Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Samples, Women and Chocolate

Cerreta Fine Chocolates has sent your Chocolate Priestess a book of their assorted chocolates to try as a potential Sacrament and I will do so in the future.

In a recent survey, 34% of all American women surveyed reported that they would eat chocolate every day if it didn't make them fat. Why aren't those scientists working on this issue, Sisters and Brothers? This coming Saturday, I'll be revealing whether or not a chocolate which claims to help you lose weight at least tastes good.

This survey may not surprise us but still in this report about it, there is no information about who conducted the survey, how they chose the women they interviewed, or how such interviews were conducted. Without this information we should never believe what a survey says. We may love chocolate and use it as part of our journey to become one with the Divine in The Chocolate Cult but we must also never leave logic and reason behind.

Sisters and Brothers, may you too take the time to slowly appreciate what the Divine and human ingenuity have offered you in chocolate.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Another Offering

Your Chocolate Priestess received another sample of a chocolate product today, this time from Cow Girl Chocolates. I don't know what it is because it came wrapped very nicely in red tissue paper but I can tell it is in a box.

So here is a big thank you to Cow Girl Chocolates for sending us this offering to try on a Saturday Sacrament.

Sisters and Brothers, may you too take the time to slowly appreciate what the Divine and human ingenuity have offered you in chocolate.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Chocolate & Pets Appear in Odd Places

In this case, in mulch — you know, Sisters and Brothers, the mulch that you use on your flower and veggie beds to help them grow better. It turns out that some mulch has cocoa in it and that can very bad for your pets.

While the above article isn't long it does give some decent advice about what to look for to determine if your beloved family pet may have consumed a cocoa product without your knowledge. Your Chocolate Priestess will assume that none you would abuse your pets by giving them our Sacred Substance which as you know is also a drug.

The cause is related to a chemical called theobromine which varies by chocolate type (dark, milk, white) but always poses a risk to a non-human. While this is similar to the effects of caffeine ask yourself this: If you wouldn't give your pets coffee, should you give them chocolate.

Obviously the most important reason to not give you pets chocolate is that it deprives you of this wonderful means to connect more directly with the divine. Use your sacraments wisely and that means using them for the human members of your family.

Sisters and Brothers, may you too take the time to slowly appreciate what the Divine and human ingenuity have offered you in chocolate.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Saturday Sacrament, March 28, 2009

Today, Sisters and Brothers, we have our first producer and seller of chocolate to brave our high standards: Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate from St. Louis, Missouri, which oddly enough both makes and sells their products. They sent your Chocolate Priestess two products to try, as I mentioned earlier this week. This morning, free from any other food or drink influence other than water, I will try their "Milk Chocolate Graham Crackers," which came in a 2oz sleeve of two crackers.

The sleeves had a label on them which listed the ingredients but no nutritional information; a search on the website for the company also yielded no nutritional information, so keep that in mind. The ingredients are fairly standard, and I did not see any unusual additives that might lessen the cocoa potency or flavor. The sleeves are easy to open, and a light scent of milk chocolate arose when I did so. This scent continued for at least a half an hour after opening; only a slight scent of the graham cracker beneath the milk chocolate can be smelled.

As you can see, each cracker's chocolate looks to be drizzled in three lines leaving behind a wavelike pattern that I found pleasing when compared to the boxed equivalents you can find in grocery stores that are perfectly smooth. These are a large size as well, almost square at 2.5in by 2.3in. They easily cover the entire palm of my hand, though doing this triggers an immediate melting. The texture is a bit waxy to my fingertips.

The first bite I take is about 1/9th of the cracker, and it crunches delightfully when I do so. The chocolate is not overwhelmed by the cracker, nor is the cracker overwhelmed by it; as I chew, the two distinct flavors blend together, which is very nice. Surprisingly, since I don't expect this reaction from an initial serving of milk chocolate, I feel a bit of that rush sensation that we should feel when we use chocolate in our spiritual journey.

