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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

EASTER: Maggie Louise Chic Artisan Chocolates

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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.

     

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    Year-round chocolates. Photo courtesy Maggie Louise.

     

      

    Comments

    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.

     

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    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.

     

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    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

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    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.

     

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    Chocolate truffles with Guinness. Photo courtesy Guinness Storehouse.

     

    PREFER ICE CREAM?

    Check out this chocolate stout float.

      

    Comments

    FOOD HOLIDAY: National Oreo Day

    Today is National Oreo Day, honoring the world’s most popular cookie. We almost feel like ditching work to celebrate—with Oreo cheesecake, cookies and cream ice cream and an Oreo milkshake—and then running a marathon to work off the calories.

    However, we’re limiting ourselves to one Oreo-packed chocolate bar from Chocomize, a chocolate e-heaven where you can take your favorite type of chocolate bar (dark, milk, white) and top it with your favorite candies, nuts, spices and special luxuries (gold leaf, anyone?).

    You pay a base price for the bar ($4.50, or $6.50 for a heart shape), and then for each add-on topping—up to 5 selections from a menu of 90 options.

    If you don’t like to make choices, there are plenty of ready-made choices, like the Cookie Bar in the photo.

    In honor of National Oreo Day, Chocomize has two special offers running through March 10th:

  • FREE Oreo pieces. You can add Oreo cookie pieces for FREE to any chocolate bar you make.
  •  

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    The popular Cookie Bar: Belgian white chocolate bar with Oreos and malted milk balls. Photo courtesy Chocomize.

     

  • FREE chocolate bar with $40 order. Any order of $40+ gets a FREE Cookie Bar with the code OREO. The Cookie Bar, one of Chocomize’s most popular, is Belgian white chocolate, cookie dough bits and Oreo cookie pieces.
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    oreos-stack-froyo-230

    Imagine if lemon meringue had been the
    favorite flavor of Oreos! Photo courtesy
    Froyo.

     

    OREO HISTORY

    Oreos are 102 years old. According to Time magazine, the National Biscuit Company (later shortened to Nabisco) sold its first Oreo sandwich cookies to a Hoboken grocer on On March 6, 1912. They weren’t an original concept: Sunshine’s Hydrox cookies* (among others) preceded them in 1908.

    There were two original Oreo flavors: original (chocolate) and lemon meringue. The original was far more popular, and Nabisco discontinued lemon meringue in the 1920s.

    Today Oreo is the world’s most popular cookie, sold in more than 100 countries†. More than 450 billion Oreos have been sold to date.

    Yes, there were other chocolate sandwich cookies. But what made Oreos stand out was the thick, creamy filling invented by Sam J. Porcello, the principal food scientist at Nabisco. (He also created the “stuf” in Double Stuf Oreos and the chocolate-covered and white chocolate-covered Oreos. Now that’s bragging rights for generations of kids, grandkids and great-grands to come.)

     

    WHAT ABOUT THE DESIGN ON THE COOKIES?

    Nabisco says that an unnamed “design engineer” created the current Oreo design, which was updated in 1952‡. Other sources name him as William A. Turnier, who worked in the engineering department creating the dies that stamped designs onto cookies.

    Here’s the story of the design and its meaning.
     
    THE NAME IS A MYSTERY

    No one knows for certain the origin of the name “Oreo.” Some believe it was derived from the French word for gold, “or,” because the original packaging was mostly gold.

    The bigger curiosity to us is, in The Wizard Of Oz film, why did the guards at the castle of the Wicked Witch Of The West sing a chorus of “Oreo?”

     
    *The Oreo became kosher in 1998, when the lard in the original recipe was replaced with vegetable shortening. Prior to then, Sunshine Bakeries’ Hydrox cookies had long been the kosher alternative. But most people preferred the taste of Oreos, and Hydrox cookies were discontinued by Keebler in 2003.

    †In terms of sales, the top five Oreo-nibbling countries are the U.S., China, Venezuela, Canada and Indonesia. In some countries, like China, Nabisco’s parent company, Kraft, reformulated the recipe to appeal to local tastes, including green tea Oreos.

    ‡The current design replaced a design of a ring of laurels, two turtledoves and a thicker, more mechanical “Oreo” font.

      

    Comments

    ST. PATRICK’S DAY GIFT: Kohler “Emeralds”

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    Mint, one of the four flavors of Emeralds.
    Photo courtesy Kohler.

     

    Some people would like a bottle of Irish whiskey for St. Patrick’s Day.

    Others would rather have chocolate. And there’s one box of chocolates that’s perfect for St. Patrick’s Day.

    Inspired by the Emerald Isle, Kohler’s Emerald chocolates are a beautiful box of chocolates with “green”-flavored ganaches*, enveloped in milk chocolate.

