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another fun question
May 18, 2004
10:57 pm
Lone Ly
Oslo, Norway
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alex h,

Thanks for the tip. Do you know where to get it?

If halfway decent hot chocolate is satisfying, then lucky you! So far I've only had three different sorts of good "outdoor" hot chocolate. The very best is at Demel in Vienna, but a hotel in Oslo has got a good one too, then comes actually an ordinary cafeteria machine-made (Jubilee) which is so nice and sweet - in Norway available at 7-Eleven & McDonald's. A bit embarrassed by admitting this, but true! It was disappointment after trying hot chocolate at presumingly respectable places in Vienna that made me start to make it myself. Even the easiest self-made mugs beats "k.und k.! However, imagining the scents of hot chocolate doesn't make me less tempted to go to Munich.

As mentioned, it doesn't have to be more complicated than 1. chop chocolate, 2. heat milk, 3. mix & stir. You may also try Max Brenner's drinking chocolate which is quite good I think. I noticed you mentioned Zotter somewhere in here. I've tried their drinking chocolate "sticks", but would undoubtedly go for other options. As for their flavors (grappa, chili, cinnamon etc.) it's the easiest thing in the world to go wild. Chili is only to be used with care though!

As for the prices, I guess they're quite similar and probably determined by the chocolatiers. I'm not into exchange rates and Norway is neither member of EU nor the monetary union and thus doesn't use euro, so I might have miscalculated a bit. We're supposed to have rather high taxes on sweets and sugary stuff, but I can't tell what effect it has on chocolate prices.

Btw, "Lone Ly" is in a Scandinavian context a reasonable combination of a reasonable first name and equally reasonable last name, although most likely a non-existing combination because of its connotations in English. I just felt I should prevent anyone from having ideas of me as lonely considering chocolate as my only true friends ...

"Man cannot live by chocolate alone - but woman can." (Unknown)
May 18, 2004
11:29 pm
jojoscigars
Illinois, USA
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May 18, 2004
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I am new here and am looking for some sources for the "good" cholocalte if you know wat i mean ;)...Anyone know were I can get some Cubban cholocalte?
This is a cool forum and look forward too getting to knew all of you...I was kicked off of another forum for cigars...People are soo mean when youre different and I love cuban ciggars especally
If you want to send me free cholocalte and free cigars, please email me for my postal addres

Jojo

Me love cocholate and free cigars
Don't hate me becase I have more cigars and chocalate than you

Me love cocholate and cubban cigars...If you would like to send free cigars and choclate bars to me, My address is Jojo cigars in Long Island new york
May 19, 2004
12:38 pm
alex_h
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ok, i understand, LoneLy. will call you lone from now on. that ok? or do you prefer ly? i figured it sounded like it might be a norwegian name... no worries.

you can find coppeneur's tchocolatl in many department or specialty stores here in munich and probably elsewhere in germany.

it's true, sometimes the ordinary chocolate is a good thing. i like reese's myself... or a nice chocolate milk shake... if i were to eat only the good chocolate day in, day out i would really be poor. but i find i buy less and less m&m's, etc.

why use unsalted peanuts for your treat? i find salt adds an interesting note... but i would coat them not in guanaja but manjari (w/o the orange pieces).

May 19, 2004
8:11 pm
Hans-Peter Rot
USA
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If you want to be adventerous, try caramelizing some butter and sugar with some spices, then mix in with the peanuts. Once the "brittle" has dried, break it up and coat them in chocolate.

May 22, 2004
3:59 am
Hans-Peter Rot
USA
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Any wine cooler will work. I keep mine at the lowest setting, so the chocolate doesn't get too cold. Read the owner's manual first, though, because it will tell you temperature guidlines, settings, and other useful information. Also, I'm pretty sure you know this, but don't eat chocolate straight from the wine cooler. I ate some Guanaja straight from the wine cooler one day and compared the taste to a room temperature piece, and the results were pretty interesting (not to mention conclusive). The colder piece tasted cold (if that makes sense), and many of Guanaja's flavors were muted.

May 24, 2004
12:55 am
Lone Ly
Oslo, Norway
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alex h,

Call me whatever you prefer. I just felt to clarify the meaning of the nick.

As for the peanuts, I prefer to be in control of the salt content as well as other ingredients. It is the same when making chocolate sauce or so. Amedei 70% is excellent with butter, but I prefer unsalted butter in order to be able to add various types and amounts of salt. Why do you think Manjari is better? I have them both at home, so whenever I find time I'll try out both. In fact I might even try with Amedei since it is cheaper than Valrhona.

