Monday, November 24, 2008

New - Coco-luxe Holiday Confections

The original Coco-luxe confections that we brought in were such a hit that we are now showcasing their holiday line in our confections case. Popular flavors include peppermint, gingerbread, and a holiday cake truffle that we can guarantee is better than that old fruitcake you still have tucked away in your pantry. Bring a box and you'll be the most popular person at your holiday party.

Available individually or in an assorted box of nine.

Bar of the Week: Amano Madagascar

Region: Madagascar
Cocoa Content: 70%

The Amano Madagascar bar has been with us since the day we opened. In celebration of some new additions to their line of bars, the Cuyagua using beans from Venezuela and the Indonesian Jembrana, we've decided to spotlight these bean to bar chocolates that are made in America. The guys behind Amano, Art Pollard and Clark Goble, stopped by during our grand opening week in July and held a tasting with their Madagascar bar and the Venezuelan Ocumare. While both were well received, the Madagascar was by far the more popular choice. Creating this bar was not easy though, and it took Art almost 10 years and a little persisting from his business partner to share his chocolate with the world. It's a good thing he did because the company is growing daily while still staying true to its name, which in Italian means "by hand" and "they love". Quality over quantity is always the best recipe for chocolate making success.

Fun Fact: The new Amano packaging features artwork commissioned by various artists. The picture on the new Madagascar bar was done by Bavarian-born artist Wulf Barsch, and the original painting hangs in Amano's Utah-based factory.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Bar of the Week: Bonnat Trinite

Region: Caribbean
Bean Type: Trinitario
Cocoa Content: 75%

Before Valrhona, Michel Cluizel, and Pralus there was Bonnat. Started in 1884 by Felix Bonnat, the company's chocolate-making traditions have been passed down through the family and is now headed by fourth generation chocolate makers, Cecile and Stephane Bonnat. In 1984 they introduced their single origin line, and this week's selection is a good example of their dark roasting style (great for the espresso crowd). Another signature of Bonnat's bars is minimal ingredients - check out the list on the back of a bar and you'll see that it lacks the addition of soy lecithin and/or vanilla.

We'll have samples out in the store this Saturday of the Bonnat Trinite bar, and for the milk chocolate lovers out there ask us about Bonnat's Dark Milk line.

Fun Fact: Bonnat bars are certified kosher by Beth Din of the Federation of Synagogues London.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

New: Patric Chocolate and Rogue Chocolatier

We've scoured the U.S. for artisan bean to bar chocolate makers that you won't find anywhere else in Seattle. First up is Patric Chocolate, which hails from the state that is becoming quite popular for fine chocolates, Missouri. Home of both the Christopher Elbow collection and the Askinosie bars, Patric Chocolate entered the chocolate scene in January of 2007 and is quickly becoming a popular seller at Chocolopolis. Alan McClure is the founder and passionate chocolate-maker behind the two Patric products that we carry - 67% and 70% dark chocolate bars from the Sambirano Valley of Madagascar. At first glance the two bars appear identical, but look closely and you'll notice the subtle difference in the ingredient list of the bars. The 70% is purely cocoa beans and cane sugar, while the 67% has added cocoa butter which has been pressed from the same origin of bean so as not to muddle the flavor. All of his chocolate is produced in small 50-60 lb. batches to ensure that the quality and flavor of each bar remains consistent throughout the entire chocolate making process (compare that with the reported 1,000,000 lbs of chocolate Hershey's produces in a day).

Next up is Rogue Chocolatier which takes first place in two categories: smallest chocolate factory and youngest chocolate maker. At the age of 23, Colin Gasko is producing bars of exceptional quality out of his bedroom-sized warehouse in Minneapolis, MN. We've brought in two of his bars, the Sambirano from Madagascar and the Hispaniola from the Dominican Reopublic, and while both bars are 70% dark chocolate there is an incredible difference in everything from the color of the chocolate to the flavor profiles found in each.

We are very excited to have the opportunity to highlight artisan chocolate companies that are just starting out, and as previously mentioned you won't find these bars in any other stores in the city. We also have leads on a few other U.S.-based bean to bar makers that we are interested in bringing in so check back for updates on new products and store events.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Bar of the Week: Amedei Toscano Black 66%

Region: Blend
Cocoa Content: 66%

We get a lot of requests in our store from people wanting a good bar of dark chocolate without the associated bitterness. One option is anything from Amedei's Toscano Black line, and that may be why we've been featuring a lot from them lately. Their 66% is technically a dark chocolate but tastes like a milk, and its persistant flavor ensures that it will last longer than that leftover Snickers bar from Halloween. Stop by this Saturday and taste how good dark chocolate can be.