Archive for the ‘Confections’ Category

Oreo Cookies

Thursday, July 21st, 2011

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

Oreo OverloadOver 362 billion Oreo cookies have been sold since they were first introduced in 1912, making Oreo the best selling cookie of the 20th century.Oreo Ice Cream Cake It is found on store shelves in the cookie aisle of super-markets, but it is also an important ingredient for ice creams, cheesecakes, pies, cakes, puddings, doughnuts and even the McDonald’s McFlurry, Dairy Queen’s Blizzard and the Domino’s Oreo Pizza. Oreos are even battered and deep fried at carnivals and county fairs.

Zeus Dreaming of OreosBut where did the Oreo get its moniker? A few years back, a TV-spot for the Got Milk? campaign showed a clever false etymology for the Oreo name. Some think Oreo comes from the Greek root for appetizing as in orexin or orexigenic (appetite stimulating) or anorexic (loss of appetite). There are other theories pointing to the origin of the name ‘Oreo’, including derivations from the French word ‘Or’, meaning gold (as early packaging was gold), or the Greek word ‘Oros’, meaning mountain or hill (as the original Oreo was mound shaped) or even the Greek word ‘Oreo’, meaning beautiful or nice. Wow, who would have thought that the Nabisco marketers would have gone back to Greek mythology for the name of something so all-American?

Chinese OreosBut as American as the Oreo is, it has also been introduced around the world. Oreo cookies were introduced to Chinese consumers in 1996 and sales gradually grew into the fast-growing Chinese biscuit. In 2006 the Oreo cookie became the best-selling biscuit in the People’s Republic of China, after altering its recipe to have a lower sugar content to suit local tastes. In 2004, Norway started selling Oreo cookies. It was welcomed by consumers, and is the top-selling cookie to young people. In 2005, the Norwegians stopped the importation of Oreos and started to make them in country.

Twist Lick & DunkIn May 2008, Oreo cookies were repackaged and relaunched in the UK in the more popular British tube design with a multi-million pound advertising campaign centered on the catchphrase Twist, Lick and Dunk. Canadian Oreos contain coconut oil, giving them a different taste from the American counterpart. In 2011 Oreos hit Polish, Croatian and Indian markets.

Aside from good old regular cookies, Oreos have been produced in many different varieties since they were first introduced. Double Stuf OreosThis includes Mini, Double Stuf, Triple StufBerry Burst, Blizzard Crème, Golden (vanilla wafers), Fudgees, WaferStix, Chocolate Crème, Big Stuff, Double Delight, Cool Mint Creme, Peanut Butter Crème, Banana Split Crème, Fudge Covered, 100 Calorie Pack, Sugar-Free, Reduced Fat, Vend Pack and Dulce de Leche Oreos sold in Chile and Argentina. There are also special limited edition Halloween and Christmas Double Stuf Oreo cookies produced with colored frosting depicting the current holiday.

Weird Al YankovicIn 1990, comedian Weird Al” Yankovic wrote a tribute to the Oreo titled “The White Stuff,” a parody of the New Kids on the Block single ‘You Got It (The Right Stuff)’. The song focuses on the virtues of the crème filling inside an Oreo. That same year songwriter Lonnie Mack wrote a song titled “Oreo Cookie Blues” from his album Strike Like Lightning. The song is focused on how much Lonnie loves his Oreo cookies. In 2010, country singer Abi Lester recorded “Flaming Red,” a song on her She Dreams album, in which she sings about eating a whole box of Oreos in bed.

Screaming-Easy Oreo Cookie Chocolate TrufflesWhile I don’t think I can out-write “Weird Al” or out-sing Abi, I don’t think either one can hold a candle to my Screaming-Easy Oreo Cookie Chocolate Truffles. The recipe uses Choclatique Chocolate Chips for coating a center filling made from, you guessed it, Oreo cookies.

