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Cococlectic Delivers the Chocolatey Goods Plus a Food Gal Giveaway

Monday, 24. February 2014 5:25

One of the Twenty-Four Blackbirds dark chocolate bars in February's Cococlectic delivery

One of the Twenty-Four Blackbirds dark chocolate bars in February’s Cococlectic delivery.

Imagine getting a package of four premium, handcrafted chocolate bars delivered to your door every month.

If that isn’t a chocoholic’s dream, what is?

San Francisco’s Cococlectic is a craft bean-to-bar club that does exactly that.

The new company was started by Doreen Leong, who grew up in Malaysia and moved to the Bay Area to pursue an MBA. She worked in the corporate world for many years, but never felt fulfilled. Then, she hit on an idea inspired by her relationship with her sister, to whom she’d regularly send gifts of chocolate. Why not start a company for chocolate lovers like her who are always eager to try a great new bar?

Leong looks for unique products made in small batches from bean to bar. They are all dark chocolate, the favorite of chocolate connoisseurs. Plus, she likes the fact that dark chocolate has been reported to have certain antioxidant properties. None of the bars selected contain nuts or fruits or additional ingredients that might detract from the purity of the chocolate, itself.

Membership levels start at $27 per month. Each monthly shipment includes four chocolate bars. Membership also allows you to purchase more of the same bars if you find you can’t live without them. Those who sign up for a six-month membership receive a 1-month free trial membership for a friend.

Recently, I had a chance to try a sample box. February’s featured chocolate maker is Twenty-Four Blackbirds, which was founded by Mike Orlando in Santa Barbara. Chocolate making started out as a side passion to his real job as a marine biologist. His bars are hand-made from only two ingredients: organic cacao beans and organic sugar.

My box contained four bars: 68% Dominican Republic, 75% Madagascar , and two of the 75% Bolivian Palos Blancos.

An example of Cococlectic's monthly chocolate box.

An example of Cococlectic’s monthly chocolate box.

The bars are quite smooth on the palate. The 68% Dominican Republic, sourced from a cocoa-farming cooperative, boasts a lot of berry fruitiness with a fair amount of acidity. The 75% Madagascar is full of cherry and blueberry flavors balanced by earthiness and a hint of tangy citrus. The 75% Bolivian Palos Blancos is extremely creamy, with almost a vanilla presence, and hardly any bitterness or acidity.

Additional Twenty-Four Blackbirds bars (1.41 ounces each) sell on the Cococlectic site for $8 each.

CONTEST: One lucky Food Gal reader will win a sample gift box of chocolate bars from Cocoeclectic ($34 value). Entries, limited to those in the continental United States, will be accepted through midnight PST March 1. The winner will be announced March 3.

How to win?

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Category:Chocolate, Enticing Events, General, New Products | Comments (17) | Author:

The Surprise of Chocolate, Thanks to Alice Medrich

Wednesday, 12. February 2014 5:26

Coq au vin -- with the surprising addition of chocolate. Perfect for Valentine's Day.

Coq au vin — with the surprising addition of chocolate. Perfect for Valentine’s Day.

 

Love has a way of lurking in unexpected places, where we least expect to find it.

So, too, does chocolate.

Take coq au vin, that classic stew of chicken simmered in red wine. Leave it to the Bay Area’s baker extraordinaire Alice Medrich to create a version that adds unsweetened chocolate.

It’s from her cookbook, “Seriously Bitter Sweet” (Artisan), of which I received a review copy. It’s the new paperback edition of her 2003 book, “Bitter Sweet.”

The little bit of chocolate adds a subtle earthiness and meatiness, as well as body to the sauce.

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Category:Chefs, Chocolate, General, Recipes (Savory) | Comments (8) | Author:

A Toot to Tout Sweet

Friday, 24. January 2014 5:26

Tout Sweet's Nutella brioche.

Tout Sweet’s Nutella brioche.

If you need a pick-me-up of the sweet persuasion while shopping in San Francisco’s tony Union Square area, duck into Macy’s.

That’s where you’ll find Tout Sweet – past the racks of women’s sportswear on the third floor.

It’s the cute little patisserie by Yigit Pura, the first winner of “Top Chef: Just Desserts.”

Done up in gumdrop colors, it’s a cheery place to pick up a treat or to sit for a spell while enjoying coffee, a glass of wine or even a savory sandwich.

That’s exactly what I did one day recently when I bought a few things to enjoy later at home.

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Category:Bakeries, Chefs, Chocolate, Food TV, General | Comments (3) | Author:

A Chocolate Cookie That’s Almost ALL Chocolate

Wednesday, 11. December 2013 5:26

You won't believe how much chocolate is in these cookies.

You won’t believe how much chocolate is in these cookies.

 

Are you looking for a can’t-miss chocolate cookie to bake this holiday season?

Look no further than this beaut.

This is one of the most chocolatey cookies I’ve ever had.

Consider: There are 1 3/4 pounds of chocolate in them — and only 1/2 cup flour.

Leave it to Pastry Chef Belinda Leong of San Francisco’s incredible B. Patisserie to come up with these decadent delights.

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Category:Bakeries, Chefs, Chocolate, General, Recipes (Sweet) | Comments (12) | Author:

‘Tis the Season for Chocolate

Wednesday, 4. December 2013 5:25

TCHO Drinking Chocolate makes for an exquisite cup of chocolate goodness.

TCHO Drinking Chocolate makes for an exquisite cup of chocolate goodness.

 

Really, what would the holiday season be without some fine chocolate?

Not nearly as sweetly satisfying, that’s for sure.

Here are some recent samples that I’ve enjoyed trying that would make ideal stocking-stuffers for the chocoholics in your life.

TCHO Drinking Chocolate Crumbles

They look like little dusty pebbles of chocolate, but what’s in this canister of TCHO Drinking Chocolate Crumbles holds the key to one of the most luxurious tasting cocoas around.

Made by San Francisco’s TCHO chocolate company, this product is made from cocoa beans, cane sugar, cocoa butter, cocoa powder, lecithin and vanilla bean. Just add a couple of tablespoons to an espresso cup of hot water, and stir. The result is an incredibly rich, deeply chocolatey drink that will make you swoon.

You can enjoy the drinking chocolate either hot or cold. You can even use it to make a chocolate sauce to top your favorite ice cream.

A 250g canister is $11.95.

Brazilian Brigadeiros

Brigadeiros are almost like the chocolate truffles of Brazil. No wedding, birthday party, convention or holiday in that country is complete without them.

Brigadeiro.me has brought that traditional sweet to San Francisco. The company makes them with butter, condensed milk and Belgian chocolate. Choose from an assortment of flavors including lemon zest, pistachio, vanilla cookies and coconut.

A beloved Brazilian sweet comes to San Francisco.

A beloved Brazilian sweet comes to San Francisco.

They are quite soft and creamy. Less dense than fudge, the texture is almost like that of a very thick mousse.

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Category:Chocolate, General, New Products | Comments (11) | Author: