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Archive for the ‘Chocolate’ Category

Xocolates Aynouse l'Artesà - Olive Oil and Candied Orange Peel Bars

Xocolates Aynouse l’Artesà – Olive Oil and Candied Orange Peel Bars

In February 2013, while Ihsan and I were visiting our friend Pere Planagumà (head chef at the restaurant Les Cols in Olot, Catalonia), we stopped in the ancient historic city of Girona for a food show and discovered chocolate maker Francisco Javier “Xavi” Rodriquez Perez. Actually, Xavi recognized us — he used to be the chocolatier for another Catalan chocolate company. It was a nice reunion seeing Xavi and to learn that he decided to open his own company Xocolates Aynouse l’Artesà in the town of Agramunt. (more…)

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A Representative Selection of Our Top 10 for 2013

At the end of each year, staff members at all three of our shops – in Cambridge, the South End of Boston and in New York – fill out a staff survey. We reflect on what we have tasted over the course of the past year – moments where we were surprised (both pleasantly and unpleasantly), new and exciting food experiences, as well as the flavors we found ourselves returning to time and again. We pick our favorites and share memorable moments. Some tried-and-true items appear in our survey results year after year – other items are new and exciting finds from the current year – goodies in this instance that distinguished 2013 from all others. Here are our top ten picks culled from this year’s survey results! (more…)

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A Representative Selection from our Holiday Gift Guide

Do you have a food lover, budding chef, charcuterie aficionado or chocolate fiend in your life? Short on gift ideas? Not to worry – we’ve got you covered! Our staffers thought long and hard to come up with their top picks for what they would give to food-loving friends, family members and loved ones – here are the results: (more…)

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Naive Chocolate

Domantas Užpalis is the creative chocolatier behind Chocolate Naive. Based in the small town of Giedraičiai, Lithuania (population of less than 1,000), he is one of very few bean-to-bar producers in Europe. Domantas does everything from sourcing the cacao beans, to roasting, winnowing, conching and tempering, all in a small farmhouse next to lake Kiementas on the Eastern side of Lithuania. (more…)

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Idilio Chocolate - No. 3

We are very excited to introduce Idilio Origins chocolate bars to our shelves. Idilio was the first Swiss chocolate company to specialize in finding the best cocoa plantations to make single-origin, single-plantation bars. Working hand in hand with farmers, Idilio oversees everything from harvesting to fermentation before the beans are then sent to Switzerland where the beans are transformed into beautifully refined bars of chocolate. (more…)

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Three cocoas: Dutch-processed (L), Valrhona natural (R) and Les Confitures à l'Ancienne drinking cocoa (bottom)

Three cocoas: Dutch-processed (L), Valrhona natural (R) and Les Confitures à l’Ancienne drinking cocoa (bottom)

At this time of year, customers often pop into the shop looking for cocoa – whether for baking a dense chocolate torte or for a warming cup of hot cocoa after hours of shoveling. There are a few different type of cocoa available and we thought it would be helpful to shed a bit of light on the differences.

What is cocoa?
Cocoa is the result of processing raw cacao seeds into what is called cocoa mass or cocoa liquor. Cocoa mass is made up of roughly equal parts cocoa solids and cocoa butter. When you buy a chocolate bar it often has a percentage figure on it. If, for example, the label indicates 75%, that means the bar is made up of 75% cocoa mass and unless other ingredients are mixed in, 25% sugar. If  you’ve ever had a taste of 100% cocoa mass, you know how important the sugar is to counterbalance the natural acidity and tannic quality of the pure cocoa. In some cases, a bit of extra cocoa butter may be added to give the chocolate a smoother textural dimension – a greater melt-in-your-mouth quality. (more…)

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Still Life with Bread, Ham, Cheese, and Vegetables - Luis Egidio Meléndez

We know that shopping for friends and family isn’t always easy. So, we put our thinking caps on, brainstormed, debated and created some exciting new bundles of goodies! We think there’s something for most every kind of foodie on your list:

Truffle Kerfuffle – Many customers come to us for all manner of truffle products, so this bundle was a no-brainer. While we don’t include an actual fresh truffle, this selection of products delivers the gorgeous, earthy truffle flavor in a variety of ways. (more…)

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Elaine and Catharine of EH Chocolatier

L-R: Catharine and Elaine of EH Chocolatier

Elaine Hsieh and Catharine Sweeney never meant to become chocolatiers. In fact, they first met over a wedding cake. A mutual friend was getting married and enlisted them to bake her cake – something new to both of them. Judging by their continuing partnership, the cake was a success, a challenge that got them started making sweets of their own. (more…)

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Comté Extra Grand CruAt the end of each year, staff members at all three of our shops fill out a staff survey, reflecting on our year in food. We pick our favorites, reminisce about revelatory food moments and about new discoveries. Like clockwork, some products can be counted on to appear each year. Other foodstuffs disappear and/or reappear, depending on staff members’ palates. Here we share our top ten picks culled from this year’s survey results – we hope you enjoy these delicious goodies as much as we do!

- 2011 Staff Top 10 -

Marcel Petite Comté – Year in and year out, this is the headline cheese of the survey! A raw, cows’ milk cheese from the Jura mountains, it is a classic French AOC cheese. What did staffers have to say? One wrote, “I feel this is the backbone of our cheese collection. Hand crafted and hand selected.” Another wrote, “aging cheese does matter and the care taken from start to finish with these cheeses makes for an amazing product at any age.” (more…)

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Mast Brothers SignSince opening in Brooklyn a few years ago, Mast Brothers Chocolate has been making a big name for itself. Founding brothers, Rick and Michael Mast, create flavorful bean-to-bar chocolate with imagination and enthusiasm at every step. They import some of the finest single origin cacao from around the world. Recently, they realized a long-held dream of importing some of their beans by sailboat, direct from the Dominican Republic to New York. (more…)

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