Biting off another piece of the same size I let this sit in my mouth melting. The cracker melts first, which is very strange, leaving behind the milk chocolate, which adds to the rush. I am very pleased by this reaction, and I think these may be worth the company's price, given how big these are and how intensely the sacred substance interacts with my senses. I imagine the dark chocolate version will be even more soul opening and mind expanding. I do recommend that you put the cracker down between bites or the coating will continue to melt on your fingers, which means less chocolate when you get to that bite.

The taste does linger a bit between each bite, but it is not too bitter. That bitterness does build up with each bite, so do cleanse your mouth with water; remember that water is our best cleanser here, since it should have no taste and thus should never detract from the cocoa itself. When I reach the end of the first cracker, my eyes water a bit, my mouth tingles, and I feel open and light — exactly what we want in The Chocolate Cult.

Your Chocolate Priestess is very pleased by this offering from Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate, and I find these Milk Chocolate Graham Crackers to be a worthy sacrament for a Saturday.

Sisters and Brothers, may you too take the time to slowly appreciate what the Divine and human ingenuity have offered you in chocolate.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Book about Chocolate and Tobacco

I saw an article today about a new historical study of chocolate from
Marcy Norton called "SACRED GIFTS, PROFANE PLEASURES
A history of tobacco and chocolate in the Atlantic world".

Writing popular history is always a tough choice for scholars so when they are brave enough to do so on a topic we might enjoy, Sisters and Brothers, we may want to check it out. Your Chocolate Priestess has not read it yet but I will make a note of it and perhaps a publisher might send it to me to review.

Sisters and Brothers, may you too take the time to slowly appreciate what the Divine and human ingenuity have offered you in chocolate.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Memories of Nutella

When your Chocolate Priestess lived in Rome for two semesters, one of the foods I discovered was this product called Nutella. Peanut butter was insanely expensive because it had to be imported but Nutella, made of hazelnuts and chocolate was made in Europe and thus very cheap by comparison. This news article about the popularity of this product made me thing of this and I'd like to share a few memories with you, Sisters and Brothers.

When I was in college I wasn't wealthy, so while my scholarships, grants, and one loan covered the university's cost, housing and board as well as transport to and from Italy, I had very little money. I got a job at the university library which enabled me to explore Rome and other areas a bit but most of my breaks were spent alone on campus because I couldn't afford to travel the entire time as most students could.

That's when I discovered Nutella. The university food services were closed and Nutella offered me an affordable form of protein that tasted a bit like chocolate. In fact I ate so much of it that I got tired of it and have only had it once since returning to the USA. Certain members of my family can't eat tree nuts so not having it in the house is generally a wise thing to do.

But I remember enjoying it and I remember how it allowed me to enjoy my fall and spring breaks when I couldn't got traveling all over Europe. Those are fond memories I will always have about Nutella. Thus my personal revelation: Chocolate can be an important part of our lives in ways we didn't expect.

Sisters and Brothers, may you too take the time to slowly appreciate what the Divine and human ingenuity have offered you in chocolate.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Bravery

The first chocolatier to brave your Chocolate Priestess Saturday Sacrament revelations is a company called "Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Company" which has been in business since 1981.

I received two products of theirs to try and I will do so over the course of two separate Saturdays. This is the first time I will ask your help, Sisters and Brothers, my acolytes, so please do respond.

Shall I test their milk chocolate graham crackers or the heavenly hash first?

Sisters and Brothers, may you too take the time to slowly appreciate what the Divine and human ingenuity have offered you in chocolate.

Consumers and Cheap Chocolates

In hard economic times, Sisters and Brothers, it is important to watch your wallet. But we also need to stay on this journey and use chocolate in appropriate ways. While I do not think that price equals quality, sacrificing too much quality really saves you no money in the end.

In this article from Reuters, we see that in Europe, once thought of as a place where the consumer is a picky chocolate lover, that many people are being led astray into the hands of cheap chocolate.

Never forget that is it not only the amount of cocoa that makes chocolate cost less but also unnecessary chemicals and additives that while they may give the chocolate solidity and form also decrease it's taste and ruin the potential buzz. By all means, try several chocolates as your Chocolate Priestess does to find the ones that are worth your money but never sacrifice merely for the sake of saving money. After all it is your spiritual journey and your mouth that will pay the true cost in the end.

