Sunday, November 8, 2009

Chocolate World on Fire

Working late at the shop tonight and a friend of mine brought by a new single origin chocolate from Amano made with Dominican Republic beans (see why it pays to work late if you happen to own a chocolate shop). I'm not sure I'm at liberty to say anything about it since it's not on the market'll have to check back once I get permission to reveal the Level 5 secret. Of course, you could just visit Amano's website and beg for info--most likely they'll comply and then you'd have it. Think Grand Mariner meets Tawny Port nested deep in the throws of a dark chocolate bar...but no infusions...just pure chocolate. Apparently there is, in fact, a heaven on earth and Amano has discovered it. Fortunately we can all go there once this bar is out.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Chocolate is Gluten Free!

My son Blake had to quit eating gluten for health reasons and I decided to jump in with the project just to see what would happen. That was almost 2 years ago. After close evaluation, I'm never going back to wheat. My focus is better, the excess pudge melted away and I can eat chocolate every day without gaining weight. That's all well and good for me, but Blake went from a ADHD-type with C's & D's to a straight-A kid in the same 2-year time span. Every now and then he breaks down (as one could expect--he's only 12), and when he eats gluten, he can barely carry a sentence from start to finish. Fortunately this has come to his attention as well as mine, which makes choosing Mexican (corn-based) over Italian (wheat-based) so much easier!

I cried almost every parent/teacher conference from 1st-5th grade because my kid was the 6th grade I cried because the teachers said he was so good. Any parent who has dreaded the parent/teacher conference can relate. If this is your kids, give gluten-free a try. It's not hard once you get going and good news--chocolate is gluten-free!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Cruising for Chocolate

Duty calls...I'm off to cruise Europe in search of the quintessential chocolate shop to replicate back here in the states. It all starts in Southampton, England. From there, trudging on to Italy, France, Spain and Portugal. I'm looking for quaint, off-the-beaten path chocolate, all in the name of research, of course. So if anyone cares to share a secret, do it quick before I get there ( It's not quite all fun and games--I do have to give 5 presentations about chocolate while cruising. It seems easy enough but months of prep have gone in to the planning to bring enough schwag for 5 classes of chocolate lovers in a suitcase that weighs less than 50 lbs....really, it's a challenge! Thanks mom and dad for babysitting the house, and teen sitting the kids. It's all good.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Must We Eat Chocolate?

I spent 1 1/2 hours between the stairmaster and the treadmill editing the new book today. Perhaps I should rewrite it every year just to lose the weight I've gained since purchasing the shop. It's just a couple pounds, but they say that's how it starts--a pound here, a pound there. It was one thing to have a 100 lbs of chocolate lying around the house out of site, but working at the shop all day with chocolate blaring in my face has added an entire new level to the term "self-discipline." I haven't quite mastered my own 1 oz/day rule in the shop yet, but I'm on the edge of success. In the long haul this just seems like additional a person actually capable of working around chocolate all day without trippling in size? Who better than me to put this study into motion? My hypothesis is: yes, it's possible, but only after getting used to it. I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

What's in a Saturday?

I got up early to continue on the perpetual edit of the new update of the new version of The Chocolate Therapist. In addition to all the research updates, this version has two completely newsections--how to pair chocolate & wine (w/over 42 wines w/3 chocolate pairings each) and a hilarious section called "Where Do You Hide Your Chocolate." I figured out how to read while walking on the treadmill, which serves two purposes--keeps me awake at 5:30 am while reading and keeps the pounds off as well. I used to run and read back when I had under-40 eyesight, but those days are long since gone and I like walking better anyway, so perhaps it's a win/win.

Even after reading the chocolate-hiding chapter a dozen or more times I still laugh all the way through it. I'm amazed at what extent people go to hide their chocolate.

Made gluten-free chocolate chip oatmeal cookies w/Britt after she finally woke up. I guess teenagers make up for a week of lost sleep on weekends...still love her though, especially since she helps me research chocolate. Really, someone has to do it. After cookies, went to World Market to get the last of the chocolate for the upcoming cruise. I wanted something from Ecuador for the International Pairing class, but World Market is focusing in on their own brand now and have discontinued most of their cool international brands. Ended up w/Chuao from Venezuala....the only single origin in the store. In the name of research, I also purchased a Caffarel milk bar (from Italy). Heavy on the cocoa butter, light on sugar, totally smooth...definitely try it before the last of the bars are sold out (50% off since they're being discontinued).

Called the shop...we're out of milk chocolate so we can't enrobe the toffee. Disaster averted though because there's about 722 other things that can be made with dark chocolate. I spent most of my waking hours there this week, so enjoying a little behind-the-computer time today (Saturday). to write.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Starting Point

I set up this blog a couple of years ago and never actually did anything with it because I didn't have time. It's not like there's any more time now than there was then, which leads me to believe that I should just do it and quit waiting for time. Apparently if you don't have any now, you're not going to have any in the future either. On to blogging.

The Chocolate Therapist chocolate shop is a reality show waiting to happen. Every day is unexpected, whether it's the people who come in to the shop, the media, the drain clogging up or a chocolate-maker-gone-wild. (It happens...too much chocolate in a day can push a person to the edge of reason.) Fortunately the clothes generally stay on the laughs are plenty. It's a bit like "I Love Lucy" in the chocoalte shop scenes, although I know once I arrive the tension levels increase because the staff calls me "chaos." I don't mind though though because I don't believe in chaos--only disguised order appearing chaotic. My life is a prime example of the Fibonacci Spiral....just keeps looping back, each time a shade different, as if to give me a chance to fix what I missed the first loop through.

You know how it is? When you want to give up and you cry yourself to sleep at night, the next day you wake up and something so amazing happens that you decide you can go on for at least another week or two. A few years ago when I was just starting this leap-of-faith I decided that crying actually created action from the universal source, so I started using it as a bargaining tool. Once things were headed in the right direction, I decided not to use that tack any more. However, I'm going to recommend it for anyone who feels like crying because life is hard--just do it! If nothing else, the self-pity will escape and you'll wake up feeling refreshed. Use Preparation H on your eyes to get rid of puffiness--I actually saw that in the National Enquirer, so it must work because everything in there is true:).

Ciao chocolate lovers....until tomorrow or next year.