Being a mum is the toughest job on earth. There will be no bakers, doctors, lawyers, scientists, engineers, actors or artists etc. without a caring mother who nurtured and supported these people to be who they are now. Mother’s Day is celebrated to honour our mums and show gratitude for all their sacrifices as they raised us.
Oh chocolate ! It is undeniably one of the most loved food in the world–from bars, luxury brownies, chocolate dipped strawberries and gift boxed chocolates–everything just seems better with chocolate, don’t you agree?
But did you know that chocolate actually has a very rich history? Take a look at some of the most amazing facts about our favorite sweet treat:
1. The scientific name of cocoa tree is Theobroma Cacao, Greek for “food for the Gods”. But the word chocolate actually comes from the Aztec term “Xocolatl” meaning bitter water.
2. Chocolate has been very valuable through history. The Aztecs believed that the cocoa beans are gifts from their god Quetzalcoatl and used them as currency (10 beans = a rabbit, 100 beans = a servant). In the American Revolutionary War, chocolate was used to pay the soldiers.
3. The first chocolate bar was invented in 1847 by Joseph Fry. His company Fry & Son eventually merged with Cadbury.
4. Most of the world’s chocolate supply comes from Latin America (15%), Asia (17%) and Africa (68%). 33% of the global supply actually comes from Côte d’Ivoire in Africa.
5. Knipschildt’s La Madeline au Truffle ($250)
Forbes Magazine recognized Knipschildt’s La Madeline au Truffle as one of the priciest chocolates in the world. This decadence is made from a rare French Perigord truffle (which is worth $1,000 a pound) and a rich chocolate ganace (of heavy cream, Italian truffle oil, sugar and 71% single-bean Valrhona dark chocolate) and very fine cocoa powder.
The packaging is equally extravagant as the chocolate comes in a silver box with sugar pearls. Each Knipschildt’s La Madeline au Truffle is made to order and has a shelf life of 7 days.
4. To’Ak Chocolates ($260)
Luxury is often equated with exclusivity. Exclusivity and the finest ingredients is why a 1.5 ounce bar of To’Ak Chocolate is considered to be the world’s most expensive pure chocolate bar. 574—this is the number of To’Ak bars produced in 2014. It is a small number for chocolate, mind you.
To’Ak is an 81-percent dark chocolate (ordinary chocolate contains just 5%) that is Fair-Trade and USDA organic. The name comes from the To’Ak cacao bean, which is found in the center of the chocolate. The beans are rare because the 1,000-acre forest where the beans come from is the only survivor of a 1916 “Witch’s Broom” disease.
Presentation and novelty is anything but your usual with To’Ak chocolate as it comes in a wooden gift box that has an Arriba Appelation map and wooden tongs (used to eat the chocolate bar).
3. DeLafée of Switzerland’s Gold Chocolate Box ($331.50)
The DeLafée Gold Chocalate box is part of the company’s line of edible gold creations. The set is a silk-draped wood box that contains 8 Swiss chocolates hand-decorated with 24 karat edible gold and an antique cold collectible (from the Swiss central bank from the years 1910 to 1920 valued at $133).
2. Golden Speckled Egg ($11,107)
In 2012, William Curley was awarded the Guinness World Records for his masterpiece—the Golden Speckled Egg—the World’s Most Expensive Chocolate Egg (non-jewelled).
The egg was about 3×2 feet tall and weighed 50 kilograms. It was made with Amedei chocolate, edible gold leaf, 12 smaller couture chocolate eggs, 20 mini chocolate bars, and 5 white flowers. The outside looks delicious enough but the inside is equally luxurious with chocolates of different flavors (like muscovado carame, juniper berry and rosemary).
The record-setting chocolate creation took 3 days to make and was sold at the Royal Courts of Justice, London, UK, on March 20, 2012.
1. Frrrozen Haute Chocolate ($25,000)
Serendipity 3 is known for delicious desserts and comfort food. But perhaps with a price tag of $25,000, this hot chocolate would be the most comforting of all. This combination of haute couture and chocolate is made from 27 cocoas from different locations around the globe, Le Madeline au Truffle shavings, and 5 grams of 23 carat gold to name a few.
The Frrrozen Haute Chocolate is served in a goblet lined with edible 18 carat gold crown and diamonds, and it comes with a golden spoon too.
These chocolates sure delight the senses, don’t they? But if you like luxury you can enjoy without the massive cost (and cost of travel too), why not try something from Dello Mano? We’ve got truffles, cakes, luxury brownies and so much more.
Only hours to go and its Easter! What are your plans? You must have several things on your to-do list already. Easter is a great time to be with our family and friends, bond with our kids, eat chocolates without guilt, give out presents, share laughter, and enjoy other people’s company. Whether you are thinking of going out for a weekend holiday trip, or you simply plan of staying at home with your loved ones, you can make your Easter 2015 the most memorable one.
Easter Sunday is one of the holidays we look forward to each year. Beautiful and brightly coloured eggs, egg hunts, and of course, giving out Easter chocolates, are all integral to this special occasion.
Looking for Easter gift and treat ideas? Whether you are decorating eggs with a paint or two, making a chocolate gift basket or some handmade cookies, Easter is a time for squeezing your creative juices and coming up with that beautiful, vibrant and really fun treat to give to your kids, friends and family.
