Thursday, September 26, 2013

Supplement with chocolate or just supplement....then eat chocolate?

I appreciate all kinds of chocolate and the chocolate makers who craft it. Which is why I tend to speak positively about most chocolates that I try. I feel like whoever made the chocolate had a passion for chocolate and the ingredients they put in it, such as: healthy ingredients, spices, gourmet foods, interesting flavours, organic ingredients. So if I do not like the chocolate, I simply do not write about it. 

But after purchasing a 'maca' infused chocolate bar yesterday, and tasting it, I started to wonder to myself, "do we really need chocolate with dietary supplements in it?  Or should we just eat great-tasting chocolate and then take a supplement - separately of our sweet treat?"  I get that people want to feel like they are doing something healthy for their bodies while eating a chocolate treat, but if the healthy ingredient negatively changes the taste and texture of the chocolate, what is the point?  Why not just take a pill with the health supplement in it? Then we can truly appreciate and enjoy fine chocolate on its own. Wouldn't that be the better option?

I will leave the answer up to you, the chocolate eater.  And I will tell you that although I initially did not like the flavour of the Vega Maca Chocolate bar that I purchased yesterday, it grew on me by the time I ate the second piece.  And today, I like it more than I did yesterday. And oddly, I feel like I have done something good for my body by eating it.  Funny how that happens.

Maca is a root that is very high in protein and has over 22 amino acids and minerals and has 'hormone-normalizing' effects. Apparently, clinical research also demonstrates it to be a powerful fertility and libido enhancer for both men and women.

If you want to learn more about Maca-infused chocolate, see the following articles:

Monday, September 16, 2013

Travel the World Through Craft Chocolate

New Canadian Bean-to-Bar Chocolate Maker Makes it Possible
Have you ever travelled the world through chocolate?  You can, you know. Simply try a range of single origin chocolates and you can experience the world through your taste buds. That's right, cacao (or 'cocoa') beans grown from specific regions take on the flavours of the place where they grow, so when you eat chocolate made from single-origin beans, you can essentially do a taste tour of different regions of the world.

If you are new to the chocolate-tasters scene, you might be wondering where to start. The best way to sample singe origin chocolate is to find a craft, bean-to-bar chocolate maker near you (or online) and check out their range of chocolate bars.  Usually craft chocolate makers focus on making single origin chocolate.  Most of them offer a range of about five chocolate bars made from beans grown in specific and different regions of the world. For instance, you could buy a chocolate bar made from beans grown in Madagascar and another made from beans grown in the Dominican Republic.

In fact, I just discovered a new Canadian chocolate maker a few weeks ago called Ambrosia Pastry Co.  They are making chocolate from 'bean to bar' in Waterloo, Ontario and offer more than four different chocolates made from beans grown in: Venezuela, Peru, Papua New Guinea and Ghana. They also make a wonderful spiced drinking chocolate from Peruvian Criollo Beans.  So you can take your chocolate addiction to a whole new international level just by trying Ambrosia's range of chocolate bars.

Although I am a dark chocolate lover, my favourite chocolate of Ambrosia's is their 55% Milk Origin Ghana bar.  It was quite possibly the best dark-milk chocolate that I have ever tasted. My husband, who only likes really sweet chocolate, also loved it and said "this might be the best chocolate that I have ever eaten". Of the dark chocolate bars, my favourite was the 63% Papua New Guinea bar.

Ambrosia is owned by Tim Simpson and Aura Hertzog, who met in cooking school in 1999. They have turned their years of experience in the food industry into a passion for chocolate.  You can learn more about them and where Ambrosia is located in Waterloo here.

You can order Ambrosia's bean-to-bar chocolate range online! Check it out: They just released a 70% Venezuelan chocolate and they also rotate their origin chocolate, so be sure to check back frequently or contact them for information on chocolate made from other origin beans.

For other Canadian bean-to-bar chocolate makers who may be in your area, go to my "Canadian Chocolate Gift-Giving Guide" for a list. And an updated list is coming soon!

For a list of American bean-to-bar chocolate makers, Wikipedia has a great list: The Chocolate Life also has a great list on a forum discussion - you will have to scroll through a few pages to hit the full list, but it is there:

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The New Shades of Chocolate; Valrhona is Creating New Categories of Yumminess

The package clearly stated 'blond' chocolate, but I was still shocked when I opened the wrapping of Valrhona's Dulcey chocolate bar and found that it really was, well, blond.

Dulcey 'Chocolat Blond' is a new addition to the world of chocolate, with its interesting tan or oatmeal colour (i.e. 'blond') and creamy caramel-white chocolate flavour.  Recently introduced by France's superb fine chocolate maker, Valrhona, this chocolate is certainly making history by adding a new category to the traditional white, milk and dark types that chocolate lovers have become accustomed to.

Even more surprising than the colour was the taste.  It tasted like a creamy white chocolate combined with a smooth caramel flavour, and was, simply put, wonderful tasting.  I gave it to a few other people to try and they all instantly were surprised by how good it tasted and the smoothness of the texture. I believe that anyone would like this blond chocolate, even people who do not like white chocolate. I know it is a bold statement, but I am pretty sure it is true!

I purchased my first bar of Dulcey in Ottawa at a little international cheese shop, and it won't be the last one that I buy. Dulcey comes in both 85 gram (2.99 oz) bars for the average consumer to taste, and what's great is: it also comes in bags of couverture for professional chocolatiers.  This means that a whole new variety of delicious desserts can be made by chefs, bakers and chocolate shop owners who purchase this new category of chocolate.

The real eye opener is when you see this 'Blond' Chocolate next to a white chocolate.  For instance, check out the picture to the right.  The chips or 'callets' are Callebaut's brand of white chocolate couverture for professionals (high quality white chocolate, like Callebaut's, is naturally ivory in colour, not pure white).  The square is Valrhona's Dulcey with its distinct tan colour.  This contrast instantly shows how the 'blond' colour of the Dulcey chocolate differs from traditional white chocolate.

Valrhona is certainly taking strides towards becoming the most innovative chocolate company in the world.  Besides creating a new category of blond chocolate, they also recently introduced their Caramelia chocolate, which, in my opinion, is the milk chocolate version of Dulcey.  I say that because Dulcey is a caramel-tasting white chocolate, but Caramelia is a caramel-tasting milk chocolate. It is also just as fantastically smooth, creamy and wonderful tasting. I made the most amazing chocolate truffles from Caramelia and also provided the recipe here on the blog. Certainly Valrhona's innovative product brought my standard milk chocolate truffle recipe to a whole new level. I cannot wait to get my hands on some more!

Where to buy these products:
You can buy bags of the Dulcey couverture in the U.K. online at Chocolate Trading Company.
In Canada, you can find both Dulcey and Caramelia couverture chocolate for professionals (or really great home bakers and amateur chocolatiers) online at Vanilla Food Company.

You can also buy the chocolate bar in the United States on Valrhona's website for $7.99 per bar: Also, the Dulcey couverture is available on Valrhona's professional site at:

You can find Callebaut's white chocolate callets in Canada online at McCall's: and Vanilla Food Company, and a variety of other online retailers.