Posts tagged ‘chocolate’

February 1, 2011

CaffeineFiend: Coffee Prices Rise and a Cocoa Shortage Crisis?

Chocolate Fondant

Photo: etsy.com (Vintage Confections)

If you’re on a tight budget and have a hard time sticking to it like me, the news that prices for coffee and chocolate are on the rise is more than a little alarming! Two staples of my regular, everyday diet are about to cause me even more financial stress?! Sad day.

MSN Money recently posted an article from Beth Pinsker at dealnews.com listing 11 things that are getting more expensive this year. My heart sank when I saw coffee made the list and I almost started to cry when I skimmed further and saw chocolate too.

Reports claim that the world is going to see a drastic reduction in the availability of chocolate as the cocoa market faces a significant shortage. According to the U.K.’s Dailymail, the shortage is a result of weather patterns affecting crops in the Ivory Coast (a region which accounts for 40% of the world’s supply of cocoa beans). MSN reports that unrest in the region is also a factor. Some sources say cocoa prices are going up, and so is the cost of your your favorite chocolate bar, but MSN reports that chocolate markets have already factored in the supply issues, so there is no cause to worry about the cost of that 3pm Twix fix!

The news from ABC-KGO is not so optimistic. They indicate that this shortage has been building. According to their experts, a key problem is the lack of incentive for cocoa farmers who face a 3 year wait for cocoa trees to mature and only earn $1 a day. They claim that in 20 years, “the average joe won’t be able to afford chocolate unless new research into growing higher-yielding trees prove fruitful.”

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August 29, 2010

Caffeine Fiend: Combining Chocolate and Coffee

Although I love chocolate, I am a coffee fiend. Combining my two loves? Outside the obvious, a cafe mocha, I have not really experimented with recipes combining my two favorites. Thanks to seriouseats I’m open to seeking out more possibilities like these “5 ways to Combine Chocolate and Coffee”. Some of their chocolate, coffee suggestions:

1. Pour chocolate syrup into coffee, or a packet of swiss miss instant hot chocolate (Ok, I’ve tried these)
2. Cocao Nib Tea
3. Chocolate Coffee Almond Milkshake
4. Smitten Kitchen’s Coffee Toffee

August 29, 2010

Food Finds: Chocolate Shop in Orange County

Christopher Michael Chocolates, Costa Mesa, CA

My favorite gourmet chocolate store is Oh!Chocolate in Seattle. Family recipes made fresh everyday – what’s not to love? But the thing that keeps me going back (and wishing that the store would open a location in any city I move to) is their drinking chocolate. I have no words for how happy I am when I get that little, dainty cup of smooth, deep warm chocolate and melting vanilla whipped cream. Oh! so good.

Now other chocolate shops  leave me uninspired. Yes, every now and then I meander into See’s Chocolate (mostly for their free sample) and purchase a Bordeaux chocolate; and I will always love the Creme Brulee chocolate from Godiva. My Chicago search for Drinking Chocolate has yielded mediocre results. Vosges is great and boasts some exotic chocolates, but nothing so delicious that I can’t resist frequent visits. Sadly, Orange County chocolate selections are about as exciting as Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. So this is why I was excited when Seriouseats posted an article about a Costa Mesa, California chocolatier.

After reading the interview with Chocolate Shop owner Christopher Michael, I’m eager to try his blood orange caramels and even his rendered duck-fat caramels. He says he doesn’t keep up with the trends, but the fact that he keeps a glass of water and dish of pepperocinis on hand when he’s testing new flavor combinations leads me to believe he puts out some creative and daring chocolates.

It seems Christopher Michael has gotten a lot of positive press for his work, and so far visitors to his California store give him 4 1/2 stars on yelp. If you can’t make it to Orange County to sample his chocolates, you can order from his website.

August 23, 2010

Seen on Screen: Get in the Bowl

M&M commercial put a smile on my face:

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