stodgy fruit cake or vacuous gift baskets for the holidays? just say no...
vosges is making the season easier on your pocketbook with their online discount code good between december 1 and december 31. use code BLGF09 when checking out for a 10 percent discount. www.vosgeschocolate.com
don't forget to add peanut butter bonbons in your cart for your self...
Thursday, December 3, 2009
stodgy fruit cake or vacuous gift baskets for the holidays? just say no...
Monday, November 23, 2009
on a trip to kansas city we hit lamar's donuts. these handcrafted works of art are not for the weak at heart (or those with weak hearts). lamar's chocolate iced bar chocolate fluff filled is one delectable sinker that can turn into serious addiction - - - just be careful of the subsequent rapid palpitations.
after your 800 calorie indulgence, use the rest of your daily calorie intake at jack stack's bbq (my favorite in town).
Friday, November 6, 2009
the pink palace, 1930's.
just outside the lawns of the beverly hills hotel, you take the path that leads to the polo lounge. passing by bungalow number four, you discretely nod to gable and lombard.
you arrive at the watering hole and find it filled with scents of musk, cigar, rye, and celebrity... having just returned from his polo match, you overhear will rogers humoring fairbanks and tracy stating "all i know is just what i read in the papers, and that's an alibi for my ignorance".
the bartender knows your drink and gives a stiff pour. a reserved booth with a shiny black box of chocolate on the table awaits. you sit, sip, then open the box. immediately after your first bite of chocolate, you are overwhelmed with chocolate transcendence that encompasses the feel and aromas of the room.
this bar is luxury, lust, and a must.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
this midwest treat is gooey goodness and perfect for the snobs who can let loose once in a while.
we were in a drug store in kansas city and i picked up this marshmallow cup and immediately fell in love with the valomilk goodness and charm. i wanted to know more, so we drove to merriam, kansas to see russell sifers managing his family owned and operated candy company (now into it's fifth generation).
the family started making candy in 1903. in those early years, russell’s great grandfather (samuel mitchell sifers) made bulk penny hard candy, hand rolled boxed chocolates, and made some of the first nickel candy bars in the midwest (old king tut, subway sadie, ozark ridge, rough neck, jersey cow, fumbles, snow cup and the kc bar).
russell’s grandfather, harry sifers, was always looking for new ideas for candy so they dipped scoops of their runny marshmallow into chocolate cups. messy but delicious and a simple taste of heaven! they began making the new candy calling it valomilk dips and sold them for 5 cents in 1931.
the name valomilk dip came from: v for real vanilla, alo from marshmallow, milk to describe it as creamy and dip because it was hand dipped (hand made). the name for “the original flowing center candy cup” was later shortened to valomilk. the original valomilk dips were two ounces in one large cup. today valomilks are still two ounces, but now it is in a package of two cups.
during world war II when ingredients were rationed, they had someone flying around the country in an open cockpit plane searching for ingredients. they made candy with what they could find. because of the scarcity of chocolate (a lot went over seas to the troops) they had to stop making our boxed chocolates. what chocolate they could get went into making valomilks.
in 1981 the factory was shut down and russell left the business. after half a century, valomilks ended! but, in 1985 russell acquired his great grandfather’s original copper kettles and other equipment and put the factory back together in merriam, ks. valomilks returned to the stores in kansas city in 1987. today, russell's son dave is the fifth generation to make valomilks. they still make valomilks the way candy used to be made – by hand, one batch at a time with the original family recipe along with much of the original equipment. the process is slow and difficult but the results are truly old fashioned, hand made quality you can taste.
russell warned us about crossing the rockies with our box of valomilks since they burst at high altitude. it was worth it... we only lost a couple to our flight back home.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
congratulations to eric and and roxanna on winning tickets to the chocolate salon! see you there!
Sunday, September 27, 2009
i am excited to check out some new chocolatiers and some old favorites (including amano, jade, and valerie) at the los angeles chocolate salon.
win some tickets to the salon so you can be your own snob!
just click here to send an email, by october 2, and two winners will be picked at random. good luck!
here are some more details:
the third annual los angeles luxury chocolate salon participants include over 35 chocolatiers, confectioners, wineries and other culinary artisans, such as: choclatique, happy chocolates, rushburn toffee co., the tea room chocolate, quady winery, chocolatl, jade chocolates, san francisco toffee company, cj’s bitz and cj’s stix, marti chocolatt, alter eco fair trade chocolate, artisan cocoa / amella caramels, af-squared chocolatiers, clarine’s florentines, helen grace chocolates, mignon chocolate, tcho, amano artisan chocolate, landrin, sterling confections, chocoveda, republica del cacao, dove chocolate discoveries, valerie confections, plush puff gourmet marshmallows, the chocolate traveler, ococoa chocolates, tifa chocolate, sweet beauty organic chocolate spa, xocai chocolate, zhena’s gypsy tea, xt patisserie, farm fresh to you, original beans, vermeer dutch chocolate cream, blue angel vodka, le creuset, swissmar, putumayo world music, chocolate television, tastetv, yelp, california school of culinary arts - le cordon bleu programs, edible los angeles magazine, and many more. all this in 16,000 square feet, over twice the delicious tasting space as 2008
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
this is a very, very sweet milt chocolate with an air of cinammon. it is not bad for a novelty chocolate and for someone who is not a snob. the bar comes close to the aero bar which always brings fond memories of my youth.
