donderdag 30 juni 2011

Santa Lúcia Arboretum - Santarém - Pará - Brasil

Colors of cacao leaves

Early morning sun lights up cacao (Theobroma cacao) leaves at the Tapajós National Forest.

Cacao fruit

Ripe cacao fruit, ready for eating. It's the pulp around the seed that we eat, not the seed. Chocolate is made from the seed, after it's dried, toasted and ground into a powder. Pass the sugar, please.

Wild Cacao

The cacao shown in the previous post is the commercial variety of the chocolate tree, Theobroma cacao. The one above this text is the wild variety of cacao, Theobroma speciosum. I took this picture next to an area of forest that had been destroyed for the purpose of planting corn, beans and rice. We have these chocolate trees on the Bosque Santa Lúcia property too, but the monkeys have eaten up the fruit. As a matter of fact, the local name for the tree is "cacao de macaco", monkey's cacao.

Wild Cacao, continued

This is another wild cacao on the same tree shown in the previous post. It's completely ripe and will probably be eaten up by animals very soon.


Chocolate: History, Culture, and Heritage.

Part Four. Economics, Education, and Crime. Chapters 17-21.

Chapter 17 (Richter and Ta) considers reports of cacao and chocolate in 18th and early 19th century Shipping News documents. Their analysis reveals how cacao and chocolate were transported from points of debarkation in South and Central America and the Caribbean to primary ports along the eastern seaboard of North America, especially Baltimore, Boston, New York, and Philadelphia. Chapter 18 (Richter and Ta) presents an economic analysis of 18th and early 19th century Price Current documents that established prices for cacao and chocolate in the major European and North American east coast cities. They report how the prices for these commodities fluctuated during periods of peace vs. hostilities and by transportation distance. Chapter 19 (Grivetti) summarizes information from 18th century almanacs, religious tracts, and primary school textbooks that included cacao-and chocolate-related homespun medical advice, recommendations for mental and personal improvement, morality tales, and spiritual instruction. Chapter 20 (Grivetti) analyzes a suite of English documents where defendants were tried for cacao-and chocolate-associated crimes that ranged from assault, to grand theft, to murder, and reviews the verdicts for relative fairness/consistency or lack thereof. Chapter 21 (Grivetti) continues the "dark side" theme of chocolate and presents selected criminal cases that involved cacao/chocolate-associated arson, blackmail, counterfeiting, murder, smuggling, and theft.

Chapter 19

 Author: Louis Grivetti

Title: "C" is For Chocolate. Chocolate and Cacao as Educational Themes in 18th Century North America.

More than 100 primary school textbooks, general almanacs, and religious tracts published in North America between 1758 and 1820 incorporate chocolate-related descriptions and imagery used to instruct readers on a wide diversity of topics. Drinking chocolate was widely popular throughout this period of North American history, and mention of cacao trees, production of cocoa, and manufactured chocolate were commonplace when teaching children or adults the themes associated with arithmetic, book-keeping systems, child-training, courtship, economic theory, ethics, geography, English, French, German, and Spanish grammar, homespun medical advice, mental and personal improvement, morality, philosophy, spelling, spiritual instruction, even zoonomia (the so-called laws of organic life). These books and tracts written by North America authors are linked through their inclusion of cacao-or chocolate-related discussions or examples. Inspection of the chocolate-related context, however, reveals that the various authors had quite different agendas and intents when incorporating chocolate images in their works as instructional tools. The texts examined may be clustered into four primary areas: 1) Those describing the geographical distribution of cacao trees, how cocoa beans were harvested and ultimately made into beverages, thereby providing primary school students with broader insights and understanding of global agriculture and foreign labor. 2) Textbooks that provided students with skills necessary for daily living and employment where chocolate-related examples were used to teach the elements of arithmetic, commodity barter-systems, book-keeping, even language/grammar skills. 3) Books that used chocolate related topics meant to provide parents with: skills on how to raise children with ethical values; illustrations that defined relationships between family members and servants; suggestions on how to approach courtship discussions with daughters; and spiritual instruction offered to guide families on living moral lives. 4) Still other books blended philosophy with medical-related caution.

History of Chocolate

The tasty secret of the cacao (kah KOW) tree was discovered 2,000 years ago in the tropical rainforests of the Americas. The pods of this tree contain seeds that can be processed into chocolate. The story of how chocolate grew from a local Mesoamerican beverage into a global sweet encompasses many cultures and continents.

