Saturday, December 25, 2010

60 dollars worth of chuao chocolate bars for 29 dollars!

merry christmas everyone!

our friends at groupon got this amazing deal for chuao chocolate bars. you have two days left to grab this deal!

a goblet of chocolate is as good as gold among cultures that confuse gold for goblets of chocolate. fill your chocolate wallet with today's groupon: for $29, you get a selection of eight gourmet chocolate bars from chuao chocolatier's online store (a $60 value, including shipping to the contiguous US).

click here to get your groupon!

the fine print which does not sound so bad:
expires feb 3, 2011
limit 5/person. limit 1/order. not valid until 1/4. online only. flavors subject to availability; no substitutions except by merchant. ground S&H to contiguous US included; shipping to HI & AK extra. no cash back or cash value. tax not included.

Friday, November 19, 2010

2010 ghirardelli peppermint bark family giveaway!

bah humbug! did you know ghirardelli peppermint bark is only available during november and december? well, here is you chance to win a cool ghirardelli peppermint bark supply of 4 peppermint bark bars, 3 peppermint bark bags, and 1 limited edition tin.

all you have to do is correctly answer the following trivia question:

in the 1974 classic, the year without a santa claus, friends called the stop animation figure pictured above as snow meiser. his other names include mr. white christmas, mr. snow, mr. icicle, and what other alias?

please email your correct answer by december 3rd to: contest at chocolate-snob dot com. please also use the subject line: ghirardelli peppermint bark family giveaway!

the winner will be chosen at random based on the correct entries received. good luck!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

who does not love the table side guacamole of rosa mexicano? well compadres, rosa mexicano is doing a festival of chocolate that should definitely tantalize your buds. mark your calendars for september 25th!

for more information or to register for the demo, please contact:

New York, NY, Daivette at (212) 397.0666 x 27 or
Hackensack, NJ, Cre at (212) 397.0666 x 40 or
Washington, DC, Stephanie at (202) 654.7010 or
National Harbor, MD, Mia at (301) 567.1005 or
Atlanta, GA, Jenny at (404) 347.4090 or
Miami, FL, Jackie at (786) 425.1001 or
Los Angeles, CA, Stacy (213) 746.0001 or

Monday, April 12, 2010

chocolate snob class in los angeles:
sunday, april 25

i hope you will join me on sunday, april 25** at the epicurean school of culinary arts in los angeles. i will be teaching a chocolate snob class!

we will cover how to have a proper chocolate tasting* and you will learn how to make tantalizing truffles, chocolate ganache orange cake, mexican hot chocolate, german chocolate cocktails, gourmet oreo's, and grilled chocolate sandwiches.

the class will be hands on and in depth. don't forget to wear comfy shoes.

here is a wonderful write up by vanguard magazine's stevie st. john who attended my last class. you may have to click the image of the article to make it bigger.

*chocolate tasting:
learn the basics of discovering chocolate through history, terminology, and taste.a brief account will be given on chocolate’s early development to its current production. chocolate vernacular will simplify the meaning of cacao and define the importance of percentages. discover some of the finest chocolate from a full tasting using all of the senses. from subtle to unexpected, from texture to aroma, novices will become chocolate connoisseurs by creating their own flavor palettes.

**the class will be from 2.30-5.30 sunday, april 25 at the epicurean school of culinary arts
8500 melrose avenue | los angeles, ca 90069 | 310.659.5990

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

madame chocolat:
beverly hills

louis xiv, the sun king wanted to "impress europe and the whole world with the splendor and brilliance of french culture." he transformed a hunting lodge at versailles into an elaborate palace and encouraged the blossoming of arts, sciences, and the "new invention" of classic french cuisine.

a few times a week (as long as you were decently dressed and checked your sword at the gate) you could come to versailles, walk the grounds, view glorious works of art, and watch the king, his family, and his court eat supper. for dessert, louis xiv favored chocolate. after all, he was instrumental in the research, development, and manufacturing of chocolate.

madame chocolat, nestled in beverly hills, is where you can get a local taste of versailles. you are welcomed with royal visions of chocolate, chandeliers, gilded mirrors, and whimsy. behind the glass encased chocolate creations, you may watch the gorgeous hasty torres tempering chocolate and crafting her creations.