Sisters and Brothers, may you too take the time to slowly appreciate what the Divine and human ingenuity have offered you in chocolate.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Dark Chocolate Health Claims

This article from China talks about the health benefits of dark chocolate.

Sisters and Brothers, we all heard these claims time and time again. Whether or not they are true, we also need to remember that just because something is natural, just because something is healthy in one quantity does not make it healthy for everyone nor in large amounts.

Our journey requires focus and moderation even of the darkest and potentially most healthy chocolate. Telling yourself that it is acceptable to eat large quantities of anything risks undoing all the benefits, even water can be consumed in unhealthy amounts after all and the bulk of our bodies are made of it.

Sisters and Brothers, may you too take the time to slowly appreciate what the Divine and human ingenuity have offered you in chocolate.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Delayed Saturday Sacrament

(The following sacramental experience was done on Saturday while your Chocolate Priestess was away for the weekend. Notes were taken by a white chocolate acolyte.)

As some of you may know, Sisters and Brothers, Reese's has had Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs for the Easter season for decades now. These new "Reester Bunnies" claim to be the same thing, only in the form of little bunny shapes. They are sold four to a box, each weighing 1.2oz, and the box is generally around $3, so they are not the cheapest chocolate product on the market. Nor are these the healthiest or simplest products out there. A review of the nutritional information reveals that each bunny has 5g saturated fat, 1g fiber, and 18g sugar. The ingredients list is fairly long.

The paper box opens easily via side flaps to let the four individually foil wrapped bunnies slide out. The little cartoon figure on each fits snugly over the chocolate, suggesting that it too may be bunny shaped. The foil unwraps just as easily, and indeed the chocolate is shaped like a bunny. More importantly, the etched bunny on the chocolate looks exactly like what is printed on the foil itself. These details would make this product excellent as a cake decoration or to highlight a basket of gifts.

When I first open the foil there is no scent, nothing, zero. I bring the cute bunny up and purposely breathe in, and still very little scent reaches me. What little there is is of peanut butter, though this isn't the scent I would expect from Reese's; it's too sweet. I contemplate how best to eat it, which is a real challenge for me when it is shaped like a living thing — do I bite its head off to put it out of its misery, or should I be sadistic and start with its feet?
As I try to decide, it starts to melt in my fingers.

I bite off the right ear, and there is no sound, no snap or crunch as you get with firmer, purer chocolate. I can barely taste the chocolate, but what little I do taste is creamy and smooth, suggesting there is little cocoa content here. The peanut butter flavor dominates, and it is very sweet, almost like the honey-peanut mixtures you can buy. Your Chocolate Priestess was not expecting this sickly sweetness, and I am displeased when it lingers over a minute after I finish with this bite. The left ear is the exact same experience. All the while, what I'm touching is melting on my fingers.

I bite off the first half of the large head and let this melt in my mouth to see if the chocolate can be more powerful. First the peanut taste melts away, leaving what now starts to taste more like cocoa. The buzz is very, very slight, a true disappointment, Sisters and Brothers, when one is using chocolate for spiritual reasons. The rest of the bunny melts even more in my fingers, the light colored chocolate starting to slip down from my fingertips to lower on my fingers. Eating the rest of the bunny in this melting fashion keeps the buzz at a very slight level.

The appeal of these "Reester Bunnies" is not the chocolate; it can't be, because the chocolate taste is so minor. It must be the peanut butter, except that too does not taste like what I expect from Reese's. The appeal must be this sickly, amost honey-like sugar taste that overwhelms every thing. If you are looking for a sugar rush, this might be a good choice, but for our path, for our journey with chocolate, it is not.

Sisters and Brothers, may you too take the time to slowly appreciate what the Divine and human ingenuity have offered you in chocolate.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Delay on This Week's Sacrament

Sisters and Brothers, your Chocolate Priestess must go away this weekend but this will only delay my report on the Saturday Sacrament which I will take on Saturday as I hope you all are doing.

To give you a hint, here is what I will be revealing:
Can you guess what this is?

