Archive for August, 2011

Simply The Best People In The World

Thursday, August 25th, 2011
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

Pigging Out at ChoclatiqueOne of the best things about working in the food and confection world is all of the wonderful people that cross your path. I love their personalities and their sense of humor. Some stay a little longer than others, but with few exceptions they all leave a positive imprint on our company and on our lives. Now I’ve been a part of this industry for more years than I care to admit. We have owned our own restaurants, been consultants to the Fortune 500 of food companies, and for the last 7 years we have been totally immersed in chocolate. I’m sure those conjure up some vivid images. People come and go and many come back again. We always try to leave our special imprint by way of establishing an honest work ethic and teaching our co-workers many tricks of the trade.

Last week one of our long distance co-workers showed up on our door step. Spencer Kells was our Executive Chef From 2001 through 2003 just when we began the research and development phase of Choclatique.

Spencer was plucked from the Oriental Hotel in Bangkok and transported to Los Angeles. As the number #2 there, he worked 100 to 120 hours a week cooking some of the best food in Thailand. I loved his food and his great personality and thought he would be perfect for our company. And he was looking for an improved quality of life. We worked on a variety of sweet and savory solutions that are still being served in our clients’ restaurants. He left for more excitement to go to the Willard Hotel in Washington, DC.

You see when you’re on the cooking line in a restaurant in the heat of the night, the adrenalin pulses through your veins and you get a tremendous rush. After two years, Spencer was missing that thrill. Spencer left us to cook for the glitterati of DC including current and past Presidents, Senators, Representatives, Supreme Court Judges and the Who’s Who of Washington. In fact, his first month there he cooked for George W’s second inauguration party.

Ed and FriendsSpencer moved back to Thailand to marry a wonderful lady, Katya, and they now have two beautiful little girls, Zoe and Chloe. For me and the girls, it was love at first bite. Little girls seem to really like me… or maybe it’s the chocolate.

Ed and Friends 2I have found that chocolate is a conversation opener for women of all ages. I make friends on planes with just the mere wave of a Choclatique Chocolate Bar. I get upgraded to first class, escorted through customs, breeze by security and treated to VIP star service with most airlines. I found that a well-placed piece of chocolate at the front desk of my hotel brings all sorts of amenities to my room. Chocolate is not only good for you physically, but fantastic for one’s ego. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to say I own the company. But even when not said, chocolate seems to forgive all sins.

I have one word of advice to all you guys out there—Chocolate. If you want to make friends, be forgiven for some unthinkable transgression or be the life of the party, give a little chocolate. And for you ladies… remember, guys like chocolate, too.

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I Love The Smell Of Chocolate In The Morning

Friday, August 12th, 2011
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

Do you want to feel better? Just a whiff of chocolate can do it.

Just before you ripped the wrapper off your chocolate bar yesterday, did you take a moment to have a good sniff of the unwrapped bar?

While just eating chocolate is enough to put most of us in a good frame of mind and now latest research suggests “odor du chocolat” – just the smell of it – can improve your mood.

This happy news comes from the Human Olfaction Laboratory at Middlesex University, where Neil Martin, a reader in psychology, investigates the effects of room smells on human behavior. In his laboratory, Martin has a square box called an AromaCube, which heats up “odorants” and percolates the smell around the room. That is where Chocolate smells like a “great tasting” theory.

From that box, Martin discovered the power of chocolate in an experiment where he filled rooms with three smells, one of chocolate, a “malodor” of machine oil, which most people find unpleasant, and a lemony, pleasant-but-alerting odor, then monitored testers’ moods.

The aim was to compare the effects of pleasant and unpleasant ambient odors on stress, anxiety, depression and mood. The results proved that that the smell of chocolate really does make people less stressed and anxious, and more relaxed.

