Thursday, 13 December 2007

Hotel Chocolat's Cocoa Plantation, Rabot Estate in St Lucia

Wow, a look at a real chocolate plantation!

hotel Chocolat's estate

The Rabot estate in St Lucia. Angus tells us the story of how he was sent a book about growing chocolate by a member of the chocolate tasting club.

After 3 years of care the plants will flower and then produce the cocoa pods. This takes 5 months before they are ready to harvest. The harvesting needs a sharp knife to avoid damaging the tree and the pods are rested for 3 days before being cut open revealing the cocoa beans inside.

They are fermented using the Maillard process which stops them germinating. After 7 days after careful turning and temperature checks they are ready to be moved to the drying trays. Once dried in the sun they are not sticky and they smell wonderful and are a rich mahognony colour. They are then sewn into hessian bags.

If you'd like to taste Hotel Chocolat's amazing chocolates then click here

Favourite Chocolate Bars

As a break from Chocolate Fountains I thought I'd write a few lines about my favourite chocolate bars.
I've always loved eating chocolate. It's got to be one of the things that unites us as human beings. The adoration of sweet chocolate, the devotion to bitter dark chocolate that thrills us and the delight of tasting new types and textures.

When I was a child my grandmother used to buy us animal bars - small chocolate bars with pictures of animals on the chocolate in relief. I remember the sweet shop she used to go to in Worcester - it was on The Shambles in Worcester and that's where I think she bought her ciggys too.
We'd occaisionally get milky bars which were also lovely but the animal bars were eaten time and time again.
Having a mars bar was a treat, and marathons were my favourite. They're called snickers now though. You can turn a mars bar into a snickers if you spread peanut butter on it. I'd not recommend you do this though, as the temptation to them add some nutella might be too strong!
Speaking of peanuts - Reece's cups are roundels of peanut butter coated in thick chocolate. They're delightful to eat. I really like those, but again you can have half and half nutella and peanut butter on a spoon and that's just delish too!

Another childhood favourite was Frys Chocolate Cream - in a dark blue wrapper. They have 215 calories. They're still available and sometimes you see the green wrapped one which I think is mintier.

My other gran used to buy us Helas filled chocolate bars and give us them as we were leaving. It'd be one of those big bars three chunks wide and we'd sit in the dark in the back of the car on the way home sharing them and not knowing what the flavour it'd be until you'd bitten into it.

The modern filled chocolate bar has as it's king the cadburys creme egg bar. These are absolutely gorgeous and they are much easier to share with people. Although you might not want to share them.

If you want to stray onto the more biscuity lines of chocolate related products you should try tesco value dark chocolate digestives. They're 27p and absolutely fantastic. They do a milk chocolate one too but we're not as keen on them.

My top choice for chocolatey biscuits though is jaffa cakes. 47 calories each if you're interested in that sort of thing, and there are 10 in a packet. Delicious with a cuppa, and can be eaten in a varitety of ways. Are you a nibbler who nibbbles off around the orangey bit and then picks the chocolate off that and eats the jelly on its own? Or do you play full moon, half moon, eclipse?

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

That Cadburys Ad

Yes it's a man in a suit, but it's pretty impressive and gets your attention.

Apparently all the kids at my son's school raved about this ad.

The makers of the ad have said that the guy in the suit is Garon Michael who has appeared in films as a primate in the movies Congo, Instinct and the Planet Of The Apes remake.

Thursday, 6 December 2007

Chocolate Television: Episode 1 - Cocoa Bella Chocolates

A look at some of the chocolates available at Cocoa Bella Chocolate. including one called patricia which is tangerine and chili. Looks at US chocolates and Italian.

Cake Decorating: Fun With Fondant

Making great looking cakes with fondant - here's a great chocolate cake. Recipe from the episode: Chocolate Expresso Pot de Créme too

Chocolate-Covered Strawberries

How to make chocolate covered strawberries - or any other fruit. You'll need some fruit, waxed paper, pan of water and a bowl, chocolate and a bit of margarine. Stir the chocolate in the bowl over a bubbling pan of water. When it's all melted it's ready to use. Dip the fruit after you've washed and carefully dried it. Dip as deep as you like. You could double dip with different colours of chocolate, add nuts or sprinkles on top or drizzle a thin line of chocolate over them.

