Forum Activity for @Casey

Casey
@Casey
03/28/08 08:56:20AM
54 posts

This Just In ...


Posted in: News & New Product Press

Terrorism act stamps out chocolate factory toursNationalROD MICKLEBURGHMarch 25, 2008VANCOUVER -- Except for crabby parents worried about their kids' dental bills, what could possibly come between children and chocolate?Step forward the U.S. Bioterrorism Act of 2002.Thanks to stringent food safety regulations imposed by the Act after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, "choc and awe" public visits to the famous factory operated by Rogers' Chocolates are no more.The Act applies to Rogers because the venerable company, by now a Canadian institution with its century-old store in downtown Victoria an official National Heritage Site, has a thriving mail-order business shipping individual orders of big fat chocolates to salivating customers in the United States.Print Edition - Section FrontSection S Front Enlarge ImageMore National Stories* Businesses applaud proposed immigration law* Ontario's Chief Coroner wants to restructure its operation* Powering down* Defence lawyer probes 'play hard' military culture* Ford called police night before arrest* As Emerson weighs options, Tories contemplate hefty loss* Go to the National sectionThe Globe and MailCompanies that export food to the United States are required to ensure there is no risk that anyone can tamper with their products, and who knows what a 10-year-old high on sugar might do."Our factory had school buses full of kids pulling up all the time. Sometimes seniors, too," Rogers' president Steve Parkhill said yesterday."They'd all been going through without the appropriate level of security. We found it just too onerous to take the measures we would have needed in order to comply with the regulations. So we stopped. It is sad, I grant you."The company's decision ended years of magical mystery tours that had entranced Vancouver Island kids with the up-close view of melting, dripping and pouring of chocolate, not to mention the sweet aroma and fresh samples at the end.Even though the tours were ended more than a year ago, e-mails asking for group tours of Rogers' factory keep coming in."They are very disappointed when we tell them 'no'. Most people seem to enjoy coming through a chocolate factory," said Mr. Parkhill, in a mild understatement.Late yesterday, however, an official with the U.S. Food and Drug administration said that Rogers' may have raised the security chocolate bar too high.Many of the food protection measures in the Bioterrorism Act are guidelines only. They are not strict regulations, spokesman Alan Bennett said."We issue guidelines and it's up to the companies to decide how to apply them. It's their decision, not ours," Mr. Bennett insisted. "I would encourage them to take another look."But the risky factory tours aren't the only fallout to hit Rogers' from bioterrorism fears south of the border.Just a few weeks ago, an FDA inspector halted a box of wrapped Rogers' chocolates at the U.S. border because the ingredients were not printed on the box.Mr. Parkhill said complying with that condition is tough for Rogers', since most U.S. orders are customized, with buyers asking for four chocolates of one sort, three of another, and so on."Tourists come into our Victoria store, have a 'wow' chocolate experience, then want to order some shipped home," he said."When you get an assortment like that, you can't list all the ingredients on the outside. So we suddenly got some grief at the border."This time, however, the suspicious chocolates lived happily ever after, as officials on both sides of the border eventually decided they posed no threat to security and were allowed to pass safely into the mouths of Americans.Rogers' is a company like no other. More than a hundred years after its founding by Charles "Candy" Rogers in 1885, chocolates continue to be individually wrapped by human beings, rather than machines. And the best-selling product remains the age-old Victoria cream.Local residents feel part of the Rogers' family. Obituaries often note that the deceased once worked for the company, and business developments are front-page news in the city.When Rogers' recently tried to launch renovations aimed at expanding its old-style heritage store on Government Street, an enormous outcry erupted. The plan is on hold.The chocolates are not cheap. They sell at upscale retail outlets across Canada, besides the half dozen or so individual stores Rogers' has in tony areas of Vancouver and Victoria."We make our large cream chocolate big enough to be cut into four, but no one seems to want to share them," Mr. Parkhill said. "Our chocolates have a time-tested flavour, from high-quality cocoa, and we have a consistent history of our brand meeting expectations."Except, perhaps, south of the border.
Casey
@Casey
02/29/08 01:24:08PM
54 posts

This Just In ...


Posted in: News & New Product Press

DeVries Chocolate #7 on Saveur magazine's annual top 100 listThe 2008 SAVEUR 100Our tenth annual 100 list offers a vivid snapshot of the widevery, very wideworld of food, zipping from the Ramadan markets of Kuala Lumpur to the kitchens of Montreal's vanguard chefs and a rustic Galician tavern that serves some of the finest octopus we've ever tasted. And yet, this year's 100 is also about celebrating the fresh and wild bountyedible weeds, anyone?found right in our own backyards. So, join us. The feast is about to begin. The Editors
Casey
@Casey
02/29/08 12:58:34PM
54 posts

This Just In ...


