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    THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

    Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

    This is the blog section of THE NIBBLE. Read all of our content on TheNibble.com,
    the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

Archive for Chocolate

FOOD FUN: Chocolate Face Mask

chocolate-face-mask-secretbeautybar-230r

Another way to enjoy chocolate. Photo
courtesy Elizabeth’s Secret Beauty Bar |
Miami.

 

If you have no Father’s Day plans, how about treating yourself to a chocolate face mask?

Elizabeth Garcia of Elizabeth’s Secret Beauty Bar in Miami shares the recipe for her signature chocolate mask. You can use it on the face to rehydrate, and on your body or feet as well.

Spas that promote chocolate say it is a natural way to exfoliate, and promote the “rich antioxidants that help to combat free radicals, which are responsible for our cell aging.”

Forget about that: A surface mask isn’t going to penetrate and protect you from aging.

Instead, enjoy a chocolate mask because it’s fun and puts you in a good mood, from the scent alone. Chocolate-loving men will enjoy it as much as the ladies.

Here’s how to mix your own:

 

RECIPE: CHOCOLATE MASK

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons raw cocoa powder (preferably organic)
  • 2/3 cup water (preferably bottled water)
  • 2 tablespoons honey (preferably organic)
  • 5 drops of coconut oil (substitute mint or orange oil)
  •  
    Instructions

    1. PLACE coconut oil and honey in a small microwave safe bowl. Microwave with honey for 6 seconds.

    2. BLEND cocoa powder into coconut oil/honey and stir until mixture becomes creamy.

    3. APPLY to your skin using a facial brush; leave on until it hardens. Elizabeth does not recommend using your fingers. We used a wood tongue depressor. We also recommend soothing music. Chopin worked for us!

    4. REMOVE with cool wash cloth in an upward motion.

     
      

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    FATHER’S DAY: Maggie Louise Salted Caramel Heraldic Shields

    If Dad is the king on Father’s Day, how about a box of these chocolate heraldic shields, filled with salted caramel?

    Any celebrant who appreciates fine chocolate will roar when he receives a box of such luscious chocolates, embossed with kingly lions.

    The heraldic shields are crafted in extra dark chocolate by El Rey and filled with vanilla bean cream caramel and sea salt. As a finishing touch, the chocolate is brushed with edible gold.

    We’re fans of Maggie Louise, who combines design flare with terrific taste and beautiful packaging.

    A 6-piece gift box is $13.50.

    Get yours at MaggieLouiseConfections.com.

    And browse the website for more wonderful chocolate creations.

     

    shields-gift-box-230s

    Regal and delectable: salt caramel heraldic shields. Photo courtesy Maggie Louise.

     

      

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    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Whiskey-Infused Chocolate Truffles

    If Dad loves chocolate and spirits, this may be the ideal Father’s Day gift!

    The Oregon Distiller’s Collection from Moonstruck Chocolate is nine-piece collection of truffles infused with spirits from five of Oregon’s finest craft distillers.

    The spirits are infused into chocolate ganache and hand-piped into hand-painted chocolate shells. The collection is a parade of deliciousness:

  • Bendistillery Crater Lake Pepper Vodka Truffle: A ganache of ivory and dark chocolate is infused with the spirit. A blend of five different sweet and hot chiles creates a balance of flavor and spice; in an ivory chocolate shell.
  • Bull Run Distillery Pacific Rum and Cola Truffle: A blend of dark and milk chocolate ganache is infused with the rum and cola-flavored spirit to mimic the classic cocktail; in a dark chocolate shell.
  • Bull Run Temperance Trader Bourbon Whiskey Truffle: A dark and milk chocolate ganache is infused with this popular whiskey, creating sweet and smoky notes with a hint of fruit and butterscotch; in a dark chocolate shell.
  •    

    craft-distillers-230

    A gift box of spirits-infused truffles. Photo courtesy Moonstruck Chocolate.

