Archive for December, 2009

Intolerance!

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

— Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique

One of my gifts for Christmas this year was The Intolerant Family Cookbook. It is a book written by my cousins, Ellen Fitzsimmons and her daughter, Molly Lepeska. No, it’s not what you think. They’re not a bunch of crazy, wide-eyed radicals. It is a book that features gluten-free, dairy-free, family-friendly food recipes. Several members of my family suffer from food intolerant conditions.

This book is for people with dietary restrictions who want to cook interesting, healthful food that is gluten-free and dairy-free with a reasonable amount of carbohydrates. One of the authors is gluten and dairy intolerant; the other has diabetes. Both are committed to healthy and tasty food that is easy to prepare at home that they never had when they discovered their conditions.

The cookbook includes anecdotes and stories about family, favorite recipes, and the journeys Ellen and Molly made to their changed world of food. The book allows families with food intolerances to celebrate their own everyday family traditions and create their own special holiday food memories.

The book’s recipes are well written and easy to follow with a complete set of nutritionals at the end of each. The important thing is the food tastes great. You will find that the recipes encompass a complete world of food, from starters to party snacks, and soups, salads, main courses, veggies, breads (those hard to find recipes that are gluten-free) and even a large section of desserts.

In reviewing the latter, I noticed Chocolate Chip Cookies, Chocolate Pecan Cookies, the Best Chocolate Pudding and even a Chocolate Frosting. Each of these recipes could be enhanced with the addition of our Choclatique Semi-Sweet, Dark Chocolate Mini-Chips, Ebony Dark Chocolate Pastilles and our Natura (natural) Cocoa Powder. All of these baking ingredients are gluten- and dairy-free products.

Their readers could also benefit from our very special Pure Power Peanut Bar that is 100% gluten-free. Choclatique Pure Power is a delicious, high protein (9.5g) peanut bar that is chock-full of U.S.A. grown Virginia peanuts and all-natural ingredients that are commonly found in your own pantry. We have found that a 1.75 ounce bar is a great quick 210 calorie meal replacement or energy boost. We know what it means to live on a gluten-free diet and how Pure Power is the perfect snack solution for the gluten-free lifestyle. Pure Power is available in 2 flavors — Pure Power Original (with dark chocolate base) and Pure Power Fruit with blueberries, tart cherries and dark chocolate.

You can buy The Intolerant Family Cookbook, by Ellen Fitzsimmons and Molly Lepeska, at www.ifcookbook.com and you can buy many gluten-free and sugar-free chocolate treats and baking ingredients at Choclatique.

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The Eyes of Thailand

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009
— Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique

Elephant ChocolateLast April I wrote about the introduction of Choclatique Elephant—Seriously Strong Chocolate (76%). Since we first introduced it, Elephant Chocolate has become one of our most popular choices for the serious dark chocolate lover.

Friends of the Asian Elephant (FAE) Elephant Hospital in Chiang Mai, ThailandOne of our biggest “fans” is Windy Borman who has produced an amazing film, The Eyes of Thailand. It is a full-length color documentary about Soraida Salwala, the founder of the Friends of the Asian Elephant (FAE) Elephant Hospital in Chiang Mai, Thailand. It chronicles her efforts to save sick and abused Asian elephants of the region. It is tragic to realize that Asian elephants are in serious danger of going extinct within our lifetime!

Now that elephant logging is now illegal in Thailand, many owners look to the tourism industry for income to feed their families and their animals. There are now over 2,000 elephants working in tourist trade, as street beggars, or performing in elephant circus shows. While some tourists think it is fun and exciting to see an elephant up close, feed her bananas, or walk through the jungle on her back, the reality of their lives is much different.

Many of these elephants are overworked and suffer injuries from performances or car accidents, water poisoning from dirty city water and starvation. Others are causalities of landmines where their limbs are blow off. At Choclatique we have held several successful fund raisers to help Windy get her film completed, out for distribution and help save the elephants. The latest one was in mid-December.

Soraida Salwala with an Elephant patientBut unfortunately, December has been a month of ups and downs for the elephants of Chiang Mai—two pachyderm patients (Tahnee and Baby Namfon) died. At the same time Baby Mosha, a 3-year old Asian Elephant landmine survivor was fitted for a new prosthetic limb by the Prostheses Foundation at FAE’s Elephant Hospital. This is her fourth prosthesis since arriving at FAE in 2006. As you can imagine the costs of feeding over 20 elephants, providing medication and, of course changing out prosthetic limbs as often as buying baby a new pair of shoes is expensive.

