• Bite the ears off… Right?

    Bite the ears off… Right?, when faced with a chocolate bunny, after admiring its sheen and calculating that enough people have seen it and it is likely to not look so great or taste so great a week from now, ya bite the ears off.  We are making chocolate bunnies in the factory today just for fun and for employees.  I had to taste, as is my main job; the keeper of the taste.  I must admit to a certain child-like demeanor that overcomes me; a giggly-like feeling as I approach the bunny.  And when those ears snap and that chocolate is in my mouth I am taken back to my childhood.

    When I was boy, we celebrated Easter and everyone had a basket filled with various candies and of course the piece de resistance was the large chocolate bunny.  Picture the seven Easter baskets on the dining room table Easter morning; they were not there the night before so it was quite a sight.  Of course we kids were up at the crack of dawn, but could only eat a couple jelly beans before church and the bunny had to wait.

    One year my older brother, who would often get started first, commented that his bunny tasted bitter.  And like some extended version of the Life cereal “Mikey likes it” meets The 3 Bears, we 5 kids circled the table and variously tasted our bunnies and watched each other as we did and yes, they were all bitter, not the usual milk chocolate.

    We convened and discussed the pros and cons of asking my mom about this. My mom informed us that it was not bad chocolate; it was in fact dark chocolate and commented with a slight resignation (coming from having bought the bunnies and stayed up late to create such a wonderful Easter display) that she liked dark chocolate and if we ate it we would acquire a taste for it.  Hmm I thought to myself, I guess I could eat it, I would like to have acquired taste, sounded like a good thing to have.

    My brothers and sisters were locked in solidarity and disdain for the dark and so one by one I traded away my marshmallow bunnies, my jelly beans and my small chocolates to amass a basket full of dark chocolate bunnies, albeit with some bite marks. My mother did not see the trading floor but had some comment on all the bunnies in my basket at the end of the trading day.  I recall thinking that if I ate enough I would like it quicker and I ate so much chocolate that I experienced a mild euphoria and a sense of well being.  Later on when I started Chocolove, I reflected on the formative moments in my life and eating an entire dark chocolate bunny and feeling good was certainly one.

    Easter is Sunday March 31st this year.  Chocolove does not sell chocolate bunnies but we make a large assortment of chocolate bars in a variety of Easter-like colors. I think an assortment of Chocolove mini bars make a great addition to an Easter basket.

  • Valentine’s Day – Poems

    A poem inside, really?  Yes it is true, there is a poem inside every Chocolove bar.  It is printed on the inside of the outer paper wrapper.  We print a different poem on each flavor.  We go to press about 12 times a year and have about 32 unique wrappers, so yep that’s a lot of poems.  I estimate we have found and reprinted about 500 different poems and poem parts over the years.  The task of finding unique love poems and not using them again too soon is enough extra work that we do not make available any list of poems and pull dates.

    If you really want to know what poem is on which flavor before your loved one reads it, consider the fun of buying 2 bars of several flavors and opening them to find the poem inside that is just right for your loved one; you can then taste all the flavors you opened and enjoy the notion that you invested some extra energy in your gift.

    I have heard from a number of Chocolovers about their favorite poem and where they tape it or tack it to read it again to brighten their days.

    By the way, Valentine’s Day is February 14th, this year on Thursday.  My wife was nice enough to remind me a couple weeks in advance.

  • Chocolate Chips to Hot Chocolate to Chocolate Pudding

    This morning I found chocolate pudding in a pan on the stove.  We have a small kitchen and we are big cooks so it is not uncommon to have many pans on the stove and some stacked atop another to free up a burner.

    The chocolate pudding was in fact Chocolove hot chocolate last night that had cooled into pudding overnight on the stove. (Our stove vent does not seal completely and it was 10 degrees F outside last night.)

    Chocolove introduced chocolate chips in 2012 in a 5.5 pound bag.  Before you gush and then say I don’t know how I would use 5.5 pounds of chips… well, ok gush.  In our household we tend to make a lot of hot chocolate with the chips.  The bag has a recipe for hot chocolate on it.  Here is the recipe we use at home.  To be honest we are not so precise but it often turns out just right.

    2 parts whole milk

    1 part water

    1 part chocolate chips

    For you coffee aficionados the recipe uses a Turkish coffee technique. The pan needs to be relatively small with enough depth for 3 times the height of the liquid. So if you were using a quart sauce pan, then 2/3 cup would be a good measure for “part”. The boiling up of the mix is essential in getting a rich thick hot chocolate.

