Friday, October 31, 2008

Stamp of Approval
Interesting concept for dark, milk and white chocolate flavored 1st class mail stamps--the old fashioned kind that you lick. Designer Toby Ng has packaged them beautifully in matching envelopes. These would make great actual chocolate bar designs don't you think?

After My Own Heart
It would be pretty sweet to spend Valentine's Day kicking back in the rainforest with other cacao enthusiasts learning to make chocolate the traditional Mayan way instead of having to stomach all of the smarmy displays around town. If you're interested, the Cotton Tree Lodge, an all-inclusive eco-resort nestled in southern Belize offers week long chocolate making tours from February 8th-15th, 2009 and then again in May. Here are some fliks from last year's event. Looks like things get pretty messy! Mention The Chocolate Nerd when you book and they'll give you a 10% discount on your trip!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Witches' Oven
Come December, getting one's hands on a box of Fat Witch Brownies is akin to working magic. I was delighted today to learn that should I fail once again to make the holiday wait-list, I'm in no way relegated to a brownie-less celebration. As an alternative, I can now pick up a box of Original Fat Witch Brownie Mix. I love the illustrated cityscape on the box and anyways, pulling a batch of these bad girls out the oven will totally earn you brownie points.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Out of Africa
It was Claudio Corallo's passion for Tarzan
fliks that called the Florence, Italy native to seek a life in the African Jungle. In 1974, at the adventurous age of 23, the young Italian took a job in the government of Zaire doing an agricultural census. He later found more interest in his work with a local coffee exporter. Eventually he was able to purchase two coffee plantations and start a family with the Portuguese ambassador to Zaire's daughter. When civil war drove Zaire's dictator Mobutu Sese Seko from power in 1993, Corallo's plantations were looted. He then moved his family to Sao Tome and Principe, independent, equatorial, volcanic islands off the coast of Gabon. The Corallo family has been there since cultivating what some consider the best chocolate in the world. While that claim is subjective, there's no denying that breaking open a bag of Fair Trade Claudio Corallo is like popping the top off of a bottle of a tropical perfume. Notes of cocoa, earthy and floral, and tropical citrus immediately create a sublime olfactory experience rivaled only by its taste. With his Chocolate Laranga, Corallo has paired his origin chocolate with chewy bits of orange peel. Thinking it the perfect flavor and texture for a gourmet brownie, I melted a few ounces into a batch and served it warm with vanilla bean ice cream. Corallo, a purist, who upholds the integrity of the chocolate by forgoing any additives such as milk powder or even vanilla extract may be cringing at the thought of Corallo brownies, but what can I say? They sure taste great!