You can help with a donation to The Eyes of Thailand through their fiscal sponsor, The San Francisco Film Society. You can make a donation in your name, or in honor of someone else, online by clicking here. The link will take you to the secure online donation page for The San Francisco Film Society.

Meet Baby Mosha

Baby MoshaMosha (which means Star in the Karin language) is a 3-year old Asian Elephant at the Friends of the Asian Elephant (FAE) Elephant Hospital.

When she was 7-months old, Mosha stepped on a landmine along the Thai-Burma border. Her owner donated her to FAE, where Soraida Salwala and her staff could rehabilitate and care for her.

This week the Prostheses Foundation visited Mosha and made a mold of her leg to create her fourth prosthesis. As a permanent resident of FAE, Mosha will continue to receive prosthetic limbs throughout her lifetime, which can be as long as 60-80 years.

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Confessions of a Chocoholic

Friday, December 18th, 2009
— Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique

I have a friend who is a call-in radio psychologist. We have been carrying on an internet “affair” about the fantasies of chocolate. Oh, you thought this was going to be another one of those Tiger Wood confession’s stories, didn’t you?

This is my “Dear Doctor” letter for the day.

Dear Doc:

When I was a younger man I was a motion picture and television designer and director. I think most of the ladies liked me because of my artistic “talent” and “good looks” or it could have been because they thought I might be able to get them a part in one of my productions. Mind you, I never took advantage of the situation, but it was fun to fantasize about.

Today, as an older, more mature gentleman my thoughts have turned to food and my fantasies have turned to chocolate. You may think that I have thoughts of painting a beautiful Victoria Secret model with dark chocolate body paint or sharing a milk chocolate bath with some luscious babe, but for me these days it’s about the aroma of this mysterious elixir that seems to drive everyone around me crazy.

You see, “I love the smell of ‘Chocolate’ in the morning.” Borrowing the line (I believe he said “napalm”) from Robert Duvall in “Apocalypse Now” that’s the way I start my day each morning. This morning I was particularly tempted while starting up the milk chocolate tempering kettles to consume the entire batch. The smell was so overwhelming that I dipped a tasting spoon into the 100 pound pot and took a morning hit of our Prestige Milk Chocolate followed a few tablespoons blended with warm milk. This is so much more rewarding than a cup of hot cocoa—after all, it’s Choclatique chocolate. Prestige Milk Chocolate is a special blend of only 5—ingredients cacao mass, cocoa butter, pure vanilla, sugar and real milk—not the powdered milk that most of the other chocolate companies use. What a wonderful, natural high… a hot, thick steamy milk chocolate beverage at 7:30 in the morning!

So, as you can see, my fantasies have turned from beautiful women (movie stars and models) to that of the rich, wonderful aroma (and taste) of freshly melted milk chocolate.

It’s really tough to get old; is there any hope for me or am I forever hopeless?


Dear “Hopeless:”

I say this with my best bed-side manner. Age is simply a state of mind. You are only as old as you feel. Today’s 60 is yesterday’s 40. Okay, I have given you all the “feel good” clichés. What do you want me to tell you? It sucks to get old. Learn to live with it and enjoy your daily hit of chocolate—that may be all you get. And, believe me, you will enjoy it. Here’s why:

Chocolate contains a variety of substances. These include:

  • Sugar—some chocolates (as opposed to Cocoa) contain higher amounts of sugar than others.
  • Theobromine—various theobromines are present. Theobromine is chemically similar to caffeine and is a light stimulus.
  • Anandamide—an endogenous cannabinoid which is also naturally produced in the Human brain and gives you a sexy, feel good feeling.
  • Tryptophan—an essential amino acid that is a precursor to Serotonin, an important neurotransmitter involved in regulating and elevating moods.
  • Phenylethylamine—a Neurotransmitter from which amphetamine is derived. Often described as a ‘love chemical.’ It is quickly metabolised by monoamine oxidase, so it has little effect on the central nervous system, but sure makes you feel like you are falling in love.

All of these and another 300 chemical substances make you feel really great, sexy, energized, YOUNG and in love. So, who needs anything else when you can fantasize about chocolate?

Sweet dreams,

Doc

There are some many wonderful milk chocolate choices to choose from for the holidays starting with Choclatique’s Milk Chocolate Boutique, Collection and Indulgence (8-, 15- and 30-piece box assortments), Choclatique’s Prestige Milk Chocolate Tablets and Tapestries and Choclatique’s Milk Chocolate Foil-Wrapped Easter Eggs.

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