Know Your Chocolate

When baking or preparing a chocolate dessert, there are reasons that certain recipes specify the kind of chocolate you should use. It’s important to know that not all types of chocolate will produce the exact effect you seek. With varying flavors, melting points and end results, it certainly pays to know your chocolate.

Without cocoa beans, there would be no chocolate. The beans are dried, roasted and ground up to produce a dark, thick paste – also called chocolate ‘liquor’, cocoa solids or cocoa mass. It is this thick paste that is the basis of all chocolate and cocoa products. When you’re purchasing chocolate for your next dessert adventure, read the list of ingredients and check the percentage of cocoa solids and sugar. For example, if a recipe calls for bitter or dark chocolate, choose an option with a high percentage of cocoa solids (such as 70%).

Ready to bake or create?

Consider the following types of chocolate that may appear in your next recipe:

Plain Chocolate – Lots of recipes will call for “plain chocolate” because it is stronger. This kind of chocolate is also referred to as dark (made by adding fat and sugar to cocoa), semi-sweet (dark chocolate with half as much sugar as cocoa), or bittersweet (less sugar and more liquor than semisweet). A minimum of 35% cocoa solids for plain chocolate is needed to enjoy the best results. To create desserts (such as soufflés, mousse or truffles) with a richer chocolate flavor, choose plain chocolate with at least 70% cocoa solids.

Milk Chocolate – Milk chocolate has added milk solids, which produces a sweeter taste that is smoother and creamier when compared to other kinds of chocolate. While milk chocolate is best for making candy bars, it sometimes finds its way into various desserts, pastries and other confections. Milk chocolate is sensitive to heat, so it doesn’t make a good choice for baking.

Unsweetened Chocolate – The purest form of chocolate is unsweetened, which is the cooled and hardened form of chocolate liquor. Since no sugar is added, it tastes extremely bitter.

Cocoa Powder – When a nice amount of cocoa butter is removed from chocolate liquor, cocoa powder is the result. With a fine texture, the taste is rich yet bitter. This means that you don’t have to use a lot of it when creating a dessert. Sometimes, the powder is used as a garnish for ice cream or a sprinkled topping for cakes.

Drinking Chocolate – When looking for a tasty coating for truffles, consider drinking chocolate, which is cocoa powder with added sugars and milk extracts. The flavor is quite sweet and makes a delicious beverage.

White Chocolate – The white chocolate chips often found in Macadamia nut cookies is technically not a chocolate at all. There are no cocoa solids in this type of sweetness, but instead, is comprised of cocoa butter. A high amount of cocoa butter is blended with milk solids, vanilla, and sugar to obtain its taste.

Bittersweet Origins – Valentine’s Day Chocolate Gifts

Chocolate gifts for Valentine’s Day are a  traditional sign of love and affection, and this year Bittersweet Café, the Bay Area’s bean-to-bar Bittersweet Origins chocolate maker and chocolate cafés, has a full array of its own chocolate collections and special gift packaging ready for your special Valentine sweetheart.
Bittersweet’s three Bay Area locations are a Valentine gift central with delicious, high quality chocolate gifts ranging from $4.95 to $34.95.

Valentine tins, Share the Love tins and Big Love Pails are popular Bittersweet signature gifts.  The Mint Tin includes Dark Chocolate Holland Mints and Dark Chocolate Peppermint Shortbreads while the Fruit and Nut Tin features Dark Chocolate Dried Strawberries, Dark Chocolate Cherries and Dark Chocolate Pistachios.

The Share the Love Tin provides a quarter pound each of Mint Mix (Dark Chocolate Holland Mints, Dark Chocolate Peppermint Shortbreads) and Fruit and Nut Mix (Dark Chocolate Dried Strawberries, Dark Chocolate Cherries, and Dark Chocolate Pistachios), Solid Milk Hearts and Solid Dark Chocolate Hearts.

Fabulous handmade Bittersweet truffles are available in a variety of flavors, from hand-rolled dark, Fleur de Sel, raspberry liquor-spiked Framboise, and the scintillating Spicy, to the elegant finish of heart-shaped Blood Orange, Passion fruit and Cinnamon.

Other unique Bittersweet Valentine offerings are the Love Letter and the Tasting Tins.  The Love Letter is a modern-retro envelope, enclosing a note card, one New Tree Alpha Disc (an unusual and incredibly delicious bar -flax seeds give it an unusual crunch and make it rich in anti-oxidants) one of their best-selling Vosges Mini Bars and a $10.00 Bittersweet Gift Card.