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Now They’re Gunning for Tony the Tiger

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

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

Tony the TigerIn my April 28th blog, Colorless Food—It’s Enough To Make You Blanch, I discussed the meddling members of the government (Republican and Democrat) who can’t resist sticking their big fat noses into areas they know nothing about. It’s insanity how they just can’t resist tinkering with our foods when they should be coming up with a balanced budget. These Dopes de Cuisine now have their sights set on none other than Tony the Tiger, the M&M Boys, the Girl Scouts of America, and the corner lot baseball team.

Food NazisThe government’s Food Gestapo is now staging an all out war on marketing to kids. Tony the Tiger, some NASCAR drivers and cookie-selling Girl Scouts may soon be out of jobs unless food manufacturers begin to reinvent their products to satisfy this administration’s food police. The word is out say several federal regulatory agencies; either retool your recipes to contain lower levels of sugar, sodium and fats, or no more advertising and marketing to children or teenagers.

Girl Scout CookiesIt’s not just the usual suspected foods that are being targeted, such as Thin Mint cookies sold by scouts or M&Ms and Snickers, which sponsor cars in the Sprint Cup, but pretty much everything on the menu.

OatmealAlthough the intent of the guidelines is to combat childhood obesity—a laudable goal—foods that are low in calories and fat and that some consider healthy foods are also targets, including hot breakfast cereals such as oatmeal, pretzels, popcorn, nuts, yogurt, wheat bread, bagels, diet drinks, fruit juice, tea, bottled water and even milk.

Both Consumers and food industries’ executives are in an uproar over the joint proposal written by the Federal Trade Commission, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Childhood ObesityThe most disturbing aspect of this interagency working group is that after it imposes multibillions of dollars in restrictions and “suggested” changes on our foods, there is no evidence there will be any positive impact on the scourge of childhood obesity. The more you tell children they can’t have something, the more they want it. It’s kind of like this… what happens when I tell you not to think of the color red. What is the first color you think of?

Do it, or else.The Interagency Working Group on Food Marketed to Children, Preliminary Proposed Nutrition Principles to Guide Industry Self-Regulation Efforts says it is voluntary, but industry officials say the intent is clear: Do it, or else.

Unemployment isn’t high enough? It’s not just the food industry that will be impacted. Television shows that depend on the advertising revenue will be affected, critics of the proposal say—at a cost of $5.8 trillion in marketing expenditures that support up to 20 million American jobs.

Here again the “rule” of unintended consequences is rearing its ugly head. This is the culinary corollary to “Are we spending too much or taxing too little?” — “Are we eating too much or exercising too little?” Mom was right, “Everything in moderation.”

Confused MickeyIf the food is not reformulated, no more ads or promotions on TV or radio, in print, on websites, or other digital advertising such as e-mail and text messaging, packaging, and point-of-purchase displays and other in-store marketing tools; product placement in movies, videos, video games, contests, sweepstakes, character licensing and toy branding; sponsorship of events including sport teams and individual athletes; and, philanthropic activity tied to branding opportunities will be affected. That also includes softball teams that are sponsored by food companies and school reading programs sponsored by restaurants.

The sad part is many of the foods targeted in the proposal are the same foods approved by the federal government for the WIC nutrition program for women, infants and children.

Stack of ChocolateChocolate is an indulgent treat. It has a certain amount of fat and sugar which gives chocolate its distinctive flavor and texture. While at Choclatique we use natural ingredients, if we were to remove the pure cane sugar grown in Hawaii and the cocoa butter processed in California, you might as well suck on a bitter chocolate stone.

FamilyThese are decisions that parents should be making for their own kids. These should not be government decisions. Now I ask you, does this make any sense at all?

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Choclatique and the 4th of July

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

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

Happy 4thThe 4th of July usually comes with fireworks, warm weather, barbecues and a fun day off to relax and celebrate our nation’s independence with fellow citizens, family and friends. If you’re planning a 4th of July party, whether it’s a grilled dinner on the backyard barbeque or a more formal party, let Choclatique Chocolate be a delicious part of your holiday!