The first people known to have made chocolate were the ancient cultures of Mexico and Central America. These people, including the Maya and Aztec, mixed ground cacao seeds with various seasonings to make a spicy, frothy drink.

Later, the Spanish conquistadors brought the seeds back home to Spain, where new recipes were created. Eventually, and the drink’s popularity spread throughout Europe. Since then, new technologies and innovations have changed the texture and taste of chocolate, but it still remains one of the world’s favorite flavors.
Chocolate’s Roots in Ancient Mesoamerica We tend to think of chocolate as a sweet candy created during modern times. But actually, chocolate dates back to the ancient peoples of Mesoamerica who drank chocolate as a bitter beverage.

For these people, chocolate wasn’t just a favorite food—it also played an important role in their religious and social lives.

The ancient Maya grew cacao and made it into a beverage. The first people clearly known to have discovered the secret of cacao were the Classic Period Maya (250-900 C.E. [A.D.]). The Maya and their ancestors in Mesoamerica took the tree from the rainforest and grew it in their own backyards, where they harvested, fermented, roasted, and ground the seeds into a paste.

When mixed with water, chile peppers, cornmeal, and other ingredients, this paste made a frothy, spicy chocolate drink.

The Aztecs adopted cacao. By 1400, the Aztec empire dominated a sizeable segment of Mesoamerica. The Aztecs traded with Maya and other peoples for cacao and often required that citizens and conquered peoples pay their tribute in cacao seeds—a form of Aztec money.

Like the earlier Maya, the Aztecs also consumed their bitter chocolate drink seasoned with spices—sugar was an agricultural product unavailable to the ancient Mesoamericans.

Drinking chocolate was an important part of Maya and Aztec life. Many people in Classic Period Maya society could drink chocolate at least on occasion, although it was a particularly favored beverage for royalty. But in Aztec society, primarily rulers, priests, decorated soldiers, and honored merchants could partake of this sacred brew.

Chocolate also played a special role in both Maya and Aztec royal and religious events. Priests presented cacao seeds as offerings to the gods and served chocolate drinks during sacred ceremonies.

Chocolate: A Mesoamerican Luxury Before chocolate was a sweet candy, it was a spicy drink. Some of the earliest known chocolate drinkers were the ancient Maya and Aztecs of Mesoamerica.

They ground cacao seeds into a paste that, when mixed with water, made a frothy, rather bitter beverage. Drinking chocolate was an important part of life for the Classic Period Maya and the Aztecs.

The Spaniards recognized the value attached to cacao and observed the Aztec custom of drinking chocolate. Soon after, the Spanish began to ship cacao seeds back home.

An expensive import, chocolate remained an elite beverage and a status symbol for Europe’s upper classes for the next 300 years.

Sweetened chocolate became an international taste sensation. When the Spanish brought cacao home, they doctored up the bitter brew with cinnamon and other spices and began sweetening it with sugar.

They managed to keep their delicious drink a Spanish secret for almost 100 years before the rest of Europe discovered what they were missing. Sweetened chocolate soon became the latest and greatest fad to hit the continent.

Chocolate was a European symbol of wealth and power. Because cacao and sugar were expensive imports, only those with money could afford to drink chocolate. In fact, in France, chocolate was a state monopoly that could be consumed only by members of the royal court.

Like the Maya and the Aztecs, Europeans developed their own special protocol for the drinking of chocolate. They even designed elaborate porcelain and silver serving pieces and cups for chocolate that acted as symbols of wealth and power. Cacao farming required lots of land and workers. Cacao and sugar were labor-intensive agricultural products. To keep up with the demand for chocolate, Spain and many other European nations established colonial plantations for growing these plants.

A combination of wage laborers and enslaved peoples were used to create a plantation workforce.

Chocolate: A European Sweet  Until the 1500s, no one in Europe knew anything at all about the delicious drink that would later become a huge hit worldwide. Spain’s search for a route to riches led its explorers to the Americas and introduced them to chocolate’s delicious flavor.
Eventually, the Spanish conquest of the Aztecs made it possible to import chocolate back home, where it quickly became a court favorite. And within 100 years, the love of chocolate spread throughout the rest of Europe.
Chocolate: A Contemporary Confection For hundreds of years, the chocolate-making process remained relatively unaltered. But by the mid 1700s, the blossoming Industrial Revolution saw the emergence of innovations that changed the future of chocolate.

