Calling All Chocoholics Who Love to Cook

Create a cutting-edge, imaginative recipe using fine artisan chocolate and diverse ingredients in the second annual “Chocolate Adventure Contest,” and you could end up thousands of dollars richer.

That got your attention?

Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker of Berkeley and know how to put a contest together. And yes, this one does stipulate you use Scharffen Berger chocolate in any one of three categories: sweet, savory, and beverage. One grand prize winner in each of those categories pockets a cool $5,000.

Contestants also are required to use at least one “adventure ingredient” from the following list: popping candy (unflavored or flavored), wattleseed, palm sugar, basil, mustard seeds, coriander, black sesame seeds, black or pink peppercorns, chili pepper (fresh or whole dried), coconut milk, kaffir lime leaf, matcha tea, mango, plantain, jicama, tapioca pearls (any size), tamarind (or tamarind paste), and/or cacao nibs.

It’s that simple, so get cracking. You have through Jan. 4, 2009 to enter online at

“When we started Scharffen Berger, we were the first ones in the United States to focus on bringing out the intrinsic flavors of cacao in our chocolate, and the first to highlight the importance of cacao by featuring its percentage on our label,” says company Co-Founder John Scharffenberger.  “Our goal was to enhance the way Americans thought about chocolate.  We’re looking for that same forward-looking spirit in this recipe contest.”

Entries will be scrutinized by a panel of chocolate experts, including cookbook authors Alice Medrich and Elizabeth Falkner, John Scharffenberger, and’s Lisa Schiffman. Recipes will be judged on originality, creativity, taste, and ease of preparation.

Each grand prize winner also will receive a copy of each of the judges’ books: “The Essence of Chocolate” (Hyperion) by John Scharffenberger and the late Robert Steinberg; “Pure Dessert” (Artisan) by Medrich; and “Demolition Desserts” (Ten Speed Press) by Falkner.

Additionally, winners will have their names and recipes announced on and in the Scharffen Berger e-newsletter.

Winning recipes in the 2007 contest included  Chocolate Wasabi Pom-Poms, made with pomegranate seeds coated in bittersweet chocolate and dusted with cocoa-wasabi powder; chai-spiced Dark Chocolate-Caramel Calzone, featuring semi-sweet chocolate, soft caramel candy, cardamom and coriander; and Grapefruit Madeleines with Rosemary-Infused Chocolate Drizzle.

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