Because one of the major world religions has a holiday called Easter coming up in April, I will focus on the various chocolates that are used to celebrate it. I will reveal what might be a worthy addition to any religious or profane practices you wish to do at that time.

Sisters and Brothers, may you too take the time to slowly appreciate what the Divine and human ingenuity have offered you in chocolate.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Salmonella Recall

If you have kids who are into whole Hannah Montana thing, you may want to take note of this recall of a product associated with that phenomenon.

Snack Food Recall

I have not tried the bar in question here but as I said, part of my job is to be concerned with your full health. So be warned and make wise choices in your use of all forms of chocolate.

Sisters and Brothers, may you too take the time to slowly appreciate what the Divine and human ingenuity have offered you in chocolate.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Holiday!

This week is a holiday I think that we can all get behind, Sisters and Brothers: American Chocolate Week.

Your Chocolate Priestess believes this was probably started by chocolate companies who'd like to sell us all their products. But regardless if you eat chocolate in honor of this "holiday" please remember to eat it purposely and in moderation to fully experience what it has to offer.

If you are interested in other "food holidays" you can find a listing here: Food Holidays.

Sisters and Brothers, may you too take the time to slowly appreciate what the Divine and human ingenuity have offered you in chocolate.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Product Recall

I worry, Sisters and Brothers, not just about your spiritual healthy but your physical health. Thus when some type of chocolate product may pose a risk I will try to bring it to your attention. Please read the below article and act accordingly.

Cookie Recall

This is not the only chocolate product you should be wary of this month. For a longer list please consult The US Recall News.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Saturday Sacrament, March 14, 2009

Sisters and Brothers, as promised, your Chocolate Priestess will reveal the companion piece to the Absolutely Divine Dark Chocolate bar: the "Creamy Milk Chocolate Bar" with 30% Cacao. This is also a 3.5oz bar with primarily natural ingredients, though this time it has "artificial flavoring added," according to the label. Also made by CVS under the "Responsible Farming" mark, how does this bar compare to its 70% cacao sibling?

The shining paper label this time has a dark burgundy strip down the center, making it very easy to distinguish it from the dark blue of the 70% variety. On the back we find the Nutrition Facts, which list 7g of saturated fat per serving, no trans fat, and very little cholesterol or sodium, but also no dietary fiber; the dark chocolate version did contain some fiber. Remember, this bar has 2.5 servings in it, so calculate accordingly.

The tabs are easy to lift, but the paper sticks, making it more difficult to open than it should be, and I find that I must slip a finger between the paper and the Mylar wrapping on the bar itself. The Divine protects me from paper cuts, suggesting that this revelation is needed to be free from all influences beyond the packaging and the taste of the chocolate itself. The gold-tone plastic unwraps very easily and reveals that the bar has broken, though because of the deep etchings into the bar it has neatly broken such that four 1.5 × 1.75 inch pieces are on one side of the fracture and six on the other.

The rush of scent that the dark chocolate had when I opened it is not repeated with this version, but the scent does linger much longer and at a greater distance (even a yard away, but then I have a great sense of smell), temping me to rush this revelation. But your Chocolate Priestess is strong, and she will do her duty to you all, Sisters and Brothers, and fully experience what this bar has to offer. The pieces again break very easily, almost without a sound, and soon I have ten individual pieces.

It has been three hours since I ate anything and thoroughly cleansed my palate, so as I bring the first piece to my lips I am assured of fully experiencing this chocolate. I also recommend, Sisters and Brothers, that you turn off all music and unnecessary input to your senses when you use chocolate as part of your journey toward connecting to the Divine. Not only is this a meditative approach that many religious and spiritual people use, but it allows you to better appreciate what the sacred substance has to offer in each form.

The chocolate itself feels dry to my fingers, which I did not expect, given that it is milk chocolate and claims to be "creamy." Likewise, when I take that first bite it seems drier and a bit more bitter than 30% should be; again it makes almost no sound when my teeth break off a quarter of the square. It tastes quite average, and not particularly like chocolate, but also not like the paraffin that, sadly, some companies use today to supplement their products and give them more form.