A steady stream of new inventions and advertising helped set the stage for solid chocolate candy to become the globally favored sweet it is today.

Nat has invited us to the event 'Chocolate history, tasting, and bean to bar production class in NYC'.

Chocolate history, tasting, and bean to bar production class in NYC

Time: July 6, 2011 from 7pm to 10pm
Location: Murray Hill
Created By: Nat

Event Description:
Hello NY Chocophiles,
Through the great assistance of my friend Beth we've been able to arrange a bean-to-bar chocolate making class at Saveur magazine headquarters magazine in Murray Hill next Wednesday evening, July 6th. This will be an extra special class in the beautiful setting of Saveur's brand new test kitchen and I will have just returned from Oaxacaa and Xoconusco, Chiapas, the prized historical Aztec cacao growing region, and I'll have cacao beans and spices such as Chinantla vanilla, aromatic Rosita de Cacao, and Jaguar Cacao with me to demo and taste in the class.
We'll make bars directly from the bean and nibs that you can mold and flavor yourself as well as sampling 15 different chocolates from around the world to taste the terroir of each cacao. Please let all your chocophilic friends know about the class, and sign up soon since there are only 20 places and these classes fill up fast! Once you sign up, we'll send more info on the location and what to bring.
A portion of proceeds will go towards helping cacao growers in Chiapas, Mexico with organic certification, better fermentation, and processing of cacao as part of this Kickstarter project.
Hope to see you there!
Chocolate history, tasting, and bean to bar production
Wednesday, July 6th, 7-10 PM
Saveur Magazine kitchen
Discover the true history of chocolate, learn how to make a chocolate bar directly from the cacao beans in your very own kitchen, and taste a mouth-watering selection of dark chocolates from different origins and chocolate-makers – all in one evening! We'll learn about the cacao tree, the history of chocolate from the Aztec and Mayas to current day cultivation and varieties and then sample a selection of chocolates, including milk, dark, raw, single-origin, blended, and flavored bars. Participants will taste 15 gourmet chocolate bars, learn to decipher chocolate labels, and how to best appreciate chocolate to sort out the tasty, healthy, and delicious from the rest. Each student will participate in making chocolate from scratch and
will go home with a recipe and a bar of fresh chocolate they've crafted with their own hands.

We've been getting great reviews of the classes we have taught so far, like this one at University of Hawai'i Manoa Outreach, and our classes were highlighted in the Honolulu Weekly and Honolulu magazine.

Click this link to purchase your $60 ticket and reserve one of the limited spaces

Nat Bletter, PhD
Chocolate Flavormeister
Madre Chocolate

dinsdag 28 juni 2011

NEW Chocolate tasting: "Flavoured", tonight from 7pm-9pm

Taste is not the only guidline to sampling chocolate. That would be like looking at a landscape with only one eye, since chocolate confectionery, bars, and ganaches involve all of the five senses.

Tasting 10 new flavoured chocolates for the first time is quitte special its someting new to endure for me. 

@ Op deze proeverij krijgt u een introductie over de wondere wereld van de theobroma cacao(food of the gods). Hoe men chocolade maakt en wat het verschil is met standaardchocolade.

@ We proeven samen een 10-tal werelds fijnste origine chocolade en beleven de passie van deze uitzonderlijke chocolademakers.

@ We ontdekken hoe uiteenlopend de smaken en belevingen van chocolade kunnen zijn.

@ We hebben vooral veel plezier aan chocolade, die wij nadien eventueel kunnen aankopen voor de thuisblijvers...of als geschenk voor onszelf.

@ Deelname bedraagt 20,00€ - 

@ Bevestig je aanwezigheid per mail a.u.b., want plaatsen zijn beperkt!


World's Best Practice:  Share what is great and good in the world!

On the table tonight are: Akesson's, Madre, Chocolate and Love, El Ceibo, Pacari, Chocolate Orgániko.

maandag 27 juni 2011

This just seems to be the right way to approach making fresh chocolates

I told you before about visiting  Londen and meeting some very interesting people, now this was one of them:
Dom Ramsey

Following is the review he made afther I was invited by Dom for the Academy of Chocolate, nice visit ;-)

Patisserie Vercruysse Selection

Geert Vercruysse is a Belgian chocolatier & patissier based in Kortrijk, close to the French border. I’ve known about him for a while, but got to meet him recently at a Chocolate & Love tasting. Geert brought along a selection of his chocolates to try which went down very well.
Last week he was back in the country, so I invited him to be a judge at the Academy of Chocolate Awards and he was kind enough to bring a box of his creations just for me.

