Posts Tagged ‘Dark Chocolate’

Ring in the New Year with New Resolutions

Thursday, December 29th, 2011

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

January-1Ringing in the New Year has always been a time for reflection—looking back to the past, and more importantly, looking toward the coming year. Once again it’s time to reflect on the changes we want to make in our lives and resolve to follow through on those ideals.

Let’s see if any of your New Year’s Resolutions made my Top 12 List?

  1. Make Time For Fitness
  2. Eat properly—Lose Weight
  3. Get Enough Sleep
  4. Drink Less Booze
  5. Quit Smoking
  6. Reduce Stress
  7. Improve Finances
  8. Improve Your Career—Improve Your Education
  9. Don’t Be a Grump—Be Happy and Make Others Happy, Too
  10. Manage My Time
  11. Volunteer To Help Others
  12. Eat More Dark Chocolate

RockstarIt is interesting to note that the evidence is in for fitness. Regular exercise has been associated with more health benefits than anything else known to man. Studies show that it reduces the risk of some cancers, increases longevity, helps achieve and maintain weight loss, enhances mood, lowers blood pressure and even improves arthritis. In short, exercise keeps you healthy and makes you look and feel better and younger. Why not make this the time to start getting in shape?

New Years ResolutionOver 66 percent of adult Americans are considered overweight or obese, so it is not surprising to find that weight loss is one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions. Setting reasonable goals and staying focused are the two most important factors in sticking with a weight loss program, and the key to success for those millions of Americans who made a New Year’s commitment to shed extra pounds.

Sleep deprivation is one of the major causes of heart attacks, strokes, diabetes and obesity. Make sure that you allow yourself enough time to get the sleep you need to recharge your batteries and stay healthy and fit.

ChampagneNew Year’s Eve is always a great incentive to finally stop drinking or reduce the amount of liquor you consume. Going cold turkey is very difficult for the heavy drinker as most are not equipped to make such a drastic lifestyle change all at once; they do much better when they taper gradually, or even learn to moderate their drinking.

Smoking is a dirty, sticky habit! If you have resolved to make this the year that you stamp out your smoking habit, over-the-counter availability of nicotine replacement therapy now provides easier access to proven quit-smoking aids. Even if you’ve tried to quit before and failed, don’t let it get you down. On average, smokers try about four times before they quit for good. Start enjoying the rest of your smoke-free life!

StressStress kills; it’s as simple as that. Reduce your conflicts; restrict your debates to those that count. Not everything has to be a win-all situation. Get a massage, relax a little! You’ll feel so much better and so will the people around you.

Okay the economy stinks! You feel no one understands what you are going through, but that is not the case. Millions of Americans are going through a rough time and many of them are suffering for it. There are debt relief organizations that are willing to give a helping hand with little or no fees required.

Waldorf and StatlerSo you’re not in the 1% like you planned to be and you are carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders along with the majority of the nearly 300,000,000. It’s tough out there and we all know it. Take the time to say good morning, don’t forget to kiss your spouse each night and let your kids and coworkers know when they have done something right. Go out of your way to find someone in the act of doing the right thing. Put on that smile and be less grumpy.

Time is precious, learn to manage it and don’t let it manage you. Allow for a balance in your life—time for work, time for family and time for you.

New Years ResolutionsMake this the year that counts. If you’re considering a career change, want to learn a new language, or just how to fix your computer? Whether you take a course or read a book, you’ll find education to be one of the easiest, most motivating New Year’s resolutions to keep. Community Colleges offer a wide variety of “lifelong learning” courses, and local YMCA’s offer great recreational training for beginners of all ages. Most local colleges and universities offer distance and adult education programs. Or if the arts are more your thing, community museums and playhouses offer many adult studio classes.

Fulfill a non-selfish New Year’s resolution. Volunteerism can take many forms. Whether you choose to spend time helping out at your local library, mentoring a child, or building a house, there are many nonprofit volunteer organizations that could really use your help. Make an effort to visit returning veterans at your local VA hospital. They really need the company, especially around holiday times. They have given so much to our country. Or if your time is really in short supply, maybe you can donate furniture, clothing and other household items that you no longer need, rather than leaving them out by the curb to be discarded.