hasty torres uses fine belgian chocolate with a 60 percent cacao ratio. every single truffle and bon bon is exquisitely hand molded and hand decorated. your choices may vary from classic monsieur (jonnie walker blue label) to luscious chocolate squares topped with roasted almond, pistachio, and dried apricot.

the versailles theme continues with her amazing white quilted packaging, a brown bow, and silver pin attached. when the spanish princess maria theresa was betrothed to louis xiv, she gave him an engagement gift of chocolate in an elegantly ornate chest.

after a day of shopping on rodeo drive, you can relax in the café area and imbibe a lovely hot cup of cocoa with a chocolate spoon on the side - - -there are also chocolate shavings for cocoa to go.

for inspired reading please check out:
Love and Louis XIV: The Women in the Life of the Sun King

Saturday, February 13, 2010

spa luce hollywood:
when chocolate just isn't enough

luxury and elegance in the center of hollywood - - - the glory days are back.

heavenly shades of white glow as you enter spa luce. with the feel of immediate serenity, an escort takes you to the immaculate changing rooms where you find a long bathrobe and slippers waiting. while there, enjoy the eucalyptus infused steam rooms before your treatment.

the chocolate and roses manicure treatment...
spa luce hollywood
after your soak in an orchid pool, a trained reflexologist, massages you with somme institute dark chocolate truffle scrub.
spa luce hollywood
chocolate aromas flood the senses and the upper arm and hand massage definitely gets your circulation flowing. warm towels remove the scrub and then rose oil (vegan and paraben free) is applied.
spa luce hollywood
you a finished off with your exquisite manicure and then you are free to relax over a spa lunch at the rooftop pool. it has a generous view of the hollywood sign from your cabana. yes, you are a star.

you may also chose to go to the relaxation rooms which i love. there you have pillow topped mattresses in cocoons which somehow reminds me of a futuristic james bond movie. nibbly things, teas, and waters are included.

for the lovers month of february, i recommend booking a couples massage which includes a glass of champagne and truffles by k chocolatier by diane kron. or better yet, get their couples sea salt baths.

spa luce

Friday, February 12, 2010

essential chocolate desserts:
red velvet ding dongs

essential chocolates culver city
stunning, gorgeous, delicious, and moist. i have had my share of nouveau ding-dongs and i am awarding essential chocolates the ding-dong trophy until someone can prove me wrong. the rich moist velvet cake with the vanilla creme center is just perfect - - - not overly sweet and the cake is magnificent.
essential chocolates culver city
it is enrobed in dark chocolate and dusted with red velvet cake crumbs.

they also sell mini ding-dongs (to die for) for 2 dollars.
essential chocolates culver city
definitely order these for your sweetie or visit essential chocolate desserts at 10868 washington in culver city, ca.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

the edison: valentines and absinthe chocolate

as you step into the turn-of-the-century boiler room, you are taken to a romantic orwellian world. the industrial elegant bar, lounge, maze, will astound. escape to the edison’s valentine’s day celebration with the style and sophistication of a long lost era.

dj jonny boy and live jazz will set the mood along with the rosebud martini, crafted from organic vodka, hibiscus liquor, and a splash of champagne-- all topped with a rose petal.

final touches include edison’s “a sense of the sea” oyster bar presented by the noted matre ecailler, chef christophe happillon and the edison’s award winning ambiance.

there will be absinthe chocolates for desert. the rest is up to you!

click here to visit the edison

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

smithsonian: power of chocolate event

this sounds like a fabulous and exciting event. i wish i could be there to attend and support the museum. if you go, you should definitely check out their amazing cafeteria on the first floor.

This Valentine’s weekend, the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) celebrates one of the world’s most beloved foods and a treasure of the Americas. The Power of Chocolate explodes in a colorful festival of culture, music, dance, art, science, and, of course, food.

Theobroma cacao was for the Maya and the Aztec peoples, as its Latin name indicates, a “food of the gods.” Guest presenters explore the rich history and ongoing story of chocolate and offer a deeper understanding of cacao and the cultures and communities that have cultivated this valuable crop.