     

  • Clear Creek Distillery Oregon Apple Brandy Truffle: The spirit is blended into a ganache of ivory and dark chocolate, featuring notes of grass, apple and spice; in dark chocolate shell.
  • Clear Creek Distillery Oregon Pear Brandy Truffle: A blended milk and dark chocolate ganache is infused with the pear brandy; in an ivory chocolate shell.
  •  

    moonstruck_craft_distillers-goodstuffnw-230r

    Each individual flavor can be purchased
    separately, too. Photo courtesy
    GoodstuffNW.com.

     
  • House Spirits Distillery Krogstad Aquavit Truffle: The aquavit is blended into an ivory and dark chocolate ganache, creating a warm blend of chocolate, star anise and caraway flavors; in a milk chocolate shell.
  • House Spirits Distillery Coffee Liqueur Truffle: The strong, freshly-brewed coffee flavor of the liqueur infuses a blend of milk and dark chocolate ganache; in a dark chocolate shell.
  • House Spirits Distillery Aviation Gin Truffle: This milk and dark chocolate ganache is infused with the gin, delivering a bouquet of botanical flavors, with top notes of citrus, anise, cardamom and lavender; in a dark chocolate shell.
  • Rogue Ale Dead Guy Whiskey Truffle: A blended ivory and dark chocolate is infused with the whiskey, creating delicately sweet notes, a rich malt complexity and a warm peppery finish; in a milk chocolate shell.
  •  
    Who could resist? The nine-piece sampler is $20.00. The flavors can be purchased individually in boxes of 20 pieces for $50.00.

     

    THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WHISKEY & WHISKY

    Check out the different types of whiskey in our Whiskey Glossary.
      

    Comments

    FOOD HOLIDAY: Rocky Road Bark For National Rocky Road Day

    rocky-road-bark-2-browneyedbaker-230

    Make it in 15 minutes! Photo courtesy Brown
    Eyed Baker.

     

    June 2 is National Rocky Road Day, a flavor created in 1929 when William Dreyer mixed chocolate ice cream with nuts and marshmallows, the “rocks” in the road. Here’s the history.

    Today, have a dish of rocky road ice cream and make some rocky road bark to go with it. Thanks to Brown Eyed Baker for this easy recipe. See more photos and the original article and more photos.

    Prep time is 15 minutes, total time 45 minutes.

    RECIPE: ROCKY ROAD CHOCOLATE BARK

    Ingredients For 1 Pound Of Bark

  • 16 ounces good-quality milk or semisweet
    chocolate (like Lindt), finely chopped
  • 1 cup miniature marshmallows
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  •  
    Preparation

    1. LINE a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

     

    2. MELT the chocolate over a double boiler (or in 30-second intervals in the microwave on 50% power, stirring after each). Once the chocolate is melted, remove from the heat and let sit for a few minutes to cool slightly, stirring occasionally. Add the marshmallows and walnuts and stir to combine.

    3. SPREAD the chocolate mixture onto the prepared pan in an even layer, covering about a 7×7-inch space. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but that’s a good guideline.

    4. REFRIGERATE for at least 30 minutes, or until set.

    5. CUT the bark into pieces, using a sharp knife. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

      

    Comments

    MOTHER’S DAY: Chocolate Crowns From Maggie Louise

    white-chocolate-crowns-maggielouise-230sq

    Chocolate for a queen. Photo courtesy
    Maggie Louise Confections.

     

    To show Mom that she’s your queen, treat her to these white chocolate crowns from chocolatier Maggie Louise, filled with chocolate sea salt caramel.

    Called “The Sophronia,” it was inspired by Maggie’s memories of the royal pomp and circumstance of London.

    The intricate crowns are made with El Rey’s famed Icoa white chocolate, then filled with hand-crafted chocolate caramel and dotted with Maldon sea salt.

    A six-piece box, beautifully packaged, is $15.00. Get yours at MaggieLouiseConfections.com.

     

      

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    FOOD FUN: Chocolate Fried Egg

    What would you do with a chocolate fried egg?

