Posts Tagged ‘Portugal’

How to Fit Three Weeks Into Two

Thursday, April 8th, 2010
— Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique

Joan and I left Los Angeles on the “Windstar Express” carrying a load of chocolate at about 6 am on Friday morning headed for our favorite chocolate show—The Fourth Annual San Francisco International Chocolate Salon held at Fort Mason. We knew that we had won several more awards that had been pre-judged and already announced. On the trip up, I spoke with my editor, Geoff Stone, about the new adventures of Old Ed—an editorial device that is another way to describe some of my world travels in search of great chocolate to be featured in the upcoming Ed Engoron’s Choclatique by Running Press.

Fisherman's WharfAfter checking in at the Hilton on Fisherman’s Wharf, we met up with my brother Roy and chef Wayne, fielded telephone calls from clients, customers and the office and finally took some time to have a great dinner at North Beach Restaurant and then to bed to prepare for the morning onslaught of chocolate lovers. The alarm went off at 5 am and it was up and at ‘em to set up for the salon. The doors opened and we served nearly five thousand pieces of chocolate and sold many more between 10 and 6. Then it was time to break everything down and pack up. Before collapsing for the night, we had a horrible dinner at Castagnola’s on the wharf—disgusting food and despicable service. After all, it is a tourist trap. What were we thinking?

Sunday morning we were on the road back to Los Angeles, arriving at 3pm, just in time to get caught in the Los Angeles Marathon traffic. When I got home, I had just enough time to change and repack my suitcase for two weeks in Portugal.

Monday morning Joan and I arrived at the office at 7am and spent the whole day taking care of everything that we didn’t do the week before while preparing for our client meetings in Lisbon. It was an all nighter on Air France to Paris and another two and a half hours to Lisbon. We had just enough time to check into our hotel rooms, clean up and meet our client for dinner.

I brought samples of CHICKS and Chocolate Almond Butter Toffee Bites—our best in show toffee. The next morning it was back-to-back meetings for nearly 12 hours. Our clients like to get their money’s worth. We visited Colombo, a beautiful upscale shopping mall for dinner before retiring for the night.

The next day and each succeeding day it was store visits, kitchen inspections, checking the competition and eating lot of traditional Portuguese food from the far north to the south like Duck Rice, Cozido (don’t ask) and Bacalhau. Bacalhau is made from salted Icelandic cod. The Portuguese claim that there are 1001 ways to make Bacalhau, but oddly enough, none of the recipes include chocolate.

On Monday we headed up to Braga near Porto to see their newest hyper store—a 3-hour drive in each direction. The entire trip was peppered with chocolate from Hustle, chocolate mousse from Pingo Doce and other chocolate delights from flans to brûlées and from truffles to tablets—everything chocolate.

EriceiraThe last day was preparing for a board meeting in a picturesque fishing village, Ericeira, about 30 minutes outside Lisbon. Many Portuguese families have summer homes there and why not… it is just what you would think Portugal should look like. We feasted on a lunch of Tiger Prawns, locally-caught steamed prawns, and char-grilled Dorado which my client claimed tastes just like lobster. It didn’t, but was good just the same.

Ericeira, PortugalThe board meeting was cancelled at the last minute, but undaunted, my client and I found time to check out two more supermarkets and then find a great pizza joint that served wonderful Italian wines, fantastic chocolate tiramisu and a wheat berry cheese cake, better than Mario Batali’s; The only thing that would have made it a little better would have been a drizzle of Choclatique Prestige Milk Chocolate. Oh, by the way, the wood-fired pizza was pretty terrific, too.

Italian Wheat Berry Chocolate Chip Cheesecake

Italian Wheat Berry Chocolate Chip CheesecakeThis lattice-topped pie is a left-handed relative to a traditional Italian Cheesecake. It is served in the spring around Easter, but, take it from me, it is great anytime. The wheat berries and Fiori di Sicilia are what gives this special dessert its unique flavor. If you must, you can substitute the Fiori di Sicilia with orange-flower water. You can usually find Fiori di Sicilia in specialty baking stores and catalogues. Orange-flower water can be found in the ethnic food section in most supermarkets.