What does all this have to do with chocolate? All of the latest research shows in even the strongest terms that the long-term consumption of dark chocolate is associated with lower blood pressure, lower bad cholesterol, weight control, reduction of cavities and, in addition, is a wonderful, non-addictive mood elevator. Just match this list against my 12 Top 12 Resolutions and see how you can better achieve success in 2012.

If you’re interested in learning more about chocolate, its effects on the human body and improving your disposition, buy Choclatique—150 Simply Elegant Desserts. It is a great anytime gift and most importantly, the recipes make luscious tasting desserts perfectly the first time and every time thereafter. It is a foolproof guide to making all of your favorite desserts and improving your sweet disposition and those all around you.

CHOCLATIQUE by Ed Engoron ––––––––––––––– Full-Color Throughout 256 pages • 8 x 10 $27.00 /$31.50 CAN /£14.99 UK ISBN 978-0-7624-3964-5 • Available now on the Choclatique Website and in Book Stores

CHOCLATIQUE by Ed Engoron
Full-Color Throughout 256 pages • 8 x 10 $27.00 /$31.50 CAN /£14.99 UK ISBN 978-0-7624-3964-5 • hc Available on the Choclatique Website and Book Stores, September, 2011

All of us at Choclatique wish you and yours the very best of success in the New Year filled with sweet dreams and chocolate wishes.

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Chocolate Buzz

Friday, December 9th, 2011

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

blood_pressureAs if anyone really needs more excuses to eat chocolate, the latest research indicates in even stronger terms that the long-term consumption of dark chocolate is associated with lower blood pressure. However, this doesn’t mean forgoing balanced meals for a chocolate-only diet.

It’s okay to eat a little chocolate daily. New research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association reports that a single square of chocolate a day can reduce blood pressure. Q-91 IngotThis is the first study to show the benefits of cocoa in dark chocolate over the long-term. Previous short-term studies have looked at the effects of cocoa on blood pressure, with encouraging results. However, there have been questions whether or not increasing chocolate intake over a long period of time would actually negate the blood pressure effects due to an increase in calories and fat. We suggest one of our new special squares of Choclatique Q-91 as the perfect way to enjoy chocolate and still get the great benefit of the dark stuff.

Remember: Dark chocolate trumps milk and white chocolate. Participants of the recent study were given a 30-calorie square of chocolate (one group received white chocolate, the other group received dark chocolate) over the course of 18 weeks. There were no significant changes in weight, lipids or blood glucose in the dark chocolate group. But participants did experience a decrease in blood pressure. The participants in the white chocolate did not show the same results.

Elephant ChocolatesDon’t be tempted overindulge in dark chocolate. Regardless of the heart-healthy benefits of dark chocolate, experts still caution that you don’t overindulge. One, pre-measured, individually-wrapped square of Choclatique Q-91 or one piece of Choclatique Elephant Chocolate a day is all you need to achieve the desired health benefits. Any additional chocolate falls into the indulgence category which is great for a chocolaty reward.

Our functional chocolates may be considered a healthy candy, but as with any dietary supplement, be sure to check with your doctor if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or have a health condition requiring nutritional care.

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Chocolate May Prevent Strokes In Women

Friday, October 14th, 2011

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

Lori CorbinWatch for me on ABC-7 NEWS on Monday October 17th at 6:40am and 11:00pm with Lori Corbin—The Food Coach—when we discuss the health aspects of a chocolate lifestyle.

No sooner had the interview ended when I received a copy of new research suggesting that eating chocolate could reduce the risk of a stroke. Wow! That’s big news. American College of CardiologyThe study, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, found that women who had eaten an average of about 2.3 ounces of dark chocolate per week significantly reduced their risk for a stroke. Swedish scientists tracked more than 33,000 women, ages 49 to 83 years old, for about 10 years. The more chocolate they reported eating, the less likely they were to have had a stroke. Specifically, 1,549 strokes were reported, but those women who had eaten more than 45 grams of chocolate reported about 2.5 strokes per 1,000 compared to 7.8 per 1,000 among their peers who ate fewer than 8.9 grams.