    Serve it for breakfast, with a cup of hot chocolate?

    Give it as stocking stuffer or Mother’s Day party favor?

    Enjoy it all by yourself?

    Whatever your choice, this little treat from Maggie Louise Confections is sure to please.

    The chocolatier notes:

    “The Cordelia is a chocolate dream dish. A fried egg in a pan has turned into a chocolate skillet made with El Rey 58.5% dark chocolate, filled with hand-crafted vanilla rice crispy treats and salted caramel, then topped with an El Rey Icoa white chocolate egg.”

     

    fried-egg-chocolate-230sq-a

    A chocolate fried egg in its own skillet. A perfect breakfast for chocoholics. Photo courtesy Maggie Louise.

     

    It’s the Maggie Louise version of a candy bar. Hey, we’ll take a dozen!

    (At second thought, at $14 each, we’ll take two.)

      

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    EASTER: Maggie Louise Chic Artisan Chocolates

    patent-leather-bunnies-rockstar-eggs-maggielouise-230

    Patent leather bunnies, rock ‘n’ roll eggs.
    Photo courtesy Maggie Louise.

     

    While we know a couple of investment bankers who became chocolatiers, Maggie Louise is the first Harvard lawyer we’ve encountered.

    After a career in corporate law, she trained at Le Cordon Bleu, where she developed the concept for an elegant line of chocolates. She launched Maggie Louise Confections in the Fall of 2013, with a line of modern, chic chocolates that combine art with sophisticated flavors.

    Based in Austin, Texas, the entrepreneur puts a hip and fashionable spin on fine Easter chocolate. Taking inspiration from the tunes at Austin’s South By Southwest musical festival, she created a limited edition Rock ‘n’ Roll Easter assortment:

  • Chocolate Caramel and Sea Salt Easter Eggs, covered in white chocolate with a spatter paint finish.
  • Patent Leather Bunnies, fluffy vanilla marshmallows enrobed in bittersweet El Rey chocolate (El Rey, of Venezuela, is one of the world’s great chocolate producers of chocolate couverture).
     
    The Rock n’ Roll Easter Box retails for $38 and includes 12 eggs and 3 bunnies. There are also Easter Egglets, chocolate with pastel zebra stripes, filled with a mix of peanut butter candy, cream caramel and salted chocolate caramel.

    Get yours at MaggieLouiseConfections.com.

  •  

     

    As a mom, Maggie Louise also has the young ‘uns in mind, with chocolate dinosaurs and robots. For the ladies, there are chocolate charm bracelets and pearls. For everyone, there’s a nifty chocolate fried egg and lizard-patterned s’mores.

    We look forward to working our way through the collection, piece by piece.
     
    The Best Packaging

    We receive many boxes of fine chocolate, but none is more beautifully wrapped than Maggie Louise’s.

    The packaging is very fine and impressive. The chocolate boxes are grand enough to hold good jewelry. Even the tissue paper is a keeper. It’s a great line for gifting.

    If you like fine chocolate, you’ll love perusing the Maggie Louise Confections website. Law’s loss is chocolate’s gain.

     

    plate-of-chocolate-230

    Year-round chocolates. Photo courtesy Maggie Louise.

     

      

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    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Chocolate Covered Figs (Higos)

    Higos (EE-gose) is the Spanish word for figs. Take just one bite of chocolate covered figs, and you’ll never forget the word. These bonbons are not broadly enjoyed in the U.S., but they should be.

    We can’t remember who sent us the box of ChocoHigos, but thank you so very much. We’d had bites of them at trade shows, but a whole box to ourselves was indeed a luxurious experience.

    ChocoHigos are figs enrobed with chocolate. This artisan confection is handmade in Aragón, Spain by brothers Fernando, Manuel and Pepe Caro, the third generation to prepare the family recipe.

