Archive for April, 2009
Wednesday, April 29th, 2009
— Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Most of the trade shows that Joan and I attend are where we are in our own booth serving samples so that people can have an opportunity to try our great, artisan chocolate. This week I am attending the PMCA’s (Pennsylvania Manufacturing Confectioners’ Association) 63rd Annual Conference in Hershey, Pennsylvania. The conference is being held at the Hershey Lodge—just across the street from the factory famed as the home of American chocolate. Yes, this is the place that Milton Hershey planned, financed and built, so it is definitely a place befitting of hosting a conference on, what else, CHOCOLATE.
There is a great roster of speakers covering everything from the health benefits of cocoa to the basic, as well as break-through, chemistry in making chocolate. I tasted cocoa and chocolate in all the basic forms. I sampled raw cacao beans right out of the pod. I had bites of chocolate that included raw, under-fermented, over-fermented, heavy roast, light roast, and even chocolate where the beans had gotten moldy. Yuck! So much for my usual comment that chocolate is like sex… never bad, just some of it IS better than others.
I also tasted some really great chocolate. These perfect specimens were made from Criollo, Forastero, Trinitario and, my favorite, the raw, but delicious Porcelana. I’ve known for a long time what I like, but it was a great validation of the efforts of all the people who work for Choclatique that we have gotten it right with the species and treatment of the beans that we buy.
Some of the best news of the conference however, was delivered by several rather savvy doctors, including Dr. Amy Griel, Dr. Catherine Kwik-Uribe and Dr. Thomas Parady, who spoke on the health aspects of cocoa butter and fats, flavanols and cardiovascular health, and soluble fibers, respectively. So here are some of the “tasty” highlights of what I heard:
- There are alkaloids in chocolate, so you can replace your morning cup of coffee with a hot steaming cup of chocolate… Choclatique Drinking Chocolate, I hope.
- The Flavonoids (or Procyonis) found in chocolate are similar to what you find in healthful portions of wine, grapes, green tea and apples. I guess that means that a piece of chocolate a day keeps the doctor away!
The new studies (of 34,000 participants) proved that chocolate has the ability to solve or ease numerous heath issues:
- Stomach irritation
- Energy (lack of)
- Blood pressure related problem
In short, chocolate has more health benefits that even a glass of red wine.
Another study was done on the island of Kuna (off the coast of Panama) where the islanders do not suffer from any aging diseases—hyper-tension, high cholesterol, even baldness. These native Kunaians have a diet very rich in cocoa. Their culture teaches all to, “Use cocoa every day—from before you were born (pre-natal I suppose) until the day you die and you shall live a long and healthful life.” They eat about 900mg of cocoa a day, but the studies show that just a simple inclusion of 6.4g of good, low sugar-content chocolate per day will do the same job. That’s just two Q-91 wafers per day! I know that’s a shameless plug for our 91% high in cacao mass chocolate, but something has to pay the bills.
Actually, a diet rich in chocolate and nuts (almonds, walnuts and peanuts) is a positive addition to your diet. So remember what mom always used to say, “Everything in moderation.” These studies are evidence that a diet with a moderate amount of chocolate, nuts, fresh fruits and red wine, that is low in trans-fats and saturated-fats and a moderate exercise can reverse the negative effects of aging. Hey, don’t tell anyone, but you just discovered the chocolate fountain of youth.
Special note: Much of the chocolate research to date has been funded by chocolate companies like Nestle, Hershey’s and Mars. These triple-blind studies are always supervised by major universities whose results are independently published.
Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009
— Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
We recently introduced our newest high percentage cacao content dark chocolate—Choclatique’s Elephant…Seriously Strong Chocolate (76%). Over the last couple of months, many have asked us about its origins… and why “Elephant?”
When chocolate and coffee were first spreading across Europe, many of the importers were looking for ways of differentiating their products and brands in the marketplace. The old tin-lined wooden boxes (similar to tea boxes from Asia) and burlap bags that the beans were shipped in really didn’t tell enough of the story to the consuming public.
Animal-style logos appeared on the scene right around the turn of the 20th century. They were designed and put in place on smaller retail containers in stores selling chocolate and coffee throughout the British Empire. The story that they were trying to convey to the public was that their brand of chocolate (or coffee) were both strong and “full-value.” The early logos that the importers used to portray strength were large animals—rhinoceros was a favorite. But, how many rhinos on packages of chocolate can be on the market at the same time without creating general confusion? Elephant and hippopotamus caricatures were next to be seen, followed by horses, eagles and even a few non-animal logos like clipper ships and tall mountains. But the consumer kept coming back for the products portrayed by rhinoceros and elephants.
