chocolate education

My Chocolate Fountain Adventure

My son graduated from college a couple weeks ago. Earlier, during the party planning stage, he informed me that he’s not really into cake for dessert (what!?). Sweets, he said, are more my style.

So, when it came to figuring out what to serve, I was looking for easy, delicious, fun, and well, not the typical decorated sheet cake.

While different ideas kept floating around the edges of my thoughts (but not really impressing me), my mom suggested a chocolate fountain. Hmm. That had appeal. What could be easier than self-service dessert? And what could be more fun and delicious than a cascading wall of chocolate with endless dipping treats?

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Why Is Chocolate Harmful To Dogs?

Many pet owners do not know that chocolate is not good for their pets, especially when consumed in large quantities. A small piece of chocolate can cause problems for your pet. A large piece of chocolate can be quite severe.

The truth is that chocolate is poisonous to pets. So, why is chocolate a favorite snack for humans, but poisonous for dogs?

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Trader Joe’s Chocolate Passport – Venezuela 70%

Chocolate of the week: Venezuela

Venezuela sits along the northern coast of South America. Colombia borders on the west, Guyana on the east, Brazil on the south. The islands of Trinidad and Tobago are off the northeast border.

Like many cacao growing countries, Venezuela has regional climates that produce cacao of different flavor profiles.

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Trader Joe’s Chocolate Passport – Peru 60%

Chocolate of the week: Peru

Peru is situated in western South America, bordered by Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, and the Pacific Ocean.

Cacao is grown in many regions throughout the country. (As an interesting aside, in 2007, a rare variety of cacao called Pure Nacional was rediscovered in Peru. Decades earlier, disease had destroyed 100% of these trees, or so it was thought. Pure Nacional was put on the extinct species list. Pure Nacional is a white cocoa bean, not the common purple color.)

Peru’s diverse microclimates provide unique growing conditions for cacao - different varieties of cacao growing at different altitudes.

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Trader Joe’s Chocolate Passport

This blog post marks the beginning of my series on single-origin chocolates from Trader Joe’s Chocolate Passport variety pack.

Each week I will review one of these country of origin chocolates: Peru 60%, Ecuador 66%, Ghana 70%, Venezuela 70%, Dominican Republic 70%, Papua New Guinea 70%, Sao Tome 70%, and Tanzania 73%.

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Mary Jane’s Chocolates: Origine Bars – Saint Dominique and Mexique

Last week I wrote a review on Mary Jane's Chocolates dark chocolate coated dried cherries. While I was in the chocolate shop, a great opportunity presented itself. I found something tasty AND educational -- chocolate melting wafers based on a single-source country of origin.

This is very exciting for me!

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Divine, Cheese, and Wine!

A friend of mine, Amanda, recently moved into new a home. “I’ll bring the wine and cheese”, says my friend Kathy. “I’ll bring the chocolate”, I say, “Why don’t we pair the chocolate with the wine and see what happens?”

They agreed to the plan, but confessed to not having much experience consuming the two at the same time. However, being lovers of both chocolate and wine, they couldn’t see a downside. This would be an opportunity to eat, drink wine, and experiment – a few of our favorite activities!

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Will It Chocolate? Funny Video Friday!

Good morning, and Happy Friday from CUO!

As you know, we're all fun and games in the world of chocolate. Today, we bring you a video that has an extra dose of funny chocolate humor.

This video is a gem. It made me literally LOL!

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Chocolate Survey Chocolate University Online

The CUO Chocolate Survey – We Want To Know!

Here at CUO, we're always learning about chocolate, and all things pertaining to the rich, dark, wonderful substance.

Now, we want to learn from YOU! Read more

The Versatility of Chocolate

I’ve been eating a different chocolate each day for more than eight years. I love the unadulterated flavor notes in a well-made single origin chocolate bar. However, I’ve also come to admire the amazing versatility of cacao after blending different chocolates with fruits, nuts, spices, beverages and savory items over time.

What makes good flavor blends in food? Fresh ingredients, and a skillful mix of the five basic tastes--salty, sweet, bitter, sour, umami (meaty, savory)--are two considerations. And these do apply to chocolate as well.

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