Friday, August 31, 2012

Chocolate Planning in September 2012

September is my birthday month plus my husband's birthday and our dating anniversary.  Yup we do still celebrate that after 20 years of marriage.  We all ready have so many dates we could mark with chocolate but how about a few more?

Saturday before Labor Day = International Bacon Day -- I have finally tried bacon and chocolate and you'll see a featured review on this later in the month.

September = National Whole Grains Month -- I've been baking now with whole grain flour for a few years.  Yes, you do need a bit more moisture and the texture can be different but I find it does not affect the flavor of chocolate at all.

September 4 = World Chocolate Day -- Another generic chocolate day.  I think on this holiday you should try to find chocolate from another country then come back and tell me about it.

September 8 = National Muffin Day -- Muffins can be chocolate, they should be chocolate, there are muffins that don't have chocolate?

September 12 = National Chocolate Milkshake Day -- Milkshakes are great but certainly not particularly healthy.  So what?  Moderation, people, moderation, so enjoy on this date just not every day.

September 13 = International Chocolate Day; oddly this might also be the birthday of Milton Hershey’s yes that Hershey (1857)  -- Again try a chocolate from another nation and we'll post something about Hershey later, too.

September 14, 1964 = Pop-Tarts come on the market from Kellogg’s -- There are several chocolate pop-tart varieties out but since we've reviewed several over our year, I don't we'll do much special on this date this year.

September 23 = National White Chocolate Day -- Yes, white chocolate is chocolate but there are laws about what makes it qualifies as white chocolate.  We'll review those laws on this date this month.

September 27 = National Chocolate Milk Day -- Is that school debate over chocolate milk still happening where you are?

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Scoops of Blue Bunny 2012


Last year the kind folks from Blue Bunny ran a summer giveaway with us and this year they have sent us more coupons to try out several more of their products.  Today I want to look at their 1.75 quart containers of ice cream that you scoop out and eat.  Or I hope you scoop it out and don't sit down to eat the entire container, Sisters and Brothers!  Remember: Moderation is one of our keys here on The Chocolate Cult.  The regular ice cream is a brand new variety called Chocolate Lovers Triple Chocolate Cake while the Sweet Freedom variety is their Bunny Tracks made with no sugar added.

We'll start with the Sweet Freedom line first and end with the triple threat treat. Made with light ice cream and no added sugar, this version of the Blue Bunny's Bunny Tracks ice cream has 1/2 the fat and 1/3 the calories.  It is vanilla ice cream with fudge and peanut butter caramel ribbons, chocolaty covered peanuts, and little bunny shaped chocolate with peanut butter filling.  The only cacao here is in the form of cocoa processed with alkali which is disappointing.  The vanilla has a odd aftertaste so I wouldn't eat a plain vanilla in the Sweet Freedom line.  However the caramel is tangy, the peanut butter is more roasted than sweet, and the chocolaty coating tastes like very cocoa so those together easily overcome the aftertaste of the ice cream itself.  I wish they had gone with a darker chocolate instead of the cocoa but this is an nice treat nonetheless.

One of their newer flavors in the premium ice cream line is this Chocolate Lovers Triple Chocolate Cake.  This has both cocoa and cocoa processed with alkali in it for the milk chocolate ribbons that are supposed to be like icing on a cake and the brownie pieces you can find throughout the chocolate ice cream. So let's count the chocolates -- 1) chocolate ice cream, 2) milk chocolate ribbons, and 3) chocolate brownies; yup that is 3X chocolate all right.  It does taste very much like a chocolate cake would but in the opposite way as the slice you see on the container.  The ice cream is more milk chocolate than the ribbons of fudgy chocolate are while the brownies offer the cake texture.  Regardless this is a very satisfying array of chocolate and it was easy to be satisfied with our smaller black bowls.  This is now one of my favorite Blue Bunny flavors.

So what Blue Bunny ice creams have you scooped out for you and your family this summer, Sisters and Brothers?  The company rolls out new flavors every year and we hope we can bring you more examples next summer.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Check Your Choc-o-holic IQ

Your Chocolate Priestess keeps her eyes out for things that might be of interest to you all. Fun things, scientific things, self-improvement potential. Today I want to share a link with you all to a survey from Web MD that looks at Chocolate, our favorite topic.