Makes one 9-inch cake, serves 10

Ingredients for the Filling:
1/2 Cup Hulled Soft Wheat Berries (1/4 Pound)
2 Cups Whole Milk
1 Stick (1/2 Cup) Unsalted Butter, Cut Into 1/2-inch Cubes
1 1/2 Tablespoons Fresh Orange Zest
2 Teaspoons Fresh Lemon Zest
2 Cups Ricotta Cheese, Mashed
4 Large Eggs, Lightly Beaten, Room Temperature
2/3 Cup Granulated Sugar
2 Tablespoons Fiori di Sicilia
1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
2/3 Cup Choclatique Dark, Semi-Sweet Mini Chocolate Chips (4,000-count)
½ Cup Candied Orange Peel, Finely Chopped

Ingredients for the Pastry Dough:
3 Cups All-purpose Flour
1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1 1/2 Sticks (3/4 Cup) Unsalted Butter, Softened
1 Cup Confectioners’ Sugar
1 Large Egg
2 Large Egg Yolks
1 Teaspoon Fiori di Sicili
1 Tablespoon Fresh Orange Rind
Egg Wash

Soak the Wheat Berries for the Filling:
Wheat Berries

  1. Cover the wheat berries with cold water in a bowl; soak, covered and chilled, at least 12 hours or better yet overnight.
  2. Drain in a sieve and rinse with cold water.

Chef’s Note: In a pinch I have used a pressure cooker to soak and cook the berries in about an hour.

While the Berries Are Soaking, Make the Dough:

  1. Sift together the flour, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl.
  2. Cream the butter and confectioners’ sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  3. Beat in the whole egg, yolks, Fiori di Sicilia, and rind until smooth.
  4. Reduce the speed to low, and then add the flour mixture and mix until just barely incorporated.
  5. Gather the dough into a ball (it will be soft) and quarter. Form one quarter of the dough into a 3-inch disk, and then form the remaining three quarters (together) into a 6-inch disk. Chill the disks, wrapped in plastic wrap, until firm, at least 1 hour.
  6. The dough can be held refrigerated for a day or two. Bring to the dough to room temperature before rolling out.

Finish the Filling:

  1. Cover the soaked berries the cold milk in a 2-quart saucepan and simmer, covered, until the wheat berries are tender, about 30 minutes. Drain and discard the milk, then transfer to a bowl and stir in the butter and zests.
  2. Cool completely before using, about 15 minutes.
  3. Beat the ricotta, eggs, sugar, Fiori di Sicilia and cinnamon until smooth.
  4. Fold in the chocolate chips and orange peel in a large bowl, and then stir in the wheat berry mixture.

Assemble & Bake the Cake:

  1. Put the oven rack in lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350ºF.
  2. Lightly butter a 9-inch springform pan.
  3. Roll out the larger disk of the dough into a 14-inch round on floured parchment paper with a floured rolling pin.
  4. Using your rolling pin to transport the rolled dough, place the dough into the springform pan, pressing the dough all the way up side to the rim of the pan (the dough might crack a bit—don’t worry, it’s easy to patch any cracks). Chill until cold, about 20 minutes.
  5. Roll out the remaining dough into a 10-inch round. Cut the dough into 1/2-inch wide strips and place on a sheet of parchment paper and refrigerate.
  6. Carefully spoon the filling into the chilled pie crust (filling will not reach the top).
  7. Arrange the dough strips parallel to each other on the filling (1 inch apart), pressing the ends of the strips into the crust. If the dough becomes too soft to handle, chill until firm again.
  8. Arrange other strips diagonally over the first ones to form a lattice. Fold the edge of the crust over the ends of the lattice strips, pressing to seal.
  9. Brush the top crust with egg wash.
  10. Bake until the pastry is golden and the filling is puffed and set, about 1 1/4 hours. Cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes.
  11. Run the blade of a thin knife around the edges of the cake and remove the collar of the springform pan. Cool the cake completely on the rack for about 2 hours.

The cake can be baked 1 day ahead and cooled completely, uncovered, then covered and held in a refrigerator. Bring the cheesecake to room temperature before serving.

So, after over two weeks on the road, here I am on Flight 063 Paris to Los Angeles, writing my adventures before I forget any of the details. Tomorrow it will be business as unusual (as it always is) and, of course, no day is ever complete without a visit to the Choclatique Chocolate Studios and a tasting of our latest production. This job is tough, but someone has to do it. Welcome home, Ed!

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Choclatique Goes To Lisbon

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009
— Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique

It was my first trip to Lisbon in over 30 years and I was thrilled to be traveling back to one of my favorite cities with great food and excellent chocolate. No time for planning. The phone call came in, arrangements were made within two days, and then I was off.