Posted in: News & New Product Press

Eat abandoned chocolate at your own risk!'Enjoy your trip' takes on a new meaningAugust 17, 2006, The MercuryThe Hague - Police at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport on Thursday released a warning for hallucinogenic dark chocolate bars after a homeless man ate one and confused their uniforms with wedding dresses."He ate some and we found him hallucinating", mixing up police uniforms with wedding dresses, police spokesperson Rob Stenacker said."Several days later he brought us another bar that he had just found and we passed it on to the forensic institute" of the Netherlands, he said.Tests showed the 72 percent cocoa dark chocolate contained psilocine, a mind-altering substance found in hallucinogenic mushrooms and considered to be a hard drug.Police later found more chocolate bars on the ground and in airport dustbins."They were very likely bought in the Netherlands and abandoned at the airport by travellers who didn't dare to take them on board (the plane)," Stenacker said.Police warned the public to be careful if they found any abandoned dark chocolate: "Don't eat it, you don't know what's in it. Imagine what would happen if a child ate it."The sale of hallucinogenic mushrooms is tolerated in the Netherlands in so-called "smartshops" but it is forbidden to turn them into other food products.
Casey
@Casey
02/29/08 12:48:46PM
54 posts

This Just In ...


Posted in: News & New Product Press

This box of chocolates is not quite the bombWoman robs bank branch in Olatheby Joyce Tsai, Feb. 12, 2008, KansasCity.comA woman holding flowers and a candy box that she claimed was a bomb robbed a bank and caused the evacuation of a SuperTarget in Olathe on Tuesday night.The robbery occurred at 6:35 p.m. at the Capitol Federal Savings Bank branch in the SuperTarget at 119th Street and Strang Line Road, FBI spokesman Jeff Lanza said. The woman walked into the store holding the flowers and a candy box, said Officer Vickie Smith of the Olathe Police Department.The box had protruding wires and she handed it to the teller, warning her not to put it down or it would explode.The woman demanded money and took cash from the tellers cash drawers and left the store in an unknown direction.Authorities were called, and they evacuated the store. An entire retail center, which includes other stores near the SuperTarget, was cordoned off by authorities for several hours until shortly before 10 p.m., Smith said. The bomb squad used its robot to pull the package outside of the store so it could be investigated.Authorities discovered that the package was an empty chocolate box with a voltage meter and wires sticking out of it, Lanza said.The suspect is described as a white female, 30 to 40 years old, 5 feet 5 inches to 5 feet 6 inches tall with chin-length to shoulder-length dark hair. She was wearing a tan or dark overcoat with a dark blouse, leather gloves and black fur hat, and was carrying a light-colored shoulder bag.There was no description of the vehicle the woman used.
Casey
@Casey
02/29/08 12:40:28PM
54 posts

This Just In ...


Posted in: News & New Product Press

Barry Callebaut to open Chocolate Academy in Chicagoby Renee Enna, February 2, 2008, Chicago TribuneChicago's reign as "Candy Capital of the World" has taken some hits as confectioners have gone out of business or moved away over the years. But Chicago's sweet reputation will get a bit of a lift with the news, reported in Crain's Chicago Business' ChicagoRealEstateDaily, that the international chocolate company Barry Callebaut A.G. is opening a Chocolate Academy here.Crain's reports that the Swiss company plans to open the culinary school for professionals in June. It will be its first in North America (there are nine Chocolate Academies worldwide) and located in the firm's corporate headquarters at the Montgomery Ward building, 600 W. Chicago Ave.
Casey
@Casey
02/16/08 11:09:40AM
54 posts

Is It Okay (Really) To Say You Like Milk Chocolate?


Posted in: Opinion

Fun article in the Times. There was this amusing article on chow earlier about snobbery and people who are ashamed to say they like milk chocolate, and a funny anecdote about how the Berkeley Chocolate Club who refused to include milk bars in their tastings was in for a surprise! I also wrote some thoughts on this on my blog. As to my current favorites, Java by Bonnat, (have not tried the other two,) Cluizel Mangaro, and Slitti Lattenero 52% (have not tried the other precentages, glad to hear they are great) -- now there's a bar for every day eating. And I'm a big fan of Santander Colombia Nacional in every form, including the milk. I have heard that the Plantations 38% is up there, this is the first I've heard of the Felchlin. Anyone heard of the Guittard Cru Sauvage Lait? Heard great things, but seems it is no longer around.
Casey
@Casey
11/16/08 07:12:48PM
54 posts

Chocolate videos


Posted in: News & New Product Press

New videos added, Alice Medrich and Rogue Chocolatier.
Casey
@Casey
02/13/08 06:43:44PM
54 posts

Chocolate videos


Posted in: News & New Product Press

Here are a few interesting videos from around the net that cannot be directly embedded into the video forum.Two chocolate technique videos from EpicuriousHomemade chocolate tutorial from Artisan SweetsJacques Torres tour, technique demos, etc.Rogue ChocolatierOn Martha Stewart. Tour of how this small bean to bar maker operates.Scharffen Berger tourAbout Taza chocolateScharffen BergerJohn Scharffenberger tutorial on making chocolate at homeAlice Medrich makes spicy brownies
updated by @Casey: 04/09/15 10:47:54AM
Casey
@Casey
02/13/08 02:15:49PM
54 posts