    The sweet, plump Pajarero figs, from Extremadura in western Spain, are a thin-skinned, delicate variety that are smaller and sweeter than the varieties most common in the U.S., such as Black Mission, Brown Turkey, Calimyrna (Turkish) and Kadota.

    The figs are harvested, dried and then hand-dipped in the 68% dark chocolate also made by the Caros. The family recipe uses 100% Forastero cacao grown on the Costa de Marfil of the Côte d’Ivoire. The flavor is a perfect counterpoint to the figs: earthy with notes of cinnamon and clove.

     

    whole-box-230

    ChocoHigos: delightful fig bonbons. Photo by
    Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

     

    The taste: sublime. Enjoy them after dinner with coffee, brandy or liqueur. Give them to foodie friends. A box of 10 figs, 4.94 ounces, is $9.89 on Amazon.com.

    Another fig confection from Spain is Rabitos. The recipe is a bit different: The figs are soaked in brandy, stuffed with a brandied chocolate ganache, and then enrobed in dark chocolate. We personally prefer ChocoHigos.

     

    pajarerero-figs-forevercheese-230

    Dried Pajarero figs. Photo courtesy Forever
    Cheese.

     

    HOW TO ENJOY CHOCO-HIGOS

  • With cheese, especially blue cheese and triple-crèmes.
  • With a cup of coffee or tea, as a snack or a mini-dessert.
  • With a glass of Port or late harvest Zinfandel.
  • As an anytime chocolate fix.
  •  

    A BRIEF HISTORY OF FIGS

    The fig was one of the first plants domesticated by man, roughly around 9000 B.C.E., in the Tigris-Euphrates Valley of Mespopotamia*. Easy to grow, nutritious and delicious, it quickly spread to other areas bordering the Mediterranean. Over time, new varieties were bred and cultivated.

     
    Figs came to America in the 1500s; by the 1700s, they were a major food crop planted by Spanish missionaries in settlements along the West Coast of Mexico and California. Figs came to America in the 1500s; by the 1700s, they were a major food crop planted by Spanish missionaries in settlements along the West Coast of Mexico and California.

    By the late 1800s, the commercial fig industry was well established in California’s Central Valley; along with Greece, Italy, Spain and Turkey it is one of the largest fig-producing regions in the world.

     
    *The modern area includes Iraq, Kuwait, the northeastern section of Syria, and portions of southeastern Turkey and southwestern Iran.

      

    Comments

    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Dear Coco Toffee Chocolate Bars

    Quite a few artisan chocolatiers are also pastry chefs. Rachel Ferneau makes chocolates as Dear Coco, but was previously the proprietor of Eden Cake, a made-to-order kosher pareve bakery serving metro Washington, D.C.

    While we’ve missed the opportunity to try her desserts, she was kind enough to send us some chocolate.

    Everything from this artisan chocolatier is 100% handcrafted in small batches. The chocolates are completely dairy-free, all natural and certified kosher pareve by Star-K.

    In both her baking and her chocolates, flavors of the world are evoked with coffees and teas, exotic salts, fine herbs, flowers, fruits, roasted nuts and spices.

    Recently, Dear Coco launched a creative line of vegan-friendly artisan chocolate bars: Toffee Chocolate Bars. Eight unique bars are embedded with toffee and the spices that evoke each of the eight globally-inspired locations.

    The toffee is made with vegan butter* in order to be pareve† and lactose free. This substitution, so that the bars can be enjoyed anytime by kosher observers, makes them vegan-friendly as well. Yes, it cuts down on the butteriness of the toffee; but there is so much other layering of flavors that no one will notice.

     

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    The Oaxaca bar invokes the moles of Oaxaca, Mexico with cinnamon toffee and pepitas. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

     

    group-tablecloth-230

    Five of the eight “destination” toffee
    chocolate bars. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE
    NIBBLE.

     

    NEW & SPECIAL: TOFFEE CHOCOLATE BARS

    All of the bars are made with dark chocolate and a touch of sea salt.