You can access the survey here.

Go do that but stay on this page as well and when you are done, share your scores with us.

I'm not prefect in my knowledge of all things chocolate, just your leader in our quest for more information and better chocolate.

My score was out 14 of 18 questions right.

Now go take the quiz and show me your knowledge!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Breyer's + Mrs Fields = ?

Our next ongoing ice cream features during this very hot 2012 year looks at what happens when two icons of big food join forces for one cold treat.  Breyers Blasts! are currently at 18 and each of these combines a candy or baked good icon with Breyers frozen dairy dessert (not ice cream, read the labels).  Using my Unilever coupon from the company, I received this Mrs Fields Chocolate Fudge Brownie Blast! to look at for all of you today in mid-August when it is still very hot and humid outside.

The first thing to check is how many types of chocolate are in this 1.5 quart container.  The frozen dairy dessert lists cocoa, the fudge swirl lists cocoa, and the brownie pieces list cocoa; cocoa all around.  This it isn't surprising that the main flavor in this treat is cocoa and not much sweetness.  The ice cream looks light brownish tan and you can see line of darker fudge and the brownie pieces that are these cubes throughout it.  The frozen dairy dessert is smooth but not creamy, and it provides a good base for the fudge and the brownies.  The fudge has the most sweetness of all three main components and it is slightly sticky.  The brownies are very much like a chewy brownie should be if you popped them in the freezer or the frig for a while before eating -- they will give your jaw a bit of a workout.  You have to let the frozen treat warm up a bit before you get any smell from it and then it is, guess what, cocoa.

If you like brownies and if you like cocoa, this is a great choice.  However if you turn to the ingredient list again there are so many added ingredients here that we simply cannot call this a worthy sacrament.  This could be made with very few ingredients and still deliver the cocoa and brownie goodness.  Yes, all these other ingredients might substitute for calories you could get from using cocoa butter or simply more cream but for a Sacrament don't you want something purer?

There you have it, one combination from Breyers Blast! revealed in today's Saturday Sacrament, Sisters and Brothers.  Have you tried this one and if so, what did you think about it?  Keep reading because as long as I'm feeling hot here, we'll keep doing frozen treat and ice cream features for you all to enjoy.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

5th Annual Chocolate Walk Reminder 1


Sisters and Brothers, it is once again my great pleasure to tell you about our annual Pilgrimages that ties Charity and Chocolate Together.

If you live near Bloomington IN we have a carpool we arrange for people to go together and thus have more fun!

Let me share the official announcement with you all.


Dear Chocolate Lovers,

The Brown County Humane Society's Chocolate Walk tickets are now on sale!  We hope you had a great time at previous Chocolate Walks and that you will be able to join us again this year. Tickets are the same price as last year - $15 prior to Nov 1 and $20 from Nov 1-10. There are 32 shops participating, each providing their favorite chocolates for you to sample.



The event is on Saturday, Nov 10 from 10 am - 5 pm.

Tickets are available online here OR call 812-327-3016 OR purchase at the Brown County Convention and Visitors Bureau (10 N. Van Buren St ), the Brown County Art Gallery (Artist Dr & Main St) or the Humane Society (128 S SR135).

Last year we sold out of all 1250 tickets and anticipate the same happening this year; therefore, don't wait until the last minute to buy.
If you are coming from out of town, consider spending the weekend in Brown County and staying with one of our lodging partners:
Cornerstone Inn (www.cornerstoneinn.com),
Hotel Nashville (www.hotelnashville.com),
Salt Creek Golf Retreat (www.saltcreekgolf.com)
Artist's Colony Inn (www.artistscolonyinn.com)
Abe Martin Lodge (www.in.gov/dnr/parklake/inns/abe/ )
All Chocolatiers donate their time and products to this event so that 100% of the proceeds benefit the 1000+ animals that come to our shelter. Your support of this important fundraising event is greatly appreciated.