Chocolate Dessert Recipe from

Hotel Chocolat is a great chocolate store - here's Angus making caramel kiss pots

delicious chocolates of all types, milk, plain, mixed with new seasonal chocolates each season

Hotel Chocolat

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Switching on chocolate fountain

This is fun, the first filling and switching on of a chocolate fountain. That little "yeah" is what we're all thinking as the chocolate starts to flow.

Bellagio Chocolate Fountain

Bellagio hotel has a 27 foot high Chocolate fountain containing over 2100 pounds of melted chocolate. Dark, Milk and white chocolate falls from the ceiling into beautiful art glass shells. Located in Jean-Phillipe Patisserie

Worlds Largest Fountain of Chocolate

Las Vegas hosts the world's largest chocolate fountain

The chocolate fountain at Wild Berry, Anchorage

The chocolate fountain at Wild Berry, Anchorage looks huge - Built in 1994 and modified in 1996, it is the inspiration of Alaska Wild Berry Producers owner Peter Homer and was created by artist Mike Sirl. It contains 3,400 lbs of real liquid chocolate donated by the Chocolate Division of Nestle Foods. The chocolate arrived in 10 pound blocks. These blocks are still used today in the making of the various chocolate products for the store. The 20 foot chocolate-falls is believed to be the largest of its kind in the world

Chocolate Fountain of Death

Strange things dipped into a choclate fountain. Green olives, Doritoes, Green peppers, goat cheese, baby dill cucumbers, fried chicken, hard boiled eggs, dog biscuits. Some of these don't go down so well. Don't try this at home.

What can you dip in a chocolate fountain

You can use any fruit you want. Make sure it's washed and clean and cutt off any tough skin and cut it into sensibly sized pieces.
Highly recommended - strawberries, pineapple (fresh, canned would be too soft), mango, apple, pear, grapes, bananas,

Other sweet treats - marshmellows, biscuits, bread, breadsticks, mini donuts, sweet biscuits, profiteroles, strips of cooked pastry, shortbread, gingerbread men, fudge, sweets

You can of course use other delicious items that you like. Things should be able to withstand some handling and dipping, and you want things people can bite or eat in one go so you're not having things licked and dipped back into the fountain.

Chocolate Fountain Pleasure! 7ft fountain

This is a massive chocolate fountain that would be too big for most people's homes and would take an army to eat all the chocolate in. This size is ideal for parties and you can find companies who'll come and do the whole set up for you.

You can actually buy a huge chocolate fountain from prezzybox

CF2000 Commercial Chocolate Fountain for Catering
How can you capture any size of catering opportunity? Buy a fountain that rises to every occasion!
* Versatile - simply extends to cater for between 200 and 600 people.
* Simple tier positioning and detachable bowl ensures it is exceptionally easy to use frequently.
* Holds up to 15kg of chocolate for dramatic flowing effects and long lasting food service without frequent refills.
* Operates with minimum of 6kg of chocolate (medium set-up), reducing potential waste.
* Simple tier positioning for fast assembly.
* Unique detachable bowl for easy cleaning.
* Unique direct drive motor - no risk of belts breaking or slipping in mid-event.
* Unique detachable power cord for added safety.
* Flat membrane controls and single cast stainless steel tiers for improved food hygiene.
* Total peace of mind through comprehensive maintenance support package.
* Full CE approval.

Chocolate Fountain demonstration

What chocolate to use, how it works and how easy it is. Fun chocolate fountain video. Suggests bread too as a dip

Don't forget you can buy chocolate fountains online here

Chocolate Fountain funny

This video shows a bloke who decides he really wants to get into the whole fountain idea.

Quite amusing and something we all might dream of doing, but wouldn't dare!

Want a chocolate fountain?

Fountains of Chocolate

I decided that I would spend some time looking at what chocolate fountains are available. There are loads of different sizes now

PrezzyBox sell several different chocolate fountains - they have a small one, a normal size one and two huge ones