Archive for July, 2010

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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Just a Spoonful of Medicine or a Chunk of Chocolate

Friday, July 9th, 2010
— Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique

This is just the news I have been waiting for. According to Dr. Karin Ried, a researcher at Adelaide University, “Just a chunk of chocolate a day could have the same effect on high blood pressure as half an hour of exercise.”

As it turns out, while people have been looking for the fountain of youth, the silver bullet or Holy Grail has been right there on the shelf in the candy aisle of your favorite supermarket or confection store all along.

We now know for certain that chocolate—and especially dark chocolate—contains chemicals known as flavanols which naturally open up blood vessels in the body. That means blood flows more easily and blood pressure drops.

The study showed that for those suffering from high blood pressure the effect of chocolate was so dramatic it could reduce their chances of having a heart attack or stroke by 20% over five years. Hey, I’ve been eating chocolate for over 50 years. I’m going to live forever!

“You don’t always need medication to reduce blood pressure,” said Dr. Ried who carried out the research. “This [study] shows that there are some [functional] foods that can help.”

Millions of people around the world suffer from high blood pressure–also known as hypertension; around half of them undiagnosed. About one in 10 patients cannot control the condition with medication or cannot tolerate the drugs, leaving them at greater risk. Hundreds of millions face a lifetime on medication to reduce the risk of suffering heart disease, strokes or even kidney failure.

For the latest research, Dr. Ried and her team of doctors and medical researchers combined the results of 15 other studies looking at chocolate and cocoa between 1955 and 2009 covering hundreds of people. They found that for people with hypertension, eating chocolate could reduce the blood pressure by up to five per cent. For those with normal pressure it had no effect. “This is a significant finding,” said Dr Ried.

“We’ve found that consumption can significantly, albeit modestly, reduce blood pressure for people with high blood pressure, but not for people with normal blood pressure.”

She said it will take more research to determine the optimal amount of chocolate that was needed to make the most difference. Any volunteers who want to eat massive amounts of chocolate are welcome to sign up here.

She said the studies varied from just one chunk (6g) to a whole bar (100g) a day. People with high blood pressure are seen to have it consistently higher than 140mm Hg systolic or 90mm Hg diastolic. Normal is 90/60. The results showed that chocolate would make it drop 5mm in systolic pressure which is comparable to the known effects of 30 daily minutes of moderate physical activity such as brisk walking or swimming.

Chocolate has been found to have health giving benefits in the past. Research published earlier this year showed that people who eat just one bar a week are 22% less likely to suffer a stroke. Choclatique’s Q-91 may be just the answer to your functional chocolate needs. Q-91 is our super-dark, bittersweet premium chocolate high in cacao mass. One of the most pleasant effects of eating Q-91 chocolate is the “euphoric feeling” that many people experience after indulging. Chocolate contains more than 300 known beneficial compounds including alkaloids such as theobromine and phenethylamine, which are said to have positive physiological effects on the body, and have been linked to increased serotonin levels in the brain.

Scientists claim that chocolate, eaten in moderation, can not only lower blood pressure, but prevent tooth decay as well. Dark chocolate has recently been promoted for its additional health benefits, including a substantial amount of antioxidants that reduce the formation of free radicals and reduce the effects of aging. However, the health giving benefits have to be weighed against their contribution to weight gain.

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Top 5 Reasons to Celebrate… with Chocolate!

Friday, July 2nd, 2010

 

— Joan Vieweger, Co-Founder of Choclatique

These days, with so much doom and gloom in the news and our nation’s leaders and representatives bickering like spoiled children, we need to find more reasons to celebrate each and every day. Here at Choclatique, we celebrate with chocolate, of course!

#5… It’s our birthday! Our country turns 234 on July 4th… seems like a great big chocolate birthday cake is in order, right? A Coca-Cola® Chocolate Cake1 sounds perfect. What could be more all-American than that? Happy Birthday, America!

#4… Those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer! Nat King Cole got it right with the soda, pretzels and beer, but where was the custard? I’m a Milwaukee girl; growing up our summers always included plenty of trips to Gillesor Kopp’s Frozen Custard stands and I’ve spread the word like an evangelist. So much so that Ed was inspired to create Deep Dark Chocolate Frozen Custard1.

#3… No more mandatory vuvuzela! While it might be a bit sad that America is no longer in the running for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, I think we can all celebrate not having to endure the maddening reverberations of the vuvuzela with Intoxicating Chocolate Peanut Butter & Jelly Shots1.

#2… 3-D technology has gone mainstream! Not that long ago, 3-D movies were travelogue-type documentaries released every couple of years to be viewed at a handful of theaters across the country. Today any number of movies are playing in 3-D at our neighborhood theaters and soon we’ll be watching all of our favorite TV shows in 3-D, too. Celebrate with 3-D Chocolate Filled Pancakes1!

And the #1 reason to celebrate… the book is finished and off to the editor!! Here at Choclatique, we’re definitely celebrating the completion of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique… Ed’s new chocolate adventure book coming out next year! Filled with the most wonderful chocolate recipes you’ll ever dream of and an array of exciting and exhilarating exploits and escapades, this is definitely not your mother’s cookbook. So join us… we’re celebrating with a pan of Ed’s Best “Got Milk?” Chocolate Brownies1!

1Recipe from Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, coming soon (2011) from Running Press.

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