch baking pan with parchment paper, leaving about 3 inches of paper overhanging 2 sides to use as handles to help lift the baked brownies out of the pan.
  3. Place the butter in a microwave-safe bowl, and cook on medium until the butter is about half melted, about 1 minute. Mash the butter with sugar until well combined.
  4. Stir in eggs one at a time, incorporating each one before adding the next.
  5. Mix in the vanilla and almond extracts.
  6. Sift the cocoa, flour, cinnamon, cayenne pepper and baking powder into a bowl. Sprinkle in the salt.
  7. Mix the flour and cocoa mixture into the butter and sugar mixture, stirring to blend well. Fold in the chocolate chips and pour the batter into the prepared baking pan.
  8. Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with moist crumbs, 20 to 25 minutes.
  9. Let cool in the pan, and use parchment paper handles to remove the brownies for slicing.

ChefSecret: Make it Authentic! If you can find Mexican cinnamon (canela) in a local ethnic store, use it in place of the traditional bottled ground cinnamon for a real holiday flavor.

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The Chocolate of Barcelona

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

As I was planning my trip to Lisbon, Portugal next week I found that I have a stop-over in Barcelona. What could be better than an afternoon in the old chocolate capital of the world? The harbor of Barcelona was the port into which the very first shipments of cocoa from the New World arrived more than 500 years ago, making it the ideal home to the Museu de la Xocolata—Barcelona’s Chocolate Museum.

The Catalan Capital is a beautiful city with a diverse culture and history and Barcelona’s museums offer visitors a wide range of aesthetic experiences – in fact, they can be seen as a perfect illustration of just how beguilingly this city can be.

Two of Barcelona’s most popular museums are devoted to artists—the works of Joan Miró and Pablo Picasso – the first born in the city and the second generally acknowledged as an adopted son.

The third is the Museu de la Xocolata which is housed in an outwardly unimposing but historical building. From the aroma wafting through the narrow twisted streets lets visitors know to be prepared for an idiosyncratic and glorious celebration of the world’s most famous treat.

Inside the museum the history of chocolate is demonstrated from the discovery of the first cocoa beans brought back by the New World explorers, including Christopher Columbus himself, the progressive history since its origins as a spicy drink to its delight as a French sweet all the way through time to its present predominant position in the commercial world.

There are displays of machines and tools representing the chocolate maker’s art as well as fantastically detailed reconstructions of many of Barcelona’s most famous architectural sites – painstakingly and lovingly recreated from nothing but chocolate. There is even Snowy, an albino gorilla (from whom we named our Snowy White Chocolate) who has been meticulously constructed from white chocolate.

This “delicious” museum demonstrates chocolate’s many different purposes: as a medicinal element, an aphrodisiac, a nutritional treasure and everything in between, both legend and reality. They offer different workshops for children and adults.

Save a little time to stop by the chocolate café and bar where they sell great hot chocolate, thick enough to hold a spoon on its edge in the cup. While enjoying your chocolate, swivel around on your stool and watch the students next door being put through their paces as they try to achieve master status as pasty chefs and chocolatiers.

Old Chocolate Processing MachineThe Museu de la Xocolata is located in the Antiguo Convento de San Agustín at Carrerr de Commerç, 36. It is a pleasant short walk from Arc de Triomf Metro station (Red Line, 1), beginning on the Passeig Lluis Companys or due east of the Metro at Juame 1 (Yellow Line, 4), just a few minutes past the Picasso Museum in the Gothic District.

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Which Came First, The Easter Chicken or the Easter Egg?

Thursday, March 24th, 2011
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

Giving baby chicks at Easter is a tradition that has its roots in ancient history. Eggs are widely recognized as symbols of new life, and are often included in various spiritual traditions. As symbols, they are most familiar to Western culture as Easter decorations and treats. Eggs and baby chicks are as prevalent as the bunny at Easter.

An egg is also a symbol of the rock tomb from which Christ emerged when he arose again. Likewise the chick, hatching out of the egg symbolizes new life or re-birth.

It is the influence of traditional spring rites that makes Easter so egg-special. And myths coming down to us from an incredibly distant past have shown man’s relationship with the egg to be very deep seated. This is caught in the old Latin proverb: “Omne vivum ex ovo,” which means “all life comes from an egg.”

From ancient India to Polynesia, from Iran, Greece, and Phonecia to Latvia, Estonia, and Finland, from Central America to the west coast of South America, there are myths that the whole universe was created out of an egg. Thus, it is not unusual that in almost all ancient cultures eggs have been held as an emblem of life. The concept of all living beings born from an egg is also a foundational concept of modern biology.

Eggs were viewed as symbols of new life and fertility through the ages. In early Christian times, the egg was a symbol of new life just as a chick might hatch from the egg. The Easter egg tradition may have celebrated the end of the privations of Lent. It is believed that for this reason many ancient cultures, including the Ancient Egyptians, Persians, and Romans, used eggs during their spring festivals.

