Posts Tagged ‘Dark Chocolate’

Make the Chubbies Go Away

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

— Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique

Randy's DonutsI have always been a little on the chubby side and in order to keep my weight in check I try to eat well and exercise every day. Joan and I drive by the doughnut store every morning on the way to the Chocolate Studios and I will frequently call her on her cell phone asking her if it’s a “doughnut day.” The usual answer from her is a ‘NO!” Well, that’s the way it comes across, but what she politely says is, “if you really need a doughnut this morning and want to go off you diet then go ahead.” It comes across as a resounding “No, you fat guy, you don’t need another doughnut you’re going to be tasting chocolate all day.”

BroccoliSo this morning I tried a different approach and asked Joan, “Wouldn’t be great if broccoli was bad for you and doughnuts made you thinner and you never had to diet or exercise? Wouldn’t it be fantastic if all indulgent foods were really a cure-all?

Dr. LiWell, in recently completed research chocolate may may have been found to be that ambrosia of the gods and companion to wine. The research presented chocolate and red wine are thought to be potent medicines for killing cancer. Red grapes and dark chocolate join blueberries, garlic, soy, and teas as ingredients that starve cancer while feeding bodies according to the Angiogenesis Foundation headed William Li (presented at the prestigious TED Conference). Chocolate PastillesThe Massachusetts-based foundation is identifying foods containing chemicals that evidently choke-off blood supplies to tumors, starving them to death. “We are rating foods based on their cancer-fighting qualities,” Li said. “What we eat is really our chemotherapy three times a day.” “There is a medical revolution happening all around us,” Li said. “If we’re right, it could impact on consumer education, food service, public health, and even insurance agencies.”

About a dozen drugs are already in use to deprive tumors of blood supplies in a treatment tactic called “anti-angiogenesis.” The foundation pitted some foods against approved drugs and found that soy, parsley, red grapes, berries and other comestibles were either as effective or more potent in battling cancer cells. Eaten together, the foods were even more effective in fighting cancer.

Mother NatureDr. Li explained that Mother Nature laced a large number of foods and herbs with anti-angiogenesis features. For many people around the world, dietary cancer treatments may be the only solution because not everyone can afford expensive cancer drugs. And why shouldn’t they be for everyone if great tasting foods can get the job done better?

The foundation also discovered that the anti-angiogenesis properties of foods melt away fat, which relies heavily on blood flow to sustain itself. Tests showed that mice genetically prone to be chubby could be trimmed to average mouse size using this approach.

Q-91At Choclatique we make a variety of these high anti-oxidant chocolate offerings from which to choose starting with our Private Reserve Dark (64%), Elephant—Seriously Strong Chocolate (76%) and Q-91 (91%). All of these dark chocolates provide a “euphoric feeling” that many people experience after indulging. Chocolate contains more than 300 known beneficial compounds that recent medical research has linked the antioxidants found in cacao—the fruit from which chocolate is made—to decreases in blood pressure and reductions of “bad” cholesterol levels.

Chocolate is a known stimulant and is also thought to be an aphrodisiac. Our dark chocolates are low in sugar and rich in flavanols which now even more physicians and nutritionists say are beneficial to your health.Hot Fudge Nut Trifle Scientists are still developing their opinions on the health benefits of dark chocolate, but the research has certainly reduced the stigma of a moderate daily dark chocolate habit.

So the next time you feel the need for a doughnut, chocolate chip cookie, or hot fudge nut trifle, don’t feel deprived, satiate your cravings with a piece of a great tasting dark Choclatique chocolate bar.

Update: For additional information check out: http://www.foodnutritionscience.com/index.cfm/do/monsanto.article/articleId/392.cfm

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America’s Unofficial Chocolate Ambassador

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

— Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique

As the co-founder of Choclatique and as a lover of everything chocolate I am always looking for new “flavor thrills” that are made with chocolate—anything chocolate… everything chocolate. That could be the sweet use of chocolate for great muffins, brownies and confections or something savory like an exotic Mexican chicken mole, chocolate-covered short ribs or my fantastic chocolate-kissed barbecue sauce.

My good friend Richard Altuna, our retail designer, who has added so much to the success of Choclatique, has called me fearless in the face of chocolate so I decided that it might be a good idea to bring a little Thanksgiving cheer to the chocolate lovers of America who are looking for more than just another ordinary turkey to show their thanks for this week’s holiday feast.

Two of my favorite things in the world are a standing rib roast (I used to work for Lawry’s The Prime Rib in Los Angeles—the home of great prime rib) and cacao. Okay, I know that doesn’t sound particularly strange, but try bringing them together. Now that was a challenge that I took up earlier in the year for another publication.

