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Who doesn’t love a delicious box of chocolates? It turns out that even bears can’t resist the allure of chocolate. Nor champagne for that matter. Check out this culinary bear encounter.
San Antonio Heights, Calif. (AP) — Deputies say a bear with an apparent sweet-tooth busted into a San Bernardino County home and gobbled up a box of chocolates from a couple’s refrigerator.
Sheriff’s Sgt. Tom Alsky says the couple arrived home Saturday afternoon, found the bear chowing down in their kitchen and phoned for help. The bear fled before sheriff’s deputies arrived.
Alsky says the animal appeared to have pushed aside vegetables in the couple’s fridge and gone straight for the two-pound box of sweets.
He says the bear also tried to open a bottle of champagne but was not successful.
Information from: Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, http://www.dailybulletin.com
Today, June 16th is National Fudge Day!
American style fudge dates back to the late 1880s. Surprisingly, fudge was popularized at Vassar College. Newspaper clippings from the day show its fashionability.
“Nearly every night at college,” said the Vassar girl, “some girl may be found somewhere who is making ‘fudges’ or giving a fudge party.” Fudges are Vassar chocolates, and they are simply the most delicious edibles ever manufactured by a set of sweetmeat-loving girls. Their origin is wrapped in mystery. We only know that their receipt is handed down from year to year by old students to new, and that they belong peculiarly to Vassar.
A letter written by Emelyn Battersby Hartridge, a student at Vassar College, is believed to be one of the first documentations of fudge. Fudge soon spread its chocolatey goodness to other colleges, as well. Wellesley and Smith had their own versions of the Vasser fudge recipe.
Here is Emelyn’s recipe:
2 cups granulated white sugar
1 cup cream
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon butter
Combine sugar and cream and cook over moderate heat. When this becomes very hot, add the chocolate. Stir constantly. Cook until mixture reaches soft-ball stage (234°-238°F). Remove from heat and add butter. Cool slightly, then mix until fudge starts to thicken. Transfer to a buttered tin. Cut into diamond-shaped pieces before fudge hardens completely.
A racing car powered by chocolate and made of vegetables! No, it’s not a typo. A British team from the University of Warwick has designed an environmentally friendly formula 3 racing car for the future. The diesel engine runs on biofuel made from waste chocolate and vegetable oil. Not only is the fuel sustainable, but the car itself is 95% biodegradable! The steering wheel is derived from carrots and other root vegetables. The wing mirrors are made from potato starch and flax fiber. The brake pads are from cashew nut shells.
Bringing sustainability to motor sports and to show that competitive racing can be environmentally friendly is a primary goal of the project. Unfortunately, current Formula 3 regulations do not allow for the use of biodiesel in competition. Hopefully that will change soon and we can begin to see environmentally friendly racing cars on tracks around the world. “Powered by chocolate” is a slogan I’d like to see more of.
A few months ago, I blogged about Louis-Philippe Loncke and his quest to trek from Katmandu to Everest base camp for the world’s highest chocolate tasting. Congratulations to Louis-Philippe, now embarked on his adventure, bearing chocolate goodies along the way. You can keep track of the journey (and make a donation) on the chocolate sherpa website http://chocolate-sherpa.blogspot.com/. It is for a great cause, to raise money for the Nepal mobile hospital, which provides medical care to those living in remote areas.
Could drinking chocolate really help improve your performance at mental tasks like math? According to a study presented at the British Psychological Society Annual Conference this month, it just might.
In the study, 30 healthy adults consumed cocoa drinks on different days containing 520 mg of cocoa flavanols, 993 mg of cocoa flavanols or a control drink. The participants were given a number of mentally demanding tasks to complete, such as counting backwards from 999 in threes.
On the days the participants drank the beverages containing 520mg or 993mg of cocoa flavanols they performed significantly better at the arithmetic task. They also reported being less mentally tired during the task.
Crystal Haskell of the Brain, Performance and Nutrition Research Centre at Northumbria University said: The drink rich in cocoa flavanols significantly improved aspects of cognitive performance and levels of fatigue during this mentally demanding task.
Flavanols are phytochemicals that have been linked to positive health benefits. Cocoa beans are known to be high in flavanols.
Cherries, whipped cream and chocolate! Time to celebrate another chocolate holiday. Happy National Black Forest Cake Day. For more photos and recipes, check out tastespotting’s collection here.
I recently read about Nontwenhle Mchunu and knew I wanted to blog about this amazing woman. Winner of the South African Businesswomen’s Association 2008 Regional Business Achiever Awards in the Social Entrepreneur category, she is looking to create transformation through chocolate. Her dream of transforming Africa’s position in the chocolate world goes hand in hand with changing lives as well. Through building a successful chocolate company, Mchunu is also looking to create jobs in the townships of South Africa (where unemployment can run 40%), expand vocational education to youth, as well as use only ingredients from Africa that have been sustainably produced.
Chocolate confection has long been the domain of Europe. Most people associate chocolate with countries like Switzerland and Belgium. What few realize is that the majority of the world’s cocoa beans are grown in Africa. However, Africa is not known for prestigious chocolate confections. Mchunu is looking to change this by creating Africa’s first premium brand, Ezulwini Chocolat, and for African chocolate to have it’s place alongside other world class brands.