Ed, Noi & Oon
At Choclatique the founders have a “thing” for elephants. I have traveled to over 130 countries in search of great chocolate sources and have spent many months in Asia where elephants have been an important part of the history and culture of the region.
I have a favorite place just outside of Bangkok which is one of the few elephant refuges in the world where you can spend hours in close contact with the very strong, but playful pachyderms. Look closely, and you’ll see that we’re all smiling! Yes, elephants smile and they laugh, too!
When seriously tasting chocolate, you should allow the chocolate to slowly melt in your mouth to savor the flavor. With Elephant you’ll get big, rich chocolate flavor with the essence of ripe cherry, berry, wine and then more deep chocolate over complex layers of tart citrus, tropical red and yellow fruit and roasted nutty notes. This is all held up by the solid, rich and intense deep chocolate base. This high cacao content, medium-bodied, very intense chocolate is smooth on the tongue and palate with a long, pleasant chocolate finish.
Choclatique’s Elephant Chocolate
We have found these tastes to be right in sync with the flavors that Americans love when eating chocolate. Oh, and by the way, people really love the look of the beautiful, detailed custom mold we had designed just for our Elephant Chocolate.
Choclatique’s dark chocolates—Private Reserve (64%), Ebony (72%), Elephant (76%) and Q-91 (91%) are never bitter or brittle, and they have a naturally intense dark chocolate flavor which requires the use of less sugar. When you tastes our Elephant Chocolate you will see (and taste) the “fruits” of our labor.
If you love elephants, too, and want more information about how to help save these big, gentle creatures, check out Windy Borman and “The Eyes of Thailand” at: dvaproductions.com
Wednesday, April 15th, 2009
— Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Tuesday morning Megyn Kelly on Fox’s America’s Newsroom ran a segment on a guy who “invented” a chocolate inhaler. His claim—it is a great chocolate replacer. Megyn was fast to declare it “a lot of hooey.” And, I’m here to tell you that chocolate is much more than just aroma. So, Megyn, thanks for playing the “Hooey Card,” especially when it comes to chocolate.
Chocolate! There are few foods about which people feel as passionate. One of the most pleasant effects of eating chocolate is the “euphoric feeling” that many people experience after eating it. Chocolate contains more than 300 known beneficial compounds. The small amount of caffeine found in chocolate (1.4 oz of chocolate = 1 cup of decaf coffee) combined with Theobromine, a weak stimulant also present in chocolate, provides the “lift” that chocolate eaters experience. Phenyethylamine is reputed to be a mood elevator and an anti-depressant. Say good-bye to your Prozac. Chocolate is also thought to be an aphrodisiac. Set aside your Levitra. Chocolate has even been proven healthful for the well being of expectant moms.
Medical research has linked the antioxidants found in cacao—the fruit from which chocolate is made—to decreases in blood pressure and reductions of “bad” cholesterol levels. Good high cacao content dark chocolate is low in sugar and rich in flavanols which many physicians and nutritionists say are beneficial to your health. Scientists are still developing their opinions on the health benefits of dark chocolate, but the research has certainly reduced the stigma of a moderate daily chocolate habit.
We sent Megyn a box of our new Elephant Chocolate (76% cacao). This is seriously strong chocolate made for American tastes. On her first bite she will get the hit of big, rich chocolate and then the essence of ripe cherry, berry and wine over complex layers of tart citrus, red fruit and roasted nutty notes all held together by the solid, deep chocolate base. This high cacao content, medium-bodied, very intense chocolate is smooth on the palate with a long and pleasant finish to allow one to savor the flavor. So, you should check it out by tasting. Trust me, you can’t get all that from an inhaler!
Friday, April 10th, 2009
— Joan Vieweger, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Choclatique has joined the blog world! We hope you check in on us often for a dose of flavor, humor, passion and debauchery about our favorite subject… chocolate!
We absolutely love it all… from white to dark, bean to bar and tree to truffle, and every luscious step in between. We are enthralled by the aroma and snap, the rich color and reflective sheen of fine chocolate. Mostly, though, we just love the intesity of flavor and the marvelous sensation on our tongues every time we take a bite.
We welcome chocolate lovers of all sizes, shapes and attitudes, especially those who can appreciate the fun of chocolate! Yes, chocolate is serious, complex and at times very temperamental, but it can also be colorful, flavorful, fanciful and just plain frivolous!
With flavors like Hot Fudge Sundae, Root Beer Float, Jelly Doughnut and Cotton Candy… Choclatique is definitely not your mother’s Belgian chocolate! We’re Authentically American and proud of it! So stay tuned for our next update and until then we wish you Sweet Dreams & Chocolate Kisses!