Sunday, October 31, 2010

Last Chance Chocolate Walk

Today is the LAST day you can order your tickets to join our Pilgrimage on the Nashville, Indiana, Chocolate Walk.  Tomorrow the prices go up by $5 so hurry and get online this Halloween and order your tickets before the price goes up or they sell out.



Some of our Acolytes will be going with us and your Chocolate Priestess is setting up a time and place to meet to carpool or at least head off together.  The website will tell you exactly what you need to do and also have lodging information if you need it.

Don't forget that November is a month of giveaways here on The Chocolate Cult.  Many of our Saturday Sacraments are going to include a chance for you to win the products being revealed to you.  So make sure you are a follower of us and that you return and read often, leaving comments for each contest.  Each Giveaway may have it's own rules but you must always be a public member of The Chocolate Cult and comment on those posts.  Go back to the post from yesterday to get started.  If you've won before, you can still enter, we do not place those sorts of limitations on our readers because we all want you to enjoy the Sacred Substance of Chocolate.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Chocolate Fun Giveaway

Not long ago, CSN.com connected me to do another review or giveaway.  Your Chocolate Priestess thought they might now since the last product I reviewed didn't get much praise.  However it turns out that they are an honorable company and they want fully honest reviews.  That means something to me in this period rabid lying and political or religious dogma masquerading as the truth or objectivity.  We here in The Chocolate Cult, and this includes everyone I've entrusted to be an Acolyte, take our pledge to be as objective as possible and do our research before writing anything for you, Sisters and Brothers. Thus when CSN.com contacted me wanting to highlight their barstools and adding a giveaway as well, I just had to do it.

First I received the same gift code that one of you will receive of $45 to use in any of their 200+ stores -- more details later on how to enter.  I used it to buy a chocolate game and a child's chocolate treat kit to review.   I was pleased that recently they must have changed policies because this code was automatically applied to the shipping and handling costs as well so just use it wisely if you win it.





 I use my gift code to buy a version of the "monopoly" type of game called "Chocolate-opoly". 






The game is laid out very much like the original as you can see on the board. Instead of railroads you win degrees of sweetness -- Unsweetened, Bittersweet, Semi-Sweet, and Sweet.  Instead of Utilities you can get monopolies on Cocoa Beans and Sugar.



The properties are color coded with 2-3 squares per color.  Their rent value goes up as you move clockwise around the board.  The front of the card gives the property and it's rent per additional chocolate you buy for the place.  The back has a fact related to the name of the property that we had fun reading outloud to everyone playing.





You can choose from 6 pewter token pieces: Chocolate Dipped Strawberry, Chocolate Chip Cookie (bite missing), Piece of Cake, Chocolate Chip, Cocoa Beans, and Hot Fudge Sundae.



Then there are the "Temptation" and the "Satisfaction" cards you may have to draw.  This is where the disappointment appeared in this otherwise fun game.  There are just too few of these cards considering that some of them ask questions you must answer as you risk your money.  If the game we played had lasted even a half hour longer, we would have gone through all the cards I'm sure and then we'd know the answers, at least those who played would.





The second item I got with my coupon code was the Sassafras Flower Pot Pudding kit that is for children age 5 and above.  But I thought my husband and I could figure out how much fun it was together so we tried it during one of his days off recently.






The kit comes with several things: two flower pots, two fake wooden flowers, a chocolate pudding mix that has enough product to make three of the pots easily, cookie crumb "dirt," and a recipe booklet that has a rhyming version and a regular version to follow.



The most complicated part of the process was mixing together mix (we used skim) and the pudding.  That wasn't very complicated at all and took maybe three minutes total.  Using skim milk didn't honestly make a difference in the texture of the pudding but did keep it fat free and lower in cholesterol.




Putting the "dirt" on top was a bit tricky because we had a ton of pudding and I filled it to the edge.  I used a little spoon and tried to spread the "dirt" easily around. 




Finally we put the fake flowers in and then even though the instructions didn't say to do this, we put then in the refrigerator for a few hours until we had dinner and then had these for a treat.  Aren't they cute?  The flower pots were easily washed and could be reused but since the flowers are on wooden skewers basically we aren't too use about reusing those.

Now for your chance to win and maybe try these products out for yourself.

