Posts Tagged ‘Dark 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. At 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.
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.
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.
Reuters 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.
At 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.
Thursday, March 11th, 2010
— Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
When I was 16 years old my father suffered a debilitating stroke. Having been to the doctor and given a good bill of health only 2 weeks before, it was shock to say the very least. It was something that my family never recovered from. How could someone who was that healthy be lying on the floor? Most experts say the causes for the common stroke are still quite puzzling.
Could chocolate have prevented his stroke? Last week a Harvard study found that a couple of squares of dark chocolate a day might reduce the risk of a hemorrhagic stroke, by 52 percent.
There are two types of strokes—ischemic and hemorrhagic. An ischemic stroke occurs when a blood vessel that supplies blood to the brain becomes blocked. This type of stroke accounts for about 80 percent of all strokes. Hemorrhagic strokes occur when a blood vessel in the brain bursts and bleeds into the brain which makes up about 20 percent of all strokes.
The findings were presented last week at the American Heart Association’s conference on cardiovascular disease epidemiology and prevention in San Francisco, California.
According to Dr. Martin Lajous, “The research found that the effects of a rich cocoa (about 9 grams—2 or 3 squares daily—35% cacao at a minimum—we recommend Choclatique Q-91 or Elephant Chocolate 76% cacao) on cardio vascular health seems to be through its effect on blood pressure, and the capacity to improve the flexibility of the blood vessels.”
The benefit attributed to cocoa stems from substances it contains known as flavonoids, which are believed to help protect against certain cardiovascular disease risk factors, such as blood pressure and blood clotting.
People who add such things as chocolate or red wine to their diet with the hope of helping to prevent heart disease also need to be aware that they’re taking in additional calories. So mild exercise 3 to 4 times a week is advised. If you start adding weight, you may be giving yourself additional risk factors for stroke and heart disease.
How Do You Recognize Stroke?
Symptoms of stroke appear suddenly. Watch for these symptoms and be prepared to act quickly for yourself or on behalf of someone you are with:
- Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body.
- Sudden confusion, trouble talking, or understanding speech.
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
- Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, or loss of balance or coordination.
- Sudden severe headache with no known cause.
If you suspect you or someone you know is experiencing any of these symptoms indicative of a stroke, do not wait. Call 911 emergency immediately.
There are now effective therapies for stroke that must be administered at a hospital, but they lose their effectiveness if not given within the first 3 hours after stroke symptoms appear. Every minute counts!
Costs of Stroke to the United States: estimated at $43 billion / year
- Direct costs for medical care and therapy: estimated at about $28 billion / year
- Indirect costs from lost productivity and other factors: estimated at about $15 million / year
- Average cost of care for a patient up to 90 days after a stroke: $15,000
- For 10% of patients, cost of care for the first 90 days after a stroke: $35,000
- Percentage of direct cost of care for the first 90 days*:
- Initial Hospitalization = 43%
- Rehabilitation = 16%
- Physician Costs = 14%
- Hospital Readmission = 14%
- Medications And Other Expenses = 13%
SOURCES: Martin Lajous, M.D., doctoral candidate, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston; Keith Siller, M.D., Medical Director, Comprehensive Stroke Care Center, New York University Langone Medical Center, New York City; March 3, 2010, presentation, American Heart Association’s Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention Annual Conference, San Francisco
Thursday, February 18th, 2010
— Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
I 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.”
So 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?
Well, 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). The 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.
Dr. 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.
At 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. 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
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
Two 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
- 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)
- 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).
- Generously cover the meat with the dry marinade and tightly wrap in plastic food film. Marinate the prime rib overnight in the refrigerator.
- Remove the prime rib from the refrigerator about 2 hours before you start cooking to temper it to room temperature.
- Pre-heat the oven to 325-350ºF.
- Place the prime rib fat side up in roasting pan fitted with a roasting rack.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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%)
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 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 (64%)
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%)
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.
Thursday, September 24th, 2009
— Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Eat More Chocolate!
I 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. 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.
I 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.
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.
So 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.
Earlier 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.
But 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.
In 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.
As 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.
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 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 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 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.
- Choclatique 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.
How 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.