Chocolate FountainThe 4th of July is a great time to cool off with chocolate and berry delights like fresh-dipped strawberries and blueberries in white chocolate fondue. Its festive red, white and blue colors fit in perfectly with the theme of the day. You can use a simple fondue pot or go all out with a rented or purchased chocolate fountain. Don’t just be limited to berries or fruit—you can dip your favorite treats like pound cake bites, marshmallows and Choclatique Double Dark Chocolate Brownies made from our mix or drizzle over home-churned ice cream sundaes. You can place banana slices, blueberries and cherries on wooden skewers to make red, white and blue dipping sticks which can be dipped or fountain-showered.

Berry ParfaitsAnother great holiday dessert is a berry parfait made by mixing mascarpone or cream cheese, yogurt and brown sugar layered with melted Choclatique chocolate. By alternating the dairy mixture with layers of blueberries, raspberries and chocolate you will create a delicious and festive red, white and blue treat!

Chocolate-Dipped StrawberryChocolate makes a great addition to any 4th of July celebration. As long as there’s chocolate, party guests are sure to have a great time socializing and indulging in their rich, decadent chocolate creations!

And while you’re thinking about Independence Day, the red, white and blue and America, please take a moment to say a prayer for our troops deployed in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Japan, Korea, and Europe protecting our citizens from threats abroad and providing humanitarian aid to our friends and allies. God bless them all!

SOTF-81

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The Appeal of ‘Healthier’ Sweets

Friday, June 10th, 2011

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

Chocolate KidYou don’t have to convince a kid to eat a piece of candy. But to help grown-ups justify indulging in a chocolate bar or a handful of jellybeans, candy companies are touting new health benefits of their products. Though health benefits are not the direct reason for consumers to grab up the sweet stuff, it is an added incentive.

At Choclatique, we know that consumers buy candy primarily for the taste, but it does factor in that consumers are more focused on their diets these days and are trying to eat more healthfully. We think it’s more than just an added benefit.

Dark Chocolate SquaresOne of the best-known healthful treats is dark chocolate. Dark chocolate makers were among the first to educate consumers on the ‘better for you’ positioning, especially promoting the antioxidant content. But more recently, candy companies offering assorted fruit flavors have been getting in on the health trend as well.

PomegranatesWe’ve known for a long time that consumers read labels and look for confections with no preservatives, artificial colors or flavors which are the basis for Choclatique products. They’re also interested in candy made without high-fructose corn syrup—using pure cane sugar instead. Now, we are finding many snack and candy companies are promoting products with additional antioxidants. Pomegranate and other fruits big on health benefits have become a popular addition to many candies. Some of the newest flavors of licorice include blueberry and pomegranate made from real juice. Chocolate manufacturers, while still marketing their dark chocolate for its health benefits, have also moved on to chocolate low in sugar or completely sugar-free and the blending of fruits high in antioxidants such as strawberry, orange, blueberry, cherry and pomegranate.

Pure Power BarsAt Choclatique, we make the Pure Power energy bar. Made with US-grown peanuts, peanut flour, cherries and blueberries, this healthy snack packs over 9 grams of pure protein and is high in antioxidants. Footed with a low sugar chocolate platform, all of the ingredients are commonly found in your own pantry. One great additional benefit is that Pure Power is also Gluten-free.

For some, price is a strong factor with consumers willing to choose a cheaper, less healthy product rather than pay a little more for something more healthful. But now, some health concerns are carrying over to the general public and consumers starting to understand that a piece of chocolate can be more than just a satiating snack. Market research shows that while healthier candies were once only reaching a niche audience… that audience is growing. There are groups, such as baby boomers and young families that are more inclined to look for health benefits than just price alone.

Elephant ChocolatesAt Choclatique, we feature Elephant Chocolate, Q-91 and Private Reserve Dark that are lower in sugar and higher in many of the healthful benefits than milk or white chocolate. We offer the appeal and benefits to a more health conscious consumer with functional chocolates while still maintaining tasteful indulgence.

If you have a passion or even an addiction to the brown stuff, let’s talk… you can look me up on Facebook and follow me on Twitter.

