« April 2007 | Main | August 2007 »

July 20, 2007

Starbucks and chocolate

So, it seems that Starbucks will be going into partnership with Hershey's to bring more chocolate-based items to their stores. One of the first products emerging form the partnership will be a hot chocolate drink. Considering my reaction to Starbuck's first attempt at a chocolate drink, I'm not too sanguine about the prospect of getting something that will qualify for being a good chocolate drink.
However, even putting the quality of the purported drink aside, I'm not quite sure whether to be happy or sad about the popularization of chocolate these days. Considering the fact that cacao grows in a limited set of environmental conditions, and that the hardiest varieties of cacao tend to be the ones with lesser flavors, it's looking like we are in for a glut of mediocre cocoa beans because those are the ones who can withstand the demand.
Also, the bigger question about what such increased demand would do to the several poor and/or war-torn regions where most of the cacao is grown, remains. I wish I had enough confidence in the human race to say that increased demand for cocoa will cause less dissension and encourage peace so that everyone in the cocoa-growing regions will prosper. However, it seems more likely that increased demand will cause more repression and feed war more than any of the poor farmers growing the cacoa (like it supposedly did in the Ivory Coast).

July 18, 2007

Hot Chocolate on a stick

Well, maybe not on a stick but certainly in a stick. Apparently, Aimia, which produces some mainstream hot chocolate brands (Galaxy and Maltesers, neither of which I've ever tasted) is coming out with the equivalent of tea bags for hot chocolate, except that the bags are shaped like a stick. Well, anything that helps spread the hot chocolate mantra can't be bad, can it? Now, if only Dagoba or Green & Black's would come out with hot chocolate on-the-go products!

July 16, 2007

Why we love our mainstream chocolate makers

Cadbury's let salmonella get into bars -- gotta love 'em.

July 15, 2007

NYC Chocolate mini trip

So, I made a weekend trip to NYC to visit Bobby and Catherine. While there, we went to a couple of chocolate places (we used a NYC chocolate map downloaded offf the net -- Chocolate Guide Manhattan but there are others like Chocolate Obsessions map).

We went to Vosges first, which is by far my favorite chocolate bar store. They were out of the new bacon chocolate bar, which I had wanted to taste and so I was a bit disappointed. However, the store had just started doing floats! So, we tasted the 2 float combinations they recommended -- root beer with wattleseed custard ice cream and ginger ale with pandan dark chocolate. While both were great-tasting, the root beer with wattleseed won hands down for me -- it was a wonderful (but subtle) twist on the standard root beer float. We also sampled a few of the truffles at the store, and while I'm not a truffle person (too sweet), they were good, even the olive oil truffle which used "white chocolate" (an oxymoron if I've heard one and a concept that personally offends me).

After Vosges, we went to the upper east side to La Maison du Chocolat, where we decided to sit in the cafe and chill. We ordered a couple of hot chocolates, some macarons and relaxed. The place was deserted (on a Saturday afternoon) which seemed a bit weird to us, especially considering the current chocolate craze. However, busy or not, the hot chocolates were good -- rich, creamy and about what you expect from a european hot chocolate.

However, after the crazy goodness of the float, some trufffles and the hot chocolate, we were kinda full and decided to adjorn the chocolate tour for the nonce and continue onto other pleasures. I figure we are going to continue the tour next visit.