Jul 15, 2019 Last Updated 6:31 AM, Nov 9, 2017

Every issue, we dedicate our Hot Chocolate section to give our readers a peek at what's hot and new in the world of chocolate.

Game, Set, Chocolate

Sugarpova by Maria Sharapova

Sugarpova recently launched a new line of chocolate bars in conjunction with Baron Chocolatier. The partnership will produce a variety of Sugarpova Premium Chocolates, starting with a collection of 100-gram chocolate bars. The bars are Non-GMO, Kosher, and Halal. “I wanted to create an ‘experience’ with this product — a moment of indulgence, where time can stop and one can enjoy life’s little pleasures such as a bite of sensually rich chocolate. This product wraps up many of my favorites in life: food, a smile and a slight moment of indulgence,” says international tennis star and Sugarpova founder Maria Sharapova. Chris Mattina, Senior Vice President & General Manager of European Chocolate Ltd – division of Millano Group (parent company of Baron Chocolatier), comments, “Our partnership with Maria and the Sugarpova team has given the consumer the opportunity to experience the intersection of Fashion and Food.” www.sugarpova.com

Derby Desserts

Pennsylvania College of Technology Derby Desserts
Photo by Philip Andrews.

Pennsylvania College of Technology and Levy Restaurants combined for their 10th Kentucky Derby this year. Hospitality students from Penn College have become essential to the successful execution of Churchill Downs premium food service suites and special events. Executive Chef David Danielson travels to Penn College each year to interview and select students for the week-long experience, which hosts over 400,000 guests on property, at the historic Downs. Preparations have traditionally focused on savory menu items, with specialty pastry and dessert products being purchased from outside vendors. Over the years, the internship has expanded to include Baking and Pastry Arts students from Penn College, under the direction of Charles Niedermyer, Baking and Pastry Arts faculty and Department Head. Each year, Chef Dave and Charles continue to push the envelope with dessert production, unseen at mega sporting events of this caliber. Some of this year’s dessert creations included Guittard chocolate ganache filled crepes with bourbon caramel sauce, pictured here. For information about Pennsylvania College of Technology internship programs, visit www.pct.edu.

News From Valrhona

Azelia Guanaja

Azélia 35% Hazelnut Milk Chocolate is the new addition to Valrhona’s Gourmet Creation range. Notes of toasted hazelnuts create a subtle balance between chocolate, milk and nuts. Azélia 35% is available in 3-kg bags. Valrhona has also introduced 52% Dark Chocolate Chips (6 mm diameter) and 60% Dark Chocolate Chips (8 mm diameter). Both products are perfectly balanced and ideal for a wide range of applications. The 52% chips come in a 6-kg box, while the 60% chips are available in a 5-kg box. In other Valrhona news, Guanaja 70% is turning 30! The Guanaja 70% revolution was rooted in its low sugar content and its astonishing bitterness, simultaneously rounded and light in acidity, underpinned by notes of dried fruits and roasted coffee. This new blend marked a new era for chocolatiers and pastry chefs alike. Guanaja 70% has become Valrhona’s most iconic dark chocolate. It now features among the Top 5 best-sellers in France and abroad, a favorite with over 10,000 clients. For more info on Valrhona products, visit www.valrhonaprofessionals.com.

Cocoa with a Conscience

Cacao Trace

Puratos recently announced an innovation in the world of sweet goods: premium compound coatings made with 100% sustainable cocoa powder. In 2012, Puratos started to exclusively use sustainable palm oil, certified by RSPO, in its compound products (branded Carat). Now Puratos is setting a new standard in the industry by introducing a great tasting, sustainable cocoa powder from its Cacao-Trace™ program. Cacao-Trace is unique because of its approach towards the farming communities. They invest in two cocoa collection and training centers close to farmers, in Vietnam and Ivory Coast. Farming communities generally don’t have access to such full time services and support focused on their needs. Cacao-Trace’s aim is to increase the profitability of farmers by enhancing their professionalization. First, they provide training on how to improve the quality and the productivity of the farms, resulting in higher volumes. Second, they pay a premium to incentivize the farmers to provide the best quality beans, resulting in more income. All of this contributes to sustainable livelihoods for the farmers and their families. It’s the combination of all of these elements that makes Cacao-Trace meaningful and different. For more info, visit www.puratos.us.

Brain Food

Brain Food

Chocolate is beneficial for your heart and can protect your skin from the sun. Now scientists have discovered another apparent benefit to eating chocolate- it makes you smarter. A recent study published in the journal Appetite claims that people who eat chocolate at least once a week experienced improvements in their memory and abstract thinking. “It’s significant – it touches a number of cognitive domains,” psychologist Merrill Elias, one of the leaders of the study, told The Washington Post.

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