Another Shameless Plug: I want to introduce you to my new book, Choclatique. It’s the perfect gift for brides, grooms, grandchildren’s birthday, anniversaries… actually Choclatique, both the book and the chocolate, are perfect for just about any occasion. Signed copies will be available after October 1st.

QR CodeChoclatique is the first interactive cookbook. It is sprinkled with ChefSecrets which are highlighted with a QR Code. When you scan the QR Code with your smartphone, it directs you to a video where I demonstrate the “secret” technique. You can also purchase a chocolate tasting kit to compliment the book. Pretty cool!

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

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

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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.Peanuts 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.

Sweets and Snacks ExpoWith 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.

ChipsWe 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

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

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Candy Is Dandy

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

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

There is finally scientific research that says it’s all right to have a little candy and chocolate in your diet.

Chocolate EaterWhile it may be hard to believe candy eaters tend to weigh less; have a lower body mass index (BMI) and waist circumferences; and have decreased levels of risk factors for cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome, according to a new study published in Nutrition Research.

“Candy is a unique treat that can provide moments of joy and happiness,” says Alison Bodor, senior vice president of public policy and advocacy for the National Confectioners Association. “Consumers should feel confident that candy, consumed in moderation within a diet balanced with regular physical activity, can be part of a healthy, happy lifestyle.” Isn’t that what mom always taught us?

The study showed that while candy contributes modestly to caloric intake when it is consumed, there was no association of total candy intake to increased weight/BMI — suggesting that over time, consumers were able to balance longer-term caloric intake.

Chocolate GuyIt also found that diet quality was not affected by total candy or chocolate candy consumption when consumed within energy limits; chocolate candy was associated with a 15% reduced risk of metabolic syndrome and candy eaters had a 14% decreased risk of elevated diastolic blood pressure and lower C-reactive protein level than non-candy eaters.

However, I still believe in the old adage that mothers have been telling us for years, “All things in moderation.”

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Hot Blog on a Stick

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

— Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique

The LA County Fair

Ferris WheelBeginning in the early 1800s, the first agricultural fairs gave rural families an opportunity to see firsthand the latest agricultural techniques, equipment, crops, and livestock. Over the course of the nineteenth century, fairs also incorporated a wide range of educational, recreational, competitive, and social activities into their programs. Within a few short generations, county and state fairs became a quintessential American tradition.

Cow PiesWe all look at fairs with different interests. For me, if it’s deep-fried, on-a-stick, battered, breaded or dipped in chocolate you must be eating at the LA County Fair. A few of the new items this year included macaroni and cheese on a stick, deep-fried Oreos and s’mores on a stick.

This year we had to battle 108º temperatures to take part in the annual food fair experience. With more than 300 choices, I have to admit that I had to unbutton the button on my waistband just to drive home comfortably.

Chicken Charlie'sMy first stop is always the giant cinnamon rolls for breakfast. Oops they weren’t there this year. I passed on the giant breakfast burrito, morning sandwich and the mini doughnuts in favor of Chicken Charlie’s fresh-baked waffles and fried chicken—a new family tradition that introduced a little protein into what would become a hard-packing carb day. No sooner had we finished licking the syrup from our chins than we were ready to move onto The Indian Fry Bread with all kinds of gorpy toppings. Then there were the funnel cakes with ice cream on top, and the endless concessions making fresh-fried Churros. Churros are long, extruded Mexican doughnuts that can be dipped in chocolate or, when it’s so blazing hot, smothered in cinnamon sugar.

When you’re at the Fair, meals and snacks all start to morph together. It’s kind of like being a chain smoker—you barely finish eating one treat before picking up the next stack of goodies with the napkin left over from the last one. I must admit that the fair food even replaced my death grip on my ever-present Blackberry.

Gingerbread ManWe next found ourselves on Birch Avenue at Mom’s Giant Cookies and Gingerbread Treats—the home of Gingerbread-Man-on-a-Stick. The Ginger Bread is made with a little touch of cocoa… so yummy! And Mom’s Giant Cookies next door—always my favorites as a kid—are so packed with chocolate chunks that the dough barely holds them together.