Tasting Tins include How Many Ways Do I Love Thee (a wide selection of small bits of some of the world’s most delectable chocolates) and the popular Heart of Darkness Collection.   The collection also includes an outline of the most recent findings about the health benefits of chocolate with high cacao content.

And, for those quick and inexpensive gift needs, Bittersweet is offering Chinese Take-Away Valentine Boxes with Solid Dark and Milk chocolate hearts, along with Raspberry Cream, Caramel and Mint Crunch Hearts.

About Bittersweet  Origins and Café
Bittersweet Origins is a manufacturing and retailing company which creates craft chocolate and coffee in handmade, micro-batches to engage the senses and the mind.  Bittersweet Café retail stores’ ambience and furnishings reflect the one-of-a-kind nature of its chocolate bars, chocolate drinks and coffees.  The warm and welcoming spaces furnished with unique tables, benches, carts and artwork from local craftspeople and artists create a gathering place for the community to savor locally made chocolate delicacies, coffee and tea.  The Bittersweet Cafes are located in San Francisco on Fillmore Street, College Avenue in Oakland and the Rose Garden Shopping Center in Danville.  For more information, visit www.bittersweetcafe.com/ or call 510-705-1860.

Bubble Chocolate Giveaway – Now CLOSED

We mentioned Bubble Chocolate in a previous post; today they are kindly sponsoring a giveaway for our readers.

Known as Aerated Chocolate Worldwide, All-Natural Bubble Chocolate® Makes Its Debut in the United States. A Chocolate Bar that’s Light, Airy, Satisfying and Delicious; It’s Bubbles Wrapped in Chocolate®

Bubble Chocolate® a new all-natural chocolate brand that brings the global phenomena of aerated chocolate to the United States has arrived and it’s now available at www.bubblechocolate.com

BubbleChocolate.com

The Giveaway

This giveaway is open to US residents only. Tell your friends and family!

Prizes: 5 winners will each receive one milk and one dark Bubble Chocolate bar.

How to enter (required): Visit www.bubblechocolate.com and then come back and leave a comment telling us the name of your favorite product!

For additional entries (leave a new comment for each additional entry):
– one additional entry if you become our fan on FACEBOOK;
– one additional entry if you grab our button from the sidebar and post it on your blog, please post the link;
– one additional entry if you follow us on Twitter;
– one additional entry if you send a tweet about this giveaway (once a day only); make sure to include @1happyblogger. You may use the following to tweet: @1happyblogger For a chance to win Bubble Chocolate, go to http://www.100cafestreet.com/bubble-chocolate-giveaway
– one additional entry if you fave us in Technorati;
– one additional entry if you blog about this Giveaway with a link back to 100CafeStreet.com and www.bubblechocolate.com
– one additional entry if you follow 100CafeStreet.com via email.

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The giveaway ends on Oct. 20, 2009 at the end of day, Pacific Standard Time. Bubble Chocolate will ship the prizes.

*Please make sure you leave a comment for each additional entry so you get credited.
*Also, please make sure you typed in the correct email address.
*The winners will be announced via e-mail and have 2 days to get back to us or other names will be chosen.
*Incomplete entries will be disqualified & deleted.

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And the winners are…

Here are your random numbers:

28
3
41
21
11

Timestamp: 2009-10-21 07:00:20 UTC

Thank you all for participating! Congratulations to: Tamara B., Sarah, Cori Westphal, Laura and Deborah!

Global Chocolate Phenomena Bursts Into the U.S.: Introducing All-Natural Bubble Chocolate®

Known as Aerated Chocolate Worldwide, All-Natural Bubble Chocolate® Makes Its Debut in the United States. A Chocolate Bar that’s Light, Airy, Satisfying and Delicious; It’s Bubbles Wrapped in Chocolate®

Bubble Chocolate® a new all-natural chocolate brand that brings the global phenomena of aerated chocolate to the United States has arrived and it’s now available at www.bubblechocolate.com .
 
Using the finest European chocolate, Bubble Chocolate® is available in 2.82 ounce premium milk and dark chocolate bars. The MSRP is $2.49.
 
Bubble Chocolate

While the sensation will be new to most Americans, it will be a taste of home to the millions of international citizens living in the States. With an estimated one billion dollars in annual international aerated chocolate sales (Mintel, 2009), Bubble Chocolate® introduces chocolate lovers to the light, airy, and unique melt-in-your-mouth experience.
 
“This is a new Bubble Chocolate® that’s all natural and reformulated to introduce Americans to the aerated chocolate craze that has dominated international markets for decades,” says Frank Drab, president Bubble Chocolate®. “The timing is right to bring something new and exciting to the U.S. market. Americans will love it, the international community will be happy to have it and it will be a favorite among dieters who are looking for a satisfying, yet lower calorie chocolate fix.”
 
