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Posts Tagged ‘Chocolate’

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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Storefront of Pietro Romanengo in Genova

In the list of wonderful, accidental finds we have made for the shop, few rival the discovery of Italian confectioners, Pietro Romanengo fu Stefano. On a trip to northern Italy, Ihsan and Valerie were strolling the labyrinthine streets of old Genova when they stumbled across a fantastical, gem-like little shop.

Romanengo Candied Tangerine

Candied Tangerine

Since 1780, the Romanengo family has been dispensing handmade candies from this beautiful shop with its marble walls, glass shelves and rich wooden cases. Crystal receptacles are filled with confetti-colored candied fennel seeds, threads of sugar-coated cinnamon, sweet fruit fondants, chewy rosewater marshmallows and tiny pastiglie. On his first visit, Ihsan bought some treats to take home and each parcel was painstaking wrapped in dark blue tissue-like paper and tied with a Genovese sailors knot. Since that trip, we have been importing directly from Romanengo and several staff members have made the pilgrimage to Genova themselves! (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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Mast Brothers chocolate barsThough we may think of Europe as the epicenter of fine chocolate, America is arguably home to the world’s most exciting community of up-and-coming chocolate makers.

What you see in America that you don’t necessarily see elsewhere is a growing crop of “bean-to-bar” chocolate producers – artisans who are working directly with raw cocoa beans, often sourced directly from farmers. In their small labs in places as unlikely as Utah and Missouri, these producers are seeing the cocoa through from its raw form to its natural end — beautiful bars of chocolate that showcase as much of the flavor and character of the original bean as possible.

It sounds like a relatively straightforward process, but it’s actually unusual. A lot of chocolatiers buy pre-made chocolate from larger companies, melt it down and make their own bars or confections. This is not to say their products are necessarily bad or inferior, but just as we support small-craft cheese and wine at Formaggio Kitchen, we also like to support small-craft chocolate as much as possible. (more…)

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Salty Oats cookiesMy father has always said that if you make something well, people will go out of their way to get it. I suspect many folks would do just that for Terri Horn’s Salty Oats cookies. (more…)

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