    All of the chocolates are emerald-shaped shells in milk or semisweet chocolate, painted† in different shades of green.

    Each flavor—Absinthe, Green Tea, Lime and Mint—has a different design.

     
    *Ganache is a velvety smooth blend of chocolate and cream, often with butter added, that is rolled in cocoa powder and sugar or other coatings to make a truffle. It is also used as a center for bonbons. Ganache can be made from dark, milk, or white chocolate and flavored with chocolate, coffee, liqueurs, extracts—virtually any flavor that inspires the chocolatier. More about ganache, and why it means “imbecile” in French.

    †The “paint” is colored cocoa butter.

     

    Boxes are available in 4, 9 and 32 pieces: $9.99, $18.99 and $59.99. Get yours at KohlerChocolates.com.

     
    ABOUT KOHLER CHOCOLATES

    Kohler, known for fine porcelain fixtures and The American Club resort in Kohler, Wisconsin, was seriously considering purchasing a chocolate company to provide guests with fine confections. But CEO & Chairman, Herbert V. Kohler, Jr., loved chocolate caramel turtles, and couldn’t find a company that made the perfect turtle.

    So he challenged the chefs at his resort to create a better turtle. After much testing, a recipe emerged that met Mr. Kohler’s standards for flavor, texture and appearance. This morsel evolved into the signature Terrapins that launched Kohler Original Recipe Chocolates in 2007.

    WHO WAS ST. PATRICK?

    A figure shrouded in myth, the man who became the Apostle of Ireland was born in England, around 385 C.E. to a prominent Christian family. He was captured by pirates at age 16, brought to Ireland and sold into slavery.

     

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    The green tea-flavored Emerald. Photo courtesy Kohler.

     

    His master, Milchu, was a high priest of Druidism, a Pagan sect that ruled religious influence over Ireland at the time. The enslaved young man worked as a shepherd, and during that time was called to Christianity.

    He escaped after six years, returned to his family and entered the priesthood, returning to Ireland as a missionary. As he converted Druids to Christianity, his teachings combined Irish pagan beliefs with Christian sacrament; he is credited with devising the Celtic Cross.

    After a lifetime spent converting of Ireland to Christianity—founding monasteries, organizing Ireland into dioceses and so forth—Patrick died circa 461.

    His birthday is not known, but St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated on March 17th, which falls during the Christian season of Lent. A religious holiday in Ireland, it has been celebrated for more than 1,000 years with a church service in the morning and a traditional dinner cabbage and Irish bacon.

    Corned beef is actually an American contribution to the holiday. Immigrant Irish learned how to make corned beef from their immigrant Jewish neighbors.

      

    Comments

    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Old-Style Chocolate & New Learning Opportunities

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    A sip into the past. A cup of drinking
    chocolate with two chocolate sticks. Photo
    courtesy American Heritage Chocolate.

     

    Turn the clock back 400 years. You’re in colonial America. You can’t have a chocolate bar, because solid chocolate bars have not been invented.* But you can have a cup of luscious hot chocolate.

    In the 1700s, the chocolate making process (like most cooking) was very time consuming. Chocolate, made from the cacao beans grown in the Caribbean and Latin America, became a favorite drink among the colonists.

    American Heritage Chocolate, a division of the chocolate giant Mars, has recaptured the sophisticated flavors of that early hot chocolate, as well as the “eating chocolate” that was first created in 1847.

    The division focuses on historically authentic chocolate. The company sends educators to historical sites around the country to demonstrate early chocolate making: roasting the cacao beans, winnowing off the shells, breaking the bean into nibs and flavoring them with sugar, salt and spices from around the world: annatto, anise, cinnamon, nutmeg, orange peel, red chile and vanilla.

     
    *Solid chocolate was invented in 1847 in England. Here’s a historical timeline of chocolate.
     
    IN NYC ON PRESIDENTS DAY?

    On Presidents Day, February 17th, American Heritage Chocolate will be at the New York Historical Society in New York City, demonstrating the drink that was enjoyed by George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.

    The kid-friendly demonstrations (held from 12 to 4) begin with the imported cacao beans, to the extraction of chocolate from the beans, to the finished hot chocolate. Attendees get to sample it, although the 21st century Cocoa Latte machine they employed sure beats the 18th century hand-whipping with a stick in a chocolate pot.

    The entire process is on display, including all of the spices, plus the fascinating experience that even food writers will cherish: tasting the component parts of chocolate (the cocoa butter, the chocolate liquor and the milk powder that creates milk chocolate).

    Participants also get to taste “chocolate sticks,” cylinders of chocolate that look historic but wouldn’t have been available until the second half of the 19th century (in time for Lincoln, but not for Washington and Jefferson).