People on restricted calorie diets, tend to prefer this type of chocolate. The nature of the aerated process makes the bars lower in calories than a regular chocolate bar, and despite the lower calories, it does not compromise the overall taste experience. In fact, since Bubble Chocolate® literally melts in-your-mouth, the taste is more immediate and the burst of flavor tends to satisfy chocolate cravings sooner. As the company slogan states, it’s “Just the Right Amount of Chocolate®.”
 
Drab has partnered with Paul Pruett who will serve as CEO of Bubble Chocolate LLC.  Pruett also is CEO of Bloomsberry, Inc., a chocolate company known for its clever and sophisticated packaging. Prior to Bloomsberry, Inc., Pruett helped to build the ZonePerfect Nutrition Company from $1 million to more than $100 million in annual sales.
 
“Americans don’t realize what they’ve been missing and it’s an honor to introduce Bubble Chocolate® to the marketplace,” says Pruett.  “Bubble Chocolate® is delicious and satisfying and we expect it will help make the chocolate aisle more interesting.” 
 
“Creating Bubble Chocolate® is both an art and a science,” says Drab. “Our proprietary procedure infuses bubbles throughout the chocolate at just the right temperature. Then it’s molded and cooled so the bubbly structure remains inside while a smooth outer shell is formed.
 
Bubble Chocolate® looks like a regular chocolate bar, but the inside has tiny bubbles. The best way to enjoy Bubble Chocolate® is to start by breaking off a small piece and chewing it gently until it begins to melt. Your mouth will change from slightly dry to moist and creamy. This delightful transition occurs when your taste-bud receptors are drawn to the chocolate bubbles as it starts to melt.
 
For more information about Bubble Chocolate®, please visit the company website at www.bubblechocolate.com.

Jer’s Peanut Brittle Bites Giveaway – NOW CLOSED

I have previously featured Jer’s Handmade Chocolate in our Chocolate Manufacturers – Guide for Chocoholics and in a separate post. Jer’s is one of my favorite chocolate manufacturers! I could eat those Peanut Brittle Bites all day long! That’s why I am honored to host a giveaway sponsored by Jer’s!

About Jer’s Handmade Chocolate: With unique, award winning flavor combinations, Jer’s uses all natural peanut butter and chocolate in combination with rice crisp, pretzel, toffee, or caramel. The award winning chocolate flavors now come in gourmet chocolate peanut butter bars and peanut butter brittles in decadent flavors. With more than 75% of all candy bars sold in the U.S. containing peanuts or peanut butter, Jer’s takes a classically loved combination of chocolate and peanut butter to a gourmet level.

Signature Collections:
• The Original Incrediball: Jer’s Original Crispy Peanut Butter Recipe, created in Milk, Dark, or White Chocolate
• Pretzo Change-O: Baked Pretzel Bits & Peanut Butter Center, offered in Milk, Dark or White Chocolate
• Toffee Break: Homemade savory toffee chips married with natural Peanut Butter in Milk, Dark or White Chocolate
• Cara Mella: Creamy Homemade Caramel & Peanut Butter center, double-enrobed in Milk or Dark Chocolate

Website: You can visit them online at www.jers.com.

Jer's Peanut Brittle Bites
image courtesy of Jer's

Jer’s Peanut Brittle Bites
Jer’s has reinvented a fun, classic favorite, Peanut Brittle, in new and exciting flavor bites! These heavenly brittle bites are blended into an all-natural, crunchy peanut brittle, immersed in premium Chocolate creating an experience like no other. Jer’s 1.6 oz. Chocolate Peanut Brittle Bites come in 4 exciting flavors.

Coco Nutty™ – Smooth coconut blended with decadent peanut brittle covered with dark chocolate.
Yippee Cayenne™ – Sweet peanut brittle with a spicy touch of cayenne pepper covered with milk chocolate.
Pretzo Change-O™ – Sweet and salty, with crushed pretzels and rich peanut brittle covered with premium milk chocolate.
Toffee Break™ – Rich, buttery handmade toffee mixed with crunchy peanut brittle covered in dark chocolate.

The Giveaway

This giveaway is open to US residents only.

Prizes: The two winners will each receive a pack of the Peanut Brittle Bites in the 4 delicious flavors.

How to enter (required): Visit www.jers.com and then come back and leave a comment telling us the name of your favorite product!