Chocoholics will also be pleased to hear about some of Martin’s earlier research. In another study he looked at the effect of chocolate on brain activity. People were presented with a range of smells, some artificial food odors and some real food odors, with both samples including chocolate. He used electroencephalography technology to record his participants’ brain waves as they sniffed the air, and found that in both experiments, the chocolate smell consistently led to a reduction in a particular type of brain activity called theta, which is thought to be an index of attentiveness. Theta levels dropped significantly across both indexes when testees smelled chocolate.

The experiment also shows there is no need for chocolate snobbery. We all know connoisseurs say posh chocolate, with a higher cocoa content, is better for your health, and it might be in some ways, but when it comes to the aroma of chocolate and its resultant relaxing effect, it was found it was the same however much milk the bar contained.

But some of his other scent findings provide more significant practical effects. It seems that scent can affect employment. One study found that a combination of perfume and formal dress worn by an applicant led interviewers to rate them as less warm, more manipulative and less presentable. The study also showed people perform less well on cognitive tasks and report more symptoms of ill health when smelling a “bad” smell.

As a result, people should be aware of their “olfactory environment” to control their feelings. People can use scents to improve alertness, well-being and reduce anxiety. “For example, another study showed that women in a dentist’s waiting room scented with orange reported less anxiety than those in an unscented counterpart.

In another experiment, PlayStations were loaded with a car rally game to test the effect of a lemon smell on driving ability. Men and women were invited to play the game on three different levels and in three different environments, one in an odorless room, one smelling of lemon, and one of machine oil.

The results showed that participants were consistently able to brake more safely and appropriately in the presence of the lemon scent. It’s perhaps because the smell is citrusy and alerting, and suggests that dangling a lemon-scented air freshener in the car could make you a better driver.

The psychology of aromas is like a Rubik’s cube—hard to pin down and more difficult to describe. The problem is science doesn’t really understand smells yet. We have vague terms for them, and say things like “it smells like this or that,” but we don’t have chemical terms for most odors.

One thing is certain, however. The effects of most smells tend to be short-lived. With the exception of chocolate, we get used to odors very quickly and after a while the odor disappears because we become habituated to it.

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How To Make Intensely Dark Chocolate Ice Cream

Friday, August 5th, 2011
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

I got an email last week from Clyde in Phoenix, Arizona asking me about the secrets of making Dark chocolate ice cream.

This is a question that is often asked. How do I get a deep, dark, rich chocolate ice cream when the main ingredient is milk and cream? Obviously, the milk and cream lighten the mix so that if looks a lot like a light milk chocolate ice cream. So here is the ChefSecret—ultra-alkalized cocoa powder is what the professionals use. For my Dark Chocolate Ice Cream recipe I use Choclatique Black Onyx (ultra-Dutched) Cocoa Powder.

But that’s only half of the ChefSecret. The other half is a healthy helping of dark chocolate ganache. “Ganache” is not a scary concept, although the word may not be immediately familiar to most Americans. It’s a blend of chocolate, creams and syrups that results in a velvety, ultra-smooth paste. In the case of my recipe for Dairy-Free Dark Chocolate Ganache the dark chocolate is blended with light corn syrup, cocoa powder and chocolate extract, and whipped until smooth. With no sacrifice of taste or texture, this dark ganache is the perfect building block for those who are lactose intolerant, those on a vegan diet or those who just love really great dark chocolate ice creams.

But Choclatique Black Onyx is not only for ice cream, but for all your darkest cocoa needs. It is an intensely black, ultra Dutch-processed cocoa powder that has been alkalized to the extreme, resulting in a dark, jet black cocoa powder. It sort of resembles copy machine toner in the intensity of the color, but not in the flavor. When used in baking, it produces an impressive, black-as-coal colored appearance.

