Hi! My name is Stephanie Zonis, and welcome to the March, 2003 edition
of "For Chocolate Lovers Only". Every month, you'll find recipes,
tips, and recommendations on great chocolate specialties. Let's
get into the kitchen!
Chocolate Recommendation of the Month: It's
March, and spring is here once more. We all rejoice…but with spring
comes warmer weather, and the shipping of chocolate becomes much
more challenging. Time to stock up on baking chocolate for the summer
months, and what better way to do so than by finding your baking
chocolate at a good price? Enter ChocolateSource.com, a veritable
smorgasbord of chocolates and chocolate products. Organic unsweetened
cocoa powder from Green & Black? Of course they have it! Valrhona
chocolate pellets? Absolutely! Bars of Callebaut? No problem! There
really is an amazing variety in the "Baking" section, and I have
noticed that some of the large bars, at least, are very inexpensive
compared to other sources I've seen.
But ChocolateSource.com is not merely a chocolate
baking supply company. Click on "Bars" to see selections for nibbling
or gifts, in flavors ranging from white coconut to dark chocolate
with fresh mint leaves to milk chocolate with hot masala. Speaking
of gifts, remember that Easter is coming up next month, and whether
your fancy turns toward chocolate bunnies or chocolate truffles,
you're covered here. Sugar free chocolates, wedding and favor pieces,
and business gifts, too. This is a sister-site for Nirvana Chocolates,
previously written up in this column. ChocolateSource.com
can make any chocolate lover's life a little sweeter. Look 'em up
online at www.ChocolateSource.com, call (800) 214-4926, or e-mail
email@example.com. And here's a little something extra
for you: through May 31 of this year, spend $65.00 or more with
ChocolateSource.com and receive 10% off your order. Just
use coupon code 515 at checkout.
Chocolate Detour of the Month: Undoubtedly, gentle reader, you
are aware of the saying that one can never be too rich or too thin.
By way of proof, I submit to you Chocolate Garden in SoHo
in New York City (not to be confused with the businesses of very
similar names in Michigan or California). Kee Ling Tong, the proprietor
of this enterprise still in its infancy, offers truffles in many
varieties-truffles with chocolate shells of a delicacy and thinness
I have rarely encountered anywhere. If you favor chocolate combinations
on the cutting edge, try her sesame or green tea truffles. If such
flavor blends cause you to hesitate, rest assured that there are
many more traditional taste mixtures in other offerings to be found
here. You might enjoy her cappuccino truffles, or perhaps the pistachio
(a favorite of mine). She even makes crème brulee truffles, which
have real crème brulee piped into them! Everything I have tried
has been of a most satisfying richness, but how on earth does Ms.
Tong keep the shells of her truffles so very thin? I don't have
an answer to that, but I do know that the chocolate used here is
of excellent quality, and the truffles taste fresh. If you want
truffles of a particular variety, it's best to call ahead. Otherwise,
I'd suggest an excursion to 80 Thompson Street (between Spring and
Broome), where, under a green awning, you'll find Chocolate Garden.
Step inside and inhale deeply. Before you can say, "Oh, I really
shouldn't!", you'll have purchased some of these truffles, but your
tastebuds will thank you for doing so. You can call Chocolate
Garden at (212) 334-3284 or fax them at (212) 334-3096. Note
that there is no website, and this company does not ship or deliver
The Great Cocoa Powder Debate! To Dutch or
not to Dutch, that is the question. As a kid growing up in this
country, my family used regular old unsweetened cocoa powder for
cooking and baking. There was only one kind unless you wanted to
pay far more for the imported stuff…and we weren't sure exactly
what "Dutch processed cocoa powder" was anyway. It turns out that
Dutch processed cocoa powder has been treated with an alkali; it
generally has a darker color, stronger chocolate aroma, and, I think,
deeper chocolate flavor; it also dissolves more readily in batters
and liquids. Naturally, I was thrilled when the price of this type
of cocoa dropped and it became far more available here. But, like
just about everything else you can name, the tide is beginning to
turn once again in the US, and increasingly, Dutch process cocoa
powder is being frowned upon; "natural", nonalkalized cocoa powder
is becoming the darling of food writers and pastry chefs. I have
even seen pieces claiming that Dutch processing is merely a way
to disguise poor-quality cocoa beans. Which should you use, alkalized
or nonalkalized? As usual, I think it depends on what you like.
I happen to like Dutch process cocoa powder, so I'll continue to
use it for most of my recipes (occasionally, there are recipes in
which nonalkalized cocoa powder is just a better choice). Why not
try a simple test for yourself? Make two cups of hot cocoa from
the same recipe-just use nonalkalized cocoa powder in one and Dutch
process cocoa powder in the other. See which you prefer. This test
can also be performed with brownie recipes-if the brownies don't
contain any leavening (nonalkalized and Dutch process cocoa powders
have different acidity levels and may react differently in leavened
recipes). As in all matters food-related, I ask only that you make
up your own mind here.
Do you have a comment, question, or suggestion?
You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please specify in the subject line of your e-mail that you're writing
about chocolate. Thank you!