For additional entries (leave a new comment for each additional entry):
– one additional entry if you become our fan on FACEBOOK;
– one additional entry if you grab our button from the sidebar and post it on your blog, please post the link;
– one additional entry if you follow us on Twitter;
– one additional entry if you send a tweet about this giveaway (once a day only); make sure to include @1happyblogger. You may use the following to tweet: @1happyblogger For a chance to win Jer’s peanut brittle bites, go to http://www.100cafestreet.com/jers-peanut-brittle-bites-giveaway
– one additional entry if you fave us in Technorati;
– one additional entry if you blog about this Giveaway with a link back to 100CafeStreet.com and www.jers.com
– one additional entry if you follow 100CafeStreet.com via email.

#########

The giveaway ends on Sept. 30, 2009 at the end of day, Pacific Standard Time. Jer’s will ship the prizes.

*Please make sure you leave a comment for each additional entry so you get credited.
*Also, please make sure you typed in the correct email address.
*The winners will be announced via e-mail and have 2 days to get back to us or other names will be chosen.
*Incomplete entries will be disqualified & deleted.

Chocolate Manufacturers – Guide for Chocoholics – Bloomsberry & Co.

We featured Bloomsberry & Co.  in our Chocolate Manufacturers – Guide for Chocoholics.

About Bloomsberry & Co.:

This chocolate company is based out of New Zealand, and since its creation, have used premium all natural chocolate.   Established in 2001 by graphic designer Giles Baker and wife Vanessa Kettelwell, a trained cook, Bloomsberry & Co.’s has been tantalizing tastebuds and seducing senses. Now this exotic designer chocolate, infused with a delectable sense of humor and superior ingredients, has come to America.

About the products:

160x600_bloomsberry_banner Bloomsberry & Co. produces fun chocolate bars, dark and milk chocolate, made from the cocoa from New Zealand.  The bars have unique and quirky designs, most with a sense of humor.

Milk Chocolate bars are 34% cocoa, and Dark Chocolate are 55% cocoa.

Bloomsberry & Co. groups its products into categories based on design.  All products come in either the milk chocolate or dark chocolate bars.  Right now the categories offered are as follows:

Climate Change Chocolate – 4 products are in this line to get people to think about their carbon footprint and make a change.

Halloween Collection – 6 designs are offered,  such as Broom Fuel, Next Full Moon, and the original Emergency Bar with pumpkin design.

1oz. Chocolate – Smaller portions (1oz.) of the Emergency Bar can be purchased in boxes of 24 bars.  Available in Milk and Dark bars, including the Milk Chocolate with pink Emergency Bar label.

Casino Collection – 3 products are offered, including the famous Las Vegas welcoming sign, casino chips with cards, and the King Size Me bar.

Romance Range – The largest product offering, with 14 designs. Chocolate bar labels include: Lusty, Oral Pleasure, World’s Greatest Pick Up Bar, and Instant Gratification.

Easter Collection – 7 products are offered, including Easter Hunt, Hear, See, Speak No Evil, and Do this Ears Make Me Look Fat? designs.

Mother’s Day – 10 products are offered all fit for Mother’s Day, including labels such as, Mother’s Little Helper, More Fabulous, and Chocolate Fit for a Queen.

emergency-chocolate
Photo Courtesy of Bloomsberry & Co.

Location for Bloomsberry & Co. Products:

Bloomsberry & Co. can be found nationwide at Safeway, CostPlus World Market, and Beverages & More.  For more locations, check out Bloomsberry & Co.’s  store locator.

To view all the products offered by Bloomsberry & Co., check out the company’s online store to view all product offerings.

Chocolate Manufacturers – Guide for Chocoholics – Roxy Chocsmith

We featured Bittersweet in our Chocolate Manufacturers – Guide for Chocoholics.

roxy chocsmith
photo courtesy of Roxy Chocsmith

About Roxy Chocsmith

Roxy Chocsmith offers small batch, preservative free, high quality hand-made chocolate truffles to sweet tooths everywhere. 

About the products:

Deriving inspiration from desserts like cheescake, key lime pie, cookies ‘n cream, creme brulee – Roxy Chocsmith is a truly unique multi-layered chocolate experience.  They use fine white, dark, and milk chocolate in creating otheir sweet inspirations- because much like yourself, chocolate is many different things, but fabulous above all!

Their chocolate collection comprises many delicious flavors from salty, creamy to sweet or tangy. Here are some of our favorites:

Cookies’n cream Chocolate: Cookies- good, sweet cream-good.  Chopped bits of oreo cookie fleck the white chocolate center, which is then covered in a mixture of milk and semi-sweet and then rolled in crushed oreo cookies.  Chocolate with crunch.  It’s all good.

