It’s a Purdy’s Chocolates Kind of Day Today!

by 8chocolate on February 14, 2011

Purdy's English ToffeeHappy Valentine’s Day!  It’s a chocolaty goodness day for many of you.  Lots of red velvet chocolate hearts bought today and diets taking a one day hiatus. My sweetie has hinted the chocolate he’s been craving and it’s not any of the fancy sort.

He’s all about the substance not about the look.  Forget about the little decorations painstakingly added or the fancy packaging. No, he just wants what tastes good and this year he’s craving Purdy’s English Toffee. 

For those who have never tried it, Purdy’s English Toffee is very rich and crumbly. Its REALLY buttery toffee that is smothered in chocolate and then rolled in toasted crushed almonds.  It’s a mix of crunch and smooth sweetness in your mouth.  Beware, as you’ll find yourself breaking off a small piece of toffee and then find yourself going back for more…and more.  Before you know it, it’s all gone! 

I’ve tried other toffees that are similar but haven’t found one better than Purdy’s. So I’ve promised myself I won’t have any of his but that will mean he’ll have to remove it from our home. It’s too tempting to sneak a bite and I know I won’t stop!

Here’s hoping your Valentine’s Day is filled with lots of love and LOTS of chocolate!

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Chocri Chocolate Deal Alert!

by 8chocolate on October 20, 2010

Chocri make your own chocolate barsWish you could create your own chocolate bars? Now you can and get a 25% discount too.

Chocri is a make-your-own chocolate bar company from Germany. That’s right. You choose the ingredients you want - from cashews to coconut to bacon bits.   I haven’t tried this brand before but at 25% off, now may be the time.

Get the coupon code from Daily Candy and enter it at checkout to save 25% off your order.

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West Coast Chocolate Festival

by 8chocolate on October 20, 2010

West Coast Chocolate FestivalTHE festival for chocolate on the West Coast! Most festivals last a weekend. The West Coast Chocolate Festival is almost of month of chocolate events running October 15th to November 10, 2010 this year.

You could attend a chocolate event every day! There are events for kids, chocolate pairings, high teas, chocolate tastings and more. Too many to list so check out the full list on their website and plan out your chocolate dates for the next few weeks.

West Coast Chocolate Festival chocolatesThere’s lots of volunteers helping at the events and the festival is a platform to support and empower youth through the art of chocolate and business. So you will be doing good while tasting your way through a smorgasbord of chocolate.  LOVE when that happens!

So make plans to attend the chocolate festival and make sure to check out the chocolate recipes listed on their site.  Chocolate ice cubes anyone?

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Review ~ Quai Sud Fleur de Sel with Cocoa Nibs

by 8chocolate on October 10, 2010

Quai Sud Fleur de Sel & Cocoa Nibs

Fleur de Sel and chocolate is a wonderful combination in my books as you can see from a previous post on Salted Caramels. Recently a friend returned from France with a lovely jar of  salt and cocoa nibs.

Quai Sud takes Fleur de Sel and mixes it with an array of flavours with lovely packaging to boot. I was fortunate enough to be given the sel with pure organic cocoa and cocoa nibs.

The only problem is I don’t really know what to do with it.

Quai Sud Fleur de Sel CocoaThe directions on the jar says to sprinkle it on roasted or grilled red meat or game like roe deer!?  It’s also delicious on pan-roasted slices of foie gras. Well I just can’t bring myself to add this salt and cocoa concoction to any of those meat suggestions. It must be a European thing. I can only think of sprinkling it on some type of pastry.

Their website is all in French with promises of English to come soon but I did translate (thank you Google translation tool) their description of this particular flavour. “The unexpected marriage of dazzling sea salt, finesse, and the cocoa bean, powerful and aromatic. Her beautiful ebony adds sea salt flakes and cocoa bean cocoa an aesthetic sensation. Contains no sugar.”

Have any of you tried this before? Have you heard of such a thing. I’m can’t say I’m wanting to use it with meat. I just may have to resort to dipping my finger in it when I need a chocolate fix. Please comment if you have any ideas on how I can use this wonderful gift. I look forward to your suggestions.