You have to always remember that chocolate, or more to the point, cacao beans, can be used in many different forms. For instance, at this very moment, Chef Wayne and I are in the middle of a 3-week test using whole cacao beans marinating in 100 proof vodka to see if we can develop a great tasting chocolate-flavored neutral spirits beverage. Chocolatier Karen and I have worked on the development of coffee and tea-related solid dark chocolates as a way to provide unique high-impact chocolate flavors, extra-high in antioxidants. This would be a more functional use of chocolate similar to our Q-91.

But, I digress… what does all this have to do with a Thanksgiving Day feast? Fear not, the Chocolate Ambassador to the rescue. Take a look at the prime rib marinade and recipe attached (using Choclatique Cocoa Nibs) and discover for yourself that chocolate should be used for more than just sweet confections and desserts.

Happy Thanksgiving and many thanks to all of our friends and associates who have helped make Choclatique the popular, award-winning company that we are today.

Happy Holidays… don’t forget to order your chocolate early for everyone on your list! www.Choclatique.com

CACAO NIB PRIME RIB

Ed and Prime Rib with Cocoa NibsTwo of my favorite things in the world are a standing rib roast and a piece of chocolate. Okay, I know that doesn’t sound particularly strange, but try bringing them together. Fear not, take a look at the marinade recipe below and discover for yourself that chocolate should be used for more than just confections and desserts.

Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Hold Time: 10-12 hours or Overnight
Cook Time: 2-1/2 Hours
Rest Time: 30 Minutes
Yield: Serves 6

Marinade Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons Choclatique Cacao Nibs
  • 3 teaspoons Dried Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Whole-Grain Mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Molasses (unsulfured)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Chipotle Chili Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ground Allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon Coarse Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Choclatique Natura Cocoa Powder (unsweetened)
  • 3 tablespoons Golden Brown Sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Kosher Salt
  • 1 each Standing Rib Roast (3 bone or boneless prime rib)

Directions

  1. Make the dry marinade by combining all of the spices in the bowl of a food processor and process until the cacao nibs break into small particles (about the size of coarse salt).
  2. Generously cover the meat with the dry marinade and tightly wrap in plastic food film. Marinate the prime rib overnight in the refrigerator.
  3. Remove the prime rib from the refrigerator about 2 hours before you start cooking to temper it to room temperature.
  4. Pre-heat the oven to 325-350ºF.
  5. Place the prime rib fat side up in roasting pan fitted with a roasting rack.
  6. For medium to rare cook until the internal meat temperature reaches about 125ºF (roughly 18-20 minutes a pound). But why gamble, check the temperature with an instant-read thermometer.
  7. Allow the prime rib to sit, loosely covered under a foil tent, for 20-30 minutes before slicing to allow the juices to calm down.

Note: Use the leftovers to make Beef Enchiladas Mole or a steaming pot of your favorite Chili.

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How to Become an Official Choclatique Critical Gourmet Chocolate Taster

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

— Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique

(A Chocoholic’s 10-Step Program)

The actual flavor compounds found in dark chocolate are more complex and extreme than those of red wine. Tasting and detecting all these flavor notes can be an extremely fun and educational endeavor. Let the following serve as a road map, so that you can extract the fullest flavor potential from dark chocolate.

  1. Find a location free from background aromas and noise, such as television, music, a crying baby, road traffic, talkative friends, etc. Being able to concentrate as intently as possible will help facilitate flavor detection.
  2. Clear your palate. This means that your mouth should not contain residual flavors from a previous meal. Eat a wedge of apple, an unsalted cracker or piece of bread if necessary. This is crucial in order to taste the subtleties of a good dark chocolate’s complex flavor.
  3. Make sure that the piece of chocolate is large enough to allow for the blossoming of flavor. A piece too small may not allow you to detect every subtle nuance as the chocolate slowly melts in your mouth. With chocolate, the flavors gradually evolve and come alive on your tongue and mouth rather than opening up in one large burst. So remember, don’t think small here. A 1-ounce piece should be a minimum starting point.
  4. Allow the dark chocolate to rest at room temperature before tasting. Cold temperatures will hinder your ability to detect the flavors. At Choclatique, we always rub the dark chocolate briefly between our fingers to coax out the flavor. This is what a professional taster would do.
  5. Chocolate Varieties

  6. Inspect the chocolate. The surface should be free of blemishes and chocolate bloom. Observe the color and the chocolatier’s skill at tempering and molding the chocolate. The bar should have a mirror-like shine. Chocolate comes in a variety of browns with various tints, such as rose, purples, reds, and oranges.
  7. Break the piece in half. It should resonate with a resounding “SNAP!” and exhibit a fine gradient along the broken edge. This is would be the hallmark of really good chocolate.
  8. Chocolate Aroma