"Man cannot live by chocolate alone - but woman can." (Unknown)
May 24, 2004
2:39 am
Lone Ly
Oslo, Norway
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Montegrano, thanks for further info about the wine cooler. I've also noticed how the chocolate experience varies with the temperature of the chocolate. Cooling down chocolate means to cool down lots of the flavors, too. It is kind of interesting to experiment with melting chocolate as well. For some chocolates the whole experience might change since what were distinguishable flavors at proper temperature now seems melted into one - and sometimes the chocolate seems stronger on more "fluid" in terms of taste. Temperature is crucial, but I've discovered that even when kept within the recommended temperature there might be variations. My fav list is based on the assumption that temperature is kept stable. In fact, good bars might become uninteresting and the not so good pleasantly surprising when eaten at a slightly higher temperature.

"Man cannot live by chocolate alone - but woman can." (Unknown)
May 24, 2004
4:07 am
Hans-Peter Rot
USA
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No problem; I don't know where I got the idea from, but ever since the idea popped in my head, I knew I had a good thing going hah. [:D] Valrhona even advises on the back of their bars to enjoy chocolate like a fine wine, so why not treat it like a fine wine? Besides, if I'm going to pay big money for good chocolate, then I want to taste the quality and not have something like temperature ruin the experience.

For the past three days I've been eating Domori Blend No. 1 (at the same temperature and at the same time of day), and each day I've found new flavors. Days 2 and 3 I tasted strong roasted hazelnut flavors, but on Days 1 and 3 I tasted more brown sugar and rum. The flavors that were predominantly present every day, though, were tobacco earthiness and a fruity peak in the middle. All the flavors I tasted were fairly consistent, but their strengths varied daily. This whole "experiment" or "comparative analysis," so to speak, was extremely interesting and very encouraging (yum yum). Actually, this is the way I like to eat all my chocolate: eat one or two bars of the same type for a week; compare flavors and form a general review; move on to next bar.

May 24, 2004
11:54 am
alex_h
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lone,
wow! your amedei is cheaper than valrhona? cool! here it's the other way around.
i myself would try manjari because it's fruitier and sweeter. i don't like nuts so much in darker chocolate and think manjari's 64% would be good.
btw, are you professionally involved with chocolate?

monte, sounds like you've got it down to a science. i am more irrational when it comes to tasting. sometimes i make exact notes, other times grade more loosely.

news! i just got a shipment of domori! and this weekend went for a chocolate shopping trip downtown. so here's my new stocklist :-)

domori:
4x puertomar
1x blend no 1 (a first)
1x 100% (no, not puro, the new one!)
1x latte sal
1x madagascar 70%

all came in a styrofoam box which i will now use for storing :-)

bonnat:
1x chuao
1x madagascar
1x puerto cabello

amedei:
1x black 70%
1x red 63% (a gift from a friend! has a good flavor and is worth a try if you go below 70)

leysieffer (yes, i know i b**ched. went to their shop and asked them why they don't list their ingredients. the salespersons were very well-informed and told me the ingredients were all pure: cocoa, sugar, soy lecithin (in some bars). no vanilla or flavoring. i decided to try again...):

1x cuba 70%
1x madagascar 72%
1x salz schokolade (salted milk chocolate)

organic bars:

1x 70% from rapunzel (nice)
1x 85% bar from vivani
1x 70% (i think) with green tea from vivani
and two more bars i have to look at again. one is fair trade.

happy happy joy joy!

May 24, 2004
2:33 pm
Lone Ly
Oslo, Norway
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alex,

Yes, Amedei is cheaper than Valrhona in larger quantas. In fact, even Amedei's Chuao 1 kg is cheaper than Valrhona Manjari 5x200g - Amedei Toscano Black 70% "much" cheaper! I agree that the dark chocolates often don't go too well with nuts, but I would like to give it a try. I don't have to make that much anyway. I'm not a pro - what makes you think that? I consume quite much chocolate though, but my repertoire is not exactly huge - only four desserts, hot chocolate and eating as it is. I think I would like to work professionally with chocolate, but if that's to be realised I'd need to learn how to describe taste ...
Btw, I don't get your vanilla problem. I thought you didn't like artificial flavors, but from your message it seems like you can't stand vanilla at all. If so, you've certainly got a problem. As far as I've understood, vanilla is considered an acceptable emulsifier in line with soya lecithin. I know people misunderstand this - in fact, a lady came into my Amedei shop once and yelled at them because they were selling this extremely expensive chocolate with artificial addings - quite different from Valrhona!