Chocolate Cheesecake: The  melding of chocolate with the inimitable zing of cheesecake. A semi sweet, creamy center with the slightest cheesecake tang, covered in graham cracker crumbs. It’s a bite sized dessert. Like eating a whole slice- but less than half the calories!

Orange Ginger Chocolate: Dark chocolate center infused with the perfect amount of orange, drenched in silky-smooth dark chocolate, and topped with a spicy slice of crystallized ginger.

The chocolate from Roxy Chocsmith makes the perfect gift for the chocoholic in your life or would be a perfect choice as a party favor. For more info on how to order, check out their website at RoxyChocsmith.com.

Chocolate Manufacturers – Guide for Chocoholics – FLING Chocolate

We featured FLING Chocolate in our Chocolate Manufacturers – Guide for Chocoholics.

FLING Chocolate
photo courtesy of FLINGchocolate.com

About FLING Chocolate

In January 2009, Mars Snackfood US introduced FLING™ Chocolate – a new chocolate line that is playfully flirtatious, alluring and unapologetic in its desire to tempt women to enjoy a “naughty but not that naughty™” treat.

With more than $7 billion in annual sales in the U.S., Mars North America includes food, snack and pet care segments, which are a symbol of excellence for quality brands. Headquartered in Hackettstown, New Jersey, Mars North America employs more than 15,000 associates in the U.S., with 72 facilities nationwide. Mars Snackfood US includes some of the world’s favorite brands such as, M&M’S® Brand, SNICKERS® Brand, DOVE® Chocolate Brand, MILKY WAY® Brand, 3 MUSKETEERS® Brand, and TWIX® Brand. Additional popular brands in the petcare and food segments for Mars North America include UNCLE BEN’S® Brand, PEDIGREE® Brand Food for Dogs, and WHISKAS® Brand Food for Cats.

FLING and Facts:

California women love indulging themselves, with chocolate as their primary indulgence. According to a survey of 500 California women, 85% have given into their chocolate indulgence in the past three months. Can chocolate be a replacement for men? Not yet, but California women confess that they enjoy chocolate as much as passionate kissing (77% enjoy chocolate, 75% enjoy passionate kissing). In 2009, satisfying your chocolate desire is a sure investment, as California women are committed to keeping their chocolate an affordable fling in their lives. Today, California women claim they are less likely to give up chocolate and splurging on clothes than other indulgent “flings” such as drinking gourmet coffee, having girls’ nights out and spa treatments.

“Every woman desires a moment of the day just for herself, to let inhibitions go and to indulge in what she fancies,” said Thomas Pinnau, Vice President of Indulgence, Mars Snackfood US. “FLING Chocolate is more than just a premium, light candy treat. It’s about embracing what we all love about chocolate while liberating ourselves from the guilt of indulging in what we desire.”

The brand uses the unconventional and liberating tagline “naughty but not that naughty” – a unique description for a daily indulgence that every woman longs for. Since March 2009, a tongue-in-cheek regional print, television and online advertising campaign has captured consumers’ imagination with innuendo-laden headlines and “naughty but not that naughty” commercials as well as a number of celebrity events.

“For FLING Chocolate, we are taking a limited market launch for unlimited learning. Our California launch is designed to deliver a successful brand and achieve our ultimate goal – to establish FLING Chocolate within the consumer’s chocolate repertoire,” said Pinnau. “This investment in product and marketing innovation will allow us to grow responsibly as we understand how to best engage the consumer in a meaningful way.”

FLING Chocolate bar
photo courtesy of FLING Chocolate

About the products:

Each decadent stick contains a delicate truffle sitting on a subtle crisp layer of meringue enrobed in shimmering, velvety chocolate that looks as good as the women who long for it.  But at under 85 calories per stick, FLING offers chocolate liberation – freeing every woman from the guilt of indulging in chocolate pleasure.  The new line offers three distinct flavors: milk chocolate, dark chocolate and hazelnut, so there’s no need to be afraid to commit to just one. 

Location:

FLING Chocolate is only available at California-based grocery, drug, mass merchandise, convenience and specialty stores. The suggested retail price is $0.79 for a Single Pack of two sticks and $3.39 for a Multi-Pack Carton of ten individually wrapped sticks. Los Angeles residents will have the opportunity to enjoy a FLING through unique sampling initiatives in their city. 

Additionally, FLING Chocolate is currently available to chocolate lovers everywhere at flingchocolate.com. To become a fan, please visit FLING Chocolate on Facebook!