  9. Smell the chocolate, especially at the break point. Aroma is an important component of flavor. Inhaling will prime your taste buds for the incoming chocolate. It also gives you a chance to pick up the various nuances of the aroma.
  10. Place the chocolate on your tongue. Allow it melt slowly. Chew it only to break it into small enough pieces that it begins to melt on its own. This slow melt allows the cocoa butter to distribute evenly in the mouth, which mutes any astringencies or bitterness in the chocolate.
  11. Be conscience of the texture (well-conched chocolate) and the taste (well-balanced chocolate blend). Texture can be the most obvious clue about the quality of a chocolate. Low quality chocolates will have a grainy, almost dirty ash tray-like texture. As the chocolate melts in your mouth, concentrate on the flavors you are experiencing. Melting will release more volatile compounds for you to smell and taste. Close your eyes, take notes, enjoy this moment of bliss of the flavor thrills, and bask in contentment.
  12. Now the chocolate is nearing its finish. How has the flavor evolved? Is the chocolate bitter? Heavy? Light? Was the texture smooth or grainy? Do any changes in texture and flavor occur? Take note of how the chocolate leaves the palate. Is there a strong reminder lingering in your mouth, or does it quickly vanish? Note any metallic or unpleasant flavors in the finish. This can be the sign of poorly fermented, stale or lower quality chocolate. Let the after-taste develop and see if you are tempted to come back for more.

Okay, now cleanse your palate and repeat the process with a different dark chocolate. Compare the highlights the subtle flavor notes in each succeeding dark chocolate taste.

Here is great place to start with Choclatique Dark Chocolates found on our website.

Single Origin Tablet

Venezuelan Single-Origin Dark Chocolate Tablet (55%)

Choclatique’s Venezuelan Origin is rich in chocolate aroma with exceptionally complex chocolate notes that are accented by subtle hints of red berry fruit. The cacao beans are sourced and harvested from trees of Criollo and Trinitario heritage in Venezuela’s Sur del Lago region.

Colombian Single-Origin Dark Chocolate Tablet (55%)

Choclatique’s Colombian Origin has penetrating deep, slow, long chocolate flavors that are accented by lovely hints of exotic peppery spice. This single-origin Colombian chocolate pairs beautifully with barista-made coffees and peppery Pinot Noirs from the California Napa Valley.

Ecuadoran Single-Origin Dark Chocolate Tablet (55%)

Cacao Pods

Choclatique’s Ecuadorean Origin is made from the centuries-old, Ecuadorean Nacional Arriba cacao beans grown solely in Ecuador. This single-origin chocolate offers a perfumed floral scent and traditional Nacional taste which is recognized by its complex accents of green mossy forest, rich black tea, subtle roasted nut after-tones, lingering tropical banana and light toasty caramelized buttery notes.

Madagascar Single-Origin Dark Chocolate Tablet (55%)

Choclatique’s Madagascar Origin is made from the rare Criollo cacao beans that are carefully handcrafted into this delicious tasting, exotic chocolate. It has just enough sugar to bring out the natural richness and fruity flavor of the Madagascar cocoa bean. With flavor notes of tart citrus and the fresh essence of raspberry, these beans from Madagascar create some of the world’s most flavorful chocolate with one-of-a-kind, up-front, deep, rich chocolate flavor. It is light, smooth, mild, and easy to eat.

Peruvian Chocolate

Peruvian Single-Origin Dark Chocolate Tablet (55%)

Choclatique’s Peruvian Single Origin comes from many tiny plantations producing cocoa beans near Rio Apurimac in the Amazonas region of Peru and the San Martin and Huanuco regions to the east of the Andes in the tropical lowlands. The cacao grown in these regions has an upfront sweetness and hint of the bananas and orchids that grow in the area.

Private Reserve Dark Chocolate Tablets (65%)

Choclatique’s Private Reserve 64% Dark Chocolate is made from 17 equatorial beans grown from the Tropic of Cancer to the Tropic of Capricorn. They are fermented, dried and roasted to perfection. Our chocolate is conched (blended) to an ultra-smooth texture for 72 hours at precise temperatures to bring out the natural dark fruity flavor of the cacao bean.

Q-91 Functional Dark Chocolate Tablets (91%)

Chocolate Ingot

Choclatique Q-91 is our super-dark, premium functional chocolate very high in cacao mass. It is a unique and complex blend of many different premium beans from each of the three major cacao-growing regions—Central and South America, Africa and Asia. You will taste the essence of ripe cherry and deep chocolate over complex layers of tart citrus, red fruit and roasted nutty notes help up by a solid, deep chocolate base. This high cacao content, medium-bodied, very intense chocolate is smooth on the palate with a long, bittersweet finish.