I sort of remember Lisbon being a smaller, sleepy, more romantic city, but I was in for a surprise. Lisbon is the vibrant capital and the largest city in Portugal, with a bustling population of around 2.8 million inhabitants. Greater Lisbon is the wealthiest region in Portugal whose GDP is well above that of the European Union, producing 37% of the Portuguese national GDP. It is also the political center of the country as seat of government. It is an exciting place to be.

There is a lot of history to discover in Lisbon; it is everywhere you look. It was under Roman rule from 205 BC, when it was already a 1000-year old town. Julius Caesar made it a municipium called Felicitas Julia, adding to the name Olissipo. The area was ruled by a series of Germanic tribes from the 5th century until captured by Moors in the 8th century. In 1147, the Crusaders re-conquered the city for the Christians. Since that time, it has been a major political, economic and cultural center of Portugal.

I love the foods of Lisbon because they are inspired by the sea and so many of the dishes contain fish, especially, a national favorite salted cod. A lot of the food is just the simple fare of fishermen and farmers. In my four-day visit, I managed to enjoy fish, meat, rice and potatoes (usually fried) combined with olive oil, wine and plenty of warm hospitality and friendship—the older the better, as the Portuguese proverb goes. I was surprised that Portuguese food, especially in the capital, is generally inexpensive and served in large quantities, with €8 buying a hearty meal in an outdoor café and under €25 in most of the upper end restaurants in Lisbon.

What I truly loved was starting my day at breakfast which I enjoyed at a café or pastelaria (pastry shop) located across the street from my hotel where hot croissants and other such pastries were freshly-baked and served along with a cup of espresso to wash it down. I am not a big strong coffee drinker, but I did discovery um galão—Portuguese Coffee, which is a milky coffee beverage served in a glass. I topped my cup each morning with broken pieces of dark chocolate, making it mocha-style.

As always, I packed in as many tastes and flavors as I possibly could. For lunches I sampled various soups, such as the caldo verde (a thick vegetable soup) or sopa à alentejana (a garlic and bread soup with a poached egg in it). I also tried a great rice, fish and shellfish soup. I rediscovered that the fish and shellfish dishes are unsurpassed in Portuguese cooking. I tried anything and everything offered from crabs, clams, barnacles, prawns or crayfish to mullet, tuna and the ubiquitous bacalhau (dried, salted cod). Portuguese bacalhau can be cooked in many different ways and is much tastier than it might sound, particularly when cooked as bacalhau à Gomes de Sá with potatoes, onions, olives and hard-boiled eggs. I usually don’t care for the types of sardines (sardinhas) found in the United States, but I found that they are close behind bacalhau in popularity. They don’t come packed in a can but are grilled or barbequed. There is great local soup, arroz de marisco, which is a bit like a seafood risotto crossed with a soup.

Most meat entrees I sampled were served with piri-piri sauce, a sizzling chili concoction very popular in both Portugal and in many South American countries. No churrasco (barbequed chicken) was so very popular there were whole restaurants dedicated to preparing it. Pork in Portugal is from unique, pot-belly pigs whose extended stomach can touch the ground (kind of like me at the end of this trip). The meat from pork is rich, tender and flavorful. I tried it cooked with clams (porco à alentejana) and simply grilled—both great.

So what about chocolate you ask?

The largest food retailer in Portugal, Jerónimo Martins, created the Hussel candy stores which I found to be a real chocolate temptation. They offer over 300 permanent and 200 seasonal items. Everything from gumdrops, fruit drops and lollipops, gourmet chocolate truffles (packed in fancy boxes), chocolate-coated almonds chocolate bars and chocolate cookies.

There is a wonderful two-week long annual international chocolate festival in the Portuguese city Óbidos, located about 40 miles (70k) to the north of Lisbon. It is usually the first and second week of February just in time for Valentine’s Day. The festival is both exciting and entertaining for both adults and children. After all, the world’s most popular food is dark, sweet, rich and delicious—it’s chocolate, of course. There are chocolate sculptures, fashion shows, recipe contests and lots of chocolate eating. So, whether you like deep dark, velvety milk, rich semi-sweet, deep bittersweet or creamy white, you can fill that gap of indulgence and then some with chocolate treats from all over the Portugal.

