Archive for September, 2009

It’s All About The Numbers

Thursday, September 24th, 2009
— Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique

Eat More Chocolate!

I like to go to Hooters… strictly for the food, of course. Okay, I do like to look at the beautiful ladies as well. If you’ve ever been there you must have admired the fact that all the ladies manage to fit into a size 4 or smaller.

Yesterday, they handed me a menu and their new state-mandated nutritional guide. While I have always been very conscious about reading the labels on packaged goods I have now been forced to study the amount of calories I am consuming in restaurants. It seems unfair that everything I love has more calories than I can afford. In fact, every place I go these days I am assaulted by the nutritionals of all the menu items. While it’s hard to believe that a Hooters Cobb Salad without dressing is nearly 700 calories—add a little blue cheese dressing and it takes it up to almost 1000 calories. A plate of un-breaded wings is also about the same; add an additional 180 calories for the mild wing sauce. So after seeing these numbers, my first thought is where do the Hooter’s “girls” go for lunch?

No wonder I have had a weight problem! I love foods that are fattening. If I asked you which has more calories?… a Western BBQ burger, a Buffalo Chicken Sandwich or Sloppy Pulled Pork Sandwich… what would your answer be? Wrong! It’s the Buffalo Chicken Sandwich at a whopping 1551 calories. My lunch guest originally ordered that, but then quickly switched to the Pulled Pork Sandwich with less than half the calories unless you add in the Curly Fries at 809 calories, of course.

I noticed that even what I thought was a modest salad at IHOP was nearly 1400 calories—that’s higher than a Chicken-Fried Steak platter. Next time I’ll pass on the salad and eat the steak. It was even worse at my favorite Cheesecake Factory in Marina del Rey. As I was being seated, I had to walk by the display case of desserts and saw the required posted calorie counts of 900 calories for a slice of sugar-free cheesecake to 1700 calories for a piece of their signature chocolate cheesecakes.

It’s been a while since I checked out the calorie counts on our Choclatique Chocolate. What a pleasant surprise when I walked into the Chocolate Studio this morning to read our labels—an entire-8 piece box of Choclatique Decadent Desserts is only 480 calories. That’s one third the calories of a chicken sandwich. A full box of Bubbly—Champagne Truffles— “weighed” in at only 400 calories. If you’re looking for a solid hit of chocolate, a large bar (we call them tablets in Dark, Milk and White) ranges from 510 to 540 calories.

Pure Power BarI have been watching my weight all my life and have been on the Choclatique Q-91 Diet since June and have lost about 25 pounds. I indulge in a just a couple of Q-91 pieces a day at just about 28 calories; plus moderate exercise and I watch my carbs. I also manage to fit in a Choclatique Pure Power Protein bar when I feel the urge to snack (240 calories and 9.5 grams of protein).

Even better than the low calories are the facts regarding the health benefits of chocolate. The darker the chocolate, the richer it is in flavanols which many health professionals say are beneficial to your well-being and looks. Research has linked the antioxidants found in dark chocolate to decreases in blood pressure and “bad” cholesterol. Chocolate has also been shown to reduce cavities. Chocolate is a known stimulant and is also thought to be an aphrodisiac—so kiss your Viagra good-bye.

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 which many believe to be a mood elevator and an anti-depressant.

So there you have it. Chocolate is luscious and tastes fantastic; makes you feel great and has fewer calories than a Buffalo Chicken Sandwich at Hooters. Here is what I propose: Buy an 8-piece box of your favorite Choclatique Chocolate, take it to the nearest Hooters, order a glass of water and look at the ladies. This is guaranteed to elevate your mood to new heights.

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Choclatique’s Strategic Supplier Partnerships

Thursday, September 17th, 2009
— Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique

Taina Franke from EMDWhat goes best with a pretty lady and a beautiful location on a fabulous day? Choclatique Chocolate, that’s what. And that was the case in mid-July when Taina Franke from EMD, the company that helps us make our Choclatique Gemstones and Moon Rocks sparkle, held a customer event at the Waters Restaurant in Irvine, California.