Congratulations! You are now a professional Choclatique Gourmet chocolate taster.

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It’s All About The Numbers

Thursday, September 24th, 2009

— Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique

Eat More Chocolate!

Hooters GirlI like to go to Hooters… strictly for the food, of course. Okay, I do like to look at the beautiful ladies as well. If you’ve ever been there you must have admired the fact that all the ladies manage to fit into a size 4 or smaller.

Yesterday, they handed me a menu and their new state-mandated nutritional guide. While I have always been very conscious about reading the labels on packaged goods I have now been forced to study the amount of calories I am consuming in restaurants. It seems unfair that everything I love has more calories than I can afford.Hooters Nutritional Guide In fact, every place I go these days I am assaulted by the nutritionals of all the menu items. While it’s hard to believe that a Hooters Cobb Salad without dressing is nearly 700 calories—add a little blue cheese dressing and it takes it up to almost 1000 calories. A plate of un-breaded wings is also about the same; add an additional 180 calories for the mild wing sauce. So after seeing these numbers, my first thought is where do the Hooter’s “girls” go for lunch?

No wonder I have had a weight problem! I love foods that are fattening. If I asked you which has more calories?… a Western BBQ burger, a Buffalo Chicken Sandwich or Sloppy Pulled Pork Sandwich… what would your answer be? Wrong! It’s the Buffalo Chicken Sandwich at a whopping 1551 calories. My lunch guest originally ordered that, but then quickly switched to the Pulled Pork Sandwich with less than half the calories unless you add in the Curly Fries at 809 calories, of course.

I noticed that even what I thought was a modest salad at IHOP was nearly 1400 calories—that’s higher than a Chicken-Fried Steak platter. Next time I’ll pass on the salad and eat the steak. It was even worse at my favorite Cheesecake Factory in Marina del Rey. As I was being seated, I had to walk by the display case of desserts and saw the required posted calorie counts of 900 calories for a slice of sugar-free cheesecake to 1700 calories for a piece of their signature chocolate cheesecakes.

It’s been a while since I checked out the calorie counts on our Choclatique Chocolate. What a pleasant surprise when I walked into the Chocolate Studio this morning to read our labels—an entire-8 piece box of Choclatique Decadent Desserts is only 480 calories. That’s one third the calories of a chicken sandwich. A full box of Bubbly—Champagne Truffles— “weighed” in at only 400 calories. If you’re looking for a solid hit of chocolate, a large bar (we call them tablets in Dark, Milk and White) ranges from 510 to 540 calories.

Pure Power BarI have been watching my weight all my life and have been on the Choclatique Q-91 Diet since June and have lost about 25 pounds. I indulge in a just a couple of Q-91 pieces a day at just about 28 calories; plus moderate exercise and I watch my carbs. I also manage to fit in a Choclatique Pure Power Protein bar when I feel the urge to snack (240 calories and 9.5 grams of protein).

Even better than the low calories are the facts regarding the health benefits of chocolate. The darker the chocolate, the richer it is in flavanols which many health professionals say are beneficial to your well-being and looks. Research has linked the antioxidants found in dark chocolate to decreases in blood pressure and “bad” cholesterol. Chocolate has also been shown to reduce cavities. Chocolate is a known stimulant and is also thought to be an aphrodisiac—so kiss your Viagra good-bye.

The small amount of caffeine found in chocolate (1.4 oz of chocolate = 1 cup of decaf coffee) combined with Theobromine, a weak stimulant also present in chocolate, provides the “lift” that chocolate eaters experience which many believe to be a mood elevator and an anti-depressant.

So there you have it. Chocolate is luscious and tastes fantastic; makes you feel great and has fewer calories than a Buffalo Chicken Sandwich at Hooters. Here is what I propose: Buy an 8-piece box of your favorite Choclatique Chocolate, take it to the nearest Hooters, order a glass of water and look at the ladies. This is guaranteed to elevate your mood to new heights.

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This Is The Excuse We’ve All Been Waiting For

Thursday, September 3rd, 2009

— Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique

Chocolate Cuts Death Rate in Heart Attack Survivors

I love the smell of chocolate in the morning—and now here’s another reason why. “Heart attack survivors who eat chocolate two or more times per week cut their risk of dying from coronary disease about threefold compared to those who never touch the stuff”, scientists reported.

Heart Attack VictimSo for all of you that have had heart attacks or are at risk of having one let me give you our web address, www.choclatique.com address. We have two products, Q-91 (91%) and Elephant—Seriously Strong Chocolate (76%), that are the low in sugar and are the perfect prescription for what ails you. They are 50 times cheaper and taste better than a Lipitor tablet. This new information alone could cut a couple of trillion dollars off the costs of health care worldwide.

