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Sunday, November 30, 2014
With its prestigious Yorkville location, beautifully presented products in stunning packaging, and a win at the 2013 International Chocolate Awards, expectations were high as I took my first bite out of a MoRoCo chocolate.
I was not disappointed. Although the price was very high for chocolate not made from bean-to-bar on site, the effort MoRoCo puts in to their flavour combinations and in their packaging makes it a worthwhile try. Beautifully presented, shiny, gorgeously tempered chocolate creations in gift-perfect packaging makes MoRoCo an easy choice for holiday shopping.
In terms of taste, here are a few examples of tasty creations that I purchased and sampled:
Their signature Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Mouse was delicious. It was not very sweet; it was just the way peanut butter should be. And the 'mouse' could have been called 'mousse' because it seemed like a mousse inside: light, fluffy and rich-tasting. And what's funny is, mice really like peanut butter.
Along the same flavour lines, MoRoCo's Chocolate Peanut Butter Bar is much sweeter and has crunchy peanuts in it. I think I liked the mouse better, but it still satisfied that peanut butter lover inside of me.
I really love The Dirty Blonde chocolate bar, which is 32% blonde chocolate (a caramel-like mix between milk and white chocolate) with espresso and caramelized hazelnuts. The crunch was perfect, very fine pieces but truly crunchy. What a great stocking stuffer for someone with the same hair colour.
As for the box of chocolate ganaches - or square truffles, as you might call them - each one was very creamy, smooth and in fact, texturally perfect. The Marquis de Noir, which is described as a "classic Parisian dark chocolate ganache", was very creamy and yet, it was light on the palate.
The Full Throttle ganache had a strong espresso flavour, with no taste of 'instant' that can sometimes be present. It was delicious and bitter - just the way an espresso should taste and the way I like it. Along the same lines, the mint ganache was made with fresh mint leaves - no taste of peppermint extract or oil.
And I LOVED the slight crunch in the Dulce de Leche caramel enrobed in 62% dark chocolate. Also a slight crunch in the Monkey in the Middle (Peanut Butter and Jam - Strawberry and Raspberry Jam). It really does taste like a PB&J sandwich. The crunch was a nice addition.
All of the ganache's were very delicate with a nice light snap. The outer coating was so fine that it truly allowed the smooth centre texture and flavour to shine.
So if you are looking for a truly beautiful chocolate gift this holiday season, MoRoCo may be the answer to your shopping prayers. In addition to the beautiful gift boxes and bars, they make nice seasonal products like this amazing solid chocolate reindeer; a gorgeous stocking stuffer for a chocolate lover. You can either buy in the store or, if you are not in Toronto, buy online on MoRoCo's website. And for students, MoRoCo also offers "Student Tuesdays", where you can enjoy 20% off with your student ID.
Happy Holiday Chocolate Shopping!
Note: I paid for my products and was not encouraged in any way to write this post. My opinions are my own!
Sunday, November 16, 2014
This recipe is also very flexible; you can use fine milk chocolate or something commercial and from the cupboard - like sweet milk chocolate leftover from Halloween! I used up some mini Halloween Hershey's milk chocolate bars for this particular paté, but I have also at times used organic milk chocolate and high percentage (45%) milk chocolate for a less-sweet, richer-tasting paté.
Milk Chocolate Paté Recipe:
For the paté, you need:
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup whipping cream
- 8 ounces of milk chocolate (about 20 mini Hershey's bars)
1. Line a small loaf pan with plastic wrap.
2. Break or chop your chocolate into 1/2-inch pieces and place in a heatproof bowl.
3. Chop up the butter and place it in a medium saucepan with the whipping cream.
4. Place your cream/butter mixture on the stovetop and melt together over medium heat. Once mixed, heat the mixture just to a boil (do not let it boil, stop it just before), and immediately pour over the chocolate.
5. Stir slowly and in one direction with a wooden spoon until completely melted. If you have a little trouble getting the chocolate to melt completely, place some water in your empty cream pot and heat it on the stove, then place your bowl over the pot and continue stirring slowly until it is completely melted and mixed.
6. Immediately pour the chocolate mix into your lined loaf pan. Cover with plastic wrap and let set on the counter overnight or in the fridge for 4 hours.
7. Once firm, take off plastic wrap and trim edges (if need be) and place on a serving plate. Place shortbread and sugar cookies all around on plate. Cover with plastic wrap until ready to serve. Serve at room temperature.
Shortbread Cookies Recipe:
I used coconut sugar for my recipe, which gave the kids less of a sugar-high and also added the 'brown sugar' colour to the cookies - but granulated cane sugar works even better in this recipe, so use whatever you like!
- 1 lb of butter (2 cups/454 grams) - cold
- 3/4 cups of granulated, organic or coconut sugar
- 4 cups of unbleached all-purpose flour
1. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Place the flour and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer (or large mixing bowl if you do not have a stand mixer) and briefly mix on low or stir until combined.
3. Chop the butter into 1 or 1/2 inch pieces and add to the butter/sugar mixture.
4. Using the paddle or dough attachment for your mixer, stir on low until it becomes crumbly and eventually moist and fully mixed (if no stand mixer, use a whisk or wooden spoon to pulverize the mix until it becomes moist, but be aware that this will take a while!).