In order to get a new experience, I hold the second bite in my mouth to see if it will melt; it takes well over a minute for this quarter-square to fully melt, but while it does so it floods my taste buds, my nose and even my mind with light sensations. Eating it quickly, as I do the third quarter of this first piece, does not have this same effect, so I recommend that you allow it to melt in your mouth for the full experience.

What this 30% cacao bar offers isn't for the casual consumer but for those of us willing to let it melt in our mouths and fully feel our senses expand and react. At a reasonable price, this could be a useful tool on your journey.

Sisters and Brothers, may you too take the time to slowly appreciate what the Divine and human ingenuity have offered you in chocolate.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Taxing Chocolate?

Have you seen the new today, Sisters and Brothers? Some politicians in the UK want to tax chocolate as a way to fight obesity. However, I have to ask: Are they going to tax all junk food and alcohol as well or simply target one particular type?

Read these are articles and think about. Is this an unfounded attack on the sacred substance? Is it a result of a world unable to control and use the divine creation of chocolate in it's appropriate way?

CBS Report on UK Doctor's Chocolate Tax


Sky News Report on Doctors' Opposed

Editorial About the Tax Idea

Let's be honest, in the USA we tax alcohol and tobacco products because these offer nothing beneficial to the body and in fact have been shown to cause healthy problems for many people.

Chocolate, aside from any healthy claims, does not in fact create health problems any more than eating too many calories of any other food would. If the worry is weight, then the same amount of calories from any source could cause the same problem.

Instead people need to be on this journey with us. Learning to use chocolate in moderation, to fully feel the connection via this divine substance to the entire world around them by allowing themselves the fully experience chocolate has to offer all five of their senses.

You Chocolate Priestess says "No" to the idea of tax one particular food type over others unless it is clear they cause harm. Chocolate which may have some health benefits clearly does not.

Sisters and Brothers, may you too take the time to slowly appreciate what the Divine and human ingenuity have offered you in chocolate.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Revelation March 10, 2009

Revelation: Be wary of health claims about the sacred substance, Sisters and Brothers.

The below very brief article sounds good, doesn't it?

The Chocolate Cure for Acne

But we need to always be cautious about any health claims when they come from companies who supply said healthy product. I'll offer this to the company in question and to all other companies making such claims: Send me, the Chocolate Priestess, your products and I will try them as directed and then reveal the truthfulness of your claims.

I wonder, Sisters and Brothers, if any companies are brave enough to submit to our study in the hopes that they might be worthy choices for those of us on this journey to connect with the Divine.

Sisters and Brothers, may you too take the time to slowly appreciate what the Divine and human ingenuity have offered you in chocolate.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Saturday Sacrament, March 7, 2009

This week, your Chocolate Priestess will reveal the nature of one of two related products from the CVS store brand "Absolutely Divine," which purports to support "responsible farming" practices. The chain recently had a sale on its 3.5oz bars of 70% and 30% cacao products. This week I will lead you through the darker version, and next week we will uncover the milk chocolate version.

The "Intense Dark Chocolate Bar" comes in a gold and dark blue paper wrapper that has two flip tabs you can use to open it. Inside, the bar is again wrapped, this time in gold-colored Mylar that only opened easily on one end. Several claims are found on the back of the paper wrapper. First, it states that each piece (there are 10 individual squares etched into the bar) "delivers heart-healthy antioxidants." Furthermore, it states that it is all-natural, and indeed the only ingredients are "chocolate liquor, sugar, and chocolate liquor processed with alkali and cocoa butter," rendering it free from trans fats, gluten, sodium and added oils. The 3.5oz bar is actually 2.5 servings, so be aware of that if you eat this product.

Upon opening up the gold Mylar the scent of dark chocolate rushed up into my nose and made my eyes blink. This initial scent, though, dissipated over a few minutes. The bar does not feel greasy or waxy to my touch, and most surprisingly, the 10 squares break quickly and smoothly. Your Chocolate Priestess can't remember the last time this happened with a bar whose pieces were partially cut into it.