The report went on to say that smaller quantities offer less protection, but are still better than nothing at all. Every little bit helps. If you think I jest, you can find the article that appears in the September issue of the Journal of Internal Medicine.

Research ClinicEarlier research had established a strong link between cocoa-based confections and reduced blood pressure and cholesterol and an improvement in blood flow. It had also shown that chocolate cuts the rate of heart-related mortality in healthy older men, along with post-menopausal women.

Chocolate BarBut here’s the latest news on the subject. The new study, led by Imre Janszky of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, is the first to demonstrate that consuming chocolate can help ward off the grim reaper even if one has suffered acute myocardial infarction — otherwise known as a heart attack. “[The study] was specific to chocolate — we found no benefit to sweets in general,” said Kenneth Mukamal, a researcher at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston and one of the co-authors of the study. “It seems that antioxidants in cocoa are a likely candidate for explaining the live-saving properties,” he shared with AFP in an exchange of e-mails.

Antioxidants are those somewhat mysterious and magical compounds that protect against so-called free radicals, molecules that accumulate in the body over time and can damage cells and are thought to major play a role in heart disease, cancer and the aging process.

Study ParticipantsIn the study, Janszky and colleagues tracked 1,169 non-diabetic men and women, 45-to-70 years old, in Stockholm County during the early 1990s from the time they were hospitalized with their first-ever heart attack. The participants were asked before leaving the hospital about their food consumption habits over the previous year, including how much chocolate they ate on a regular basis.

They underwent a health examination three months after discharge, and were monitored for eight years after that. The incidence of fatal heart attacks correlated inversely with the amount of chocolate consumed.

These findings supported the increasing evidence that chocolate is a rich source of beneficial bioactive compounds. The results are the same for both men and women, and across all the age groups included in the study. Other factors that might have affected the outcome—alcohol consumption, obesity, and smoking—were also taken into account.

Elephant ChocolateAs mother used to say, “Everything in moderation.” If you have a weight problem, which can also lead to a heart attacked, stick to about an ounce a day. Enjoy chocolate that is high in cacao content and high in mass with less sugar like Q-91 (91%) and Elephant—Seriously Strong Chocolate (76%).

As the Dr. Strangelove of Chocolate (and the co-founder of Choclatique) my advice is to enjoy chocolate when you can. It is a healthier alternative to desserts in moderate quantities. So take two pieces and call me in the morning.

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Going to the Dark Side

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

— Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique

I was asked to do an interview this morning with Professional Candy Buyer Magazine to discuss dark chocolate. Ask anyone—dark chocolate is the “feel-good” food of the decade. What could be better? It tastes great and has enough serotonin and caffeine to lift your mood, spirits and attitude any time of the day.

One thing the reporter should have been told prior to our meeting is, “Don’t ask Ed any open-ended questions about chocolate.” And, of course her first question was, “What do you think about ‘dark chocolate’?” Wow… off I went.

First of all, I love great dark chocolate. More to the point, I love Choclatique dark chocolate. We have several choices of the deep, dark goodness… they include:

  • Private Reserve Dark Chocolate (64%)
  • Ebony Dark Chocolate (72%)
  • Elephant—Seriously Strong Chocolate (76%)
  • Q-91 (91%)
  • Single Origin Dark Chocolates from, Peru, Ecuador, Venezuela, Madagascar, Columbian and real American Hawaiian Dark Chocolate (all at 65%)

What’s the difference? Where do I begin?

  • Private Reserve Dark ChocolatePrivate Reserve Dark Chocolate (64%) is “reserved” for our terrific couverture for our boxed chocolate and for Ingots, Tablets and Tapestries. Private Reserve is made from 17 equatorial beans grown from the Tropic of Cancer to the Tropic of Capricorn. They are fermented, dried and roasted to perfection. This chocolate is conched (blended) to an ultra-smooth texture for 72 hours at precise temperatures to bring out the natural, dark, fruity flavor of the cacao bean.
  • Ebony Dark ChocolateEbony Dark Chocolate (72%) is a very intense, bittersweet chocolate used primarily for making pastry—very intense chocolate cakes, pies and puddings. It is much sharper than our Private Reserve Dark Chocolate and is not particularly suited for making truffles and other confections. It is the ultimate chocolate-lovers’ baking chocolate.
  • Elephant—Seriously Strong Dark Chocolate (76%) is mind-blowing in its complexity, rivaling all of the high percentage cacao chocolates from the European legacy chocolate makers. Elephant ChocolateElephant Chocolate is a harmonious mélange of Criollo and Trinitario beans, bringing out the light floral aromas of ripe cherry and the essence of raisin top notes. There are deep chocolate layers punctuated by the complex flavors of tart citrus, red fruit and roasted walnut and almond notes. The mild but complex aroma gives way to the intense flavor of Elephant Chocolate. This full-bodied, very intense chocolate is smooth on the palate with a long, bittersweet finish. The elephant-shaped chocolate is a deep, dark red-brown, with an incredibly perfect glossy finish, so that the chocolate appears to glow. This is a chocolate for eating, not for baking. It has flavors and textures you won’t soon forget.
  • Q-91Choclatique 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. Q-91 chocolate contains more than 300 known beneficial compounds. Scientists can’t yet explain some of the pleasurable effects of consuming chocolate, but they’re working on it.