"Man cannot live by chocolate alone - but woman can." (Unknown)
May 24, 2004
5:51 pm
alex_h
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lone,

no, i don't necessarily have a problem with vanilla. though i would prefer my chocolate to be nothing but good cocoa and a bit of sugar. it's artificial vanilla (or anything else artificial for that matter) that i don't want in my chocolate (or other food) at all.

artificial vanilla hides under a few names as far as i can tell: vanillin (which probably doesn't come from the vanilla plant itself), flavoring or natural flavor(ing): vanilla (in german, as adornix mentioned: natürliche aromen). it seems to be a complex subject and clarity isn't easy to be found. but as long as i am not sure what the stuff in the ingredients list is, i don't really care much for trying it.
the food industry likes to disguise its artificial creations under euphemisms such as "natural" to give the unknowing consumer the impression he/she is getting something nature created in that form. but as far as i know, it is far from clear how these ingredients are created in the lab...
i want to go have a look at an exhibit here in munich about additives in the food we eat. maybe i'll learn something and be able to say more soon.

May 24, 2004
5:54 pm
alex_h
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lone, i assumed from what you write that you might be a person who works professionally with chocolate. you do seem to put a lot of effort into your hot chocolate :-)

May 24, 2004
7:40 pm
Lone Ly
Oslo, Norway
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alex,
That's true, hot chocolate has become important to me since I got hooked on the marvellous hot chocolate at Demel. I've kept on searching for the perfect mug. I know for sure I make better hot chocolate than most restaurants although I have stopped trying because I always get disappointed (with a exceptions as mentioned before). It has turned out to be a "thing" to me. When I was younger we used to get hot cocoa at bedtime because it was supposed to be soporific. Now it is like a cup of coffee to me. Refreshing, somehow like a meal in itself. I make it stronger than normal, and I have probably left the idea of hot chocolate to strive to make the ultimate drinking chocolate experience. My next idea is to make the an ice cream dessert with hot chocolate and the world's best cold drinkning chocolate. I know they had a hot chocolate and ice cream dish at my fav ice cream bar in Vienna, but I've become proud enough to assume that I make better hot chocolate than them. However, compared to the patisseries I still have something to explore according to cold drinking chocolate. I will probably change my consumption habits during summer and eat less chocolate but drink the more. If I had the money I would have opened a choco heaven ...

"Man cannot live by chocolate alone - but woman can." (Unknown)
May 25, 2004
3:48 am
Hans-Peter Rot
USA
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I had quite a horrifying experience last night. The electricity cut off for three hours, and normally I wouldn't care because I can make due without power. However, I realized that my chocolate couldn't. I worried that the wine cooler might get too hot after a night without power, but I knew it would be okay for a couple more hours because of the trapped cool air.
So, in addition to a wine cooler, I recommend a generator haha. It never ends haha [8D]

May 25, 2004
3:57 am
Hans-Peter Rot
USA
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I'm surprised that Amedei is cheaper than Valrhona, as well. Over here, I can get Varhona at $13/lb quite easily, but I can't even find Amedei. I guess it's a matter of availability/access.
Speaking of hot chocolate, I'm so lazy when it comes to it. All I do is make a pot of coffee; pour a cup; add some cocoa, then stir. I just do that every once in a while, though, when I'm craving a slight chocolate taste, but don't feel like waiting for a bar to come to room temperature. I try to justify my laziness by saying that the cocoa is of good quality...and it usually works too [:D]

The local store just started stocking Chocovic cocoa powder, and I want to try it. They used to have Cluizel's cocoa, but the supplier sent Chocovic instead of Cluizel last time, so the owner decided not to worry about it and kept the Chocovic. I just hope the Chocovic is as good as the Cluizel. I once added three extremely heaping tablespoons of Cluizel cocoa to a cup of coffee once, and I was wired for hours. I can't remember if I added sugar, but I do remember that the flavor was intense.

May 25, 2004
9:38 am
alex_h
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sorry to hear about the power short. but your cooler is electric? hmm, won't simple styrofoam do? i got my order of domori yesterday and when i opened the styrofoam box it came in, the chocolate was nice and cool.
there's a great italian ice cream parlor here in munich that uses styrofoam packing as well. i once bought some scoops and the ice cream stayed stable (unmelted, whatever) for a long time.

May 25, 2004
9:41 am
alex_h
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lone,

i checked out that cafe i mentioned a while back, but it seemed quite dead. maybe i've confused it.

i've found domori hot chocolate and zotter (austrian) as well. and zotter with chili.

May 25, 2004
9:42 am
alex_h
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btw, i like starbucks iced coffee with chocolate. tried that in new york last year. can't get it in munich sadly. not until they open shop. which i hope is soon.

May 25, 2004
3:12 pm
Hans-Peter Rot
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Styrofoam? I never thought of that. How long is it effective? Will it protect chocolate even in temperatures exceeding 90 degrees F?

May 25, 2004
4:08 pm
alex_h
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no idea. how much is ninety again in celsius? just a sec...

that's about 32°C. yeah! i think it should work, but can't give an expert opinion on how long and all. sorry

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