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Getting Your Butt to Melt

I don’t know if some of you noticed this, but there’s been a petit void in cyberspace lately. As some of you know, Michèle of Oswego Tea has moved to London and at the same time ended her blog. The good thing is I don’t need to add that pesky backwards accent anymore now that she’s moved to England. (Although she started adding the British extra u to words like flavour…who does she think she is anyways, Madonna?)

A while back one of my readers advised if I ever got back to London, I need to go to Melt, one of the highly-regarded chocolate shops in the city. Since I didn’t know when I’d get back there, I thought I’d send Michele in to check it out.

So I started bugging Michele to get over to Melt to hopes she’d write an entry here about it. It took her a while, but she finally wrote back, saying she was really busy after her move, but realized that it was time to “…get my ass to melt!”

However in deference to folks searching the internet for photos of butt-melting (which I’m sure there are out there…) I changed her wording a bit since I didn’t want to get my potty-mouth washed out with soap, like Michele’s gonna get next time she comes back to Paris for punishment.
Which may incite more internet searches, bien sûr

While I’ve no doubt pictures her butt melting might be far more intriguing to some readers out there who came expecting something other than a visit to a chocolate shop, you’ll have to make do without. But for those of us who’ve missed Michele’s terrific blog, I finally was able to get her to do her guest post here on my site about getting her butt to Melt.
And here it is.


Getting My Ass To Melt

When a friend sends you an email asking for a favour, admit it, sometimes you worry. In the back of your mind there’s this nagging voice that says “Please don’t let it have anything to do with moving a large couch up a narrow flight of stairs..”

Luckily for me, the friend in question was David, who at the first mention of looking for a new apartment will come right out and say “Don’t ask me to help you move.” I think he waved a finger the first time he said that to me.

The favour he wanted of me?

Continue Reading Getting Your Butt to Melt…

Sugar High Friday #27: Chocolate By Brand

For your convenience, here’s links to the four posts for Sugar High Friday #27: Chocolate By Brand:

Sugar High Friday #27: Chocolate By Brand Part 1
Sugar High Friday #27: Chocolate By Brand Part 2
Sugar High Friday #27: Chocolate By Brand Part 3
Sugar High Friday #27: Chocolate By Brand Part 4
And my entry, Chocolate Idiot Cake


Chocolate Dessert Recipes, part 4

Here it is!

The final round-up for Sugar High Friday #27: Chocolate By Brand.

These are the last entries for the event and thanks to everyone for their participation.

I was overwhelmed by the number of entries (to say the least…) but was happy there was so much interest in chocolate and was amazed at all the beautiful and well-crated dessert folks are making out there. It was also a pleasure to learn about a few new chocolates and I plan to do a post in the near future to write more about them.

Due to the very high number of entries, over 100, a few photos in this post aren’t included. If you’re one of those who did send a properly-sized photo (100×100) and it’s not here, please re-send it to me and I’ll insert it. Desolé.

Thanks to Jennifer, the Domestic Goddess who came up with Sugar High Friday, the event on which these posts are based.


Starting off is a gorgeous Schokoladen-Ingwer-Tropfen mit Zimtsauce und Mango Püree, a professional-looking, teardrop-shaped river of Chocolate Ginger Tears with Cinnamon Custard and Mango-Ginger Puree which are so pretty, you’ll shed a tear too!
Brigitte used Michel Cluizel couverture from France.


Two great tastes, one great dessert!
Peanut Butter Cup and Chocolate Chip Bars from Lisa Yockelson, using Callebaut chocolate.
Samantha’s raised the bar for bar cookies with these buttery beauties.


Karen at Familystyle Food whipped out a simple and sensation Chocolate Truffle Tart. using her ’embarrassment of riches’ (check out her chocolate stash…it rivals mine!), she plucked one tablet of Nestlé Chocolatier 62% bittersweet chocolate.
And oh, how bittersweet it is…


Slipping in at the last-minute was Plum who instead of paying the $50 bribe…er…I mean late-fee, sent a photo proving she owns all three of my books. (Now that, ladies and gentlemen, is how you get my attention…or $50 works too, fyi.)
So here’s her Chocolate-Raspberry Truffles. She wanted to use a local chocolate, but ending up using Callebaut 53.8% drops.
(Plum: Are you sure they weren’t 54.6%?)

Abby at Confabulation Cooks goes all-out with Warm Chocolate Pudding using the ever-popular Lindt brand bittersweet, in her adorable new ramekins she broke out (not literally!) just for Sugar High Friday.


Another adults-only recipe, although a quick visit to Cucina Bella’s site shows a younger-sort rifling through her chocolate stash! She used Trader Joe’s bittersweet chocolate for her Adults-Only Mudslide Mousse with a mature measure of Bailey’s Irish Cream.

