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Saturday, October 26, 2002

better than mars but just as rocky. . .

tried the new cocoa pete's "truffles." i have to use the quotation marks, because these candies aren't really truffles -- the flavors i tried lacked the kind of centers we associate with truffles.

while the dark chocolate was marked 61% cocoa, and the milk 36%, i have to say that these are not european-quality chocolates, although they are step up from hersheys, nestle, or mars. but at nearly US$1 a truffle (or about US$3 a 1.8 oz. box), you'd be better off buying a bar of valrhona, which at my local upscale market is only 75 cents more for 3.5 oz!

mr. right, the arbiter of all things milk chocolate and a baby boomer who remembers the real malted milk ball, tried the milk-chocolate malted-milk truffle. the flimsy-looking packing proved strangely hard to open -- the connected "truffle" lumps are sealed in an inflated plastic pouch reminiscient of those used for electronic parts. i felt like i was opening memory modules.

breaking one of the lumps off at the weird "tunnel" that connects each to the next, mr. right revealed a hard-centered candy with inclusions of chipped malted milk. the chocolate covering was very tough and thick. while he reported that the chocolate itself was not much below a lindt-type milk chocolate, he found that the crunchy malted chips lacked any real taste. ouch! a thumbs down from mr. right.

i then tried the berry-berry dark chocolate truffle. this also was a firm-centered candy; so hard in fact, my teeth rattled as tried to gnaw a bit off. yikes! inside i found two or three tiny leathery nuggets of dried strawberry; the candy itself had no berry flavor, but was intensely perfumed with a cheap strawberry scent. the box claims it's a natural flavor, yet i felt like i was riding in one of those cabs where the driver is burning strawberry incense.

the caramel-coffee dark truffle was actually better. the caramel wasn't exactly liquid, but it wasn't hard and chewy like an american caramel, either. and while it didn't have an overwhelming coffee taste, a real coffee flavor was faintly detectable. the chocolate here was less boulder-like, making it almost enjoyable to eat.

however, the heavy, serviceable chocolate itself possessed only a 1-dimensional flavor, with none of the notes of a premium chocolate. it did have a long, pleasant finish, however, leading me to conclude that this flavor wasn't half bad. well, maybe that's only in comparison to the others we tried. . .

with this dismal trial behind us, mr. right and i looked at the last of the four flavors, the milk chocolate nut truffle. we just couldn't bring ourselves to do it this evening. esp. when i still have a nice dark pouch of dolfin 70% sitting next to my apple mouse.

now, the dolfin is based on plain old belcolade, the industrial belgian chocolate most used after callebaut. and yet it is so far superior! this 2.5 oz. dolfin bar was only $3.25 -- a much better deal than the cocoa pete's!

i appreciate that it's a far cry from the beer pete slosberg gave up for the candy business, and that it's aimed at the supermarket audience. however, i have to say, back to the drawing board, pete! still, i extend my thanks to bruce cole for sending them to me; here at bccy it's our job to taste all manner of new chocolates. we do it so you don't have to. . .

posted by fortune | 6:56 PM | top | link to this | | email this:   |

Friday, October 25, 2002

cocoa pete's arrives!

bruce cole of sautewednesday is as good as his word! he sent the cocoa pete's. i haven't had a chance to sample them, because i stupidly left the box at work as i ran out to yoga.

will rush back into work tomorrow to collect. but from a first look, the box/packaging is a tad flimsy. and the truffles, 3 to a box, are smallish lumps oddly connected by little tunnels of chocolate -- a mini-bracelet so to speak. unusual. . .

more tomorrow. . .

posted by fortune | 7:03 PM | top | link to this | | email this:   |

Thursday, October 24, 2002

songbird friendly espresso

and i may have found my songbird-friendly northern-italian roast espresso at the famed caffe appassionato in seattle. the appassionato is perhaps better known since bobby flay featured it on his show food nation.

the appassionato offers an organic shade-grown espresso at $10 for 10 oz. plus $6 2-day shipping. a little pricey. but worth a try. . .

posted by fortune | 6:00 PM | top | link to this | | email this:   |

Wednesday, October 23, 2002

brooklyn songbirds in danger -- or why the coffee you drink matters!

after reading this article, explaining that 1 in 4 species of north american songbirds are in
danger, i checked the ones from new york.

there i discovered that rare birds like the golden-winged warbler and cerulean warbler seem to sing in brooklyn's prospect park during the summer and winter in coffee country, central and south america. these warblers like to hang out near the edges of agricultural areas in shady trees.

traditionally, coffee is grown in fields overhung by large shade trees. nowadays, however, agri-business has been tearing up these shaded coffee fields and planting coffee varieties that don't need shade. so the birds are losing their important winter habitat. however, farmers who grow shaded coffee are eligible for a bird-friendly sticker, which offers them an incentive for protecting songbird habitat.

this is a coffee issue that truly affects us here in brooklyn. what we drink now determines what birds we will enjoy in prospect park next year. i'm now searching a nice northern-italian light-roast bird-friendly espresso. any recommendations? please post 'em in the comments below. . .

posted by fortune | 5:24 PM | top | link to this | | email this:   |

Tuesday, October 22, 2002

chocolate in the mail

here's a big shout-out to bruce cole, a.k.a. saute wednesday. bruce -- the truest sort of friend you could make via the internet -- has kindly sent me some of pete slosberg's new candies to try. these available-only-in-northern-california bon-bons should be interesting.

let's hope bruce sent the dark. i like the dark. mr. right is the milk eater around here. if he sent the dark, i will be one happy brooklynista.

here's standing on my head to you, mr. cole! these chocolates may be near-premium quality -- but i won't know until i taste 'em. don't worry, faithful readers; i'll report in full here. . .

posted by fortune | 7:44 PM | top | link to this | | email this:   |

Monday, October 21, 2002

pinocchio hot at eurochocolate

the theme this year at the prestigious eurochocolate festival is the movies. in the spirit, the hottest selling item appears to be dark chocolate pinocchio noses. wear 'em and eat. (i wonder if these will be available as souvenirs for the new film with roberto benigni? )

but sculptors are also producing large figurines of star trek characters. does this mean the piazzas of charming perugia, which hosts the event, are now dotted with life-sized vulcans?

another popular product line appears to chocolate for the body. attendees appear to adore the chocolate soaps, lotions, and hair treatments. in fact, i wouldn't mind wearing some chocolate in my hair myself. . .

of most interest is how this page's own chocolate hero, richard donnelly, is faring in the tasting competitions. will he be lucky enough to win yet another prize there?

posted by fortune | 5:59 PM | top | link to this | | email this:   |

Sunday, October 20, 2002

brownies gone; cookies up

yes, it's true -- mr. right ate the last of the brownies today and asked for another pan -- along with a batch of the famed chocolate chip cookies.

but today i just had time to make a big pot of turkey chile before yoga. so the cookies won't be seen until next saturday. . .also, since the zoka espresso paladino was such a bomb yesterday, i went back to the delicious batdorf & bronson dancing goat beans.

must keep mr. right all happy!

posted by fortune | 8:48 PM | top | link to this | | email this:   |

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