Sunday, September 6, 2009
a little road trip to the queen mary today ended up with an accidental diversion to alpine village in torrance. it is definitely an "only in LA" wonder: there is an old fashioned meat counter where you can buy homemade sausage; their sunday german champagne brunch buffet is straight from the 60s; the ratio of socks in birkenstocks to vans is unusually high south of berkeley; entertainment is provided by cherub cheeked german octogenarians doing acrobats with flowers in their hair;
photo credit: james paris
and, you can find an amazing selection of chocolates at unusually low prices - - - heilemann chocolates are just 1.25!!!!!!!!
alpine village may not still look like the pictured vintage postcard but you must make the trip if you are a fan of camp and excellent prices on chocolate.
note: don't forget to put on your lederhosen... this years oktoberfest will be held September 12th, 2009 thru October 25th, 2009. www.alpinevillage.net
Thursday, August 27, 2009
surfas los angeles will be hosting "republica del cacao chocolate magic demo" for free on Saturday, August 29, 2009 from 12pm - 2pm.
...join us in the test kitchen at surfas as we welcome master pastry chef and chocolatier jean-marc viallet. using republica del cacao chocolate, chef viallet will reveal the magic of working with this often tricky substance. for many home bakers, chocolate can be as fickle as it is delicious. for professional chefs, they can experience the challenges daily; “one drop of water and the chocolate is dead” says viallet.
on the menu:
-chocolate cookies with single origin chocolate drops, from ecuador
-cookie sandwich with 75% los rios
-truffle lavender with 75% los rios
surfas contact info
Thursday, August 6, 2009
down under and searching for chocolate. max brenner has the most adorable packaging and his store is gorgeous. "chocolate by the bald man" (discretely stated on the package, in the store, on the mugs...) is a delightful treat. it reminds me of gianduia with lovely little orange teases - - - the carmelized pecan bits have a great crackle.
Friday, July 31, 2009
here is a free event at surfas if you are in town from 12pm - 2pm on saturday, august 1
republica del cacao chocolate magic demo: join us in the test kitchen at surfas as we welcome master pastry chef and chocolatier jean-marc viallet. using republica del cacao chocolate, chef viallet will reveal the magic of working with this often tricky substance. for many home bakers, chocolate can be as fickle as it is delicious. for professional chefs, they can experience the challenges daily; “one drop of water and the chocolate is dead” says viallet.
on the menu:
-chocolate macaroon with honey ganache
-chocolate profiterolles with chocolate ice cream
-chocolate sauce and tea and chocolate truffles
of course, you will get plenty to taste as well!
Sunday, July 26, 2009
i absolutely loved watching every moment of julie & julia (in theatres august 7). it was so beautiful to see the bustling parisian markets, the exuberant julia, and her darling husband, paul. i just wanted more julia child! let's hope the execs decide to make a complete bio... and use meryl again.
after a miserable workday, julie (our other main character - present day) passes a boutique scharffenberger and decides to make a spontaneous chocolate cream pie with a graham cracker crust. she then challenges herself to a one year goal of completing every recipe from julia child's mastering the art of french cooking. in one of her accomplishments, she advances to make julia's lightly underbaked chocolate and almond cake... reina de saba.
here is the recipe for reina de saba out of mastering the art of french cooking - just click on the picture below and it will expand...
(this is a reprint from bon appetit and it seems that they just left off the slivered almonds on the side of the cake - feel free to add them)
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
book me on a flight and take me to dc. co co sala is having happy hour monday thru friday from 4-7. this is an exquisite chocolate lounge and i highly recommend it to any connoisseur. we always saved room for dessert just to go back to co co sala. martha w. would approve.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
you are sailing in your borrowed yacht along cape race in newfoundland. you are reenacting the music video "my heart goes on" by celine dion. at the forecastle, your arms are outstretched and you pull out a latte e menta. it is refreshing, minty, and quite an elegant piece of chocolate... well worth venturing into the milk territory. just promise to never let go.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
here is my divine recipe for the perfect smore using chocovic maragda chocolate. enjoy!
if you cannot see the video, please click here:
Monday, April 27, 2009
post one of six.
the dark chocolate wafer bar is wonderfully crispy and it is coated in belgian dark chocolate. there are two bars to a pack and it is just impossible to save one for later. this is a perfect dark, crispy, flaky bar.
the founder created the chocolate bar company, promoting no chemicals and artificial ingredients, for his children. the founder is also a romantic and named it after his wife isabel.
there is no doubt that the quality is top notch and you can taste the love put into this product.