Big Bubba's Bad to the Bone BBQWant BBQ? The secret to Big Bubba’s Bad to the Bone BBQ is a touch of chocolate they put into their BBQ sauce. Likewise, King Taco adds a little chocolate to their Chile Colorado. The chocolate adds depth of flavor and additional richness to both. There was even a little healthier food, such as yogurt, frozen yogurt smoothies, plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables and salads, too!

Candy FactoryUnless you were making deep fried Reese’s Whips or Peanut Brittle, it was tough day to be in the candy business let alone to make chocolate. The fudge was melting, the chocolate-dipped apples were withering—as were we—and if you grabbed an ice cream cone, you had to eat it faster than the quarter horses were running a furlough at the race track next door.

On-A-StickWhile I look at the LA County Fair through food-colored glasses, it is still a place where people proudly display animals, produce prize-winning baked goods, and of course, there’s plenty of entertainment, games and scary midway rides. Even though the weather was stifling, we still had a great time and enjoyed the new uses of chocolate that we discovered.

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Fly the Haughty Skies of “Air Chance”

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

— Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique

Air FranceI travel to Europe at least once a month. No matter how hard I try to avoid Air France the connections through Charles De Gaulle just outside of Paris seem to always be the best. Paris is, well, just so French, if you know what I mean. Something (everything) always seems to go wrong travelling through Paris adding hours to the trip.

One trip it was lost luggage; another had the baggage workers on strike delaying the flight for hours. There was a flight controllers “work to rule,” which did nothing more than delay hundreds of flights over a three day period. A general strike last month closed the airport down for two days. It’s more like flying “Air Chance” than Air France.

Striking Airline WorkersLast month was no different—the cabin cleaners staged a one hour strike causing a 2-hour delay. The airline caterer must have been upset about something because the duck used in making my canard a la orange died in vain after being mutilated by a very untalented cook. The questionable chocolate desserts were also a waste of calories… now you know that it’s bad if I don’t eat the chocolate.

Airport Gourmet StoreSo this month I got smart and made a few purchases at the gourmet store at the airport before heading for home. I got a very freshly-baked baguette… still warm to the touch; a tin of pâté de foie gras kissed with Cognac; a jar of marinated white truffles and a small wedge of Camembert cheese. I already knew the airline had an ample supply of good French Champagne and a bottle of 6 year-old Portuguese Port.

Stacks of MacaronsI saw nothing of interest for dessert and besides I do need to lose a few pounds. I was very content with my airplane picnic and thought I was ready to go until I spotted a small kiosk selling Ladurée macarons. Ladurée is a luxury cake and pastry boutique brand based in Paris, France. It is known as the inventor of the double-decker macaroon where fifteen thousand are sold every day. They are considered the best macaron shop in the world. When I speak of macarons, I am not referring to macaroons, those mounds of coconut and almond kosher cookies sold during Passover in Jewish sections of the supermarket which can be mistaken for damp paper weights. I am talking about a beautiful meringue-based confection made from a mixture of egg whites, almond flour, and both granulated and confectioners’ sugar.

While Ladurée is highly esteemed for making exceptional quality macarons in traditional and creative flavors, other French patisseries such as Pierre Hermé and Fauchon are also well known for their macarons as well. Outside of Europe, the pastry has attracted itself to mostly cosmopolitan cities, notably New York, Hong Kong, Singapore, Sydney, Tokyo, and Toronto. New York has recently witnessed a surge in macaron shops.

MacaronsThe confection is characterized by its smooth, domed top, ruffled circumference and flat base. Connoisseurs in general and Ed Engoron in particular prize the delicate, egg shell-like crust that yields to a moist and airy interior. The macaron can be filled and held together with a buttercream frosting or jam filling sandwiched between two macaron cookies. Macarons can be found in a wide variety of flavors that range from the traditional (raspberry, vanilla) to the exotic (truffle, matcha tea) to my favorate—chocolate.