  • Barcelona Toffee Chocolate Bar: Influenced by the flavors of Spain—roasted almond toffee and sea salt.
  • Istanbul Toffee Chocolate Bar: Inspired by the flavors of baklava—cinnamon clove toffee with rosewater, roasted walnuts.
  • Madras Toffee Chocolate Bar: A tribute to the curries of Southeast India—sweet curry toffee with roasted sunflower seeds.
  • Oaxaca Toffee Chocolate Bar: A recognition of the mole dishes of Oaxaca—Mexican cinnamon and smoky hot chile toffee with roasted pepitas.
  • Savannah Toffee Chocolate Bar: A tribute to the pecan pie of “The Hostess City of the South”—pie spice toffee with roasted pecans.
  • Shanghai Toffee Chocolate Bar: Honoring a staple spice of Cantonese cooking, Chinese five spice toffee (here a blend of cassia cinnamon, star anise, anise seed, ginger and cloves) with roasted white sesame seeds.
  • Sidama Toffee Chocolate Bar: For the coffee lover, crunchy caramelized coffee toffee infused with Ethiopian coffee beans.
  • Tokyo Toffee Chocolate Bar: Homage to the sushi bar—ginger toffee with crispy rice.
  •  

    The 3.5-ounce bars are $7.50 each. A gift set of eight (all the flavors) is $54.00.

    Get yours at DearCoco.com.

     
    *Products like Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks are made from expeller-pressed oils that have 0g trans fats. More information.

    †Kosher law prohibits the consumption of dairy and meat products together. Pareve is a classification of foods that contain neither dairy nor meat ingredients, and can be eaten with both groups. Pareve foods include eggs, fish and all foods that are grown—cereals, fruits, nuts, vegetables, etc.

      

    Comments

    ST. PATRICK’S DAY RECIPE: Guinness Chocolate Mousse & Truffles

    guinnes-Chocolate-Mousse-guinnessstorehouse-230

    Chocolate mousse with Guinness. Photo
    courtesy Guinness Storehouse.

     

    When you’re Justin O’Connor, executive chef at Guinness Storehouse in Dublin, you work Guinness stout into every recipe, from Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes to soup.

    Guinness, which has chocolaty notes, is a great match with chocolate desserts. Whip one up for St. Patrick’s Day, and serve it with a small glass of Guinness.

    RECIPE: GUINNESS CHOCOLATE MOUSSE

    Ingredients For 6 Servings

  • 10 egg yolks
  • 10 egg whites, whisked
  • 1½ cups dark chocolate
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ cup superfine sugar
  • ½ cup Guinness Draught
  • Optional topping: whipped cream (try these five
    spice or salted caramel whipped cream recipes)
  • Garnish: fresh raspberries or other seasonal berries
  •  

    Preparation

    1. MELT the dark chocolate and butter in a bain-marie and add in the Guinness.

    2. BEAT the egg yolks and superfine sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in the melted chocolate mixture in with egg yolks and slowly fold in the whisked egg whites until everything is smooth.

    3. TRANSFER the mousse to serving dishes and chill. Serve with fresh raspberries or other seasonal berries.

     

    RECIPE: CHOCOLATE TRUFFLES

    Ingredients For 25 Truffles

  • 4-1/3 cups dark chocolate in small chunks
  • 1-2/3 cups cream
  • ½ cup Guinness
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • Dessicated coconut (a.k.a. coconut powder), cocoa powder or powdered subgar
  •  

    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the cream and Guinness to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the chocolate and grated orange zest. Mix together until the chocolate is fully melted; then leave the chocolate mix until it is cool to the touch, but not set.

    2. TAKE generous teaspoons of the mixture and roll in your hands to form small round truffles. Dust in cocoa powder or coconut powder. Allow to set in the fridge for 2-3 hours.

     

    chocolate-truffles-Guinness-230

    Chocolate truffles with Guinness. Photo courtesy Guinness Storehouse.

     

    PREFER ICE CREAM?

    Check out this chocolate stout float.

      

    Comments

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