Q-91However, that does not mean anyone should abandon common sense. “Chocolate should be consumed in moderation as it is high in calories, fat, and sugar,” Susanna Larsson from Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm told Reuters Health. “As dark chocolate contains more cocoa and less sugar than milk chocolate, consumption of dark chocolate would be the most beneficial.” That would include Choclatique’s functional, Q-91.

Also, look for me on Fox Business Tuesday, October 18th at 12:pm EDT on Live Weekdays at Noon. I will also be in New York taping a segment for Better TV – 9, a syndicated show that airs on 80 stations nationwide owned by Meredith, Fox, CBS, Tribune, LIN TV, Journal and Sinclair. I will be making chocolate truffles from a recipe from my new adventure cookbook, Choclatique—150 Simply Elegant Recipes.

QR CodeChoclatique (the book) is sprinkled with QR Codes (Quick Response Codes)… those funny little Rorschach squares you see popping up seemingly everywhere these days. When scanned by a smart phone they take you to a video of the ChefSecret that is at the end of many of the recipes. This is the first time that this technology has been available to be used in the publishing of a cookbook.

And, lastly and most importantly, the recipes make luscious tasting desserts perfectly for the first time and every time there after. It is a foolproof guide to making all of your favorite desserts.

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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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The Appeal of ‘Healthier’ Sweets

Friday, June 10th, 2011

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

Chocolate KidYou don’t have to convince a kid to eat a piece of candy. But to help grown-ups justify indulging in a chocolate bar or a handful of jellybeans, candy companies are touting new health benefits of their products. Though health benefits are not the direct reason for consumers to grab up the sweet stuff, it is an added incentive.

At Choclatique, we know that consumers buy candy primarily for the taste, but it does factor in that consumers are more focused on their diets these days and are trying to eat more healthfully. We think it’s more than just an added benefit.

Dark Chocolate SquaresOne of the best-known healthful treats is dark chocolate. Dark chocolate makers were among the first to educate consumers on the ‘better for you’ positioning, especially promoting the antioxidant content. But more recently, candy companies offering assorted fruit flavors have been getting in on the health trend as well.

PomegranatesWe’ve known for a long time that consumers read labels and look for confections with no preservatives, artificial colors or flavors which are the basis for Choclatique products. They’re also interested in candy made without high-fructose corn syrup—using pure cane sugar instead. Now, we are finding many snack and candy companies are promoting products with additional antioxidants. Pomegranate and other fruits big on health benefits have become a popular addition to many candies. Some of the newest flavors of licorice include blueberry and pomegranate made from real juice. Chocolate manufacturers, while still marketing their dark chocolate for its health benefits, have also moved on to chocolate low in sugar or completely sugar-free and the blending of fruits high in antioxidants such as strawberry, orange, blueberry, cherry and pomegranate.

Pure Power BarsAt Choclatique, we make the Pure Power energy bar. Made with US-grown peanuts, peanut flour, cherries and blueberries, this healthy snack packs over 9 grams of pure protein and is high in antioxidants. Footed with a low sugar chocolate platform, all of the ingredients are commonly found in your own pantry. One great additional benefit is that Pure Power is also Gluten-free.

For some, price is a strong factor with consumers willing to choose a cheaper, less healthy product rather than pay a little more for something more healthful. But now, some health concerns are carrying over to the general public and consumers starting to understand that a piece of chocolate can be more than just a satiating snack. Market research shows that while healthier candies were once only reaching a niche audience… that audience is growing. There are groups, such as baby boomers and young families that are more inclined to look for health benefits than just price alone.

Elephant ChocolatesAt Choclatique, we feature Elephant Chocolate, Q-91 and Private Reserve Dark that are lower in sugar and higher in many of the healthful benefits than milk or white chocolate. We offer the appeal and benefits to a more health conscious consumer with functional chocolates while still maintaining tasteful indulgence.

If you have a passion or even an addiction to the brown stuff, let’s talk… you can look me up on Facebook and follow me on Twitter.

Another Shameless Plug: I want to introduce you to my new book, Choclatique. It’s the perfect gift for brides, grooms, grandchildren’s birthday, anniversaries… actually Choclatique, both the book and the chocolate, are perfect for just about any occasion. Signed copies will be available after October 1st.