You might think something that beautiful is difficult to make. To the contrary they are quite easy. Recipe for Chocolate Macarons.

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Over 130 and Still Counting

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

— Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique

Over the last 40 years I have visited 131 countries. Some of my older passports are as thick Yellow Pages directories. When my friends return home from an overseas trip, they talk about the museums, churches and castles they have visited. Being a food and chocolate guy, I reminisce about the restaurants, supermarkets and chocolate museums I have discovered.

Did you know that major museums have entire exhibitions dedicated to chocolate and other specialty museums where you feel surrounded by chocolate? At these unique repositories, you will discover how Chocolate engages your senses and reveals facets of this sumptuous, sweet treat that you’ve never thought about before. You’ll explore the plant, the products, and the culture of chocolate through the lenses of science, history, and popular culture.

Choco-StoryThe Choco-Story chocolate museum in Bruges, Belgium, is composed of three parts, telling the story of the origin and evolution of chocolate through a unique collection of almost one thousand objects. Besides the history, the museum also reveals how chocolate is made, with special attention to a variety of raw ingredients and the development of the production process. In the demonstration center, visitors uncover the secret of beautiful silky chocolate and get the opportunity to taste the chocolate products made in the museum.

Wijnzakstraat 2
Sint-Jansplein, 8000 Bruges, Belgium
050 61 22 37

The Chocolate MuseumThe Chocolate Museum opened in June of 1999 in New Brunswick, Canada. It is a must for all Chocoholics! Devoted to the wonder of Chocolate, it displays the history of Ganong Bros. Limited, candy makers in St. Stephen since 1873. The museum is an indoor, unique, interactive experience. What better way to sweeten a child’s enthusiasm for history, chemistry and economics than with chocolate?

73 Milltown Blvd.
St. Stephen, New Brunswick E3L 1G5
“Canada’s Chocolate Town”
(506) 466-7848

The Field Museum At The Field Museum in Chicago you can journey through history to get the complete story behind the tasty treat that we crave in Chocolate. Start your tour in the rainforest with the unique cacao tree whose seeds started it all. Visit the ancient Maya civilization of Central America and discover what chocolate meant nearly 1,500 years ago. Then travel forward in time and northward to the Aztec civilization of 16th-century Mexico, where cacao seeds were so valuable, they were used as money. Discover chocolate’s introduction into the upper classes of European society and its transformation into a mass-produced world commodity.

1400 S. Lake Shore Dr.
Chicago, IL 60605-2496
(312) 922-9410

Imhoff-Stollwerck MuseumThe Imhoff-Stollwerck Museum is just one of the reasons I love Cologne—Germany’s chocolate capital. The museum sits on the Rhine in an impressive ship-shaped construction of glass and metal. It is very open, airy and modern inside. Here you can sip cocoa on the terrace overlooking the Rhine. The museum started as an exhibit meant to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Stollwerk Chocolate Company and was so successful that the idea of a full-scale museum quickly grew from it. The Chocolate Museum opened its doors on October 31st, 1993. This self-financed museum now welcomes more than 5 million visitors a year with an average of 2,000 visitors a day.

The museum is an interactive experience. The tour starts with pictures of cacao plants and takes the visitor through the entire production process from bean to bar. Large color photos are accompanied by explanations in German and English about cultivation and harvest, different kinds of cocoa, and fermentation. Visitors next walk through a small greenhouse where they actually feel the tropical conditions and see growing cocoa plants followed by industrialization and the invention of the machines which allowed chocolate to become the silky texture we are accustomed to today.

Rheinauhafen 1a
D-50678, Cologne
+49-221/93 18 88-0

Museu de la XocolataThe Museu de la Xocolata is a strange Barcelona museum—strangely delicious! Xocolata means chocolate. And to me, good chocolate is a key ingredient of a great vacation. If you like chocolate, the Museu de la Xocolate in the La Ribera district of Barcelona will add to your vacation enjoyment.