    Put all ingredients in the pan, warm and stir till the chocolate is melted. Then turn up the fire and stir occasionally until simmering then stop stirring; watch it carefully when small bubbles form on the edge of the pan.

    When the mix boils up the edge of the pan, pull it off heat right before it gets to the top.

    Set the pan aside (off heat) till it settles; about 30 seconds.

    Set again on the burner and let it boil all the way up and pull off.

    Let it set off heat a minute or two and then serve in demitasse cups.

    This is not the hot chocolate of your youth, unless you grew up in Spain.  This is a thick hearty hot chocolate just right for a cold snowy winter day. And if you make too much, pour it in ramekins or little cups and set in the fridge and if everything went right the next day you will have chocolate pudding.

  • Holidays are here

    Wow, the holidays are here. It is a surprise to me how fast they are upon us.  To get from wow (in an amazed sort of tone) to yeah!, I made a list and have been checking it more than twice; mail Christmas cards, send out Christmas party invitations, shopping list for gift baskets and so on.

    Almost too obvious, I always give Chocolove away at this time of year. Chocolove bars make a great gift for co-workers. They are also cherished by letter carriers.  Bring some to the holiday parties you are invited to.  Add one to stockings. I find it hard to remember all the giving I need to do so to have a stack of bars ready to give when a neighbor sends over a plate of cookies.  I get to feel the joy of giving.   An annual tradition for me is to load up the company truck with several cases of 144 bars and deliver to local fire houses in the area.

    Chocolove makes dozens of bars; a few seem to shine this time of year.  Favorites for crisp days and cold nights are Ginger, Peppermint and Holiday BarHoliday Bar is a seasonal item.  It is a 55% dark chocolate packed with walnuts, pecans, almonds, hazelnuts, preserved orange, preserved ginger and infused cherry.  I also save a few for myself for energy bars when skiing or hiking throughout the new year.

    I think you will find some great deals on Chocolove in your local stores.   If you can’t find what you want or want us to do the shipping, we ship by Fedex as a rule.  If we have your order by the 18th, it will ship the 19th and should be at its destination by the 21st.

    Happy holidays from all of us at Chocolove.

  • Chocolate season is upon us

    People ask me if the chocolate business is seasonal and I say yes, and they ask what is the season.  For me the chocolate season starts when there is frost on the pumpkin in the morning.  Another chocolate season indicator is when you wake up and say, gosh it’s still dark or are not yet to the dinner table in the evening and you remark, hmm it is dark already.  Fall equinox and daylight savings time also mark the chocolate season more precisely.

    When it is chocolate season chocolate tastes better.  Something in our body chemistry says eat chocolate.  Perhaps cocoa beans store up some essence of the sun and when we are missing some sunlight and daylight we crave chocolate.  Perhaps the roasted aromas are comforting reminding us of a warm fire in the fireplace.  Perhaps it is that we can carry chocolate in our coat pocket or purse without it melting.  Perhaps the chocolate warms our heart and increases our circulation. Whatever the reason we eat more chocolate when it is cooler and the daylight is shorter.

    So stock up and enjoy.

  • Happy Halloween

    Trick or treat.  I am hoping you stock up on Chocolove mini-bars and provide treats so you don’t get tricked.  Chocolove mini bars come in 6 fun flavors and make colorful Halloween treats for kids of all ages.  And we all know part of the joy of buying Halloween treats is to get the kind we like and get a little extra in case the weather is good and lots of people show up to trick or treat.  Of course buying some good chocolate is smart because you want your kids, friends and neighbors to have the best and you never know how much you will have left over; you want the left-over chocolate to be something you will enjoy for weeks after.

    Halloween is an old custom derived from All Hallows Eve, and was later renamed All Saints Day by some. The historical origin is that it is a celebration of the one day when spirits return to visit the living for one evening. Trick-or-treating resembles the late medieval practice of souling, when poor folk would go door to door on Hallowmas (1 November), receiving food in return for prayers for the dead on All Souls' Day (2 November). It originated in Ireland and Britain.  In Scotland and Ireland, guising – children disguised in costume going from door to door for food or coins  – is a traditional Halloween custom as early as the 1800s.

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