Jane

Jane Weatherford, Chocolate Walk Committee
Brown County Humane Society
Vision: A community where all animals are valued and respected

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Birthday of John Cadbury

Some inventors affect our lives immediately and some change the world for generations to come.  John Cadbury did both as a chocolatier in the 19th century.  Today, his birthday, let's look into what exactly he did for the world.  Born in 1801 in Birmingham, England, Cadbury was part of the Quaker chocolate tradition that changed the nature of chocolate throughout Europe and the USA.  With an ethical drive to either succeed in business or not do it, the Quakers combined company savvy with moral imperatives to do good for the community and world around them.  Whenever they ventured into the chocolate world, they changed it.

John Cadbury changed it in several ways.  First he invented an emulsification process that allowed solid chocolate to be make into bars, thus beginning the modern chocolate bar wave that ushered in cheaper chocolate for the masses.  However during his lifetime the company focused primarily are cocoa and chocolate drinks.

He also paid his workers better than the average salary and tried to improve their lives via several work and free time activities. Today we'd fine such employer interaction in our lives to be overbearing but at the time it was enlightened behavior.  John also worked to help animals and child laborers throughout England via both legislation and work with private organizations.  Other Quaker confectioners did similar things for their workers and later his inheritors would continue their work at both the company and national level, always with an eye to what would make the business better and profitable.

Online Resources Consulted:
http://www.nndb.com/people/770/000168266/
http://www.cadbury.com.au/about-cadbury/the-story-of-cadbury.aspx
http://www.quakersintheworld.org/quakers-in-action/16

Books Consulted:
"The Chocolate Wars" by Deborah Cadbury

Saturday, August 11, 2012

South Bend Gift Basket, Part 1

Do you recall that back in June I mentioned that while on my 20th wedding anniversary trip we found three chocolate shops in Indianapolis?  No, go back and look at our "On the Road" posts please.  There you will find mention of the Chocolate Cafe but we've been so busy with other features and tons of frozen treats that it is only now that I could squeeze a feature about the gift basket they gave us to reveal to you all.  This has so much stuff it in that it will take three posts to do it justice.  So without further ado, let us reveal some of this basketful from South Bend Chocolate Company.

This is their summer gift basket with two special summer items: a flower shaped  candy pop and a bag of their Crunch which is caramel corn with a candy coating.  Here's the big problem: neither of these is chocolate, yup, no cocoa butter, no cocoa, not chocolate liquor or mass, nothing chocolate in them.  So beyond the photo I can't really judge one way or the other.  Neither claim to be chocolate so they are merely added into a basket of chocolate to give it a citrus summery touch.  If you want to see more summer specific items, the website lists seasonal products.



So I'll add into today's feature two bags of chocolaty treats you can find in many shops that sell South Bend chocolate: double-dipped peanuts and chocolate covered raisins in their gold foil bags.  The peanuts are 16 oz while the raisins are 3 oz.




Let's start with the Double-Dipped Peanuts in their pound bag.  There is also a dark chocolate version of these but the ones it the gift basket were milk chocolate made with cocoa butter and chocolate liquor.  If you are not familiar with double-dipped chocolate treats let me briefly explain the concept, it is simple.  You take whatever you are going to cover in chocolate,  in this case peanuts, and you cover them with chocolate.  Then you let that dry and harder and dip them again.  Easy right?  The result is that some of these peanuts were stuck together by so much chocolate and that the milk chocolate practically drowned out the peanut flavor.  The coating isn't particularly shining but it has a strong vanilla and chocolate fragrance.  With such a thick double layer of chocolate it makes a fairly loud sound when you take a bite plus the whole peanut inside continues to crunch.  While the peanut flavor didn't stand up well to the very vanilla chocolate, the salt did come through to counter a bit of the cream in the coating.  These were good and they tempted us to eat them quickly so we had to exercise self-control to slow down and enjoy them.  I'm betting the dark variety would be even better.