The museum shows how the cocoa bean is transformed into chocolate in different historical eras. You’ll also learn about chocolate’s place in history and how it has been represented in media and advertising. Chocolate is used in ways that are hard to imagine and the place is littered with amazing chocolate sculptures.

Carrer del Comerç, 36
08003 Barcelona, España
Tel. 932 687 878

Candy Americana MuseumIn 1972, the Candy Americana Museum in Lititz, Pennsylvania was created by Penny Buzzard, wife the company’s former president John Buzzard. Penny went to antique shows and flea markets looking for old chocolate memorabilia. She gathered more than 1000 varieties of molds, tins, and boxes and displayed them in the museum. Business associates who learned of her efforts began to contribute pieces such as early candy machinery, marble slabs, starch trays, copper kettles, and so on. The prized collection of the museum has more than 150 hand-painted European and Oriental antique porcelain chocolate pots, some bearing the names Haviland, Limoges, and Dresden. The Candy Americana Museum started out as a one-room museum and has expanded slowly. In 1977, the modern candy kitchen was opened. The kitchen features handmade chocolates being created right before your eyes including homemade marshmallow, almond bark, peanut butter meltaways, heavenly hash, mint drizzle, and almond butter crunch.

48 N. Broad St.
Lititz, PA 17543
(717) 626-3249

Chocolate WorldChocolate World, located in Hershey, Pennsylvania, is the beginning of The Hershey Story which takes visitors on an inspirational journey through the life of Milton S. Hershey, the man, his chocolate company, the town that bears his name, and his generous legacy.

The Hershey Story explores the rags to riches accomplishments of an American entrepreneur who used his personal wealth to enrich the lives of others. Hear never-before-shared stories of his innovation and determination. Learn how Mr. Hershey revolutionized the process of making milk chocolate. Discover how the Hershey Industrial School’s orphan boys became heirs to his fortune.

From the interactive Museum Experience and its creative Apprentice Program to the Chocolate Lab to Café Zooka and the Museum Shop, the sweet results of Mr. Hershey’s entrepreneurship, ingenuity and philanthropy are guaranteed to inspire all who enter The Hershey Story.

63 West Chocolate Avenue.
Hershey, PA 17033
(717) 534-3439

Museum of Cocoa and ChocolateBruges, Belgium is home to one of Europe’s chocolate museums—Museum of Cocoa and Chocolate. The museum occupies a three story building on the Rue de la Tete d’Or, and contains numerous exhibits (chocolate moulds, fine porcelain ‘tea’ sets, posters, photos and preserved cocoa pods) as well as demonstrations of the art of the chocolatier. There are even chocolate sculptures and chocolate clothing. Oh, and free samples!

The ground floor houses various glass cases containing old style moulds (some of which are original Cote d’Or moulds), an explanation of the processing of the cocoa beans, and at the rear, a kitchen where there are demonstrations on how pralines are formed in moulds. The upper floors delve more into the history of cocoa, regions where it is produced, and the effects of the cocoa trade both here in Europe and in Africa.

Museum of Cocoa and Chocolate
Rue de la Tête d’Or, 9/11
1000 Brussels (Belgium)
Tel.: +32 (0)2 514 20 48 4

Other Great Chocolate Museums

Musée les Secrets du Chocolat
Geispolsheim, France

Complete with theatre, tea room, and gift shop that sells chocolate pasta, chocolate vinegar, chocolate beer and decorative antique chocolate molds, this museum is every bit as elegant as the country it represents.

Pannys Amazing World of Chocolate
Phillip Island Chocolate Factory
Newhaven, Phillip Island, Victoria, Canada

This facility houses such tongue-in-cheek exhibits as statue of David replicas, a Dame Edna mural and an entire chocolate town. Aside from the eye candy, visitors are treated to real candy with a chocolate sample upon arrival.

Choco-Story Chocolate Museum
Prague, Czech Republic

Chocolate may be a feast for the palate, but this museum is truly a feast for the eyes. With collections of stunning antique chocolate wrappers and demonstrations of the chocolate making process, it’s hard to know what to look at first.