What an inspiration to future entrepreneurs. Mchunu hopes her dream can be an inspiration for others to achieve their dreams. I look forward to hearing more about Mchunu and Ezulwini Chocolat in the future.
What to do with brewed chocolate when you aren’t drinking it? Be adventurous and experiment! Culinary genius extraordinaire, Hannah of BitterSweet, generously shared her own recipe for “Brewed Chocolate Cheesecake.” Be sure to also check out Hannah’s book, “My Sweet Vegan” for phenomenal recipes and photos.
Here is Hannah’s recipe and posting from her blog:
Brewing Up Something Sweet
Having thoroughly enjoyed a good number of cups of Brewed Chocolate since writing the review, it was only a matter of time before it became an ingredient in one of my desserts. Straddling the line between coffee and chocolate, it wasn’t hard to find complimentary flavors to pair with it… Namely, chocolate and coffee!
Letting the brewed chocolate shine in a simple cheesecake base, it would have been easy enough to make it like a traditional dessert, but after witnessing so many inspiring plated works of art being assembled, I simply couldn’t contain my desire to follow suit.
The “crust” is sprinkled on the side in the form of cocoa-coffee soil, veganized from this recipe just by using margarine instead of butter. A few drops of clear caramel sauce complete the plate, while the cheesecake itself is topped with whipped soy cream and a broken chocolate mendiant with cacao nibs. Pretty simple still, but a whole lot more fun than just a plain old cheesecake, if you ask me!
Of course, with extra cheesecake, I decided to play around with a second presentation, much more like an individual trifle. The soil is scooped into the bottom of a glass, which is then topped by smaller cubes of cheesecake, and then a whole mendiant. This is one that I can definitely see making again for a larger crowd, as it’s just as much work as making regular old parfaits.
You could certainly bake the crust into the bottom if you’d prefer, but this is one recipe that is delicious however you serve it. It only makes a very small amount, so if you’re planning on having company, I would suggest doubling the recipe and baking it in an 8 x 8 pan instead.
Brewed Chocolate Cheesecake
1 8-Ounce Package Vegan “Cream Cheese”
1/4 Cup Vegan “Sour Cream”, or Pureed Extra-Firm Silken Tofu
1/3 Cup Brewed Chocolate
1 Tablespoon Granulated Sugar
1 Tablespoon Cornstarch
1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees and lightly grease an 8 x 4 inch loaf pan.
Begin by beating the “cream cheese” in your stand mixer until soft and creamy. Add in all of the other ingredients, and mix thoroughly until completely smooth and homogeneous. Pour the cheesecake mixture into your prepared pan and bake for approximately 30 minutes, until set around the edges but still wobbly in the center when tapped. Let the cheesecake cool completely in the pan, and then chill, covered, for at least 2 hours until cold all the way through. Cut into squares or cubes and serve as desired.
Happy Valentine’s Day
We have chosen the winner of the year’s supply of Brewed Chocolate. Congratulations to Dana Stone! Thank you for sharing your romantic Valentine’s Day story. When I read your story, I felt butterflies, too!
My husband is Active Duty Army. One year when he was deployed he filled out an entire box of valentines for me….you know the little ones that kids give out in school? The ones with a mini-envelope?
Well, he wrote a sweet message on EVERY ONE. Some were silly and some were romantic…it took me days to open them all and I still find them tucked in books as bookmarks, on my desk, etc and it brings back the memories of the (what felt like) million little love notes!
My favorite one was “If I was really a kid in kindergarden and I really did like you, I wouldn’t send this card to you…I’d just throw a pinecone at you or pull your braids!” So now we always joke about throwing a pinecone at each other.
I hid cards in his bags (he deployed again last week) but I only hid a few…not the dozens that he sent!
What a sweet husband! I know he’ll love finding your cards, too. Feel free to share again. Thanks, Dana. We at Cabaret send our best wishes to you and your husband.
Thank you to everyone for sharing your wonderful stories with us. Happy Valentine’s Day.
In celebration of Valentine’s Day, Cabaret Foods is giving away a year’s supply of brewed chocolate. Here is your big opportunity to try the new way to experience chocolate, drinking it brewed!
Brewed Chocolate is a fundamentally new approach to chocolate – a beverage offered as a basic alternative to coffee, tea, etc. Made from raw, unground cocoa beans, the flavor is the natural taste of cacao, more like a chocolate tea than a traditional hot chocolate. Through sampling, we have found that brewing cocoa beans can bring out chocolate’s natural effects, e.g. mood elevation, stress relief, calmness, an increase in energy level.
To enter, simply share a favorite real life Valentine’s Day story. We all have that one Valentine’s Day story that we recount to friends for years. Now is your chance to not only share this story, but to also be one of the first to experience the enjoyment of Brewed Chocolate for a whole year. Stories can be any variety – romantic, funny, bittersweet, ironic, sentimental, etc. The winning story will be posted here on our blog.
To enter, e-mail your story to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your story in the body of the email. No attachments will be accepted. The submission deadline has been extended to February 13, 2009, 5pm PST. The winner will be chosen on Valentine’s Day, February 14th 2009. Full contest details can be found here. Continental US residents only.