Choclatique Cocoa PowderBlack Onyx has less fat, and a little less flavor. The processing to blacken it takes a lot of the complex flavor notes away and also tends to create a drier finished baked product. So, for baking we strongly recommend using a 50/50 mixture of Black Onyx along Choclatique Red (Rouge) or Natura Cocoa Powders, which will add back a lot of chocolaty flavor. Less processing during the Dutching process preserves a truer chocolate flavor. If you want to use 100% Choclatique Black Onyx in your baked goods, be sure to increase the shortening in the recipe to alleviate the dryness.

Because not all cocoa powders are crated equal, for making the most successful, decadent chocolate desserts and confections I recommend you only use the finest quality, premium cocoa powders.

I’ve posted the recipes Dairy-Free Dark Chocolate Ganache and Dark Chocolate Ganache Ice Cream on the Choclatique website that will give you an outrageous dark chocolate ice cream that everyone will be talking about for years to come. You can also find these recipes in my new book Choclatique, available on our website and in bookstores nationwide after September 27th.

If you have a passion or even an addiction to the brown stuff, let me know… you can ‘Like’ me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter.

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The Chocolate Psychic

Monday, August 1st, 2011
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

Look into my eyes… I am Karnack, The Prince of Prognostication, The Chocolate Psychic.

If the eight desserts listed below were sitting in front of you, which would you choose—assuming you had no dietary restrictions – (sorry, you can only pick one)! Trust me….this is very accurate. Pick your dessert, and then look to see what psychiatrists think about you.

REMEMBER – No Cheating. Make your choice before you check the meaning. After taking this dessert personality test, send this e-mail on to others.

Here are your choices:
1. Angel Food Cake
2. Chocolate Brownies
3. Lemon Meringue Pie
4. Vanilla Cake with Chocolate Icing
5. Strawberry Short Cake
6. Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Icing
7. Chocolate Ice Cream
8. Carrot Cake

Play by the rules. No, you can’t change your mind once you scroll down, so think carefully about what your choice will be.

Okay?

Now that you’ve made your choice, this is what the researchers say about you…..

Now it’s okay to SCROLL DOWN

1. ANGEL FOOD CAKE—You are sweet, loving, cuddly. You love all warm and fuzzy items. A little nutty at times. Sometimes you need an ice cream cone at the end of the day. Others perceive you as being childlike and immature at times.

2. CHOCOLATE BROWNIES—You are adventurous, love new ideas, and are a champion of underdogs and a slayer of dragons. When tempers flare up you whip out your saber. You are always the oddball with a unique sense of humor and direction. You tend to be very loyal.

3. LEMON MERINGUE PIE—Smooth, fun, & articulate with your hands, you are an excellent caregiver and a good teacher. But don’t try to walk and chew gum at the same time. A bit of a diva at times, you set your own style because you do your own thing. You shine when it comes to helping others and have many friends.

4. VANILLA CAKE WITH CHOCOLATE ICING—You are fun-loving, sassy, humorous, not very grounded in life, but not very indecisive and lacking motivation. Everyone enjoys being around you, but you are a practical joker. Others should be cautious in making you mad. However, you are a friend for life.

5. STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE—You are romantic, warm and loving. You care about other people, can be counted on in a pinch and expect the same in return. Intuitively keen. You can be very emotional at times but a true person in every way. You like to do things for yourself and help others learn about themselves.

6. CHOCOLATE CAKE WITH CHOCOLATE ICING—You are vivacious, always ready to give and receive. You are very creative, adventurous, ambitious and passionate. You can appear to have a cold exterior but are warm on the inside. Not afraid to take chances. You won’t settle for anything average in life. Love to laugh.

7. CHOCOLATE ICE CREAM—You like sports, whether it’s baseball, football, basketball, or soccer. If you could, you would like to participate, but you enjoy watching sports. You don’t like to give up the remote control. You tend to be self-centered and high maintenance.

8. CARROT CAKE—You are a very fun loving person, who loves to laugh. You are fun to be with. People like to hang out with you. You are a very warm hearted person and a little quirky at times. You have many loyal friends. You were meant to lead and teach others. You are a wonderful role model.

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