Recent medical research has linked the antioxidants found in cacao—the fruit from which dark chocolate is made—to decreases in blood pressure and reductions of “bad” cholesterol levels. Chocolate is a known stimulant and is also thought to be an aphrodisiac. The darker the chocolate the richer it is in flavanols which many physicians and nutritionists say are beneficial to your health.

The small amount of caffeine found in chocolate (1.4 oz of chocolate = 1 cup of decaf coffee) combined with Theobromine, a weak stimulant also present in chocolate, provides the “lift” that chocolate eaters experience. Although no conclusive proof exists yet, Phenylethylamine is reputed to be a mood elevator and an anti-depressant.

Scientists are still developing their opinions on the health benefits of dark chocolate. It is probably not a good idea to replace your daily intake of fruits and vegetables with a 6-layer frosted chocolate cake—whether dark or milk chocolate, but the research has certainly reduced the stigma of a moderate daily chocolate habit.

Assorted IngotsHow can you judge chocolatier and the quality of their chocolate? Savor the flavor of their chocolate; no fillings, just chocolate. Trying a bag of our Assorted Ingots is a great way to get to know our chocolate. Give them a try and let us know what you think.

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A Tribute to Grandmother Fanny and Her Almond Butter Toffee Crunch

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

— Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique

Grandmother Fanny

After writing about Grandpa Max a few weeks back my bother Roy suggested that I write about my mother’s mother.

butterGrandmother Fanny lived on the top floor of a 5-story walk-up in Brooklyn, New York. She was a tiny lady, not even 5 feet tall, but she was a wonderful cook, baker and candy maker who made the most delicious butter toffee crunch that you ever tasted. Nobody could do it better. It seemed like she was able to squeeze 5 pounds of butter into a 1 pound slab of her ever-popular butter toffee crunch. The way it crunched between your teeth and melted in your mouth was a taste of ecstasy.

The only one who had a copy of the recipe was my cousin Elliot who had hovered over Fanny and copied everything she did one afternoon while she was making her magic concoction.

almondsElliot was kind enough to share this recipe with me when we decided to make butter toffee crunch at Choclatique. We faithfully use Fanny’s original old-fashioned butter toffee crunch recipe as a base for our Chocolate-Almond Butter Toffee Bites.

nibsWe start with Hawaiian-grown pure cane sugar, double score dairy-fresh butter and rich, pure, extra-strong real vanilla. We use our signature dark chocolate—Choclatique Private Reserve (64%), fresh oven-roasted California almonds, roasted cocoa nibs and just a touch of Saigon cinnamon to cover our rich, butter toffee crunch. Nothing has changed since Fanny first made her first batch back in the 1930’s.

Our traditional Chocolate-Almond Butter Toffee Bites are packaged in a chocolate brown ballotin box and double sealed for freshness. They make the perfect melt-in-you-mouth gift or party favor and they’re a wonderful delicious treat any time of day.

Here’s a cheer to you Grandmother Fanny.

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Napa Valley Wine Chocolates

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009

— Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique

Cakebread Cellars had been around for about 15 years when Joan and I first met Dolores and Jack Cakebread and their son Dennis on the “Big Island of Hawaii for the first Cuisines of the Sun cooking event. At that time, Choclatique® was not even a glimmer of an idea. Joan and I were completely tied up with The Food Show (ABC) and our consulting company, PERSPECTIVES/The Consulting Group, Inc.

While we were not yet making chocolate, Joan and I were certainly consuming a lot of it (and we still are, of course). During his afternoon cooking demonstration, Jack was trying to convince all that would listen that wine and chocolate was the perfect paring of nature’s finest foods. I made a comment to one of the other attendees that I had always enjoyed my wine with dinner and my chocolate dessert with a respectful interval of time in between. I was proved to be very wrong. Jack and Dolores changed my mind when I tasted their great Cabernet and Chardonnay with shards of dark, milk and white chocolate.