Geert has a passion for chocolate and particularly enjoys seeking out new and exciting single origin chocolate that he can match to his flavours. Rather than limiting himself to one or two chocolate manufacturers, he has committed to finding the best chocolate in the world, and creating his filled chocolates to complement the natural flavours present in the chocolate itself.
To me, this just seems to be the right way to approach making fresh chocolates, but that’s all theory. How well does this approach work in practice?
The flavours here are actually quite conservative and typically Belgian – the difference is that they’re so well executed.
The first chocolate I tried was the marzipan pictured above. Marzipan chocolate may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I particularly enjoyed this one. The flavours aren’t too strong, and the deliciously light marzipan and thin chocolate shell just melt away.
Many of Geert’s chocolates feature two layers, and my next chocolate was a Madagascan ganache with a thin layer of praline. I was surprised that the natural fruity notes in the Madagascan chocolate clearly came through here, and really brought the chocolate to life.
And that’s the case with all the chocolates I tried. A lot of thought has gone into the combinations, all of which work wonderfully together.
But while there’s a lot of attention to detail in flavour choice, there’s nothing unusual or challenging here. While the top London chocolatiers might be experimenting with more exotic fruits, spices, teas and more, Geert’s approach is more traditional, with emphasis on quality first.
I’m sure that having spent a lot of time exploring the best of London’s chocolate shops recently, he’ll be experimenting with more unusual flavours very soon. I can’t wait to see what happens when some of that British creativity is combined with Geert’s constant quest to find the best chocolate to match the flavours inside.
As it was, I loved this selection of chocolates, but I know I’d love them even more if there were some more exotic flavours. That’s partly personal taste though, and what appeals to me might not appeal to chocolate buyers in Belgium.
What I find most exciting though is Geert’s passion to try new chocolate, and the fact that a top Belgian chocolatier is coming to London to seek out new flavours and inspiration. Equally, I think there are many British chocolatiers who could learn from his methodical approach to seeking out the best chocolate for his creations.


vrijdag 24 juni 2011

Chocolate: History, Culture, and Heritage.

Chapter 15

Author: Margaret Swisher

Title: Commercial Chocolate Posters. Reflections of Cultures, Values, and Times.

During the 19th century, liquid chocolate became unfashionable in many parts of the world, especially in the United States, and solid chocolate—sold as candy—became the most popular form. Before that time, chocolate had been an expensive drink favored by the aristocracy, but new technologies created during the Industrial Revolution transformed it into an inexpensive food, available to the general public. As more confectioners specialized in making and selling chocolate, they competed directly with one another for customers. During the 19th century, advertising took the form of posters, and chocolate confectioners took full advantage of new developments in graphic arts, lithography, and commercial advertising, as companies boasted that their chocolate was the most pure, the most filling or satisfying, and gave consumers strength. In addition, chocolate advertising posters depicted scenes meant to elicit different emotions from consumers, such as adventure, comfort, and sensuality. Just as chocolate pots provide researchers with insights into the cultures that created them, chocolate advertising posters illustrate values and emotions tied to chocolate, and provide 21st  century researchers insights not only into chocolate, but into the cultures that created the poster art.

More than 500 images of commercial chocolate advertising posters from 11 countries were identified for analysis, posters from: Austria, England, France, Germany, Holland, Italy, Monaco, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, and the United States. French posters commonly used blue, red, and yellow colors, and commonly incorporated images of young children and infants holding chocolate bars or cups of hot chocolate. Adult women also were common themes in French chocolate posters, where mothers were depicted serving chocolate to children and conveying messages that chocolate was a wholesome treat. Swiss chocolate posters also were characterized by bright, vivid colors and commonly included children (usually girls) and alpine scenes. Austrian chocolate posters were relatively rare and commonly in a cartoon style depicting children, trains, and travel. German posters also incorporated travel and high-energy themes. Dutch chocolate posters commonly depicted nationalism through traditional dress, while Italian chocolate posters commonly were produced in an abstract style with clean lines and solid colors, commonly omitting facial features. Spanish chocolate posters commonly reflected women in highly romantic dress styles, and African men serving hot chocolate. Russian posters usually were elegant but sometimes depicted children with faces smeared with chocolate. English posters commonly depicted women dressed in formal Victorian era clothing and sipping chocolate. Chocolate posters from the United States commonly focused on chocolate bars and not chocolate as a beverage. As with any advertising form, these posters have been designed to associate chocolate as a positive food in the mind of consumers.