Mission Control Fig Moon Rock

It seems that everybody loved the taste of the Choclatique Moon Rocks and was fascinated by the color and the shiny, perfectly tempered chocolate. EMD is one the companies that Choclatique partners with to help us continue developing unique Authentically American Chocolate with all of our amazing flavors and decorations in our nearly 200 different confections.

The Jewel Box Collection

One way or the other it all comes together. The inspiration for developing the Choclatique Jewel Box first came from Jay Lazar the president of our advertising agency in New York City. Peach Pistachio Opal GemstoneJay had a client that wanted a customer gift for their retail stores that would replicate some of the actual jewelry they were selling. Jay had shown them our Choclatique Moon Rocks Collection and suggested that we were the ones to recreate their jewelry in chocolate. In less than two weeks we transitioned from rustic, gold-veined moon rocks to the Choclatique Jewel Box filled with precious and semi-precious stones.

Challenges in production—creating Moon Rocks and Gemstones— involves our “precious” and “semi-precious” co-workers in the Chocolate Studios who translate our customers’ marketing ideas into luscious and delectable chocolate confections.

All of us at Choclatique continue to create innovative flavors and designs that gain the attention of buyers and the media who continue to create “the buzz” about Choclatique. Our public relations team from Venture IAB, headed by veteran publicist, Sabina Gault (along with Monica and Michael), send samples of everything new and the words to describe them to anyone who will listen and taste. We have found that when we get people to taste Choclatique they quickly become disciples of the brand.

What’s new for the rest of 2009? It’s our Choclatique Napa Valley Wine Chocolates, The Jewel Box Collection, the Boo Box (an 8-piece spooky and scrumptious box of Halloween ghosts), and the new Holidays assortments (with 15 new flavors), plus Homemade Holiday Marshmallow will also headline our offerings. Peanut Brittle Bites, Chocolate Covered Peanut Brittle Bites, Chocolate Almond Butter Toffee Bites and the adorable Choclatique “Chicks” for next Easter all will be available.

Coming in late September are our new Choclatique Baking Mixes. If you love to bake, but sometimes don’t have the time to gather and mix all the ingredients we have created Chocolate, Chocolate Brownie Mix, Double Chocolate, Chocolate Chip Muffins, Ed’s Best Chocolate, Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix, Almost Famous Chocolate Cupcakes and Chocolate Butter Cream Frosting Mix. They’re superior to any store-bought bakery mixes because they are all made with ground chocolate, not just cocoa. They are super-easy to bake, frost and decorate at home. You won’t have a long wait for the compliments.

All of these products have been developed in the Choclatique Chocolate Studios with the support and assistance of our American strategic suppliers.

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A Day of Remembrance

Friday, September 11th, 2009
— Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique

Today is the eighth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on New York, Washington, DC and Pennsylvania. It is the first commemoration since President George W. Bush left office. But even while he was still President there had been a creeping complacency to the remembrance, a feeling of obligation bordering on inconvenience.

Our news networks only show the photo images of that fateful day on the anniversary date. It is as if America wants to move on, but can’t bring itself to ignore the hole that’s still at Ground Zero, the charred corner stone at the Pentagon, the memorial at Shanksville or the war that’s still going on against the Taliban and al Qaeda in Afghanistan and around the world.

9/11 has affected us as no other event in our life histories and we will never forget the carnage and death launched against the United States by these cowards. But what we should also remember and celebrate are the genuine acts of courage and service that have been on-going by our armed forces, law enforcement agencies and first responders who have dedicated their lives for the protection ours. On this day, all of us at Choclatique do remember and want to give a word of thanks to these men and women—American heroes all.

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We Can Always Find a Reason To Celebrate With Choclatique Chocolate

Thursday, September 10th, 2009
— Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique

Pedro Turns 21In many westernized countries, the 21st birthday is a milestone symbolizing that a youth has come “of-age.” The age of twenty-one is usually the time when one is considered to be fully adult, able to sign contracts and drink alcohol. This was the case when our youngest chocolatier, Pedro, celebrated his 21st birthday with his co-workers at Choclatique. I must confess I didn’t know that he was only 19 years old when he graduated culinary school and came to work with us as a chocolatier’s apprentice. “P” has really come a long way in such a short period of time,” says Karen, Senior Choclatique Chocolatier. “He is one of the best new chocolatier we have. Pedro not only loves his work, but he is a lover of everything chocolate and is one of the best tasters in the Chocolate Studio.”

