Life by Chocolate

Chocolate, white, milk, dark, in all its forms forms life. Chocolate truffles, caramels, and other confections are at the core of enjoyment. This is life by chocolate because death by chocolate is the wrong attitude.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Chocolates: What chocolate should I use in my confections?

That's a question that I am constantly revisiting. (So, don't give up hope!) As you all know, currently I use almost exclusively Felchlin chocolate. They are top notch. But, I am always looking for something better or just something different. So, let's compare.

Peters Chocolate: They have the the best white chocolate I have ever tasted. However, Felchlin has the second best. Very good chocolate. I like their dark chocolates. They have another line Veliche, which is very nice. Plus their rep, Amy, is good at what she does. Their normal Peters gourmet chocolate is made in the US and their Veliche is made in Belgim. Oh, and did I mention that Peters invented Milk Chocolate? They have some very good milk chocolates as well. And they make great centers for cream ganaches. These centers are by far some of the best tasting though at times, especially with their wonderful white chocolate, a little hard to work with.

Felchlin: Well, what can I say. The importer, Cristina, is a great rep and their chocolates are top notch. She works for Swiss Chalet. Also the name of a good restaurant from my youth. When you find a great rep, stick with them. It makes all the difference.

Guittard: I use only the E. Guittard line and I must say, though not as good as either Felchlin or Peters, I love working with their white, milk and dark chocolates for use in cream ganache centers. It's just so easy to set them up. I think I'll continue using Guittard for truffle centers. It's also a very yummy chocolate. I don't know what happened to their rep, what was her name? Jennifer?, I forget (ooh, bad sign.;) but I've been getting my chocolate through Jerry is a great guy.

El Rey: Wow. This is a very interesting chocolate. I have not figured out what to do with it yet. I can't quite decide how to combine it with other flavors. I'm a little at a loss. I have made great hot chocolate with it and I have also make wonderful bark with it. I may just use this chocolate for bark and hot chocolate for now. There's just something about it that makes it hard to match with flavors.

OK. I've given you a brief chocolate tour of my brain. Right now, I think I'll stick mostly with Felchlin and Guittard. Soon, I'll need to expand but for now I'll stay focused. My next move will be to Peters white chocolate. It's fantastic. Then I'll probably incorporate El Rey and I may take a look at using Guittard Nocturne which is extra dark, 91%. Ouch! But very nice.

Any of these chocolates would be great to use. The first step to picking a chocolate is to match it with the other flavors in your chocolates and confections. For me, right now, Felchlin is the best match out of these four. Oh, yes, I have used Valrhona chocolate, but when I was in Vienna, I just got so used to it in hot chocolate that I can't get around that prejudice. I've also used Scharffen Berger but Hershey bought them and as we all know, what Hershey's produces isn't really chocolate anymore. So, I rarely use them anymore. Sigh. Look, if it has other oils or fats besides cocoa butter in it, it isn't chocolate.

I just don't have the time to incorporate a new chocolate right now but I will. I have a plan. I'll let you know when I execute it.

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I've changed my sig one more time to: Mark by Chocolate

And do you like the picture I used? How about that? Life by Chocolate at the Greenville Arms 1889 Inn.

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Just a quick note on caramels. I think the best way to make and cut them is to make them thin, use a 1/8 (which I like very much) or 1/4 inch form, TAP Plastics make all of my forms, but no bigger, and then use the caramel cutter to mark them 1" by 1" squares. Then dip and decorate.

I just love my Elvis caramels. That's the bacon, banana and maple hommage to Richard Leach of Park Avenue Winter (nee Cafe).

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An Interesting Article on Chocolate

I just received a nice email from Amy S.Q., who works at Travel Hacker, and has posted this great article for your enjoyment. It was written by Christina Laun.

Of course the article is NOT complete because they left out Life by Chocolate. But it is a good one to read.