Inside Rating Systems


Posted in: Tasting Notes

This is cross posted from my blog, The Chocolate Note. There is a limit on length of forum replies, to read the entire post go here.While I respect the opinions of other writers and enjoy reading their reviews and celebrate the diversity within the field, like everyone I do have my own opinion.Although I use numbers, I do not use a weighting system in the same way chocolate is rated at 70%, as I feel that chocolate and science do not go hand in hand, except at the level where high art meets high science, in other words -- alchemy. Alchemy is what creates chocolate -- mother natures hand and the hand of an artisan together create that which we know as chocolate. Therefore, a true rating system created by a great alchemist would be far more complex than the little charts used by 70%.Perhaps neither I nor any other chocolate writer are actually up to the task. So what we are dealing with is opinions. Chocolate is a complex and mysterious elixir created by nature, and one that science readily admits that it knows nearly nothing of. Therefore I submit that chocolate is too big to fit those narrow categories in the weighting system.I do not use texture, snap, or appearance in my evaluations of chocolate. In my view these things are fun and interesting, a part of the packaging if you will, but not an essential component of what chocolate truly is. It seems to me that, while I may enjoy a good snap or sheen as much as the next person, they are almost a separate art form or category which should be considered as something different than the basic question of what is the true quality of a chocolate.I also believe that the same person can taste the same chocolate at different times, and depending on what they are really in the mood for, and other subjective factors, and come up with different ratings. This is just part of the mystery that is chocolate, and that is a person. Neither are machines. So I dont think a linear and empirical rating will quite work.The process by which I rate chocolate is still evolving. For chocolate bars that are not flavored, at this time I am giving a rating to the aroma, one to the taste experience, and another to the finish. I then take an average of the three. Right now I am playing with the idea of possibly giving each rating individually instead of taking the average of the three, but am at the moment still combining and giving one overall rating to each chocolate. For filled chocolates and flavored bars, I come up with one rating based on the overall experience.Perhaps it is simply a matter of my own personal right/left brain balance that I choose to use numbers, yet with a more subjective system. I say subjective in quotes because really, isnt it all subjective, isnt that what we are here for?Yet a word system might just be a little too subjective for my blood. I feel that whereas a very good could be so differently interpreted, an 8.6 is pretty clear. However, with respect to all kinds of minds, here is a rough translation:9-10 supreme/excellent/ superb/fantastic/heavenly/sublime8-9 very good/excellent7-8 good/very good6-7 pretty good/good5-6 okay/pretty good4-5 just there/okay/mediocre3-4 pretty bad/bad2-3 awful1-2 really disgusting0-1 inflicting injury/dangerous/poisonIf I am using numbers but not strictly using math to come up with them, then why do I use decimals? Why do I say 8.6 instead of just jumping from 8 to 9? Well, because sometimes chocolate is just better than an 8, but not really quite a 9. And I guess because my mind likes math, 8.5 is not good enough either, no, its closer to 9 than that, but not much.
Casey
@Casey
02/27/08 05:30:12PM
54 posts

Where to Buy Tools for Working with Chocolate


Posted in: Classifieds

Hobby grade molds for the home confectionerCandyland CraftsCyberTrayd
Casey
@Casey
02/02/08 11:51:00AM
54 posts

Where to Buy Chocolate


Posted in: Classifieds

So far I have done my main online shopping at Chocosphere and At the Meadow. But would like to explore others, hoping to learn of more here!
Casey
@Casey
02/02/08 12:04:45PM
54 posts

Bonajuto Sicilian chocolatier


Posted in: Opinion

Have heard of these also, and have been curious. Antica Bonajuto bars are available through At the MeadowI have also heard great things about the cardamom bar. Would like to know more about what the other brands of similar Sicilian chocolate are. This from the Meadow website:"Antica Dolceria BonajutoThe Bonajuto family of Sicily has been making great chocolate since 1827, but not the kind youre accustomed to. Bonajuto is grainy and uneven in texture, magnificently complex in flavor. The family processes the cocoa at low temperatures, which accounts for the grainy texture and preserves the chocolates antioxidant properties. The preparation of this chocolate, typical of Modica in Sicily, is directly descended from Aztec Xocoatl. It was introduced to Europe by the Spanish in the XVI Century, who had learned the process from the marvelous Meso-American people.Since 1880, the Antica Dolceria Bonajuto continues to make this chocolate with the same ingredients and methodology that was passed on from the ancient Aztec civilization. It was 1880 when Francisco Bonajuto, following the tracks of his father, opened his small confectionery bottega immersed in the wonderful baroque of Modica; from that one bottega they began to produce exquisite chocolate of Arabic origin and Spanish fruit of one secular tradition. It continued for years with passion and meticulousness activity in hopes to prevent the disappearance of the original art of chocolate. Today, Francisco would be satisfied knowing that the Dolceria Bonajuto is still where it was founded and still represents an important point of reference for the tradition and legacy to which he was so fond of."
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