Does size matter?
I think you’ll have to decide that for yourself, but Brigid at One More Bite answers the question Does Brand Matter?
In her classic S’mores, she finds that good-‘ol Hershey’s hits the spot.
And not that spot…get your minds out of the gutter…


And from Trini Gourmet comes a fusion-filled recipe, Upside Down Chocolate Cake with a thin, biscuit-like crust and a cakey, creamy layer of fudge on the bottom. She broke out her Trinidadian chocolate for this special event: Blendo’s.

Continue Reading Chocolate Dessert Recipes, part 4…

Chocolate Dessert Recipes, part 3

The Round-Up Continues…

guarnaja molded.jpg

Ashley made Chocolate Truffles with Edible Gold with a basic ganache using Valrhona 70% Guanaja chocolate.


At Gastronomicon, she dipped her way to passionate delight with Passionfruit Truffles surrounded by El Rey chocolate, used for its robust flavor.


Baked Chocolate Fudge was a New Zealand treat from Arfi, who used Whittaker’s 72% dark to scratch that chocolate itch.


Over at Café Lynnylu, there’s a batch of Little Chocolate Cherry Cakes, heart-shaped, waiting for you. Using Ghiradelli 60% for these robust chocolate treats, she found these equally good for breakfast as they were for dessert!

Continue Reading Chocolate Dessert Recipes, part 3…

Chocolate Dessert Recipes, part 2

The avalanche of entries for Sugar High Friday #27: Chocolate By Brand continues.

Thanks again to all participants, and be sure to visit their sites and click on the chocolate links to learn more about the different kinds of chocolate used from around the globe. This entry takes us all over the world, from Paris, to America, through South and Central America, as well as Istanbul and Holland.


A real Dutch-treat, Ashleigh at Stiched in Holland whipped up a Dark Chocolate and Cherry Steamed Pudding, which she claimed was hard to photograph (although I’m sure it was easy to eat.) A trip to the natuurwinkel yielded a tablet of Green & Black’s organic dark chocolate, which she put to delicious use.


You’ll be gnawing at your computer screen when you see Piperata’s Cranberry and Chocolate Cookies which she baked up in her kitchen in Milan. Zani chocolate, produced-nearby, was her choice for the dark chocolate, and a bar of Lindt white chocolate was sacrificed as well for this sweet event.
(Although I wonder where the heck she got dried cranberries in Italy?)


Suzy, who claims Suzy’s Not A Homemaker, process herself wrong by whipping up a picture-perfect batch of Chocolate Hazelnut Scones. Unwrapping a bar of snow-bound chocolate bar she had from Starbucks, Suzy proves she was up to this sweet challenge.


Alanna at A Veggie Adventure who fussed & fumed about what to make, before deciding on a silky, creamy, Light ‘n Easy Chocolate Pudding she made in minutes. Alanna likes Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa Powder, because it gives chocolate desserts, like her low-fat chocolate pudding, a dark-black chocolate color.


Although she’s finds lots of chocolates to choose from in Metz, France, including Cémoi organic, Julie at Cookbook Addict chose to use Lindt 70% for her Individual Butterless Chocolate Cakes. Although it’s hard to imagine a cake in France sans beurre, she pulls it off…these chocolate cakes may look small but they’re big on addictive chocolate flavor.

Continue Reading Chocolate Dessert Recipes, part 2…

Chocolate Cake Recipe

The word ‘consulting’ always sounds like a dream job when you’re stuck working in a restaurant kitchen, slaving over a hot stove, on the line. As a consultant, it sounds like you sweep into a kitchen, where the staff welcomes you with open arm as their savior, and you magically transform the meals coming out of the kitchen into extraordinary feats of culinary magic.


In fact, it couldn’t be more different. Restaurants call in consultants when they’ve exhausted all other possibilities, and the kitchen is in such dire trouble that they need to get some poor sucker from the outside to come in a try to fix what they’ve screwed up. The pay seems great, until you walk in the kitchen and realize no one wants to talk to you, no one wants you there, and worse, no one wants to change anything, since it means more work for them (and if they really cared about their work, they wouldn’t have had to call in someone from the outside in the first place.)

I was once a consultant for a corporation that owned several prominent restaurants. It took me about 5 minutes to figure out that one of their major problems was that there were a lot of high-paid executives sitting in meetings upstairs, while there were a lot of low-paid people downstairs, in the kitchen, putting the food on the plate. And let’s face it: Customers don’t care about executive meetings, they care about the food.
And that’s basically it.

When I mentioned this discrepancy to the high-paid executives (who hired me to tell them things like that…right?) we had another round of meetings, discussing things for hours and hours, until I told them I couldn’t sit through any more meetings since I had work to do in the kitchen. (Stupid me! What was I thinking? Those meetings were totally cushy. Why slave over a hot stove? Maybe those executives weren’t so wrong after all…)

Continue Reading Chocolate Cake Recipe…

Chocolate Dessert Recipes

Welcome to Sugar High Friday #27!