QR CodeChoclatique is the first interactive cookbook. It is sprinkled with ChefSecrets which are highlighted with a QR Code. When you scan the QR Code with your smartphone, it directs you to a video where I demonstrate the “secret” technique. You can also purchase a chocolate tasting kit to compliment the book. Pretty cool!

CHOCLATIQUE by Ed Engoron ––––––––––––––– Full-Color Throughout 256 pages • 8 x 10 $27.00 /$31.50 CAN /£14.99 UK ISBN 978-0-7624-3964-5 • hc Available on the Choclatique Website and Book Stores, September, 2011

CHOCLATIQUE by Ed Engoron
Full-Color Throughout 256 pages • 8 x 10 $27.00 /$31.50 CAN /£14.99 UK ISBN 978-0-7624-3964-5 • hc Available on the Choclatique Website and Book Stores, September, 2011

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Welcoming in the Healthy New Year with Chocolate—2011

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

2010 has come to an end and this is the beginning of a promising new year—2011. It is an appropriate time to look back at some of the events that have taken center stage in our lives over the last year. Don’t worry… I am not going to carry on about health care, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell; the START Treaty or even the drubbing the Democrats took during the November election. About the only subject on a political note I have is over my concerns of tragic unrest in Ivory Coast which has the vast potential to disrupt the lives of many innocent people and further destabilize cocoa prices which are already at an all-time high.

What I do want to address are new learnings about chocolate this past year. The cacao genome map is being studied and we are discovering so much more about this wonderful, ancient and magical plant, including all of the health benefits that can be derived from eating a moderate amount of dark chocolate each day.

We read about a new cocoa-based drug that has the potential to treat persistent coughs. The drug is a joint development by United Kingdom-based SEEK, and United States-based Pernix. This new drug contains theobromine, an ingredient naturally present in cocoa and chocolate. The drug is entering the final stages of human clinical trials and could be on market within a little more than two years. This will be the first effective non-opioid treatment for persistent or chronic cough in two decades. Human trial research in South Korea has shown that theobromine has none of the side effects associated with standard drug treatments for persistent cough.

Persistent cough is a very common condition, afflicting over 800 million people worldwide, with an estimated 12% of the general population having the symptoms. Failure to treat a cough can lead to enormous consequences in terms of loss of one’s heath and well-being. Theobromine, a key compound in chocolate, has been shown to inhibit the inappropriate firing of the vagus nerve, which is a key cause of a persistent cough.

I, for one, have had a persistent, nagging cough since a bout with pneumonia several years ago and take at least one Choclatique Q-91 square—our functional chocolate—to dampen it down. As good as Q-91 is, I am still looking forward to concentrated chocolate flavored cough drops or syrups.

During the year we continued to hear about the expanded benefits of chocolate which has been used a vasodilator, or blood vessel widener, a diuretic, a heart stimulant, a cavity inhibitor and even a way to improve bad breath.

We also learned this year that Flavanol compounds derived from cocoa boosts the beneficial bacteria in the intestine. The study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, demonstrates the effect of cocoa flavanols on select stomach bacteria in humans and, “suggests the potential prebiotic benefits associated with the dietary inclusion of flavanol-rich foods have a beneficial effect through their selective metabolism in the intestinal tract.”

Q-91Scientists from the Nestlé Research Center reported earlier this year that a that daily consumption of just 40 grams of dark chocolate like Choclatique’s Q-91 significantly increases a person’s metabolism to help control weight maintenance. Dr. Jeremy Spencer from the University of Reading said that implications of the study are “that subtle changes in dietary habits, such as eating dark chocolate, can benefit long term health.”

Manufacturers’ interest in the active compounds in cocoa started about 20 years ago when scientists sought to understand the flavor components of chocolate. The bitter and astringent compounds were isolated, and further study and clinical work showed the health benefits of the monomers and the tannins, particularly epicatechin.

Scientists active in the area are keen to stress that chocolate and cocoa are very different in terms and not interchangeable. Cocoa is the non-fat component of cocoa liquor (finely ground cocoa beans) which is used in chocolate making or as Cocoa liquor contains approximately 55 per cent cocoa butter and together this comprises cocoa solids, often referred to on chocolate packaging. cocoa powder (usually about 12 percent fat) for cooking and drinks. Chocolate refers to the combination of cocoa, cocoa butter, sugar, etc. in a solid food product.