Chapter 16

Author: Nicholas Westbrook

Title: Chocolate at World's Fairs, 1851-1964

This essay examines the ways in which chocolate was presented at ten World's Fairs between the first World's Fair (Crystal Palace, London, 1851) and the New York World's Fair in 1964. Beginning during the self-conscious globalization of production, manufacturing, and marketing in the mid-19th century, world fairs provided an exciting new medium for public education and for product marketing. They introduced visitors to food production processes and to new ways of enjoying familiar foods (1851 London; 1904 St. Louis; 1939 New York). They provided a dramatic platform for corporate marketing. Appreciating the molding and casting potential of the liquid product on a mega-scale, corporate and national exhibits created chocolate sculptures (1876 Philadelphia: "Capture of Fort Ticonderoga"; 1889 Paris: full-size model of Venus de Milo; 1893 Chicago: 3000-pound solid chocolate rendition of the Niederwald Germania). They offered a forum for launching new products to international audiences (1939 New York). They celebrated corporate history (1904 St. Louis; 1907 Jamestown; 1964 New York) and product quality (1900 Paris; 1904 St. Louis). World Fairs also introduced new technologies that changed corporate history: Impressed by German chocolate-making machinery displayed at the 1893 Columbian Exposition, Milton Hershey acquired the exhibit's complete equipment, abandoned caramel manufacture, and redirected his corporate focus.

donderdag 23 juni 2011

CHLOE chocolat PARIS
Last Monday I hade a rendez vous with Chloé Douttre Roussel, yes in Paris. We hade some chocolate to taste and in the hear future I could make chocolates with El Ceibo couverture Bolivia for her shop and events. Good news for us both and maybe for chocoholics in Paris and tourist to find out about the wondering taste of the El Ceibo products.
I do sell already the Fine dark chocolate bars and lots of my clients do appreciate the flavours and saveurs of Bolivia.

Now I follow also the Organic cocoa powder, they do not alkalinize there beans, as most brands do to obtain a deeper color and reduced acidity. They prefer a product that maintains its natural qualities to bring you a totally new experience.

100% Organic Cocoa Beans Cocoa Powder 250g / 8.50€

Fine dark chocolate 75% / 80g - 20g                                                  5.00€ - 1.50€
Dark chocolate with cocoa nibs & Uyuni salt 77% / 80g - 20g      5.00€ - 1.50€
Bolivian Specialty Coffee dark Milk Chocolate 60% / 80g - 20g  5.00€ - 1.50€
Heritage Cocoa Beans Limited Edition 75% / 80g - 20g                 6.00€ - 2.00€

Bars I follow in my shop
Chloé Doutre-Roussel 

For the first time I received the wonderfull tea of Chloé, I'm very greatful and thankful to her for giving me the unique oppertunity to sharing these wonderfull tea's to my clients.
You may drink them warm or cold its up to personal prefers.

CHLOE chocolat TEA: now exclusive in our shop.
No.1 Black: full bodied with subtle notes of chocolate and malt. A delicate tea, mellow and sweet.
No.2 Oolong: Milky and flowery. This elegant & comforting tea is delightfully, reminiscent of a creamy milk chocolate experience.    8.50€ / 60g-120g / 12.50€   

Honestly you should buy them already for the packaging ;-) come and have a taste in my shop.

SPECIAL THIS MONTH: BUYING ONE BAR AND ONE TEA is one bar of El Ceibo chocolate for free!

zaterdag 18 juni 2011

Eating the Streets of Chocolate

Something very special:
Our friends at Madre Chocolates are at it again.  This time they’ve launched an exciting initiative on the popular crowdfunding site, with a goal of raising $15,000 in 2 months.  It’s an all or nothing effort.  They must raise all $15,000 in pledges by the end of the campaign or they will get none of the money.  Their competitive edge?  A documentary-style video where they shine, and explain their goals and plans with all the passion, intellect and spirit that first attracted us to these young and upcoming entrepreneurs.  You can all but taste the chocolate.

