Monday, September 29, 2008

Bar of the Week: Amedei Toscano Blond

Region: Inlcusion
Cocoa Content: 63%

Last Saturday we held a comparison tasting in our store of the Amedei milk bar and a mystery milk chocolate. We promised to reveal the secret identity of the classic American bar on our blog, and for those of you who didn't guess it was Hershey's. With a final tally of 41 to 8 the winner of the milk chocolate taste test was Amedei, which is proof that Americans do care about the quality of the ingredients that go into a bar of chocolate (Hershey's has been in the news lately for replacing the cocoa butter in some of their products with vegetable oil; more about that here).We decided to continue with the Amedei line this week by bringing you one of their inclusion bars, a dark chocolate concoction laced with dried peaches and apricots. The black and gold coloring of the box and the chocolate's crisp, tart taste make this bar the perfect transition from summer to fall.Fun Fact: The process used to dehydrate the fruits and create the sparks of flavor in the bar was developed and patented by Amedei's Master Chocolatier, Cecilia Tessieri.

Friday, September 26, 2008

New Lillie Belle flavors!

By popular demand we've brought back the Coconut Lemon Buttercream and added two new flavors: Marionberry Cordial and Spearmint Ganache. Both are delicious additions to our truffles counter and they're sure to be hit with our customers (so you better stop in soon!).

The best deal in town

We've turned Thursday evenings into something special with our 5 for $5 deal. We're kicking things off with five bars from Venezuela, a region known for its prized beans and diverse flavor profiles. The $5 fee gets you a generous sampling of five different chocolate makers:

Theo - 91%
Bonnat Puerto Cabello - 75%
Domori Carenero Superior - 70%
Michel Cluizel Concepion - 66%
El Rey Carenero Superior - 41%

Stop by any Thursday from 5 to 9pm and begin your tasting adventure.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

They're back....

Amedei's confections are the newest addition to our truffle counter, and we've brought back all of your favorites plus a new flavor:

Chuao - Dark chocolate ganache made from the prized beans of the Chuao region of Venezuela
Tartufo - Dark chocolate ganache combined with hazelnuts and rolled in cocoa powder
Cremino - Milk chocolate ganache layered with chopped hazelnuts
Vin Santo - Italian sweet wine blessed by the pope, blended into ganache and rolled in confectioner's sugar
Zabaglione - Italian custard blended with marsala wine and enrobed in milk chocolate
Grappa - White chocolate ganache blended with grappa, an Italian pomace brandy

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Bar of the Week: Amedei Milk

Region: Blend
Cocoa Content: 32%

For all of you milk chocolate lovers out there our bar of the week should certainly satisfy your sweet tooth. From the Italian chocolate makers, Amedei, comes a bar that is not just a step above Hershey's, it's a leap. Amedei began their bean to bar production in 1990 after a visit to the Valrhona factory in France created a rivalry between the two countries. Alessio and Cecilia Tessieri, the brother and sister team behind Amedei, had visited the famed French chocolate makers to see if they could use Valrhona chocolate for their Italian confections. The Tessieri's were instead dismissed and told that Italians could not appreciate such a fine product. In an effort to prove the French wrong, Cecilia began studying chocolate production while Alessio scoured the world in search of aromatic cacao beans. Everything that comes from their factory is beautifully crafted and elegantly packaged, and today Amedei is regarded as one of the finest chocolate makers in the world.

We invite everyone to stop back by this Saturday to taste how good milk chocolate can be.

Fun Fact: The Amedei factory sits a few miles east of Pontedera, Italy, home of the Vespa scooter.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Bar of the week: E. Guittard Ambanja

Region: Madagascar
Bean Type: Criollo
Cocoa Content: 65%

Last week our customers described the Domori Arriba bar as having notes of hazelnut and banana. This week we move on to the world's fourth largest island, Madagascar. Cacao from this african island appeals to many palates because of its fruity, sometimes citrus flavor. Because of this we've devoted a whole section in our store to the beans of Madagascar, and the Guittard Ambanja bar is a great place to start. Guittard began in 1868 in San Francisco as a way for Etienne Guittard to profit from the sweet tooth of the area's wealthy gold miners. Four generations later, the company is still family-owned and operated and is popular with pastry chefs nationwide (Christopher Elbow uses Guittard to enrobe his confections).

Every Saturday between 10:30 am and 1 pm we are sampling out the bar of the week, so stop by and give us your opinion.