One of the dishes that I fell in love with was a Portuguese Chocolate Tartlet which had been one of the festival prize winners. I love finding a national treasure recipe and enjoy sharing my discoveries with our readers. These chocolate tartlets can be a great change from a traditional Thanksgiving Apple, Pecan or Pumpkin Pie. They are quick and remarkably easy to make. I think these are the most wonderful tasting chocolate tartlets I have ever tasted. They are fantastic served with ice cream, whipped cream or crème anglaise.

Chocolate Tartlet

Makes 8 Tartlets

Ingredients for the Tartlet Pastry

Flour for Dusting

5 Ounces Frozen Puff Pastry

1 Egg Yolk

1/8 Teaspoon Allspice Seasoning

2 Tablespoons Fresh Orange Zest

2 Tablespoons Sugar

1/8 Teaspoon Cinnamon

Ingredients for the Chocolate Filling

5 1/2 Ounces Heavy or Whipping Cream

1 Tablespoon of Strong Black Coffee

2 Tablespoons Sugar

1/8 Teaspoon Salt

1/2 Stick Unsalted Butter, Softened

8 Ounces Choclatique Private Reserve Dark Chocolate (64%), Chopped

1 1/2 Ounces Whole Milk

2 Tablespoons Choclatique Red Cocoa Powder, Unsweetened, for Dusting

Make the Tartlet Pastry:

Rolling Out the Pastry1. Dust a work surface with flour and roll out your pastry to a bit bigger than an 8 1/2 x 11-inch sheet of paper.

2. Brush with the egg yolk and scatter the rest of the ingredients over the dough. Roll the pastry up tightly like a jelly roll to make a long tube. With a sharp knife cut across the pastry into 1 inch pieces. Set 8 pieces aside, and freeze the rest of the pastry for another day. It should keep frozen for about 3 months.

3. Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Turn all the pieces of pastry swirl side up and flatten them slightly. Dust the surface of your pastry with flour, then, roll each piece out into a thin circle around the size of a teacup saucer.

Tartlet Shells4. Then place the dough into tartlet pans. Place beans in pans and blind bake on a baking sheet until crisp and golden around 15 minutes.

5. Allow to cool and carefully remove the tartlet shells from the pans. Fill the tartlet shells with the chocolate filling.

Make the Chocolate Filling:

1. Place the cream, coffee, sugar and salt in a sauce pan and bring to the boil.

Chocolate Filling2. As soon as the mixture has boiled remove from the heat and add the butter and chocolate. Stir until it has completely melted and allow the mixture to cool slightly stirring in the cold milk until smooth and shiny. Sometimes this mixture looks like it has broken. Allow the mixture to cool down a bit more and whisk in a little extra cold milk until smooth.

Tartlets3. Portion the Chocolate mixture into the baked tartlet shells. Gently shake to even them out allowing them to cool for 1 to 2 hours, until it is at room temperature. Dust the Portuguese Chocolate Tartlets with the cocoa powder.

4. Do not refrigerate.

The tartlet pastry should be short and crisp and the filling should be smooth and should have the texture of butter.

Try out this recipe for Maladassas, Portuguese Doughnuts, as well.

Malassadas have been passed down generation to generation, for over 200 years. There are several variations to this Portuguese doughnut, depending on the island you come from. This particular recipe originates from the island of Madeira; people from the island of Azores make it a little differently: rather than using the cinnamon-lemon syrup, they roll the warm malassadas in granulated sugar.

Makes 8 to 10 Servings

MalassadasIngredients for the Dough:

3 Cups All-Purpose Flour

1 Package Active Dry Yeast (7 grams)

5 Eggs

1 Cup, Plus 2 Tablespoons Water

1 Teaspoon Salt

1 Tablespoon Granulated Sugar

Vegetable Oil For Frying

Ingredients for the Syrup:

1 Cup Water

2 Cups Granulated Sugar

Peel From 2 Lemons

1 Cinnamon Stick

Make the Dough:

1. Measure all ingredients and have at your side.

2. Combine all ingredients for the dough, except vegetable oil, and mix well.

3. Allow the dough to rest until it doubles.

4. Heat oil to 350ºF.

5. Drop spoonfuls of the dough into the oil and deep fry until golden brown.

Make the Syrup:

1. In a saucepot, combine ingredients for the syrup and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.


1. Place the malassadas in a bowl and pour the syrup over them.

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