I'm not a huge raisin fan so I got help reviewing the raisins from this basket.  This is what our Fruit Acolyte had to say about these milk chocolate covered raisins: The chocolate-covered raisins have a light chocolate scent and are glazed like Raisinettes. The texture is nice, solid to bite into and crumbles well. The raisins inside are large, sweet, and have a solid
fruit flavor. The raisins' sweetness lingers after the chocolate in a very satisfying way. One of my favorite combinations and in this case
the unique qualities of the chocolate compliments the raisins well.
Definitely a superior product to Raisinettes!

There we have it, one third of the products in this basket have been revealed to you.  Have you had these particular treats from the South Bend Chocolate Company?  What did you think of them?  We think both the peanuts and the raisins are some of the best on the market and for that reason plus their being a business that supports other local and regional businesses, this is Sacrament Worthy.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Birthday of Henri Nestlé

Today would be the birthday of German confectioner Henri Nestlé if he were still alive.  During  his lifetime his work made huge changes to the chocolate world that we still enjoy today.  Henri was born in 1814 and died in 1890.  While we think of Nestlé as Swiss, Henri was born Heinrich Nestle but he immigrated from Germany to study with J.E. Stein who owned a pharmacy in Switzerland.  After four years of study he was licensed in 1839.

The Nestle family business was actually a glazier company or a professional glass cutters for buildings.  But after going to Switzerland and changing his name, Henri bought a rapeseeds factory and began to produce other goods as well.  In 1866 the American owned company, Anglo-Swiss Condensed Milk Company, opened a branch in Cham, Switzerland.  A year later, Nestlé used their product idea to create an infant formula and worked on bettering condensed milk.  In 1867 Nestlé introduced their logo that they still use today.

But what does this all have to do with chocolate? As we know today, Nestlé offers many chocolate goods but it was another man, Peter Daniel, who used their condensed milk to create milk chocolate in 1875. If I can find a birth date for Daniel, then we'll celebrate him as well in the future.

The first two images are directly from the History section of the Nestlé website: http://www.nestle.com/AboutUs/History/Pages/History.aspx

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Chocolate Recalls 08/07/12

Sadly I have a recall that might be of interest to all chocolate lovers and users out there.  We've reviewed Clif bars here before so I know some of you use these products.


July 30, 2012 - Clif Bar & Company is initiating a voluntary recall today of a small amount of 6-packs of Coconut Chocolate Chip CLIF® Bars that were distributed to limited Target and Walmart stores. These 6-packs may contain Coconut Chocolate Chip CLIF Bars that are mislabeled with White Chocolate Macadamia CLIF® Bar wrappers with a "Best By" date of 16MAY13G1 and do not list coconut in the ingredient statement. Clif is taking this precautionary safety step for people who are allergic to coconut.

http://www.clifbar.com/blog/detail/introducing_coconut_chocolate_chip_clif_bar/
A small quantity of Coconut Chocolate Chip CLIF Bars were inadvertently placed in White Chocolate Macadamia CLIF Bar wrappers and these mislabeled bars were placed inside correctly labeled Coconut Chocolate Chip CLIF Bar 6-pack boxes. The White Chocolate Macadamia wrappers contain advisory allergen labeling which states that the product may contain traces of other tree nuts.
Only the product meeting both the following criteria is affected:

• 6-packs of Coconut Chocolate Chip CLIF Bars with “Best By” date 16MAY13G1

UPC: 7-22252-66030-5

• Coconut Chocolate Chip CLIF Bars mislabeled in White Chocolate Macadamia CLIF Bar individual wrappers found in the above Coconut Chocolate Chip CLIF Bar 6-pack box with the same “Best By” date 16MAY13G1

NO other CLIF Bar products, pack sizes, flavors or “Best By‟ date codes are affected.
The company is strongly advising consumers who have coconut allergies not to consume these mislabeled bars and discard them to avoid the possibility of an allergic reaction. People with an allergy to coconut run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reaction. No allergic reactions have been reported to date.

Consumers with questions or who would like replacement coupons may contact 1-888-851-8456, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. PDT, Monday-Friday. Details also can be found at www.clifbar.com/coconut.

Clif Bar & Company cares deeply about the health and safety of consumers. The company apologizes for this inadvertent labeling error.