The pieces are not quite squares, measuring 1.5 by 1.75 inches, but they do make for easy handling and tasting. Taking one, I breathe in the scent deeply, slightly disappointed that the intensity I first felt when I opened the gold Mylar is no longer there. Each piece has a border etched into it as well as the letters A and D.

Biting into it is a bit of a challenge, and 1/4 of it snaps off into my mouth with very little melting on my lips. Likewise it almost refuses to melt on my tongue even when I caress it gently, so I must bite into it. The taste is indeed dark, with barely any sugar or sweetness from it detectable, but I would not classify it as "intense," merely a touch bitter.

In three more bites I have eaten the first piece, and each experience is the same. In terms of consistencies, this bar is a champion of simple unadulterated darker chocolate. But this taste, the texture on my tongue and in my mouth, the scent — they do not create a rush in my mind and soul. It is simply solid dark chocolate that leaves a slight bitter aftertaste behind. For the sale price of a dollar it is an acceptable product, though it did not aid me this week in feeling closer to the Divine by adding that extra rush to my senses.

Next week I will reveal the nature of its companion bar, the 30% cacao milk chocolate.

Sisters and Brothers, may you too take the time to slowly appreciate what the Divine and human ingenuity have offered you in chocolate.

Revelation March 7, 2009

Revelation: We can consume chocolate and improve the world at the same time.

I'm referencing an article today about a development your Chocolate Priestess has been following for a while:

Cadbury Fair Trade Chocolate

As you all should know, chocolate begins with the cultivation of the sacred bean. Often the working conditions for those who harvest it is not very good as in many agricultural industries. One way we can help support the growth of good cocoa and increase economic justice around the world is to support what is called "fair trade" practices through our purchases.

I will review such products from time to time as I have them. Remember you are welcomed to send me chocolate products to review if you are from a reputable company.

This is just one of the factors we should consider when we use chocolate. As we walk this Path together we will discover excellent chocolate created under better conditions and thus do our little bit to improve the lives of all of the Divine's creations.

Sisters and Brothers, may you too take the time to slowly appreciate what the Divine and human ingenuity have offered you in chocolate.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Media Alert

During this last hour of "The Early Show" on CBS they will have a segment on the history of chocolate.

Here's a write up about this: CBS Early Show Chocolate

Personally, your Chocolate Priestess thought it was far more hype than substance.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Revelation March 5, 2009

Take a look at this link, Sisters and Brothers:

Power of Chocolate

What do you think of this idea to utilize all of the sacred substance?

Your Chocolate Priestess thinks that is a wonderful idea for two reasons which can be considered this week's Revelations.

First, is it not a slap in the Divine's face to not use all of Its precious creation to the fullest of it's potential? Think of all the damage we do to Earth by tossing away so much, think of all the land we despoil that might be used to grow more of this sacred bean. In all ways, I think that using even the shells could be beneficial depending on what might be contained in the smoke arising from it or mixed with the coal.

Second, would not this increase the profit for the bean grower and perhaps then lower the price he charges for the beam itself? I do not know if you are aware but the price of cocoa is going up, Sisters and Brothers. If the price goes up, it will decrease the numbers we can potentially save through the proper use of Chocolate. Prices remaining steady or falling will open the Path to more people increasing the general connectedness between humanity and the Divine.

Sisters and Brothers, may you too take the time to slowly appreciate what the Divine and human ingenuity have offered you in chocolate.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Personal Revelation on the Comforts of Chocolate

Revelation: A small amount of the divine substance can help ease the frustrations of travel but it need not take us down a long detour in our journey with chocolate.

Control your craving for the cocoa, breath while you enjoy, let it open up your mind and sooth your heart.

While your Chocolate Priestess had to travel for mundane reasons she ran into difficulties. For I discovered the Path I would have indulged in chocolate without regard for its qualities or full appreciation of it's unique abilities. This time though I limited myself, I took care to focus on what I ate or drank, and I could feel it help me strip away stress and energize me for the legs of my travel.

Sisters and Brothers, may you too take the time to slowly appreciate what the Divine and human ingenuity have offered you in chocolate.

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