Fun Fact: Guittard's business was destroyed during the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, but Etienne's son, Horace, quickly rebuilt and kept the company going.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

New Flavors - Christopher Elbow

The Christopher Elbow confections from Kansas City, Missouri are still our most popular sellers, and we've restocked all of your favorite flavors and even added two new ones, Pineapple and Dark Milk Chocolate. Look for those changes and more inside our store this weekend.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Bar of the Week: Domori Arriba

Region: Ecuador
Bean Type: Nacional
Cocoa Content: 70%

Domori emerged onto the chocolate scene in 1996 as the project of Italian chocolate maker, Gianluca Franzoni (who writes under the pseudonym Mack Domori). His journey began in Venezuela where he was on a business trip researching cacao orchids. It was there that he discovered his passion for quality cacao and his desire to create a product from some of the finest beans in the world. The Arriba bar uses a different class of beans known as Nacional which are grown predominately in Ecuador. Cacao beans are typically divided into two categories, flavor beans (which are sought after by artisan chocolatiers) and bulk beans (which are used in approximately 80% of the world's chocolate production and which are bought with less regard to flavor). The Nacional is genetically a forastero bean which is usually considered to be of the bulk bean variety, but its strong, floral flavor is what lifts it into a league of its own. This bar is one of six in the Domori Cru line that has minimal ingredients and no extra cocoa butter added. The chocolate has a wonderfully smooth mouthfeel and the tasting guide on the box suggests notes of hazelnuts, bananas, and citrus.

Experience Domori's Arriba bar yourself this Saturday from 10:30 am to 1 pm. We will also have available a sampling of Domori's Arriba beans for comparison.

Fun Fact: The Cacao Cult slogan on the Domori packaging is short for Cacao Culture, Domori's mission to produce quality chocolate while fighting to avoid the extinction of prized criollo varieties and educating consumers about what to look for in artisan chocolate.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Lillie Belle has arrived....

...and her beautiful designs and unique flavor combinations make her the belle of the ball. Lillie Belle chocolates are the creation of chef-turned-chocolatier Jeff Shepherd, and the company is named after his wife, Belle, and daughter, Lillie. The family resides on a certified organic farm in Central Point, Oregon where Jeff grows all of the berries used in his chocolates. Other ingredients are sourced locally as well, including cheese from nearby Rogue Creamery which is used in the Smokey Blue Cheese truffle. Chocolate and cheese might not sound like an ideal combination but the two pair perfectly with the toasted almonds that each truffle is rolled in. Other Lillie Belle flavors that can be found at Chocolopolis include Jamaican Spice Caramel, Chipotle Ganache, Black Pepper Ganache, Strawberry Cordial, and Lemon-Coconut Buttercream. We also have boxes of Cayenne Caramels, Berry Cordials, and Chocolate Covered Pears available for purchase.

Must try: Strawberry Cordial

For the adventurous: Black Pepper Ganache

Saturday, September 6, 2008

The votes are in!

It was a close race, but with a final tally of 30 to 26 we've crowned the 2005 bar King of the Gran Couvas. Thanks to everyone who stopped by this afternoon for the tasting, and if we peaked your interest in aged chocolate Chocolopolis carries three other bars from the Valrhona vintage line - the 2005 and 2007 Palmira bars from Venezuela and the 2007 Ampamakia bar from Madagascar.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Bar of the Week: Valrhona Gran Couva 2007

What can we say about this bar that wasn't already said last week? Well for one thing it's a different harvest year, 2007. And tasting it brings up two questions: does chocolate get better with age and do the harvest seasons differ in taste? We know the answers to these questions and now you can, too. Stop by the store this Saturday between 10:30 am and 1 pm and ask for the Gran Couva taste test. Give us your opinions and we'll publish them on our blog.

If you're having trouble finding the right words to describe a bar of chocolate, here are some terms to get you started:

Chemical / medicinal
o acetone/ nail polish
o menthol
o metal
o mothballs
o plastic
o resin
o rubber

o butter
o cheese
o cream
o milk
o yogurt

o burlap
o cardboard
o forest
o grass
o hay
o leaves
o meadows
o moldy
o moss
o musty
o soil
o straw
o yeast

o mushroom

o ashes
o cedar
o oak
o pine

o jasmine
o lavender
o orange blossom
o orchid
o rose

o blackberry
o blueberry
o cranberry
o raspberry
o strawberry
o grapefruit
o lemon
o lime
o orange
o tangerine
o date
o fig
o prune
o raisin
tree fruit
o apple
o apricot
o cherry
o olive
o peach
o plum
tropical fruit
o banana
o coconut
o kiwi
o mango
o papaya
o pineapple
vine fruit
o cantaloupe
o grapes- red
o grapes- white
o watermelon

o basil
o mint

o almond
o cashew
o hazelnut
o macadamia
o peanut
o pistachio

o caramelized sugar
o coffee
o ham
o tea
o toast
o tobacco
o wood smoke

o anise/ licorice
o cinnamon
o cloves
o ginger
o nutmeg
o pepper
o vanilla

o brown sugar
o butterscotch
o cappuccino
o caramel
o honey
o malt
o molasses
o toffee

o beeswax
o bread
o leather
o red wine
o vodka
o puckery
o robust
o sour
o tart
o tangy (tart and sweet)