The four-day Easter weekend is a great opportunity for everyone to unwind, take a break, and enjoy a range of fun activities and cultural events with their loved ones.
Hope everyone had a great Easter break. Indulge in some chocolate over the Easter holiday?
Just in case, here are 3 great reasons to support your decision to indulge in all that beautiful chocolate.:)
1. Research and studies have shown that chocolate can help lower the risk of heart disease. In a recent report, it was stated that participants who regularly eat chocolate have about a 37% lower chance of heart disease as opposed to those who do not eat it. According to the study both milk and dark chocolates when consumed in a reasonable amount on a regular basis help lower the risks of heart disease and stroke.
2. Premium dark chocolate is a great source of antioxidants which are said to help reduce wrinkles and ageing. In addition, they help boost blood circulation which is influential in enhancing skin tone and texture.
3. According to a Swiss study, eating chocolate helps improve moods. These studies have shown that high quality chocolate contains certain unique natural substances which elevate the mood and reduce stress levels.
Of course everything in moderation as there always seems to be a report about something to do with chocolate. The above is merely a suggestion for the positives of eating chocolate.
Hope though you did manage to relax and enjoy some wonderful chocolate over Easter – any favourites?
We set out on a Dello Mano quest to explore great pastry in Paris and wow did we find it at Pierre Herme. For the brownie obsessed like us, there were no brownies as we know them (I say this with tongue in cheek) however, the amazing choice of pastry and chocolate was more than a little distraction.
Herme has stores in France, Japan and England. Known for executing some of the most divine desserts and chocolate treats, he is perhaps best known for his macaroons, often said to be at the foremost of their kind in the world. After our visit to this pastry and chocolate store, we’d have to say the macroons are incredible!
Pierre Herme is no stranger to baking and chocolate making as he’s the fourth generation of a premier Alsatian bakery tradition. He began his training at 14 with Gaston Lenotre. To this day, Herme avers that his 11 years with Lenotre were his greatest from a learning and inspiration perspective. He followed this experience with another 11 years at Faulchon where he built his chocolate expertise. In 1997 he was part of the expansion of Laduree across France. He started his first boutique, Pierre Herme Paris, in Tokyo. By 2002 he opened his Paris store and ever since has strengthened his presence in Japan, France and London.
Herme offers a range of innovative Macroon flavours. The white truffle hazelnut macaroons are said to be fantastic. On the day we visited we selected the Herme signature macaroon of olive oil and vanilla – amazing crispy outer texture, delicious creamy centre and surprisingly a very distinct yet subtle olive oil flavour. Really unique!
We’re not sure if he offers a chocolate brownie macaroon ( 🙂 ) however saw and tasted many fruity varieties. As well as macroons we tried several amazing pastries and cakes.
Herme could easily be considered a couture pastry maker, producing 2 stellar collections a year and so often each one even more creative than the one preceding it. Each collection has a theme and a focus- just like the fashion runway. Vogue dubbed Herme the Picasso of Pastry.
We devoured the chocolate tart below – simply delicious! Absent of any in store dining and in a wonderful show of community, the lovely assistant at Herme told us of a cafe around the corner where if we were to buy a coffee we could enjoy our pastry while sitting down. We did indeed do that – the coffee price added to the overall cost however it was a food and chocolate experience to remember. Interested Parisians starred as the Dello Mano family slowly peeled open the litte white boxes and admired the beautiful chocolate treats.
A list of Herme stores is provided on the website – http://www.pierreherme.com. We visited in the 6th Arr of Paris however there is also a store in the 15th. A memorable chocolate and pastry moment!
I get a little annoyed when food terms are used loosely, particularly if that food is one that requires time, craftsmanship and skill. Today in our endeavours to eat all things chocolate, we were out at a cafe and ordered a chocolate souffle. After a rather prolonged wait we were eventually served not a chocolate souffle but rather a chocolate pudding! A chocolate pudding that was cold in the centre.
Now as many of you know a souffle requires at the very least some time and effort. According to Wikipedia
“A soufflé (French: [su.fle]) is a light baked cake made with egg yolks and beaten egg whites combined with various other ingredients and served as a savoury main dish or sweetened as a dessert. The word soufflé is the past participle of the French verb souffler which means “to blow up” or more loosely “puff up”—an apt description of what happens to this combination of custard and egg whites.
Every soufflé is made from two basic components:
- a French crème pâtissière base/flavoured cream sauce or purée
- egg whites beaten to a soft peak meringue
The base provides the flavour and the whites provide the “lift”. Foods commonly used for the base in a soufflé include jam, fruits, berries, chocolate, banana and lemon (the last three are used for desserts, often with a good deal of sugar).
When it comes out of the oven, a soufflé should be puffed up and fluffy, and will generally fall after 5 or 10 minutes (as risen dough does).” reference Wikipedia
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia
Now as I think back today about our chocolate experience, I wondered whether the spelling of Souffle was different on the menu? Does that matter ? The fact was that we thought we would get a chocolate souffle and instead we got a chocolate pudding which had been prepared without any attempted aeration.
I’ve felt similar rage to the use of terms like sour dough bread which is so often incrorectly used. It seems to me that we will loose the greatness of many of these dishes unless we stop using names for items that are in fact frauds.
What do you think? Had any experiences of great food names being passed off for something else? Love to hear from you. In the mean time I am going to enjoy a brownie!