It was no surprise when we released Box of Bubbly—Dom Perignon Champagne Truffles—last year and they immediately became our second highest selling assortment in the Choclatique line. This popular flavor pairing of chocolate and wine opened the rest of the country’s eyes to wine chocolates.

Wine Chocolate Varieties

California’s wine country is an array of microclimates ideal for growing fine wine grapes and the source of wines used in the making of our Napa Valley Wine Chocolate assortments. We are pleased to offer:

Late Harvest Cabernet (Dark Chocolate)
A full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon ganache with the flavors of concentrated berry and plum notes layered with a hint of herbs and green peppers with sparks of smoky oak surrounded by our 64% intense Private Reserve Bitter Sweet Chocolate.

Fall Vineyard Merlot (Dark Chocolate)
A medium-body Merlot ganache with delicate hints of berry, plum, red cherry and currant, with a soft fleshiness of perfectly ripened vines, covered with our 64% Private Reserve Dark Chocolate.

Estate Chardonnay Chocolate (Milk Chocolate)
With the faint aromas of apple, lemon, peach and tropical fruits, the overall flavor is a delicately crisp, flinty flavor with overriding flavors of ripe, fleshy grapes with a buttery quality accented by the flavor of new oak. This full-bodied ganache delicacy takes on many of the qualities of sparkling California wines.

Sparkling Blanc de Chocolate (White Chocolate)
Blanc de chocolate is a dry and crisp white chocolate ganache (33%) made from California “Champagne” with barrel-fermented flavors for added complexity. The wine has aged notes and carries vibrant, fruitful and crisp natural flavors of the sparkling wine from which it is made.

Old Oak Barrel-Aged Port Chocolate (Dark Chocolate)
A big, rich Port wine flavor that is fuller, sweeter and a bit heavier than our other wine ganache. Made from fortified wine it is heavy-bodied, sweet and smoky and holds remembrance of the past and the dreams of the future.

First-Crush Fume Blanc Chocolate (Milk Chocolate)
In memory of an old friend, Robert Mondavi, we dedicate our milk chocolate ganache to the wine he made famous. The flavors of our Fume Blanc ganache are a bit tarter in natural fruit flavors such as gooseberry, honey citrus and green apple, with subtle hints of vanilla and tropical fruits like melon and pineapple and the tell-tale smoky finish.

Zinfandel Cuvée Chocolate (Dark Chocolate)
This elegant Zinfandel ganache has a good fruit concentration of mid-palate dark fruits including raspberry, black currant and subtle pomegranate flavors with white chocolate undertones. The subtle aromas of black raspberry and earthy minerals with a hint of purple violet are evident.

Pretty in Pink “Blush” Chocolate (White Chocolate)
A flirty, yet shy pink rose chocolate ganache with the fruity flavors of ripe strawberry, juicy peach and nectarine. The aroma is a delicate balance of raspberry and black cherry, plus hints of flint and slightly tart cranberry.

Chaîne des RôtisseursChoclatique Napa Valley Wine Chocolates were “un-corked” for the first time the last week in May at the Wine and Hospitality Network event at The Hess Collection Winery in Napa, California and the Wine Country Hilton, Santa Rosa, California for the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs—the world’s oldest and largest gastronomic society, founded in 1248.

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No Chocolate?

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

— Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique

Gourmet MagazineWhat Would The World Be Without Chocolate?

As a dedicated professional foodie, I usually can’t wait to get my hands on the latest issue of Gourmet Magazine. I simply love food! I love working with it… I love talking about it… and I love eating it! But I can honestly say there is only one thing I love more than ordinary food, and that’s chocolate. After all, I am the guy who cooked chocolate pasta on KABC’s AMLA to the delight of Christina Ferrare, a chocolate and pasta fancier.

So imagine my complete and utter disappointment with the May issue of Gourmet. I scoured it from cover to cover and alas there wasn’t a single recipe or even a mention about chocolate. How could Ruth Reichl, my favorite Editor-in-Chief, have let me down so badly? Ruth, what were you thinking? There were articles on Fresh Foods, Drinks, Stir Frying, Wine and Travel. They covered Melbourne, Sailing and the Low Countries Rising. They even included an article on Obsessions—obviously theirs and not mine—as my obsession is with chocolate.

So, that made me start to think about a world without chocolate. After all, if Gourmet could put out an issue without one chocolate recipe, new chocolate thought or even a single chocolaty mention, what could be next? The world would certainly not be a better place, nor was this months Gourmet a better magazine for not including chocolate.

Now I am not a first class editor like Ms. Reichl, but I do know that I could have added a few chocolate ideas to the issue. I would have taken the Tortilla Chicken Drumsticks recipe on page 78 and improved it with a touch of mole—that rich, dark, reddish-brown delicious concoction usually served with poultry. It’s a great sauce made with onion, garlic, a variety of chilies, ground pumpkin seeds and a small amount of, you guessed it, Mexican chocolate. It would have been so easy.