Birthday Cake

Turning 21 is a right of passage for “P.” This weekend Pedro will move into his own apartment just a few blocks away from the Choclatique office. He will also spend part of his special weekend in Las Vegas.

To help him celebrate, Executive Chef Wayne prepared a Fresh Blueberry Chocolate Whipped Lemon Crème Fraîche Mousse Tort with Lemon Chocolate Planks. Now that’s a mouthful to say… and to eat.

Let’s hear it for being 21 and wishing Pedro a very Happy Birthday with many happy returns.

Drink More Chocolate

Choclatique Drinking Chocolate

Here’s a “spirited” way to celebrate your 21st birthday with chocolate. Have your personal bartender make you a hot or cold chocolate beverage with Choclatique’s Dark Chocolate Drinking Mix, Dark Chocolate Cinnamon Drinking Mix or Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Drinking Mix and add a shot of light rum or vanilla vodka.

Or, enjoy Pedro’s Favorite Chocolate Martini:

Pedro’s Favorite “Birthday Bash” Chocolate Martini

There are many ways to make a great chocolate martini. Start by choosing your favorite spirit such as light rum, vodka or brandy as a base to shake with a chocolate liqueur. If you’re looking for a fruitier taste, pick a flavored vodka or rum such as citrus or raspberry. For a sweeter taste, use a vanilla flavored vodka or rum.

For that professional mixologist look, start by coating the rim of the martini glasses with a little chocolate syrup and dip them in Choclatique Decoratifs and finish garnish with Choclatique White or Dark Chocolate Curls.

Ingredients:
1 Tbls. Chocolate Syrup
1 Tbls. Choclatique Decoratifs
1 Choclatique Ebony Dark Chocolate Pastille
2 oz. Base Liquor (vodka, light rum or brandy)
½ oz. Chocolate Liqueur
½ oz. White Crème de Cacao
1 Tsp. Choclatique White or Dark Chocolate Curls

Directions:

  1. Coat rim of martini glass with chocolate syrup and decoratifs (the same way you would coat a glass with salt for a margarita).
  2. Place a single pastille in the bottom of the glass.
  3. Mix the base liquor, Chocolate Liqueur and crème de cacao in a cocktail shaker with ice—shake well—and strain into a martini glass.
  4. Garnish with chocolate curls.

Enjoy a Safe and Sane 21st Birthday

  • 72% of men do not believe that getting drunk to celebrate one’s 21st birthday is a rite-of-passage. It may be traditional to consume some alcohol on your 21st birthday, but many choose not to focus their celebration on alcohol.
  • 80% of men do not attempt to consume 21 drinks. Those who attempt 21 drinks are almost assured of vomiting, blacking out, and experiencing alcohol overdose.
  • 77% of men do not attempt “the crawl” during their 21st birthday celebration. Those who do the crawl end up drinking 50% more than those who do not.
  • Don’t be one of the 33% of people who experience a blackout during their 21st birthday celebration. To avoid blackouts, avoid drinking too much, too quickly.
  • Don’t be one of the 32% of people who vomited during their 21st birthday celebration. To avoid vomiting altogether, consume fewer than 4 drinks.
  • Don’t be one of the 30% of people who had an estimated blood alcohol level of .28, putting them at risk for serious complications from DWI and/or alcohol poisoning.
  • Take it slow, pace yourself, and take some steps to moderate consumption and you may have several more 21 years to celebrate other birthdays.

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This Is The Excuse We’ve All Been Waiting For

Thursday, September 3rd, 2009
— Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique

Chocolate Cuts Death Rate in Heart Attack Survivors

I love the smell of chocolate in the morning—and now here’s another reason why. “Heart attack survivors who eat chocolate two or more times per week cut their risk of dying from coronary disease about threefold compared to those who never touch the stuff”, scientists reported.