The coloring of eggs is an established art, and eggs are often dyed, painted, and otherwise decorated. Eggs were also used in various holiday games: parents would hide eggs for children to find, and children would roll eggs down hills. These practices live on in Easter egg hunts and egg rolls. The most famous egg roll takes place on the White House lawn every year. The oldest tradition is to use dyed and painted chicken eggs, but a modern custom is to substitute chocolate eggs—solid or hollow, the latter filled with confections such as jellybeans. Candy Easter eggs can be any form of confectionery such as hollow chocolate eggs wrapped in brightly-colored foil or delicately constructed of spun sugar and pastry decoration techniques. The ubiquitous jelly egg or jellybean is made from sugar-coated pectin candy. These are often hidden, supposedly by the Easter Bunny, for children to find on Easter morning.

At Choclatique, we pay homage to both the chicken and the egg with our chocolate Chicks. Chicks are a delicious change from traditional Easter candy. These exceptional chocolates truffles have been hatched just in time for spring with an array of vibrant colors and luscious flavors. Chicks are the perfect choice for a special Easter basket addition or even a baby shower.

Strawberry & Cream ChickEveryone marvels over our delicate chocolate eggs cracked in the middle with a tiny chick emerging from within. Our Chicks are made with our premium quality, great-tasting chocolates and wonderful truffle fillings. Chicks are individually hand-painted and decorated by our talented artisans in our Chocolate Studios. Flavors include Cranberry Bog Chick, Sticky Almond Chick, Triple Chocolate Chick, Strawberries & Cream Chick, Chocolate-Marshmallow Chick, Chocolate Mousse Chick, Mint Chip Chick and several other chirping delights.

Chocolate Marshmallow ChickChocolate lovers are peeping with joy over Choclatique Chicks with the unique blend of gourmet chocolate and flavorful fillings. For those of you who like their Chicks unadorned and without fillings, we also offer Naked Chicks, solid chocolate tweets available in our premium Private Reserve Dark, Heritage Milk, Snowy White or a mixture of all 3! Chicks have become a new family tradition and a favorite for many Easters to come.

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Some Thanksgiving Thoughts

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010
— Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique

This week we will be celebrating Thanksgiving with many of the foods that have been the holiday’s custom since the very first celebration. And, as hard as it is to believe, chocolate was unknown to the early settlers and did not have a place at their first celebration—something we have changed in later years. Regardless, Thanksgiving is the authentically American holiday which is celebrated on the final Thursday in November. But did you know it was not always so?

It wasn’t until December 26, 1941 when President Franklin D. Roosevelt approved this date to give the country an economic boost, making Thanksgiving a national holiday and setting it to be the fourth (but not final) Thursday in November. But long before the official proclamation, it was an annual tradition in the United States since 1863. Thanksgiving was historically a religious observation to give thanks to God.

The event that Americans commonly call the first Thanksgiving was celebrated to give thanks to God for helping the Pilgrims of Plymouth Colony survive their first brutal winter in New England. The first Thanksgiving feast lasted three days providing enough food for 53 pilgrims and 90 Native Americans. The first Thanksgiving feast consisted of fowl, venison, fish, lobster, clams, berries, fruit, pumpkin, squash, beetroot and turkey.

Our modern day Thanksgiving holiday traces its origins from the original 1621 celebration at the Plymouth Plantation, where the Plymouth settlers held a harvest feast after a successful growing season. This was continued in later years, first as an impromptu religious observance, and later as a civil tradition.

The Wampanoag tribe of Native Americans lived near the Pilgrims and taught them how to catch eel and grow corn. The Wampanoag leaders had allowed their own food reserves to be shared with the fledgling colony during the first winter when supplies brought from England were insufficient to keep the population alive.

Wisely these first Americans set apart this day to celebrate at Plymouth immediately after their first harvest. At the time, this was not regarded as a Thanksgiving observance; harvest festivals existed in English and Wampanoag tradition alike. Several colonists gave personal accounts of the 1621 feast in Plymouth, Massachusetts. It was quoted that, “the Pilgrims found the Lord to be with them in all their ways, and to bless their outgoings and incomings, for which let His holy name have the praise forever, to all posterity.”

Our forefathers began to gather their small harvests and prepare their houses against winter cold. In future years some of these adventurers were employed in civic affairs, others were fishing for cod, bass and other fish, which was dried and stored, of which every family had their share. As winter approached they began to store salted fowl, of which there was plenty. Beside the abundance of waterfowl there was great supply of wild turkeys. All of this lead to a grand meal for ever person as the harvest of Indian corn was brought in from the field and stored for the winter months.

Today we celebrate Thanksgiving with turkey, corn, squash or pumpkin, cranberries and nuts. Many the recipes we use today use the very same ingredients from earlier Thanksgiving celebrations. While chocolate was not a part of the first feast, we have adapted many recipes that have been enriched with the dark stuff.

Choclatique's Dark, Semi-Sweet Chocolate Mini ChipsOne of my personal favorites is Chocolate Pecan Pie which is made with our Choclatique Dark, Semi-Sweet Chocolate Mini Chips. I like this chocolate the best not only because of its wonderful rich flavor but for the miniature size. There are over 4000 mini-chips to a pound which ensures that every single bite will have a fair share of chocolate.