You might be saying, it’s not Friday yet, David!

To be honest, I was blown away by the amount of entries and the quality of responses, and decided to start the round-up early in the week to get them all in. Thanks to everyone who participated and although I tried to leave comments on many of your blogs, time didn’t always permit me to, so I thank you all here and now.

So, dear readers, here’s the chocolate entries, based on the theme I chose: Chocolate By Brand. Bloggers made chocolate recipes, including an infinate variety of cakes, cookies, creams, and candies, using a particular brand of chocolate and talked about why.



Veronica at Kitchen Musings was a double-dipper and made Chocolate Chocolate Cupcakes X2, two recipes from two cookbooks…using two chocolates! One recipe with ScharffenBerger and the other using Valhrona.
If you like lots of lick-able chocolate frosting, you’ll love ’em both.


Over at Winds and Breezes, Treasa used Lindt 70% chocolate for a scrumptious-sounding Chocolate Cake, with chocolate she brings back from France every time she “sets foot in the place.”
(The French are wild over Lindt chocolate, as you’ll see in other entries, and apparently so is Treasa.)


It’s a Rocky Road over at Sui Mai, who used Cailler dark chocolate to bind together marshmallows, almonds, and dried blueberries. And where did she get the chocolate she used? And why did she use that one?
The plot thickens…like her chocolate…


In the Très facile category comes Chocolate Hazelnut Madeleines from Marie-Laurie of Autres Delices using Nestlé chocolate.
Her tiny, shiny, shell-shaped little cakes would make Proust proud!


My Franco-American compatriote stateside, Béa falls for chocolate with a petite Dark Chocolate and Raspberry Cake with Chocolate-Ginger Mousse, infused with ScharffenBerger cocoa powder and Valhrona‘s Manjari chocolate.
Although it seems pretty fancy-pants, Béa makes it all look so easy, mais oui!


Check out Orange-Flavored Milk Rice with White Chocolate Icing from Nemisbéka in Hungary, which her dessert will make you, especially when you see how she uses both Nestlé Caramac bars and Milka hearts from Switzerland.


Lighter-Than-Air Chocolate Roll by Kristin at Dine and Dish, with a heady suspicion of Grand Marnier. Like her chocolate cake roll, Kristin got so light-headed on chocolate she forgot to note which brand she used. When she came back down, she noted it was San Francisco’s Ghiradelli.


Claudia at Food For Food made some very tasty-looking Chocolate Honey Caramels using Valhrona chocolate. Even though she claims the recipe was supposed to be difficult to make, she did an admirable job, as you’ll see…


Across the border in Umbria, Judith at Think On It! got over her aversion to chocolate (!) to participate, and added some chilies to the spun sugar to give it an extra kick. Check out her dessert, simply titled Hot Silk, made with Valhrona, which she says makes everything, including stuff on her other site, a little yummier.


Although the name One Whole Clove doesn’t make one normally think of chocolate, check out Lou’s sinful Boules au chocolat et au rhum. They’re enriched with Montignac 85% sugar-free chocolate, sweetened with maltitol, which she found at her local chocolate shop Cupidon.

Continue Reading Chocolate Dessert Recipes…

Chocolatiers and Chocolate-Makers

The other night I was having dinner in a restaurant, and struck up a conversation with the fellow dining at the next table, who turned out to be Swiss. As we talked, the conversation turned to what I did and when I replied that I wrote cookbooks on baking and chocolate. His curiosity was piqued…as well as that of the two Belgian women at the other table.

I knew exactly where the conversation soon would be heading, and of course, I was asked the inevitable question: “Which country do you think makes the best chocolate?”

Belgian Chocolates

In all honestly, it’s really a pointless question. What if I asked; “What country makes the best wine?” Well, you might answer that there are great wines made in Italy, France, the United States, Switzerland, Germany, etc. And there are lousy wines made in all those countries too.

But is there one country quantitatively better than at making wine than another? Is there some formula that one can follow to show who wins the mantle of Best Winemaking Country in the World? Perhaps one could argue that the soil in one county is better than another, or the weather, or maybe other factors. But for making chocolate couverture, pure, solid chocolate, most of the time the cocoa beans aren’t grown in the countries where chocolate is produced, with a few exceptions.

And is there really a country that makes the Best Chocolate In The World?
Is there some competition going on that no one told me about?

So I answered, “The best chocolate in the world is made in the United States.”

Theo Chocolate, Hand-Made In Seattle

The man was surprised, and the two women started rolling their eyes and laughing. And my French dining companion just smirked at me, since he knows that I said that matter-of-factly as well, just to irk them. But seriously, I don’t know what was so funny. Maybe they were laughing at themselves for not realizing that there’s very good chocolate produced in the United States.

How silly of them; what were they thinking?

Continue Reading Chocolatiers and Chocolate-Makers…