     

    AMERICAN HERITAGE CHOCOLATE PRODUCTS

    The American Heritage Chocolate brand was developed in 2006 by Mars Chocolate North America to help educate consumers about the history of chocolate in America. The delicious products are sold exclusively at heritage sites and museums†, an exclusive revenue opportunity for those worthy organizations. You can find the site nearest to you online or online, including Colonial Williamsburg website.

    The chocolate recipe was created from an ingredient list from 1750, and represents a true taste of the chocolate our ancestors would have enjoyed. The product line includes:

  • Chocolate Sticks: Individually-wrapped single serving chocolate sticks
  • Chocolate Bites: Individually-wrapped, bite-size chocolates in a keepsake muslin bag
  • Chocolate Blocks: Two chocolate blocks, perfect for grating, chunking, shaving or baking
  • Chocolate Drink: A canister filled with a bag of finely grated chocolate for drinking or baking
  •  

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    Individual portion chocolate sticks are 63% cacao and excitingly flavored. Photo by River Soma | THE NIBBLE.

     

    And aside from being a bit of history, the products are truly delicious—and special. The spices wake up the palate in a way that the typical chocolate bar Americans enjoy cannot hope to do. Connoisseurs will love it, too.

    The products are so special, they’re our Top Pick Of The Week.

    This morning, we woke up and prepared a cup for Valentine’s Day.

  • It’s so rich, an espresso-size cup is perfect. A 12-ounce mug could do in the most enthusiastic hot chocolate lover.
  • We personally prefer to make it with milk, rather than water. Try both and see which you prefer.
  • The recipe recommends a 1:1 ratio of liquid to chocolate. If it’s too rich and spicy for you, add more milk/water, and use less chocolate the next time.
  •  
    †It is sold at more than 130 fine gift shops at historic sites, museums and historic inns across the U.S. and Canada.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Uses For Shaved Chocolate

    Working on Valentine recipes, we’ve been shaving a lot of chocolate for garnishes, and to incorporate into recipes like shaved chocolate ice cream. (It’s our preferred version of chocolate chip ice cream. The thinly shaved chocolate delivers more chocolate flavor than frozen-hard chocolate chips.)

    GRATED VERSUS SHAVED CHOCOLATE

    Grating tools have smaller holes and create bits of chocolate for garnish. Shavers have slits that produce strips and curls of chocolate.

    For garnishing, gratings and shavings can often be used interchangeably. There are exceptions, like the traditional long chocolate shavings on a Black Forest Cake; but some pastry chefs use grated chocolate and even chocolate chips for the garnish.

    And the same techniques can be used to grate cheese—you can garnish cupcakes and ravioli with the same tool, as well as coconut and vegetables and hard fruits, from apples, carrots and onions to zucchini.

     

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    Easy grating with a Microplane Gourmet Shaver. Photo courtesy Microplane.

     

    In fact, experiment with what you own before buying something new. We’ve found that our classic Zyliss rotary-style cheese grater also grates chocolate, while our classic Microplane grater/zester produced too fine a consistency for our use.

    We also have a William Bounds Chocolate Mill, which we fill with chocolate chips and bring to the table so people can grate their own garnish. Here’s our review. It’s a fun gadget but not as versatile as the options below.

     

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    Chocolate shaved with a professional-grade
    peeler. Photo courtesy ComfortAndJoy.com.

     

    TOOLS TO SHAVE & GRATE CHOCOLATE

    Microplane Chocolate Shaver

    We find using a grater with a handle to be the easiest. You may not want to acquire an extra gadget, but once you have it, peruse our “uses for shaved chocolate” list below. You’ll probably find ways to use it several times a week.

    We most often use a Microplane Large Shaver, the shaver shown in photo above. There is also a medium ribbon grater.

    Vegetable Peeler

    You can also use a standard vegetable peeler. A peeler doesn’t create fine shavings like a ribbon grater, but the result may be just fine for your needs. Simply hold the chocolate firmly in place on the surface (we like to hold it on a non-slip silicone trivet) and shave down the edge of the chocolate.

    A peeler is the tool to use when you want larger chocolate curls. Note that you need to peel the curls from a larger block of chocolate, not a thin chocolate bar.

    Box Grater
    The large and small holes on a box grater worked to grate chocolate, but at more peril to our knuckles (we rarely use a box grater for this reason). We preferred the Microplane and the peeler.

     
    USES FOR SHAVED & GRATED CHOCOLATE

    Shaved chocolate is usually a garnish, atop another food; but it can also be used as an inside ingredient.