Monday, August 6, 2012

Birthday of Chocolatier Joseph Storrs Fry II

Joseph Storrs Fry
On this day in 1826, one of the many European chocolatiers to whom we owe a great debt for the innovations that helped make chocolate what is it today was born.  Joseph Storrs Fry II was either the grandson or son of chocolatier Joseph Storrs Fry -- I couldn't find the grandfather's birthday date (but I did find his photo to the right) so I'll talk about the entire Fry family today in relationship to chocolate, all right, Sisters and Brothers?  Some of the historical information is contradicted between various books and online resources I consulted, so I will include the variations for you all instead of making a firm decision since I did have the time to conduct a full  historical study.

The Fry family began in chocolate when Joseph Fry and John Vaughan bought Walter Churchman's existing chocolate company and renamed the new chocolate business as Fry, Vaughan, & Co.  After Joseph's death, his wife and sons continued the business under the name Ann Fry & Sons.

Cocoa bean grinding machine from: http://chestofbooks.com/food/ingredients/Cocoa/Chapter-XVI-The-House-That-Fry-Built.html
The senior Joseph took control of his parents business in 1795 and while there he made one amazing innovation that would change chocolate forever.  He used a Watts steam engine to help grind the cocoa beans and this was the first serious introduction of a factory method into the normally small scale, hands-on creation of chocolate at this time.  The machine could not only grind more thoroughly but it could output greater amounts of ground cocoa leaving human hands to focus on the other steps in chocolate creation. After Ann's death in 1803, Joseph Storrs Fry renamed the company Fry & Hunt after partnering with a doctor.

By 1822, Dr. Hunt retired so the three sons of Joseph Storrs Fry became his partners and they renamed the company once more, this time as J.S. Fry & Sons.   During this period, the Fry company became the largest commercial chocolate producer in Great Britain.  Upon his death in1835, his three sons took control but his name sake, Joseph Storrs Fry II was the main figure.

In 1847 the company created the first ever molded chocolate bar that could be consumed by the general public.  Remember chocolate was struggling to be available to the masses at this time and most of us today, Sisters and Brothers, would not have recognized the form, flavor, or textures of the chocolate back then as something worth drinking or eating.  However it wasn't until 1866 that they created the Fry Chocolate Cream to sell.   I am unsure if this is the how the bars first were sold but a few reliable historial sites suggest it may be.

Fry's were also the first company to create the chocolate Easter egg which is so very common now throughout the western world and loved whether you are Christian or not.  Indeed, we have a tradition in my house to buy "egg shaped chocolates" and share them with any guests who drop by on that holiday.  We can thank the Fry family for this innovation back in 1873.

By 1919, Fry's merged with Cadbury and as we know, Cadbury is now part of the Kraft megacorporation.

Various Online Source Consulted for this piece
1: Basic history for the Fry Chocolate company via Cadbury website
2: Fry & Sons article on wikipedia
3: Made in Bristol article on Fry Chocolate
4: Frenchay Village Museum website
5: Grace's Guide article on Fry's Chocolate

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Is Magnum Too Much Chocolate?

The title of this Saturday Sacrament may have confused you, Sisters and Brothers.  Did your Chocolate Priestess actually entertain the question of whether or not something could be too much chocolate?  Actually this is not the first time I've wondered this but the question takes on new importance when you consider anything cold because cold decreases the flavor of many kinds of chocolate.  The folks from Unilever sent us a coupon to try the Magnum bar, an ice cream treat I'm sure most of you have heard about if not tried.  I were able to buy one box of these so I chose the Double Chocolate variety.

Boxes of Magnum ice cream treats generally come with only three items but these are big, around 1.1oz each, 4 inches long and 1.5 inches wide.  They are at least ten bites worth and possibly more if you like to taking smaller portions but remember this is ice cream it is going to melt whether you are inside air conditioning or out in the heat.  There is only so slow you can eat it before it simply falls a part and you don't want to waste any of this.  The bar has a good chocolaty scent and that fact surprised me since ice cream often does not have much of a chocolate fragrance.  Check out the ingredients list: cocoa butter, chocolate liquor, and cocoa are listed multiple times.  There is a lot of cacao being used and thus it can power through the cold that normally dampens the scent of our Sacred Substance.