Choclatique CrewAll of us at Choclatique thank you—our loyal readers and valued customers—for a great 2010 and we wish you all a healthful and prosperous 2011 filled with sweet dreams and chocolate wishes.

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Selecting the Perfect Chocolate

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010
— Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique

If you love to bake anything chocolate you may have found that choosing chocolate for baking has gotten a little complicated. It used to be pretty straightforward — dark, milk, white, sweet, un-sweetened, semisweet or bittersweet. But these days, sorting out which chocolate belongs in your brownies or chocolate chip cookies can seem more like selecting a fine wine than whipping up a batch of your kid’s favorite cupcakes. Your choices can be very confusing with all the different percentages listed on the package. You can find 33%, 47%, 64% or even 91% percent cacao is available on the market and some chocolate with no percentage of cacao listed at all. Then the question must be asked is one any better than the other? And, what’s all this percent stuff about cacao, anyway?

American chocolate companies have taken a page out of the wine and coffee industries’ marketing books and have begun labeling their bars with the source of origin, single origin (estate grown) and according to the percentage of cacao content which is the combined blend of cocoa solids and cocoa butter.

The biggest problem is there’s way too much emphasis on the percentage of cacao and not enough attention paid to the ratio of the ingredients. Most people think the higher the percentage of cacao, the better the chocolate. There are other factors that go into chocolate quality. It’s really misleading to just claim that one bar compared to another is better just because it has 80 percent cacao versus 70 percent cacao for another.

Good chocolate makers use simple ingredients, a blend of cacao—fats and solids—sugar and dairy in the case of milk chocolate. The ratio of the blend affects taste, texture and how it reacts in making chocolate both for eating or baking. A higher percentage of cacao doesn’t guarantee a more intense chocolate flavor, because cacao percentages represent the total of all cocoa solids (from which chocolate gets its flavor) and cocoa butter (which imparts chocolate’s lush mouth feel). While different chocolates may have the same percent of total cacao, they could contain vastly different ratios of solids and fats, and that dramatically influences both the taste, texture of and the “bakablity” of the chocolate.

Higher cacao percentages also don’t necessarily result in higher quality either. Taste is influenced more by the origin, drying, fermenting, roasting and the blend of beans. Better beans can produce better chocolate, even with lower percentages and cacao ratios.

Private Reserve Dark BarSo What Should You Buy?

For eating, stick to less than 70 percent cacao. Sugar enhances the flavor and texture of chocolate… bars with higher ratios, especially European chocolate can taste bitter and chalky depending on how the bean has been roasted. I recommend Choclatique’s Private Reserve Dark Chocolate Bar (64%).

Chocolate PastillesFor baking, I like to use and 70 to 80 percent dark chocolate depending on the ration of fat to solids. Our Ebony Dark Chocolate Pastilles (72%) are perfect for both flavor and mouthfeel. If you want a great milk chocolate, I suggest our Heirloom Milk Chocolate (41%) and for the best baking white chocolate I only use Choclatique’s Snowy-White Chocolate Pastilles (32%).

Of course, it ultimately all comes down to taste. If you’re looking for great baking chocolate, don’t use one that you wouldn’t enjoy eating.

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The Making of Q-91 Chocolate

Thursday, August 12th, 2010
— Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique

An intense, rich, robust taste of our darkest chocolate!

The artisan chocolate industry is still very much in its infancy. It’s on a parallel path to where the wine industry was in the early 1960s with vintages, estate-produced blends and even single origin varietals. While I never thought anything could me more complex than growing and harvesting grapes, crushing and fermenting the must, the aging process, and finally bottling the wine, I’ve learned that the chocolate-making process is very much like that of wine… only on steroids—more temperamental, more multifaceted, and even more rewarding. It is now a known fact that dark chocolate, high in cacao mass, has many of the same health benefits that have been recently discovered in red wines.

The complexities of turning rustic cacao beans into fine chocolate are many. Consider that cacao crops are grown on plantations by over 3.5 million independent subsistence farmers in no fewer than 50 exotic countries like Vietnam, Malaysia, Ecuador and Columbia… distances of over 5,000-10,000 miles from where the beans are grown to where they are processed. The beans have to be of certain specie and harvested at the perfect moment of ripeness. The farmers must also carefully ferment and dry the beans before shipping them to artisan chocolate makers and chocolatiers in the United States (and other points around the world) for further processing.