So for all of you that have had heart attacks or are at risk of having one let me give you our web address, www.choclatique.com address. We have two products, Q-91 (91%) and Elephant—Seriously Strong Chocolate (76%), that are the low in sugar and are the perfect prescription for what ails you. They are 50 times cheaper and taste better than a Lipitor tablet. This new information alone could cut a couple of trillion dollars off the costs of health care worldwide.

The report went on to say that smaller quantities offer less protection, but are still better than nothing at all. Every little bit helps. If you think I jest, you can find the article that appears in the September issue of the Journal of Internal Medicine.

Earlier research had established a strong link between cocoa-based confections and reduced blood pressure and cholesterol and an improvement in blood flow. It had also shown that chocolate cuts the rate of heart-related mortality in healthy older men, along with post-menopausal women.

But here’s the latest news on the subject. The new study, led by Imre Janszky of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, is the first to demonstrate that consuming chocolate can help ward off the grim reaper even if one has suffered acute myocardial infarction — otherwise known as a heart attack. “[The study] was specific to chocolate — we found no benefit to sweets in general,” said Kenneth Mukamal, a researcher at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston and one of the co-authors of the study. “It seems that antioxidants in cocoa are a likely candidate for explaining the live-saving properties,” he shared with AFP in an exchange of e-mails.

Antioxidants are those somewhat mysterious and magical compounds that protect against so-called free radicals, molecules that accumulate in the body over time and can damage cells and are thought to major play a role in heart disease, cancer and the aging process.

In the study, Janszky and colleagues tracked 1,169 non-diabetic men and women, 45-to-70 years old, in Stockholm County during the early 1990s from the time they were hospitalized with their first-ever heart attack. The participants were asked before leaving the hospital about their food consumption habits over the previous year, including how much chocolate they ate on a regular basis.

They underwent a health examination three months after discharge, and were monitored for eight years after that. The incidence of fatal heart attacks correlated inversely with the amount of chocolate consumed.

These findings supported the increasing evidence that chocolate is a rich source of beneficial bioactive compounds. The results are the same for both men and women, and across all the age groups included in the study. Other factors that might have affected the outcome—alcohol consumption, obesity, and smoking—were also taken into account.

Elephant ChocolateAs mother used to say, “Everything in moderation.” If you have a weight problem, which can also lead to a heart attacked, stick to about an ounce a day. Enjoy chocolate that is high in cacao content and high in mass with less sugar like Q-91 (91%) and Elephant—Seriously Strong Chocolate (76%).

As the Dr. Strangelove of Chocolate (and the co-founder of Choclatique) my advice is to enjoy chocolate when you can. It is a healthier alternative to desserts in moderate quantities. So take two pieces and call me in the morning.

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Sweet Julia

Thursday, September 3rd, 2009

— Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique

Joan Vieweger and I were the co-hosts on ABC’s The Food Show for 5½ years. Julia Child was a frequent guest when she was in Los Angeles. After all, who would ever turn Julia down if she asked to be on your show? There was just one problem, every time she was in studio for a pre-record, Joan was traveling. It became a joke. Our talented editor was able to ask Joan questions on her return and then edit the segment so it was seamless—it always looked like Ed, Joan and Julia were in the studio together.

Several years later in the lobby of the Fairmount Hotel in Chicago, Julia spotted me off to the side and ran over full tilt leaving her small entourage behind, demanding to know in that booming voice of hers, “Ed is Joan here? Is Joan here? I want to meet Joan.” The two of them finally met and Julia, being the gracious grand dame of food hugged Joan in her arms until she tuned blue. You would have thought that Julia and Joan were long lost cousins.

Here is the difference… one of the most creative, talented and giving ladies of our industry found the time to go out of her way to meet a fellow foodie—an admirer of hers—and treat her as an equal. This made a lasting impression that Joan still talks about today.

Julia always had respect for the food and respect for the people who worked in the industry and was a genuinely super wonderful person. Contrast that with some of the “superstar” chefs and food critics who populate the reality food shows today who, while entertaining to some, denigrate our industry, the young chefs working to make a name for themselves and all we stand for.

Here’s a toast to Julia. Hip, hip hooray!

Ed and Julia

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