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.
Nevada-based Behmor Inc. has introduced their model 1600 Connected Drum Roaster. The counter top machine can roast up to one pound of coffee or cocoa beans, and can create an unlimited range of roasting profiles. It is designed to operate indoors, and is also smartphone-enabled allowing profiles to be downloaded from a roasting community via an app. MSRP: $599. For more information, visit www.behmor.com.
Strawberries and Chocolate
Stoneridge Orchards, the dried fruit experts, have a new addition to their dark chocolate dipped premium whole fruit line – dark chocolate covered strawberries. This new treat is a luxurious and healthier alternative for an anytime snack or dessert. Dipping delectable dried strawberries in 70% cocoa dark chocolate turns them into an antioxidant double threat. Dark chocolate is packed with organic compounds that are biologically active and function as antioxidants, as do strawberries, which are also loaded with vitamin C. Stoneridge Orchards has been growing and producing all natural and organic premium products, such as cherries, blueberries, raspberries, apples and strawberries, since 1962. This family owned farm has been producing delicious, natural and organic dried fruit products since they built their own processing capabilities to freeze and dry their fruit in 2006. www.stoneridgeorchards.com
L'Art du Chocolatier 2015
Good luck to the finalists who will compete at the upcoming 2015 L’Art Du Chocolatier Challenge. The fourth edition of the event will be held on May 14-15, 2015 at the Barry Callebaut Chocolate Academy in Chicago, IL. The national competition is presented by Cacao Barry, and provides a platform for talented pastry chefs and chocolatiers to demonstrate their creativity and craftsmanship through the medium of chocolate. As part of the selection process each candidate submitted a portfolio of their work for evaluation. “After an extensive candidate review we identified a group of professionals who truly capture the spirit of Cacao Barry through their creativity, innovation and passion for the art of fine chocolate,” said Jerome Landrieu, Pastry Chef and Director of the Academy.
The 2015 finalists are: Helen Hong (Chef de Partie, Pastry Kitchen, Four Seasons Hotel Chicago, IL); Anthony Vellut (Chocolate Manager, Jean Philippe Patisserie at Aria Hotel Las Vegas, NV); Joshua Werner (Head Chocolatier, Patisserie 46, Minneapolis, MN); Keith Wallace (Pastry Chef, Four Seasons Hotel Miami, FL); Wilfredo Barajas (Pastry Sous Chef, Peninsula Hotel, Chicago, IL).
In mid-April, finalists will ship thirty pieces of chocolate ganache bonbons to Chicago where they will be judged on taste, texture and appearance. Over the course of the two-day competition, finalists will prepare an original chocolate nut bar, soft caramels, gâteaux de voyage and original chocolate showpieces for judging. A panel of renowned culinary experts will judge all entries based on taste, appearance, creativity and interpretation of this year’s competition theme – “The Roaring Twenties Chicago.” The winning chef will be named the Cacao Barry U.S. Chocolatier of the Year 2015. The 2015 L’Art du Chocolatier judges are: Fred Monti (PreGel USA), Jerome Jacob (Bellagio Hotel & Casino), Jerome Landrieu (Barry Callebaut Chocolate Academy), Luis Robledo Richards (Tout Chocolat) and Sebastien Canonne (French Pastry School). For more information visit www.barry-callebaut.com.
Divine Chocolate, the Fairtrade chocolate company co-owned by Ghanaian cocoa farmers, is celebrating its continued revenue growth and merger with UK parent company Divine Chocolate Ltd. It was in 2007 that Divine first entered the US market with a small budget but big aspirations, and in recognition of the notable successes in the years since, the company recently held a gala reception at Sonoma Restaurant and Wine Bar in Washington D.C. Joining them was Sampson Cobina, an elected representative of the farmers’ cooperative that owns the company, on his first trip out of Ghana. Sophi Tranchell, CEO of Divine Chocolate reflected, “It just goes to show that consumers in the USA have an appetite for companies and brands like Divine that do business differently. Divine Chocolate is a company with a mission – ensuring those who buy delicious Divine Chocolate are directly empowering and fairly paying the farmers who supply its wonderful cocoa.” For more info on Divine Chocolate, visit www.divinechocolate.com.
Lindt USA recently conducted a survey which found that 85% of women say chocolate makes them a happier person, and 66% saying its the best form of relaxation. 67% of women agree they can never have too much chocolate, while 55% of women would go back for seconds and thirds of chocolate. 42% of women said they consume chocolate daily, 18% would drive well out of their way to buy chocolate, and 16% would sneak out at night just to get another piece. Finally, 46% of the women surveyed say that finding chocolate they forgot they set aside in the house brightens their day. www.lindtusa.com.