6. Use a round cup or cookies cutters to cut shapes. I used the thicker back of mini cookie cutters to imprint snowmen and butterflies on the cookies.
7. Bake on centre rack for 12 to 15 minutes, and remove from oven just before the cookies start to brown. If you have a cooling rack, transfer each cookie with a spatula to help them cool faster, and to reuse your pan and parchment to bake more cookies! Otherwise, let cool on the pan and then serve or store in an airtight container for up to 1 week, or freeze for later consumption.
|This milk chocolate pate is very delicious sandwiched between |
two cookies as an afternoon snack with tea.
Also delicious on these Scottish Nairns Oatcakes (www.nairns-oatcakes.com),
which I purchased at an Independent Grocer in Ontario - bonus, they are gluten-free.
Saturday, November 8, 2014
But move over Kinder Eggs, there is a new chocolate-and-toy combo on the market. Belfine, a Belgian chocolate company, has recently launched an award-winning concept in chocolate treats. Finger Pup'pets is a decorated Belgian chocolate figure on a ring, so kids can wear them on their fingers while they eat. What's more, parents can go online (to this link) and print out paper finger puppets. Their kids can colour and attach them to the plastic ring, once the chocolate has been eaten.
If the kids are young, they can choose chocolate-coloured or pre-coloured cut-outs. You can also print out a circus tent to put on a puppet show. What a great way to spend some time with your children during the holidays. And it is a great activity for a birthday party - first give out the chocolate as a prize, then have the kids decorate their own finger puppets and put on a show.
With 32% minimum cocoa content and 27% milk solids, you can feel assured that this is a real chocolate treat, not filled with hydrogenated oils or other 'modified' ingredients that commercial confections have these days. Most commercial chocolate 'candy' has 20% or less cocoa content, and includes oils to make up for real milk and cocoa butter.
The Finger Pup'pets are great 'stocking stuffers' at Christmas, but also an excellent activity for young cousins at your family Christmas party. They are available at Shoppers Drug Mart throughout Canada, and in many, many other countries around the world.
Want to Know More About Belfine?
Belfine is a family-owned business in Belgium that is known for their beautifully decorated holiday chocolate figures and lollipops. They only use a strict selection of Madagascar cocoa beans - which explains why the chocolate is so flavourful and so delicious. Their mission is to 'bring enjoyment and delight to millions of people all over the world', and I think they have accomplished just that.
They also sell chocolate Santa Claus's and other hollow Christmas figures that are absolutely delicious. You can feel good knowing that the ingredients are natural - event the colourants used for the red on Santa are naturally derived.
Belfine recently won a Top Innovation Award this year at the ISM conference (for sweets and snacks) in Germany for their Finger Pup'pets.
For more information on Belfine, go to www.belfine.com.
Keep checking the Ultimate Chocolate Blog for chocolate stocking stuffers and chocolaty gifts all season long. And follow on Twitter or Facebook for regular chocolate recipes and how-to's. Happy holiday chocolate shopping!
Sunday, November 2, 2014
From November 1st through to the end of the year, for every social media post with the hashtag #chocolategives and for every item purchased on the seattlechocolates.com website, Seattle Chocolates will donate a serving of fresh food to food banks.
Have you not yet heard of Seattle Chocolates? This is a chocolate company that focuses on delicious coconut oil-based truffles enrobed in chocolate. In fact, they offer just about every flavour of truffle that you can imagine. This can be seen in their bag of Assorted Truffles, which is 1 lb (or about 48 truffles) with flavours for every kind of chocolate lover, including: Espresso (my fav!), Coconut Macaroon, Extreme Dark, Milk Chocolate Mint, Peanut Brittle and Strawberry Crème. It is big, but still fits in a Christmas stocking - what greater gift for a chocolate lover than to offer an immense selection? It would also be a great assortment at your annual Christmas party or a holiday gift for business customers who have a team of people to feed.
10-bar stack and I am having difficulty NOT eating them all. My two favourite chocolate bars are Perfect Peanut Butter and San Juan Sea Salt. Perfect Peanut Butter really is perfect; I've tried many, many peanut butter and chocolate combos in my day and this one is the best dark chocolate and peanut butter combination yet. And I was blown away by San Juan Sea Salt, which is a delicious milk chocolate truffle bar, with unbelievably rich, thick milk chocolate and crunchy toffee bits, and of course, sea salt.
Others that are equally as good as my favourites, include the newly launched Christmas bar called Kris Kringle Crackle - a dark chocolate truffle bar with popcorn pieces (a perfect stocking stuffer this season). And based on the truffle assortment, the milk chocolate mint bar, espresso bar and other flavours are all bound to be delicious.
So if you want to help donate fresh food to people in need, while doing your holiday shopping, check out Seattle Chocolates holiday gift boxes, like this Snow Day Assorted Truffle Box (about 18 pieces for only $12.95), or even an Advent Calendar. And be sure to tell your friends on social media by tagging #chocolategives (@SeattleChoc) - this simple action will give one serving of food to someone in need!
http://www.seattlechocolates.com/chocolategives for more information.
Happy Holiday Shopping!
|Order online on www.seattlechocolates.com, |
and the company will donate one food serving to people in need,
and get your box filled with chocolate for holiday gifts it in no time!