    On Foods

  • Garnish for cakes (Black Forest Cake is a classic), cupcakes, cheesecakes and other baked sweets
  • Filling for cakes (use it to top the ganache, custard, jam or other filling material)
  • Garnish for pies: chocolate, coffee, vanilla, etc., plus pastries like cannoli
  • Garnish for custards and puddings
  • Bread: Make chocolate toast—like cinnamon toast, but with the addition of grated chocolate; or grate on hot cinnamon rolls or onto the dough before rolling; on peanut butter sandwiches
  • Chocolate popcorn!
  • Ice cream
  • Anything with whipped cream
  •  
    On Beverages

  • Coffee drinks
  • Hot chocolate
  • Cocktails: chocolate, vanilla, butterscotch, strawberry, etc.
  •  
    WARM IT OR FREEZE IT?

    Some people recommend that you place the chocolate in the freezer for about 10 minutes prior to shaving. Others swear that chocolate grates more easily if it is slightly warmer than room temperature, and microwave the bar for a few seconds.

    This will depend on the particular chocolate: the higher the cacao content, the harder the chocolate; the more added butterfat, the softer the chocolate. See what works best for you.

      

    Comments

    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Éclat Chocolate

    hearts-eclatchocolate-230

    Chocolates to fall in love with. Photo courtesy Éclat Chocolate.

     

    Oh, how lucky the people of West Chester, Pennsylvania are. Seven days a week they can stroll into Éclat Chocolate at 24 South High Street and select tempting confections.

    Everyone else can order the chocolates online or by phone (1.610.692.5206). Some items are available at Dean and Deluca (New York and California) and DiBruno Bros. in Philadelphia’s Rittenhouse Square.

    But the temple to the marriage of great chocolate and art is located 25 miles west of Philadelphia, close to Valley Forge; and 17 miles north of Wilmington, Delaware. And it is close to our hearts.

    For Valentine’s Day we want:

  • The beautiful bonbons, both hearts and classic shapes
  • The exquisite caramels, round domes of chocolate filled with buttery liquid caramel)
  • The glamorous, modern mendiants—disks of beauty
  • The melt-in-your-mouth chocolate truffles
  •  
    There’s more, but Easter is coming.

     
    Chocolatier Christopher Curtin is the first American to be awarded the honor of German Master Pastry Chef and Chocolatier in Cologne, Germany.

    He honed his skills in the finest chocolate houses of Belgium, France, Germany, Japan and Switzerland, and the results will please the fussiest connoisseur.

    In French, éclat (pronounce ay-CLAH) can mean:

  • Great brilliance, as of performance or achievement.
  • Conspicuous success.
  • Great acclamation or applause.
  •  
    We applaud all three.
     
    Head to EclatChocolate.com. Just looking at the beautiful photos is a most satisfying experience.

      

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    VALENTINE GIFT: Moonstruck Chocolates

    Yes, Moonstruck Chocolate has a red heart-shaped box filled with delicious bonbons (10 pieces, $30.00). But the fine chocolatier also has some different offerings for Valentines with special tastes.

  • Sea Salt Caramels (in photo) have been given the Valentine’s Day treatment with Merlot-infused sea salt crystals. The vanilla caramel is cooked in an open copper kettle with pure sea salt, then enrobed in your choice of dark or milk chocolate and hand-decorated with sea salt crystals that have been infused with a robust vintage Merlot. A box of 20 caramels is $45.00. Think purple passion plus a unique taste experience.
  • Heart To Heart Truffles echo the classic Valentine hard candies with messages like Be Mine, Kiss Me and Sweet Talk. These bonbon versions have the same pastel exteriors (tinted white chocolate) but are filled with flavored ganaches: Cointreau, Blackberry Honey, Peanut Butter, Pinot Noir and Strawberry. You can buy a box of mixed flavors or the solo flavor of your choice. A five-piece box is $11.25.
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    Merlot salt caramels: purple passion. Photo courtesy Moonstruck Chocolates.

     

     

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    Love bugs for kids of all ages. Photo courtesy
    Moonstruck Chocolate.

     
  • Love Bugs are bittersweet dark chocolate ganache flavored with natural strawberry, in the shape of an adorable love bug. Hand-dipped and hand-decorated, a box of 18 truffles is $67.50.
  • Oregon Distillers Collection, for the spirited Valentine, is a nine-piece collection of truffles featuring spirits from five of Oregon’s finest craft distillers. The truffles are beautifully painted “edible art.“ The box is $20.00. The chocolates contain approximately 2.5% alcohol content by weight. The flavors include Bendistillery Crater Lake Pepper Vodka Truffle, Bull Run Temperance Trader Bourbon Whiskey Truffle, House Spirits Distillery Krogstad Aquavit Truffle, Clear Creek Distillery Oregon Apple Brandy Truffle, House Spirits Distillery Coffee Liqueur Truffle, House Spirits Distillery Aviation Gin Truffle, Rogue Ale Dead Guy Whiskey Truffle, Clear Creek Distillery Oregon Pear Brandy Truffle and Bull Run Distillery Pacific Rum and Cola Truffle.
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    These specialties and much more are available at MoonstruckChocolate.com.

      

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