Chocolate Museum
Jeju-do Island, South Korea

While the chocolate workshop, “Bean to Bar” showroom, and art gallery are all impressive, perhaps this museum’s biggest draw is their working San Francisco-style trolley car.

Nestlé Chocolate Museum
Mexico City, Mexico

Known more for its modern design and the speed with which it was built (by most estimates 75 days from start to finish), this futuristic building is an exhibit in itself.

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Why I Hate Marshmallows

Thursday, August 20th, 2009

— Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique

Toasted MarshmallowsWhen I was a kid at Boy Scout camp we used to sit around the campfire immolating Kraft puffed marshmallows on a stick. Everyone said they thought these smoldering lumps of puffy sugar were great—I didn’t and I don’t believe anyone else did either. The only good thing about a burnt Kraft marshmallow was that they usually fell off the skewer and I didn’t have to eat it. Now don’t get me wrong, I had a sweet tooth unparalleled to anyone. I loved sweets (still do), but hated those over-puffed, sickeningly sweet, machine-made, sticky, white, commercial marshmallows.

A marshmallow is a confection that, in its modern form, typically consists of sugar, high fructose corn syrup, water and gelatin. Commercial manufacturers add some artificial flavors and colors, then whip it into a sticky, spongy mass.

Althaea Officinalis

The original recipes for making marshmallow used an extract from the root of the (marsh) mallow plant, Althaea officinalis, instead of the gelatin used today. The Althaea officinalis is a pink-to-white flowering perennial herb, indigenous to the salt marshes and sea-bordering wetlands of Eastern Europe, North Africa and Asia. While not a native to North America, this member of the Hibiscus or mallow plant family was eventually brought to the Americas and became naturalized in the eastern portion of the continent.

Marshmallows were originally made from the stems of the marsh mallow plant (no kidding; that what it’s called). When peeled they reveal a soft and spongy pith with a texture similar to manufactured marshmallow. This pith was boiled in sugar syrup and dried to produce a soft, chewy concoction. This mucilage was used to soothe sore throats in the days when the Egyptians ruled the world around 2000 B.C.

Marshmallows

In 1948 things changed (for the worse) when Alex Doumak got a patent on an extrusion process where marshmallows were extruded as soft cylinders, cut in sections and rolled in a mix of finely ground cornstarch and powdered sugar. This began the bastardization of the marshmallow.

Why I Love Marshmallows

At Choclatique, we make marshmallow better. Our artisanal, all-natural ingredient marshmallows are made the slow, old-fashioned way—one batch at a time. While we don’t use the pith of the Althaea officinalis, we carefully blend Hawaiian cane sugar, egg whites, gelatin, corn syrup and natural vanilla to create Choclatique’s fantastic artisanal marshmallows.Choclatique's Chocolate-Covered Marshmallows While the sugars are being cooked, the egg whites are beaten. Then we slowly merge the hot and cold ingredients together and continue to blend and whip the mixture into a fluffy air-filled mass. The mixture is poured into trays and the marshmallows are set aside for 24 hours to cure before cutting, coating and drizzling with our rich, smooth and creamy Private Reserve Dark or Prestige Milk Chocolate. The marshmallows themselves more closely resemble what would have been made and eaten in the early 1900’s. And, that’s a really good thing.

We are always looking to develop new flavors of marshmallows. This holiday season we will introduce our new Candy Cane Marshmallow. For Valentine’s Day 2010 we will introduce our new Cinnamon Marshmallow and for Easter, our new Lemon Drop Marshmallow. If you have a great marshmallow flavor, let us know. We will name it after you (provided your name is not “Stinky”) and enroll you in the Chocolates of the Month club for a 3-month, free membership. Remember, free is a good thing.

So now you know that there’s no need to continue burning marshmallows over an open fire or dipping them in chocolate or anything else for that matter. Choclatique’s chocolate-enrobed artisanal marshmallows are great all by themselves.

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