I encourage you to give this recipe a try and experiment with other chocolate desserts. If you have one that you think is out-of-this-world, send it to me and I will post it so others may share. Finally as we all express thanks for this year’s bounty, let’s not forget to offer a special thanks and prayers for our military men and women who are protecting us from others who do not share our beliefs.

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Beat the Summer Heat… Chill Out with Choclatique

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010
— Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique

Many chocolatiers hang up their molds and close their doors for the summer because it is normally too hot to work with chocolate and it’s also typically the only time chocolatiers can get away from it all before the busy holiday gift-giving season kicks in. But our team of Choclatique artisans and chocolatiers continue to run our Chocolate Studios in Southern California all year ‘round. The warmer weather does make it a little more challenging (but not impossible) to ship our boxed chocolates, but the summer months do not affect our ability to ship our fantastic Drinking Chocolate Beverage Mixes. In fact, iced chocolate beverages mixes are some of the most refreshing drinks you can enjoy on a hot summer day.

Even the earliest residents of the New World knew about chocolate as a cold beverage. It is a well know fact that chocolate has been enjoyed as a beverage for thousands of years. The Olmecs, thought to be the oldest civilization of the Americas (1500-400 BC), were probably the first to use cacao, followed by the Maya; they drank cold cacao-based beverages by the gallon, all made from beans off their Chontalpa plantations from what is now eastern Tabasco. Chocolatl, the original cacao recipe was a thick, foamy, slightly fermented mix of ground cacao beans, water, wine and peppers. I think of it as a kind of chocolate beer!

After the Spanish conquered the native civilizations, it didn’t take them long to begin heating the Chocolatl and sweetening it with sugar. Later, the mixture was introduced in England where the Brits added milk to the blend for an after-dinner hot beverage similar to what we now consume for breakfast.

Today, most chocolate beverages are actually made with cocoa, not chocolate. There is a big difference between the taste of cocoa-based beverages and those made with chocolate. Sometimes the terms are incorrectly used interchangeably; technically they are as different as milk chocolate and bittersweet dark chocolate. Cocoa-based beverages are made from cocoa powder—chocolate, pressed free of all its richness, meaning that the fat of cocoa butter has been reduced. Hot or iced chocolate beverages are from chocolate (not cocoa) melted into cream. The latter is a much richer, decadent beverage. And, that’s exactly how we blend our chocolate drinking mixes at Choclatique.

Dark Chocolate Drinking MixChoclatique Dark Chocolate Drinking Mix is a blend of our award-winning crushed dark chocolate and select cocoa powders, pure Tahitian vanilla and Hawaiian cane sugar. Our special ingredients are all-natural making for a richer, more flavorful hot or iced chocolate beverage.

But we don’t stop there… we now offer Choclatique Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Drinking Mix made with our lightly roasted, high-protein peanut flour, and Choclatique Dark Chocolate Cinnamon Drinking Mix made with the finest and most intense Saigon cinnamon.

For those who want to try a sample of each this summer we are offering our Chocolate Trifecta—a delightfully tasty trio that has a flavor for everyone… zesty Cinnamon Drinking Chocolate, nutty Peanut Butter Swirl Drinking Chocolate, and our original rich Dark Chocolate Drinking Chocolate at a 20% discount on Choclatique’s Drinking Chocolate Sampler.

How to Make Really Cool or Iced Chocolate!

For hot drinking chocolate—simply add 4 tablespoons of the Dark Chocolate Drinking Chocolate Mix of your choice to cold milk (whole, 2%, 1%, non-fat or soy); whisk and heat for a steamy cold-weather chocolate treat. Add a dollop of whipped cream or a marshmallow for a wonderfully warm chocolaty indulgence.

Iced Drinking ChocolateFor iced drinking chocolate—simply add Drinking Chocolate Mix to cold milk (whole, 2%, 1%, non-fat or soy) and blend with ice for a summer time refresher. Add a dollop of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream for an iced chocolaty treat.

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California’s Chocolate Heritage

Thursday, July 15th, 2010
— Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique

There is substantial evidence that chocolate was a major food during most of California history—it was a pleasure to drink and a pleasure to eat. California can claim a long history of savoring chocolate. Recently discovered documents show that chocolate was part of the supplies during a 1774-76 Spanish expedition to San Diego, San Gabriel, Monterey and San Francisco. Chocolate served as a stimulant to kept soldiers alert during their sentry rounds and as a way to ease hunger during long overland treks and as a popular social beverage served to family members and guests alike.

Accounts of the early Spanish and Mission era extol the merits of chocolate, as noted in the diaries of Mexican and Anglo pioneers making the trek to California who found chocolate available at stopovers in Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. Evidence found at Sutter’s Fort in Sacramento (where gold was first discovered in California) showed chocolate was made there and served to members of the Fremont expedition in 1845. Ledgers in the fort archives record the sale and prices of chocolate in Sacramento both before and after the discovery of gold.

Chocolate is found in the accounts from the Gold Rush. Miners took “chocolate breaks” to brew their favorite beverage, and hard-working women served chocolate to their children. Getting lucky with chocolate? In San Francisco, chocolate was served as a refreshing beverage in various gambling saloons where miners were at a “loss” for words or even something more substantial.

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