Recently, Joan and I had the experience of following the process of making Q-91, from the plantantation in South America to the processing facility in the Untied States where we carefully observed the production of turning the once cacao beans into a fine grand crux chocolate.

The treasure of beans were imported to the United States from small, subsistence farms near one of the many tributaries of the Amazon. Initially transported by burros to all-terrain vehicles, they finally made it to airplanes, then get flown to California. It was here that the beans were slowly roasted and winnowed, a process of removing the outer shell and extracting the inner bean, leaving the rich, aromatic and flavorful cacao mass of chocolate liquor and cocoa butter.

The unfinished mass was converted into Q-91 chocolate with only the addition of a small measure of Hawaiian cane sugar, a touch of vanilla and some additional cocoa butter, then conched for over 72 hours. The result was our highest percentage of cacao mass chocolate. I think you will agree that it is one of the finest chocolates ever to be tasted.

This South American treasure, made from the species of beans that Montezuma himself might have enjoyed, is rich in the most full-bodied, “big chocolate” intensity available. The chocolate has light undertones of coffee, red fruit, touches of tropical forest musk, with traces of banana and cashew flavors.

Like wine, chocolate goes through its own manner of “bottle shock” and must be allowed to relax to fully develop. Q-91At Choclatique, we quality check and, of course, the taste the texture of our chocolate on the day of production, four days after production when the chocolate has had a chance to fully develop its Beta 5 crystalline structure, and again twenty days post-production when the chocolate has fully matured before it is sold.

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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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Can Choclatique’s Q-91 be a Cure for What Ails You?

Monday, April 19th, 2010
— Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique

This week, Spanish medical researchers reported that chocolate may be good medicine for patients with severe liver disease. Those Spaniards must have known something very early on know since they’re the ones who first brought chocolate to Europe from the New World in the Americas.

Dr. Mark ThurszReuters of London was all abuzz about comments made by Dr. Mark Thursz, a professor of hepatology at London’s Imperial College, when he said, “This new study shows a clear association between eating dark chocolate and (lower) portal hypertension and demonstrates the potential importance of improvements in the management of cirrhotic patients with chocolate.” Cocoa, rich in dark chocolate and low in sugar, could be prescribed for people with liver cirrhosis in the future. This is yet another new study among a body of research to demonstrate the amazing potential health benefits of chocolate.

The Spanish researchers said that eating dark chocolate capped the usual after-meal rise in abdominal blood pressure, which can reach dangerous levels in cirrhotic patients and, in severe cases, lead to blood vessel rupture. Cirrhosis is scarring of the liver as a result of long-term damage. It is caused by various factors, including hepatitis infection and alcohol abuse.

Found in cocoa, antioxidants called flavanols are believed to be the reason why chocolate is so good for the control of blood pressure because the chemicals help the smooth muscle cells of the blood vessels to relax and widen.

A study of 21 patients with end-stage liver disease found that those given a meal containing 85% cacao dark chocolate had a markedly smaller rise in blood pressure in the liver—or portal hypertension—than those given white chocolate.

The results were presented at the annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of the Liver in Vienna and follow a number of earlier scientific studies suggesting that dark chocolate also promotes heart health.

Q-91At Choclatique, we have developed a great-tasting chocolate low in sugar and high in antioxidants, called Q-91. Choclatique’s Q-91 is a uniquely complex blend of several different cacao beans from each of the major cacao growing regions around the world. With the first taste, you will discover that the rich, natural flavors of ripe cherry and deep chocolate foreshadow complex layers of tart citrus, red fruit and nutty notes held up by a solid chocolate base.

Even though Choclatique’s Q-91 tastes great, it still contains alkaloids such as theobromine and phenethylamine, which are said to have positive physiological effects on the mind and health benefits for the body. Dark chocolate like Q-91 has been linked to increased serotonin levels in the brain because it includes a substantial amount of antioxidants that reduce the formation of free radicals and lessen the effects of many diseases and aging.

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