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Hop to it! Easter’s around the corner.

by 8chocolate on April 2, 2010

Thomas Haas Chocolate EggThe Easter bunny came early this year. Lucky me! My sweetie surprised me yesterday with a very fun piece of art of a chocolate bunny from Thomas Haas.

The chocolate bunny is made up of egg shapes, whole and half eggs, and he’s balanced on one chocolate paw. His hind legs are balancing a beautifully decorated egg in a filigree pattern. All dark chocolate except for the filigree egg. It’s white chocolate under that green and brown decoration.

Thomas Haas Chocolate BunnyHow do I know its white chocolate?  The bunny was calling my name. I couldn’t help myself. Some days call for chocolate immediately and this chocolate bunny was the unfortunate victim. There’s not much left of him now one day later. First it was just a paw here and there, and then an ear. Once the top egg was gone, that was it. The chocolate itself is a great smooth, dark chocolate that is rich and silky on the tongue.  The flavour was still there ten minutes later. Good chocolate!

My only disappointment was that all the eggs and half eggs that made up the bunny were hollow. Didn’t take long to take him down. Only the base remains… for a while longer.

If you haven’t got your chocolate bunnies yet for Easter and live in Vancouver, you might want to check out the Easter works of art at Thomas Haas. Otherwise, check out the great list of Easter bunnies and Easter eggs that Dying for Chocolate created.   Happy Easter!

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Recipe ~ Easy to make Chocolate Pistachio Fudge

by 8chocolate on February 10, 2010

Chocolate Pistachio FudgeWith Valentine’s Day fast approaching, I’ve been trying to think of a simple chocolate present I could make for my sweetie. Last year, it was Chocolate Covered Strawberries. This year I was looking again for something easy to make and in record time.

I knew I had found just the thing after visiting Janet Rudolph’s blog, Dying for Chocolate and reading her post on Chocolate Pistachio Fudge.  It’s a Nigella Lawson recipe and takes only a few ingredients. A great recipe that even the kids could help prepare. Combine the can of condensed milk with the chocolate over low heat and once melted, stir in the pistachios. That’s it. You’re done. Yes, it’s that easy!

PistachiosI love the bright green and purple colours of pistachios. When paired with dark chocolate, the colours become even more intense. Pistachios have a very mellow taste and I think next time I will add in a few dried cranberries to tart things up a bit. Yes, I had to try a few pieces to make sure it was good enough to give. Fudge is more candy than anything however it’s one of his fav treats.

Chocolate Pistachio FudgeAfter cutting the fudge into squares, they were wrapped up and put away in the fridge until Valentine’s. On February 14th, I’ll place them into a nice red tin.  Keep the fudge in the freezer or fridge until you’re ready to serve it. It becomes soft very fast.

 

Here’s the full recipe:
Nigella Lawson’s Chocolate Pistachio Fudge (via Dying for Chocolate)

12 ounces of 70% dark chocolate or semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
Pinch salt
1 cup shelled pistachios (I use about 1/2 cup)

Melt the chopped chocolate, condensed milk and salt in a heavy based pan on low heat.
Put the nuts into a freezer bag and bash them with a rolling pin, until broken up into both big and little pieces. Add the nuts to the melted chocolate and condensed milk and stir well to mix.

Chocolate Pistachio FudgePour this mixture into a 9-inch square foil tray, smoothing the top. (I butter the tray slightly)
My tip: Line the pan with wax paper so it’s easy to lift out in one piece.

Let the fudge cool and then refrigerate until set. You can then cut into small pieces approximately 3/4″ by
1 3/4″ or cutting 8 by 8 lines in the tin to give 64 pieces.

Once cut you can keep it in the freezer, no need to thaw just eat straight away.

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My Recipe on the new Strawberry iPhone App

by 8chocolate on January 11, 2010

Strawberry iPhone AppIt’s been a year since I began my blog and writing about all things chocolate. I can’t believe how fast a year has gone by. Some of my posts are chocolate recipes that I’ve prepared and then shared with you. Today, I’m happy to say that one of those recipes will be shared with a lot more people come this Wednesday, January 13th.