On page 99 in Cucina Paradiso there is a wonderful recipe for Tuscan Cornmeal Cookies. This yummy recipe, too, could have been improved with, you guessed it, chocolate! If it were left up to me I would have substituted 3 tablespoons of the butter with a dark, rich chocolate ganache. I also would have considered dipping half of the cookie in a tempered chocolate bath to add a tantalizing chocolate dimension. After all, our Italian friends, both here and abroad, certainly love their chocolate, too.

What would the harm have been in brushing the Périgord Walnut Tart shell (page 123) with a little bit of melted chocolate? Besides the obvious flavor appeal, practically speaking, a little chocolate will keep a tart shell wonderfully fresh and flaky. There were strawberry-Vanilla Swirls (page 75); does Ruth not think that strawberry and chocolate blend well together? Who doesn’t love the taste of fresh summer berries that have been kissed with chocolate? What about the recipes for Dulce de Leche Torte (page 115) and Naranjilla Ice Cream (page 131)? Is there no room for a little chocolate among the citrusy flavors of the specialty fruit purées so well discussed? Chocolate and citrus-like flavors are like love and marriage. And what about a refreshing, ice-blended chocolate beverage for summer? It’s not just for winter anymore.

First the brokerage firms, then the banks and the car companies… everyday, life as we know it is changing! But NO CHOCOLATE in Gourmet?! That, we cannot stand for! Hopefully, Ms. Reichl, this was just an unfortunate oversight—one that will never be repeated in Gourmet again.

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Seriously Strong “Elephant” Chocolate?

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

— Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique

We recently introduced our newest high percentage cacao content dark chocolate—Choclatique’s Elephant…Seriously Strong Chocolate (76%). Over the last couple of months, many have asked us about its origins… and why “Elephant?”

afwld007-africanelephants-momnbabies-walking_in_lineupWhen chocolate and coffee were first spreading across Europe, many of the importers were looking for ways of differentiating their products and brands in the marketplace.  The old tin-lined wooden boxes (similar to tea boxes from Asia) and burlap bags that the beans were shipped in really didn’t tell enough of the story to the consuming public.

Animal-style logos appeared on the scene right around the turn of the 20th century. They were designed and put in place on smaller retail containers in stores selling chocolate and coffee throughout the British Empire. The story that they were trying to convey to the public was that their brand of chocolate (or coffee) were both strong and “full-value.” The early logos that the importers used to portray strength were large animals—rhinoceros was a favorite. But, how many rhinos on packages of chocolate can be on the market at the same time without creating general confusion? Elephant and hippopotamus caricatures were next to be seen, followed by horses, eagles and even a few non-animal logos like clipper ships and tall mountains. But the consumer kept coming back for the products portrayed by rhinoceros and elephants.

Ed, Noi & Oon

Ed, Noi & Oon

At Choclatique the founders have a “thing” for elephants. I have traveled to over 130 countries in search of great chocolate sources and have spent many months in Asia where elephants have been an important part of the history and culture of the region.

I have a favorite place just outside of Bangkok which is one of the few elephant refuges in the world where you can spend hours in close contact with the very strong, but playful pachyderms. Look closely, and you’ll see that we’re all smiling! Yes, elephants smile and they laugh, too!

Tasting Chocolate

When seriously tasting chocolate, you should allow the chocolate to slowly melt in your mouth to savor the flavor. With Elephant you’ll get big, rich chocolate flavor with the essence of ripe cherry, berry, wine and then more deep chocolate over complex layers of tart citrus, tropical red and yellow fruit and roasted nutty notes. This is all held up by the solid, rich and intense deep chocolate base. This high cacao content, medium-bodied, very intense chocolate is smooth on the tongue and palate with a long, pleasant chocolate finish.

Choclatique's Elephant Chocolate

Choclatique's Elephant Chocolate

We have found these tastes to be right in sync with the flavors that Americans love when eating chocolate.  Oh, and by the way, people really love the look of the beautiful, detailed custom mold we had designed just for our Elephant Chocolate.

Choclatique’s dark chocolates—Private Reserve (64%), Ebony (72%), Elephant (76%) and Q-91 (91%) are never bitter or brittle, and they have a naturally intense dark chocolate flavor which requires the use of less sugar. When you tastes our Elephant Chocolate you will see (and taste) the “fruits” of our labor.

If you love elephants, too, and want more information about how to help save these big, gentle creatures, check out Windy Borman and “The Eyes of Thailand” at: dvaproductions.com

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