Check out the video and find out how you can be part of this delicious revolution.

Our new melangeur Bertha Ganesh grinding away at 40 lbs of beautifully rich, smooth Waialua dark chocolate
...we’ve been overwhelmingly busy making chocolate bars non stop for the last few months to meet all your demand for Hawaiian bean-to-bar chocolate. Since we last left you, we hired our first wonderful employee (Kristen, who strangely has won Employee of the Month each of last 3 months), had some wonderful videos made by our friends Shirley and Stan from Chop Chop Media, got a new 65 lb chocolate grinder named Bertha Ganesh to seriously step up our chocolate production, starting selling our chocolate in our online store & gourmet food shops all around Hawaii and the Mainland, and sent our chocolate as near as Waikiki and as far as New Caledonia, Australia, Ireland, England, and Belgium! We feel very honored that our chocolate is in demand in such far flung places and in Belgium, a country synonymous with the production of the world’s finest chocolate.
We'd be honored if you'd take a moment to watch our kickstarter video and learn how we're bringing chocolate making back to its roots in the prized Aztec cacao growing region of Xoconusco, Chiapas, Mexico. As Dave and I travel in late June down from Oaxaca, where most of the chocolate is made in Mexico currently, to Chiapas where the cacao is grown, we'll update you on tasty chocolate combinations and traditional recipes we find from Tejate, to Cacao de jaguarCacahuaxochitlAchiote, and Atole. If you can pledge to help us support these cacao and spice farmers, you'll get to sample all these amazing flavors rarely tasted outside of their origins in Southern Mexico while feeling good that you're supporting the rich cultural heritage of chocolate in its birthplace, its tierra madre in Central America! 

Thanks so much for your help & support,

Nat & Dave

P.S. A huge thanks to everyone who helped us get this far already with chocolate making: our partners Abby & Dani for hours of understanding & support, Maiara for coming into the world in the middle of a chocolate whirlwhind, our families for getting us here, all our friends who cheered us on, Shirley & Stan at Chop Chop Media for making us 2 amazing videos, Kristen for keeping the shop & chocolate making running smoothly, Matt for dealing with chocolate dust devils & flames, all the farmers who have provided us with great cacao & fruits to turn into chocolate, everyone on The Chocolate Life and Chocolate Alchemy who have given us endless advice, and everyone single one of you who has bought and enjoyed our chocolate from Hawaii to the mainland, Belgium, Ireland, New Caledonia, Australia, and New Zealand!

Nat Bletter, PhD
Chocolate Flavormeister
Madre Chocolate

Thanks to Martha Cheng and the Honolulu Weekly for her nice food writing she does in Hawaii. 

Our daughters enjoyed so much and will not forget it.

Nice visit of people from Israel, the first weekend of June.
It was a surprice to hear there where from Israel, (they where located in Gent for holiday) but wanted to visit Paris.
After finding my website and wanting to see how pastry was made they drop in Kortrijk.

I received some pictures from them now so take a look at the result:

Dear Sir and Madam,

It was a great pleasure to visit in your Chocoleteria
Our daughters enjoyed so much and will not forget it
We appreciate the interesting visit in your workshop
When you arrive to Israel, please contact us!
Attached the photos we have taken, you can locate them in your website under
the name of Noa and Dana


Noa, Dana, Ilana and Eyal

Eyal Tsur
Lesico Ltd.
152 Jerusalem Av. Holon 58827 Israel
Mobile: +972-54-4547310
Web site:

Thanks for the nice visit and I wish you and your family a good future and lots of nice prospects.
Geert Vercruysse

woensdag 15 juni 2011

Chocolate and Love

The Academy of Chocolate Awards for 2011 have been given out in April. Many of the brands and bars we sell have won awards.
For more information please visit:

We are very proud to have received the Academy of Chocolate Award - Best Flavoured Dark Bar - Silver 2011 - for our Chocolate and Love bar: The Coffee Affair.

Some time ago (March 2011) I visited Londen to see how they are looking at chocolate and how they taste the different between supermarket chocolate and really fine, organic, fair trade and good tasting chocolate.

I was surpriced to find what I found, some very good chocolatiers and really nice people who are obsessed by chocolate more then the most of  the Chocolate Ambassadors in Belgium.