A few months back I was contacted by the California Strawberry Commission. They wanted to include my Chocolate Covered Strawberries recipe in their new free iPhone app launching later this week. Needless to say, I’m ecstatic and delighted to be part of it.

California Strawberry AppThe app includes strawberry recipes they have chosen from chefs, foodies and other bloggers like myself who have featured these recipes on their blogs. The Strawberry Recipe App also includes nutritional information and over 50 recipes in different category types with photos. Who knew there were so many ways to use strawberries?

So if you have an iPhone or an iPod touch and love strawberries, check out their free recipe app in the Apple iTunes Store. It’s easy to download to your device and you’ll always have the recipes at your fingertips. My strawberry recipe is so easy and inexpensive to make. What could be more delicious AND healthy than chocolate and strawberries?

Now if only I had an iPhone, I could see everyone’s recipes. Let me know if you download the Strawberry Recipe app and what recipes you like on it.

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My Dream Day - A Chocolate Tour in Vancouver

by 8chocolate on January 7, 2010

Vancouver Chocolate TourA chocolate tour of Vancouver’s chocolate shops is something I’ve been thinking of doing for awhile. Of course now that I’ve started my diet (yes, it’s my new year’s resolution…again), I’ll have to rethink how to do this since one stop would put me over the calorie count for the day. However, I think it’s a great idea to send you on the chocolate tour.

So if you are visiting Vancouver - the 2010 Olympics ARE starting next month - or if you live in Vancouver but weren’t aware of all the chocolate shops in the city, here’s a tour that I’ve created so you can spend the day going from one shop to another tasting chocolate. Yep, sounds like a dream day to me.

The great thing about the chocolate tour is that I created it on POIfriend.com. It has all the chocolate shop locations listed in GPS format that you can download to different devices including your iPhone. What could be easier than that?

Leave your rating of each shop on POIfriend so others can compare notes. You can decide where the tour starts depending on your start location and then away you go - with your loved one, with your girlfriends, with yourself. Tasting and inhaling wonderful, glorious chocolate. All day. Dream day!

Here’s the 8chocolate Vancouver Chocolate Tour.

Enjoy!

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As 2010 begins, here’s one last look at the chocolatey goodness of 2009. Here’s a list of the top five blog posts most read on the 8chocolate blog. Enjoy! 

2009 Top Chocolate Posts1. Recipe for The Best Chocolate Cookies. Ever.
This is no lie. Eat one of these chocolate morsels warm and you will be forever thankful you found this recipe.

2. Recipe for Chocolate Covered Strawberries
The best mix of fruit and chocolate that tastes delicious with minimal calories. Watch for the recipe featured later this month on the new Strawberry iPhone app from the California Strawberry Commission.

3. Recipe for Italian Espresso Chocolate Brownies
Who doesn’t like brownies especially when they are laced with espresso coffee. An instant breakfast in my view.

4. Recipe for Chocolate Chunk Banana Bread
Another breakfast/snack/dessert staple. Always great to have a banana bread loaf on hand. And with chunks of chocolate, it brings it to a new level of goodness.

5. A Love Affair with Purdy’s Sweet Georgia Browns
With over 50 stores in Canada, I know I can find a Purdy’s when I need a chocolate fix in a pinch. Sweet and salty, gooey goodness. For international friends, they deliver globally.

And remember …chocolate’s good for you!  So here’s wishing you more chocolate and much happiness in 2010.

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8Q Interview ~ WILD SWEETS® BY DOMINIQUE & CINDY DUBY

by 8chocolate on December 1, 2009

WILD SWEETS® BY DOMINIQUE & CINDY DUBYWILD SWEETS® BY DOMINIQUE & CINDY DUBY are not only artisan chocolatiers but also notable master pastry chefs winning gold and silver medals in prestigious competitions. Never ending in their quest for the best, they are also award-winning authors and offer culinary training and consulting services worldwide as well as creative and marketing services in product development, food styling and photography.

Their line of novel products under the WILD SWEETS® BY DOMINIQUE & CINDY DUBY name showcases their relentless creatively - taking wild ingredients and creating exotic, miniature pieces of artwork. It prompted CNN American Morning to describe their chocolate art as beautiful, gorgeous and delicious. I can’t argue with that. Dominique and Cindy Duby shared their story with me.

