Posts Tagged ‘Chocolate Beverages’

In Trivial Pursuit Of Chocolate

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

In writing my new book, Choclatique (Running Press, 2011), a lot of exploration went into searching out the facts and myths, past and present, about everything chocolate. I traveled to over one hundred, thirty countries to uncover all of the hidden secrets about chocolate. Since I was limited to only three hundred pages a lot of good research went on to the editor’s floor. That’s the great part about writing a weekly blog and doing a FoodCast on A Million Cooks, nothing ever goes to waste.

I always choose the chocolate category when playing Trivial Pursuit and I always win. So here’s a chance to improve your Chocolate IQ. Let me share with you the little know and uncelebrated facts that will make you a winner, too.

  • Chocolate is a psychoactive food. If it wasn’t an ancient food, it would probably be regulated or rationed by the US FDA.
  • Devil's Food CakeChocolate is made from the seeds of the tropical cacao tree, Theobroma cacao. The cacao tree was named by the 17th century Swedish naturalist, Linnaeus. The Greek term theobroma means literally “food of the gods.” Chocolate has also been called the food of the devil; but the theological basis of this claim is obscure unless you’re addicted to Devil’s Food Cake.
  • Aztec WarriorsCacao beans were used by the ancient Aztecs to prepare a hot, frothy beverage with stimulant and restorative properties. Chocolate itself was reserved for warriors, nobility and priests. The Aztecs esteemed its reputed ability to confer wisdom and vitality. Taken fermented as a drink, chocolate was also used in religious ceremonies. The sacred concoction was associated with Xochiquetzal, the goddess of fertility. Emperor Montezuma allegedly drank fifty goblets a day.
  • Aztec taxation was levied in cacao beans. One hundred cacao beans could buy a slave. Twelve cacao beans bought the services of courtesan. I wish I could pay my taxes and bills. If our economy doesn’t improve quickly I may have to in Choclatique Chocolate Ingots.
  • The celebrated Italian libertine Giacomo Casanova (1725-1798) took chocolate before bedding his conquests on account of chocolate’s reputation as an aphrodisiac. Who needs Viagra when there’s Choclatique Chocolate?
  • More recently, a study of eight thousand male Harvard graduates showed that chocoholics lived longer than abstainers. Their longevity may be explained by the high polyphenol levels in chocolate. Polyphenols reduce the oxidation of low-density lipoproteins and thereby protect against heart disease. Such theories are still somewhat speculative, but it’s still a good excuse to eat Choclatique Chocolate.
  • Happy Old ManPlacebo-controlled test trials suggest chocolate consumption may subtly enhance cognitive performance. As reported by Dr Bryan Raudenbush (2006), scores for verbal and visual memory are raised by eating chocolate. Impulse-control and reaction-time are also improved. Send an old person Choclatique Chocolate today… right now… what are you waiting for? Don’t tell me you forgot.
  • A “symposium” at the 2007 American Association for the Advancement of Science—hyped as a potentially “mind-altering experience”—presented evidence that chocolate consumption can be good for the brain. Experiments with chocolate-fed mice suggest that flavanol-rich cocoa stimulates neurovascular activity, enhancing memory and alertness. I think chocolate should be on the Medicare formulary list.
  • Coincidentally or otherwise, many of the world’s oldest super centenarians, e.g. Jeanne Calment (1875-1997) and Sarah Knauss (1880-1999), were passionately fond of chocolate. Jeanne Calment habitually ate two pounds of chocolate per week until her physician induced her to give up sweets at the age of 119 – three years before her death aged 122. Life-extensionists are best advised to eat dark chocolate like Choclatique Q-91 rather than the kinds of calorie-rich confectionery popular in the US.
  • Pot BrowniesIn the UK, chocolate bars laced with cannabis are popular with many victims of multiple sclerosis. This treatment of psychoactive confectionery remains unlicensed. Yeah man, what the hell, it’s cool in California… anything goes.
  • Rodolphe LindtChocolate as we know it today dates to the inspired addition of triglyceride cocoa butter by Swiss confectioner Rodolphe Lindt in 1879. The advantage of a butter is that its addition to chocolate sets a bar so that it will readily snap and then melt on the tongue. Cocoa butter begins to soften at around 75º F; it melts at around 97º F. I wonder if anyone ever tried to inject it.
  • Today, chocolates of every description are legal, unscheduled and readily available over the counter. Don’t tell Congress they’ll screw this up, too.
  • Chocolate WomanSome 50% of women reportedly claim to prefer chocolate to sex, though this response may depend on the attributes of the interviewer. Oh, that explains it all.
  • In 2007, a UK study suggested that eating dark chocolate was more rewarding than passionate kissing. More research is needed to replicate this result. I’m waiting, Ladies. I’m still waiting.
  • More than 300 different constituent compounds in chocolate have been identified. Chocolate clearly delivers far more than a brief sugar high. Yet it’s cocktail of psychochemical effects in the central nervous system are poorly understood.

So how does it work? That is the subject of next week exciting Choclatique blog.

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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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