The museum invites visitors to enjoy a tasty assortment of presentations. Spectacular Peruvian scissor dancers compete in endurance, acrobatics, and creativity. Kuna textile artists from Panama and Colombia share the art of making their charming, colorful molas. Hands-on activities encourage young and not-so-young visitors to investigate the Mayan glyph for “cacao,” grind cacao beans, and froth their own hot chocolate. Food demonstrations, a Chocolate Talk
about the science and sustainability of the cacao plant, and one-on-one discussions with indigenous Bolivian cacao growers offer different perspectives on this surprisingly complex subject.

Finally, the museum presents Burwa dii Ebo/The Wind and the Water, a contemporary Kuna coming-of-age story by the Igar Yala Collective of Panama in a Valentine’s evening Dinner and a Movie.

To get a sense of how much fun—and how educational—this weekend can be, take a look at this short video portrait of last year’s Power of Chocolate festival.

For an even sweeter Valentine's weekend at the museum, please print this coupon and present it to a cashier for a 10% discount at the museum's award-winning Mitsitam Native Foods Cafe.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

amano: valentine's giveaway

amano is one of the best bean to bars manufacturers out there. now is your chance to win a set of the amano guayas and their dos rios to get that true passionate taste that they leave me with.

so you ask, what hoops shall i put you through? simple, give me the funniest nick name you have for your loved one (or one for your future sweetie).

please get me your most brilliant names by the 12th of february. i will post the winners based on uniqueness, sweetness, and hilariousness! if you feel your nickname is a bit lackluster, feel free to be creative with your entry.

good luck! email your entry to "rachelrifat at yahoo dot com" with the subject line "amano nickname"! please include your name and address.


this giveaway is open to three winners residing in the u.s.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Kraft Foods, Cadbury agree $19.5 bln deal

a personal message to kraft... whatever you do, please do not mess with the caramello bar.

now for the news (hold on to your seats):

By JANE WARDELL and ROBERT BARR, Associated Press Writers Jane Wardell And Robert Barr, Associated Press Writers 28 mins ago

LONDON – After months of fierce resistance, Cadbury's about-face to accept a sweetened 11.5 billion pound ($19.5 billion) takeover from Kraft Foods Inc. — forming the world's biggest candy company — has alarmed British unions, lawmakers and chocolate lovers.

With Cadbury shareholders expected to agree to the deal and a rival bid from The Hershey Co. looking less likely, opponents fear the U.S. multinational's impact on one of Britain's oldest and best-loved brands.

Just days after Cadbury declared its suitor a "low growth" company with a "long history of underperformance," the British maker of Dairy Milk chocolates and Dentyne gum capitulated to a raised bid of 840 pence ($13.78) per share.

The deal, comprising 500 pence cash and 0.1874 new Kraft shares for each Cadbury share, is a 9 percent premium to its previous 770 pence offer and 50 percent higher than Cadbury's market value before Kraft, based in Northfield, Illinois, went public with its approach in September.

Cadbury stock was trading just under that level, at 836.5 pence, up 3.6 percent, in Tuesday afternoon trade. Shares in Kraft, the maker of Toblerone chocoloate, Velveeta processed cheese and Oreo cookies, were down 2.5 percent at $28.85.

The combination of the pair would create the world's biggest confectionary company, replacing Mars Inc., and Kraft CEO Irene Rosenfeld said the deal provides "both immediate value certainty and upside potential" as she tried to appease concerns about the loss of Cadbury's iconic status.

The company's roots go back to the grocery store opened in 1824 by John Cadbury in Birmingham, central England. A Quaker, Cadbury believed cocoa and drinking chocolate were healthy alternatives to alcohol, considered to add to the miseries of the working class.

The popular Dairy Milk bars were launched in 1905 as a challenge to dominant Swiss chocolate makers.

"We have great respect for Cadbury's brands, heritage and people," Rosenfeld said. "We believe they will thrive as part of Kraft Foods."

But unions are worried there were no clear guarantees from Kraft that it won't switch manufacturing of some of the 186-year-old company's chocolates to eastern Europe, sacrificing thousands of British jobs.