The 8Q interview: 8 questions answered by successful chocolatiers

1. Were you formally trained to work in the art of chocolate making?
WILD SWEETS® BY DOMINIQUE & CINDY DUBYNeither one of us trained specifically as a chocolatier. Dominique trained as a culinary chef in Belgium while Cindy trained as a pastry chef in Canada. After we met at a common employer, we decided to go back to Europe and trained at Lenotre in Paris and at Wittamer in Brussels. It was there we trained and worked as a chocolatier specifically.

2. What was the moment that you knew you wanted to be a chocolatier or work mainly with chocolate?
We both always liked chocolate especially Dominique. Born and raised in Belgium, pralines were his treat of choice even as a young child!

WILD SWEETS® BY DOMINIQUE & CINDY DUBYWorking as pastry chefs for many years, chocolate was always a major element in the work that we did but not exclusively. When we designed our line of Canadian Wild Truffles to offer as gifts to our consulting clients, mostly in Asia, that is probably when we decided that if we were to go back again into a ‘production’ business, it would be a chocolate one.

When we launched our first book in 2004, we decided then to open a chocolate virtual boutique as a ’side’ business. In late 2007, we decided to start a retail line of chocolates and it just keeps on growing with the start of making our own chocolate from Bean-to-Bar in early 2010.

WILD SWEETS® BY DOMINIQUE & CINDY DUBY3. How would you describe the product line your company offers?
It would be a small artisan chocolate maker and chocolate atelier that follows the following principles: inspired by nature, guided by science, designed by technology and crafted by art.

4. What is your best selling product and what is your personal favourite?
WILD SWEETS® BY DOMINIQUE & CINDY DUBYWe continue to launch so many new products and concepts and have so many more in the works in different ‘categories’ that it’s difficult to gauge what is the best selling. Our line of artisan praline bars is doing very well especially the latest release of ‘eleMent’. We just released four cocoArt collections just a couple of weeks ago and the response so far has been great. Yet, we are sure that when we release our blended and Bean-to-Bar next year, they too will be great sellers.
WILD SWEETS® BY DOMINIQUE & CINDY DUBY
As far as a personal favourite, we don’t have one. We believe that one can never be satisfied with a ‘favourite’ of today otherwise how can tomorrow ever be better! To be good, one must change. To be great, one must change often.

5. Up to now, what has been the greatest highlight of your chocolate career?
Again, as in the previous question, we don’t want to single out a ‘greatest’ highlight as we hope that we will have many more and of much greater value in the years to come. The better we become, the higher the bar rises. Some of the achievements that we had earlier in our careers may have seemed fantastic highlights at the time but they are not at all in the context of what we have achieved since then. That is why we don’t take anything for granted.
DCDuby.com Chocolate Boutique online

We are never satisfied with anything that we do. Having said that, note that we are content with what we achieve if we feel that it is the best at this particular time. We have to set a limit to all research and development that we do, otherwise we would never launch any products. But we always continue to push the envelope of creativity each and every day and that is the only way that one can seek for that elusive perfection.

6. What has been the most difficult challenge you have faced in your chocolate career?
Every day is a challenge. To be satisfied that what we do is the best that it can be - that is very difficult when we keep on raising our standards. It is great today but will it be enough tomorrow?

7. If you weren’t working with chocolate, what would you be doing?
What we are already doing but not as much as we would like - food design and photography. We love to create food art concepts and take pictures of them.

WILD SWEETS® BY DOMINIQUE & CINDY DUBY8. What is next for you and for your company?
So many ideas, concepts and projects but so little time. For us, more books for sure. We wrote four so far and would like to write 12 or more. And we want to expand our commercial food photography side of our business.

What’s next for the company? Maybe open a chocolate gallery that will combine our food art photography and cocoArt chocolates. Also, expand the retail side of our business, continue to design and launch many more novel products including making our own chocolate in-house from Bean-to-Bar. And hopefully expand internationally to countries like Japan in the near future.

Dominique and Cindy Duby
“WILD SWEETS® BY DOMINIQUE & CINDY DUBY”
www.dcduby.com

Read more 8Q Interviews from other successful chocolatiers.

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