“Flowers are the sweetest things God ever made, and forgot to put a soul into.” ~Henry Beecher

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Chocolate Bliss - Part 1

Less than one month ago I posted a blog about a visit to the Chocolate Springs Café in Lenox, MA where I interviewed the owner, Joshua Needleman. It’s a place you absolutely want to experience if you’re ever in the Berkshires.

Little did I know that I would soon be writing about chocolate again. Twist my arm! But seriously, when I discovered that the Chocolate Show was being held in New York City last week, I jumped at the opportunity to attend. This was the show’s 13th year and the first time for me.

So after my early morning Bikram yoga class, I boarded a train for NYC then sprinted down to W 18th Street to the Metropolitan Pavilion. My chocolate nirvana began before I even walked in the door with a sample of Callebaut callets that were a mixture of white and dark chocolate. From there, it just got better.

Just inside, we were greeted by some chocolate goddesses–mannequins dressed in the chocolate line from the fashion show on opening night. The beauty of chocolate is that whatever you can dream, you can do it with chocolate! This was evident by the stylish, elegant, and sometimes outrageous creations that were modeled here.

On to the tasting! There were over 60 chocolatiers that showcased their products and I tasted a wide array of treats including dark chocolate bonbons from Jacques Torres Chocolates, dark chocolate covered orange peel from Valrhona’s (a favorite chocolate of mine for baking), and Guido Gobino’s Crema Spalmabile Cacao, a rich, spreadable blend of chocolate and hazelnuts from the Piedmont region of Italy. Heaven on a spoon!

Then there were the Belgian toffees and dark or milk chocolates paired with nuts or filled with fruit or caramel crèmes. Once more, the dark chocolate and hazelnuts from Galler caught my eye and tastebuds. Toffee Taboo from Sendall Chocolates was a crunchy layering of toffee-coated almonds and cashews on Callebaut chocolate with white chocolate drizzled on top. Every bite was worth the indulgence!

If you love peanut butter, then you would have loved Jer’s Peanut Butter Bars and their pretty confections. Jer himself told me the story of how his company came to be. He left his corporate job to follow his bliss and has become a huge success! You can hear Jer describe his journey in the video above. It’s inspiring stories like these that continually remind me that we should all have the courage to chase our dreams! How can we possibly be anything but successful when we’re doing what we love??

Please stay tuned for Chocolate Bliss – Part 2, which is devoted to raw chocolate. You’ll meet three chocolatiers who use either 100% raw chocolate or a blend of raw and roasted cacao beans, together with spices, herbs, and superfoods. These products are right up there with broccoli and kale!

If you’re crafty and love Christmas, you’ll love Chocolate Bliss – Part 3, which features Jacques Torres and his team demonstrating how to make a Christmas tree and gifts (complete with pretty chocolate ribbon!) out of chocolate! He’s funny and entertaining.

Have you had enough chocolate yet? Of course not!! : ) xo Peace

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