Biting into it made a loud cracking sound because you are actually biting through three layers of chocolate until you hit the chocolate ice cream inside.  It is difficult to really see the three layers of chocolate round the ice cream but the one right on top is softer and is likely the chocolaty sauce. Then we have a layer of Belgium chocolate, clearly darker and indeed with a touch of bitterness to it. Over it all is this chocolaty coating of milk chocolate.  The problem was separating all the flavors so I tried to peel some pieces off to get individual samples.  There are differences here, not that subtle if you can pull them apart, but then blend together very well, more so as the treat melts.

That's the only down side to this treat because you do not want it to melt too much.  Unlike a bowl of ice cream, a handheld treat needs to be eaten more quickly or it can fall apart, get on your hand, your clothes, or simply fall on the ground and there you go, five second rules may not help you much at that point.  The box and the wrapper are all designed to send the visual message that this is an elite treat and given the amount of cacao products used to make it, it is worth what may seem like a higher price.  Sometimes you do indeed get what you pay for and this is a Sacrament worthy of a bit more change or a treat you should buy on sale and save for special events.  Let me know if you've tried Magnum and what you think, Sisters and Brothers.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

How Important is Chocolate in "Chocolate" the Movie?

While we most often talk about chocolate foods or drinks here on The Chocolate Cult, we do let you know about anything else we might encounter or learn about that has to do with Chocolate.  Today I want to do a very brief and chocolate focused movie review of the 2009 film Chocolate (English dub)that I saw this past weekend with my family.

  "Chocolate" is the first film for actress JeeJa Yanin, who stars as Zen, a autistic young woman who has a knack for learning marital arts simply by observation. Most of the other actors in the movie I didn't recognize but one of them, Hiroshi Abe, I have seen in several Japanese series and films. While his role isn't huge it is central to the film as Zen's father.

 Of course I could review this film in the traditional way but I think we here want to know why on Earth it is called Chocolate at all, right?

Chocolate does play an interesting and reoccurring role in the film as one of Zen's constant companions. As a young girl she is shown holding a tube of chocolate candies that she is always eating. As she gets older she starts to eat these candies in more entertaining ways such as popping them into her mouth from a distance or bouncing them off various body parts.

In one of the lengthy fight sequences, we see her fighting a few employees of, I kid you not, the Evil Candy Company, as it is listed in the film credits. In one of the subscenes in that part of the film, as she is fighting we see boxes and boxes with "Choco" written across them.

 Why is Zen fighting? Her mother, Zin, played by ammara Siripong, once worked for a mobster but fell in love with a Japanese rival, Masashi, played by Hiroshi Abe. The parents had to split up but her mother left her mobster boss to raise their child alone. As you might imagine, mobsters no matter their ethnic or racial group do not take kindly to employees leaving them and the single mother and daughter struggle to survive. The reason Zen fights though is that her friend, Moom, played by Taphon Phopwandee, finds a ledger listing money that they think Zin is owed by various "business" owners who, of course, do not want to pay the young teenagers.  The teens want this money because Zin is getting medical treatment for something, probably a form of cancer based on the treatments and medication we see in the film.

However, the teens do not realize that this money is really owed not simply to Zin but also her former mob boss, or so he claims.  The final appearance of chocolate in the film is in another tube of candies left for Zen which contain an unpleasant warning for the trio that only fuels their anger more and opens the door for Zen's father to return.

Given the title I think that chocolate should have played a more prominent role in the movie.  While the plot generally returns to important points over and over, after the candy warning scene Zen's favorite treats never reappear. Why?  Did it freak her out so much that she could eat them?  If so, I think we needed to see that played out for even a minute.  If she still wanted them, why did they not appear later as a way for father and daughter to bound more?

If you've seen the film, leave a comment and tell us what you think.  If you haven't but it sounds interesting, you can buy it at Amazon using our links and help support us through the Amazon Affiliate program.

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