"This is a very sad day for U.K. manufacturing. A successful, iconic, independent U.K. brand will now be owned by a giant company with massive debt," said Jennie Formby of the Unite union, which had campaigned against Kraft's offer.

"We have very real fears about how Kraft will repay its debt, particularly as it has ratcheted it up still further in order to purchase Cadbury," she added.

Four Labour Party lawmakers, whose electorates cover two key factories in Britain's manufacturing heartland, said in a joint statement they were worried "about the kind of future that Cadbury's would have as part of this giant multinational whose corporate priorities are decided a long way away from the West Midlands."

The deal, one of the largest transnational takeovers since the credit crunch, is further sign that food companies are seeking to gain scale by combining, after Mars bought William Wrigley Jr. Co. in 2008 for $23 billion.

A Kraft-Cadbury combination will create a portfolio with more than 40 confectionary brands, each with annual sales in excess of $100 million.

Kraft, attracted by Cadbury's extensive reach in lucrative emerging markets, sidestepped concerns from its own major shareholders by reducing the share portion of the deal below 20 percent — negating the need for it to be approved by shareholders.

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett, whose Berkshire Hathaway is Kraft's biggest shareholder, voted against Kraft's proposal earlier this month to issue more shares to fund the takeover bid. Kraft made the proposal after raising the cash portion of its offer by selling its North America pizza business to Nestle for $3.7 billion.

Under the revised offer, Kraft will issue 265 million new shares representing approximately 18 percent of the existing issued share capital and 15 percent of the company's enlarged issued share capital.

There was surprise at the overnight change in tune from Cadbury Chairman Roger Carr, who had led a spirited defense against Kraft, talking up the British company's standalone strengths, over the past four months.

The man who earlier this week said Rosenfeld's shareholders had been forced to deal with "repeated disappointment from a management team who have promised much and delivered less," told his own shareholders on Tuesday that the revised deal "represents good value."

"Although we always considered that 850 pence could be enough to win shareholder support we have to admit surprise at how meekly Cadbury has apparently acquiesced," said Jeremy Batstone-Carr, analyst at Charles Stanley & Co.

Only last week, Batstone-Carr added, the Cadbury chairman "had confidently predicted that the company's share price could be over 10 pounds (1,000 pence) in due course."

Analysts said it was likely that Cadbury shareholders would follow Carr's advice, despite earlier suggestions that they'd hold out for a higher offer.

David Cumming, head of U.K. equities at Cadbury shareholder Standard Life, had said Monday that Kraft needed to aim above 900 pence to secure support from long-term shareholders. But on Tuesday, he signaled the fight was over.

"I probably won't go against the view of Cadbury's management," he told the BBC. "Kraft are getting a good deal. It's sad that Cadbury is gone, but business is business."

The U.K. Takeover Panel has set a deadline of Feb. 2 for acceptances.

There was also declining speculation about a rival offer after Ferrero and Nestle dropped out of the race, leaving just The Hershey Co. as a contender to meet a British regulatory deadline of 7 a.m. (0200 GMT) Monday to make a bid.

"The likelihood of Hershey throwing its hat into the ring looks remote, given the required level of debt which the group would have to support," said Keith Bowman, Equity Analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown Stockbrokers.

Kraft said it did not plan full dual listings for the combined company in New York and London, but it would retain a secondary listing for British investors to trade their shares in Europe.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

vosges: promotional discount

stodgy fruit cake or vacuous gift baskets for the holidays? just say no...

send chocolate!

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.

don't forget to add peanut butter bonbons in your cart for your self...

Monday, November 23, 2009

lamar's donuts: chocolate fluff filled

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

amano: guayas

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

sifers: valomilk

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

los angeles chocolate salon october 11:
giveaway winners announced!!!

congratulations to eric and and roxanna on winning tickets to the chocolate salon! see you there!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

los angeles chocolate salon october 11: giveaway!!!

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

milka: luflée

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

alpine village: german acrobats and chocolate

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.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

surfas: republica del cacao event

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
-gelato chocolate

surfas contact info