Reviewers such as LeeMcCoy, Martin Christie, Stuart Robson, Dom Ramsey and people like Jennifer Earle, Chloe Callow, Kavey Eats, Kate Johns, Richard OConnor are a true GIFT for CHOCOLATE and are really important for spreading the LOVE for thise divine food.

I was invited (by Martin Christie) to a Chocolate Tasting from Chocolate and Love company of Richard OConner and this was a start of a nice friendship with sharing chocolate and chocolates.

PRESS   April 2011   Report from The Chocolate Festival

In this month I could also participate as jury in the Chocolate Academy thanks to Dom Ramsey see:

Since then I do sell the chocolate from CHOCOLATE and LOVE:

This had a nice snap, a firm texture and was rather crunchy in the mouth as befits a strong, robust flavoured chocolate. This was an Adult X rated product for those who enjoy strong flavours, not to be taken before bedtime. The coffee flavour persists on the palate for quite some time. It was delicious and not overly sweet nor cloying.
Crushed Diamonds
55% cocoa with crunchy nibs

Filty Rich
71% cocoa pure dark

This had a good snap and a pleasant melt in the mouth texture. Orange flavouring in chocolate can easily be overdone. This bar, however, had a very pleasant true orange taste which was not in the least overpowering. It was somewhat like a seville orange, bitter and marmalady - it tasted like real fruit rather than something synthesised in a lab. It's not designed to be scoffed in large quantities, but savoured slowly - this can only be a good thing.
 About Chocolate and Love:
Chocolate and Love was created out of love for superior chocolate and a firm belief that good chocolate enjoyed in moderation should be a part of everyone's life. 

Our values:

Passion for quality and flavours!
We take pride in the products we deliver. Our suppliers are selected carefully and we only offer products that meet our high standards.

Respect for people and environment!

We want to work in harmony with the growers, our partners, our customers and the environment, 

Chocolate & Love Ltd. is founded by Richard O'Connor and Birgitte Hovmand.

dinsdag 14 juni 2011

Mole, Blending Chiles and Chocolate?

Chicken or turkey in chocolate sauce may sound strange but you should try this classic Mexican recipe. Mole is a deliciously spicy sauce made according to family recipes passed down from generation to generation. The word mole is derived from the Aztec word molli for sauce and the recipe is a true blend of New and Old World ingredients: pre-Hispanic staples and spices introduced by the Spaniards, which were combined with artistry in the convent kitchens of the Colonial period. Spanish diarists of the day such as Antonio de la Ciudad Real and Fray San Pedro Sebastian talk about visits to convents and monasteries and the dishes featuring native fruits and nuts, European spices, chicken or turkey served up by the innovative sisters and monks.

History tells us that mole originated in the Santa Rosa Convent in Puebla in the 17th century. The story goes that Sister Andrea de la Asunción blended chocolate, chili, sesame seeds, cinnamon, almonds, peanuts, garlic and pepper among other ingredients, to create a sauce that she served with turkey to honor the visit of the Viceroy.

Cacao beans, once a prized trade good used as currency by the ancient Maya.
 Another version of the story attributes the dish to another monastery and to divine intervention. Juan de Palafox, Viceroy and Archbishop of Puebla announced that he would be visiting his diocese and dining with the monks. The head cook, Friar Pascual was nervous and began to berate his assistants about the mess in the kitchen. He hastily piled all the spices, nuts, seeds, stale tortillas and chilies lying on the counter onto a tray and was carrying it to the pantry when he tripped and went flying, spilling everything into a pan full of turkey simmering away for the visitors. Fearing that he had spoilt the meal, he began to pray, and to his amazement the accidental dish turned out to be a great success. To this day, Mexican cooks often ask for his help, saying “San Pascual Bailón, atiza mi fogón,” literally, St. Pascual Bailón, bless my kitchen.
There are now countless variations on the original recipe in Puebla, Oaxaca, Hidalgo the state of Mexico and beyond and an October Mole Festival in San Pedro Atocpan (October 2 – 24), a town on the outskirts of Mexico City, which produces most of the mole spice paste consumed in the country. Up to 500,000 people are expected to attend the festival in 2010 and the organizers hope that the art of making mole will soon be recognized as a World Heritage tradition by UNESCO.

Cacao pods

Cacao is grown on estates in the fertile Chontalpa lowlands in Tabasco, Mexico.

Cacao beans are dried, roasted and then ground.

Photos courtesy of Secretary of Tourism, Tabasco, Mexico