Monday, April 6, 2009
you are an observer at the american philosophical society and become startled by a touch to the shoulder. ben franklin whispers in your ear... who knew the man could be so naughty? you excuse his behavior... after all, he worked hard on getting rid of the stamp act (the british tried to solve their national debt by taxing the u.s. on all printed matter).
ben kindly invites you for a constitutional after the meeting - - - he somehow is too intriguing to deny. as you stroll the cobbled streets, he reaches into his pockets and offers a chocolate stick. you raise one eyebrow, nod to him, and then gently glide it into your mouth. aromas of cinnamon, anise, nutmeg, pepper, and orange mystify you. this is the chocolate of colonial america. he winks and states, "you know, i managed to secure six pounds of chocolate for every officer for the french and indian war". this is a man after your own heart. you fall in love.
please visit www.americanheritagechocolate.com for colonial chocolate history.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
if you are in LA, here is an excellent way to get your tempering skills down for free...
chocolate tempering 101: the perfect introduction to the world of chocolateering! learn chocolate basics from tasting, percentages and tempering to infusing ganaches and making truffles and nut clusters. during the demo chef tina martinez will be prepare delicious mint truffles, cappucino filled truffles and pecan nut clusters while sharing chocolate history and mystery.
march 14, 2009 3pm - 4pm
8777 washington blvd
culver city, ca 90232
Thursday, February 19, 2009
if you are not following little britain on bbc america, you are definitely missing out... especially with classic lines such as,
"dark chocolate has a bitter edge to it and lacks the oral ecstacy of its milky cousin".
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
mast brothers chocolate: dark milk chocolate 60% + almonds + sea salt
you are in florence and strolling along the ponte vecchio. on the medieval bridge, you gaze over the arno river. the souvenir shops are teetery and depressing. however, out of the rough, a gorgeous paper and pen shop emerges. apparently, they have been making hand made florentine papers for centuries.
you proceed to the fenced statue of benvenuto cellini with your padlock in hand. carlos santana is there and nods - - - peculiar.
after you hear the faint click of the key securing the lock placed on the fence, you release a sigh knowing that you and your love will be eternally bonded. you hold the key for a slight second then toss it over the bridge.... it soars until it gently kisses the river.
avoiding the 50€ penalty, for those caught locking something to the fence, you discreetly walk back across the bridge. carlos catches up to you and hands you a bar wrapped in what seems to be florentine paper. after a second nod, he disappears. you gently open the fleur de lis wrapping and discover a deep, rich, and salty chocolate - - - you taste adventure, you taste history, you taste love.
Friday, February 13, 2009
in honor of the metromint giveaway, i have written my review of the chocolatemint water in the form of a haiku:
more fun than a dentist chair*
kisses to my mouth
and now for the giveaway details... metromint is giving away a free case of chocolatemint and cherrymint water! so, for chocolate snob's enjoyment, there will be a haiku contest. for the uninitiated, a haiku is a japanese poem divided into 3 lines of 5, 7, and 5 syllables. see my example above.
your challenge is to write a haiku that is inspired by valentine's day and it does not need to mention metromint. you are more than welcome to suck up to chocolate snob though.... you have until the 22nd of february to compose your winning haiku.
please email your response to
*i love going to the dentist!
Thursday, February 12, 2009
here is something you may want to make for your sweetheart...
photo spencer weiner, article noelle carter - la times
Total time: 35 minutes, plus chilling and cooling time for the dough
Servings: 2 dozen cookies
Note: Adapted from chef Elena Guerrero-Berman of Massimo's Delectables. Be careful not to grind the nuts to a fine powder or flour; the nuts should have some texture (you will see small bits in the cookies when they are baked). A food processor will work best for grinding the nuts.
2 cups (4 sticks) butter, softened
2 cups sugar1 cup ground hazelnuts
1 cup ground almonds
1 tablespoon vanilla
4 cups pastry flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer using a paddle attachment, or in a large bowl using a hand mixer, cream the butter with sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl periodically.
2. Gently fold the ground hazelnuts into the butter mixture until evenly combined, then fold in the ground almonds thoroughly.
3. Stir in the vanilla. Gently add the flour, 1 cup at a time, until thoroughly mixed. Slowly add the cocoa until combined. The dough will be very thick at this point, and you should easily be able to roll a small amount into a ball.
4. Shape the dough into a flat disc and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate dough at least two hours, but preferably overnight.
5. Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Roll the dough to one-half-inch thickness between 2 sheets of parchment paper or plastic wrap (this keeps the dough from sticking to the rolling pin and alleviates the need for flouring). Cut hearts or other-shaped cookies approximately 2 1/2 inches in diameter, and place the cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake the cookies until puffed slightly and set on top, about 15 minutes. Rotate the cookies halfway through for even heating and coloring.
6. Remove the cookies, still on their sheets, to a rack to cool completely before serving (they're fragile just out of the oven and will crumble if moved while still warm).
Each cookie: 317 calories; 4 grams protein; 35 grams carbohydrates; 5 grams fiber; 20 grams fat; 10 grams saturated fat; 40 mg. cholesterol; 3 mg. sodium.
Sunday, February 8, 2009
jade is a fabulous chocolate manufacturer based out of san francisco. you should definitely try their creations... your taste buds will definitely be taken to new adventures.
click here to read past reviews - the dried mango dipped in chocolate is pictured above
use the code 'redhearts' for a 15% discount until february 17th.
Thursday, February 5, 2009
brewing, manufacturing, frommage... who knew milwaukee would throw us a curve with chocolate? with a ganache center covered by a hard chocolate barrel, the chocolate olive is to accompany your favorite libation. a skewer easily pokes through the cholive for the perfect garnish - - - i like the way this drinking town thinks.
no olives were harmed in the making of the cholive.
i created a black russian with grills for my cholive… the recipe follows...
2 parts vodka
1 part kahlua
put into an ice filled shaker
shake, shake, shake, shake, shake, shake, pour
dust with gold leaf and add a cholive
Monday, February 2, 2009
attention all snobs... add this to your noesis!
Cylinder jars excavated from Pueblo Bonito in Chaco Canyon suggest residents were drinking chocolate as part of a ritual. Twelve jars, shown here, are housed in the Smithsonian Institution Department of Anthropology. Photo courtesy of American Antiquity.
By Jeanna Bryner, Senior Writer
Chocolate residues left on ancient jars mark cacao's earliest known presence north of what is now the U.S.-Mexico border.
The residues, found on pottery shards excavated from a large pueblo (called Pueblo Bonito) in Chaco Canyon in northwestern New Mexico, suggest the practice of drinking chocolate had traveled from what is now Mexico to the American Southwest by about 1,000 years ago.
Scientists have known about the early uses of chocolate in Mesoamerica, with evidence for rituals involving liquid drinks made from cacao beans dating back more than 1,000 years. (Mesoamerica extends from central Mexico to Honduras and Nicaragua.)
Now, researchers think a similar ritual may have taken place in villages in Chaco Canyon. Patricia Crown of the University of New Mexico and Jeffrey Hurst of the Hershey Center for Health and Nutrition found traces of theobromine, which is in the Theobroma cacao plant that bears beans from which chocolate is made, on the shards. (The Hershey Center was established by the Hershey Company in 2006.)
And Crown and Hurst suspect the shards came from cylinder jars, which measure an average of 10 inches tall (25 cm) and 4 inches (10 cm) wide. Only 200 such cylinder jars are known in the Southwest United States, almost all of which come from Pueblo Bonito.
Scientists have put forth various explanations for how the jars were used, including as containers to hold exotic items like turquoise and as drums (with a skin cover).
"If it was the form specifically used for drinking cacao, that would explain why it's such a specialized form," Crown said, referring to the jars.
In Mesoamerica, residents would make the drinks by grinding up roasted cacao beans and adding hot or cool water. Sometimes other ingredients, such as honey for sweetening, cornmeal and even chili peppers, were added. The researchers are not sure if any other ingredients were mixed in with the Chaco Canyon drinks.
Since the cacao plant is tropical and can't be grown in New Mexico and other places in the United States, the researchers think the chocolate beans came from Mesoamerica, with the closest source being about 1,240 miles (2,000 km) away from the Chaco site.
Next, Crown and Hurst hope to test wooden sticks found at the site for chocolate residues. The sticks have loops at the bottom, and Crown says perhaps they were used to stir and froth the chocolate drinks.
"An important thing in Mesoamerica was stirring it up so it had a froth in it," Crown told LiveScience. "The froth was considered the most delicious part of the drink."
The research pair also wants to analyze other material from different time periods and areas in the Southwest.
"It is the first known cacao north of the Mexican border in the United States, and as far as I know the only known cacao in the United States before contact," Crown said, referring to the time before European settlement of the area. "Unfortunately it's also the only cacao residue study that anyone has done using U.S. materials, so we need to find out how widespread chocolate was prior to contact in the American Southwest."
The new research is detailed this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The research was funded by the National Science Foundation, National Geographic Society, University of New Mexico and Hershey's Technical Center, among others.