To enter the $45 Gift Code Giveaway you need to be living in either the continental USA or Canada -- just company policy for CSN.com.  Then do the following:

1.  To enter you must be a public Follower of The Chocolate Cult either through blogspot, Facebook, or Networked Blogs.  I do check this each time so if you joined for the last contest then left us you must rejoin -- honestly why would you leave your Sisters and Brothers in Cocoa behind?  You can join in either of those three ways linked to on the left hand side of this blog.  Make certain that your listing as a follower includes a way for me to contact you directly by private email. If you win and I can't contact you, I'll move on to the next person in line.

2. Click on the company link above (barstools) or at their general site (CSN.com) and look for anything that might fit in a chocolate lover's house then let us all know what you found in a comment.

3.  You must leave a comment below by Midnight, Friday November 5, 2010.  Make sure I can email directly so I can contact winner. If can't email you, I'll redo the drawing until I get someone I can directly email. 

The order of your comments will determine your number for the random drawing so the first person to comment will be #1, the fourth person will be #4 and so forth.  The winner will be chosen using this random number generator.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Halloween Peeps 2010

When I think of Peeps, I think of marshmallow critters for Easter.  Colored marshmallows that always seemed a bit stale to me on those rare times that I had one.  They aren't something we seek out in my household nor did I really grow up with them as even a rare treat.

The folks Just Born, Inc, the makers of Peeps have been expanding their sales by expanding the holidays you can find their marshmallow treats during.  One of these is Halloween and this year I just happened to find two flavors of them at our local Marsh grocery store when I went shopping yesterday.  So I decided since they weren't that expensive, I'd buy them and review them for you all right before the creepy Sunday ahead of us.

There are two flavors I saw: Milk and Dark chocolate covered Peeps.  That's right.  Chocolate thus the reason we are looking at them.  Their nutrition facts are a bit different.  The Milk Chocolate has 10 fewer calories, 0.5 less saturated fat, 10mg more sodium, 3g more sugars, a touch more protein, a touch of calcium but less iron than the Dark Chocolate pumpkin does.  They both have chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, and cocoa in their ingredients.

They look noticeably different when you remove them from the wrappers as I hope this photo shows.  The Milk Chocolate one has a strong sugar sweet scent to it but also a cocoa essence as soon as I take it out.  The Dark Chocolate has had a bit of a leak and I can see orange sticky liquid on the bottom when it has a dent yet the scent is a much heavier chocolate combined to the the other.  This scent has me hopeful since as I said I've never been impressed by that which is the Peep in any form so far.




Inside they are each BRIGHT Orange -- I mean really orange.  However the insides mostly taste tasteless, slightly like sugar but not really like marshmallow to my taste buds.  The chocolate scent is not matched by the flavor either though the cocoa does come out most strongly at the end of a bite.  I like these better than plain Peeps but I can't see this going on our "must buy" list for next Halloween.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Firefox Chocolate Options

Recently, users of Firefox could chose a persona for their browsing.  In this case, the persona is the top and bottom of your viewer window that you'll see with some pattern that shouldn't interfere with anything else on your screen.  Note: the links are for the US but I'm sure if you use Firefox else where you can quickly find these.

Of course, your Chocolate Priestess had to check this out with the latest update.

I did a search for "chocolate" around 1:20pm on Thursday, October 28, 2010, and up popped 128 personas related to chocolate.  I looked through them all and I choose this one called "Chocolate-Chocolate-Chocolate" though I don't think it's related to the company that has sent us products as Sacraments.


I was also tempted by a few others as well.

Chocolate Rose:



Chocolate is a Girl's Best Friend:

 
So, have you all looked into adding a bit of calorie free chocolate to your day if you use Firefox?  Please leave a comment and let us know.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Godiva Halloween/Fall 2010

The second "gift" your Chocolate Priestess ordered this year for Halloween was from Godiva.com.  I have a membership there so I can keep up to date on their products and if I'm ever near one of their stores, I could get samples of products to review for you.  They had an offer for Halloween so since I was feeling generous and really want to keep my family and friends from the candy for the kids trick or treating, I needed some chocolates beyond what we were sent for the Challenge.

I ordered three Halloween lollypops because they were cute and would satisfy the tastes of several people.  One is a white chocolate pair of ghosts, another is  milk chocolate bat with some white chocolate dyed orange in the background, and the final one is a milk chocolate skull.  Spooky, huh?  Since I am saving these for Halloween itself I didn't want to unwrap them yet so you can see them packaged as they arrived.

I also ordered this milk chocolate leaf because goodness knows we are full of leaves right now in our yard.  I figured this I would save and do something for Thanksgiving with it, maybe combine it with the huge cupcake mold I got for my birthday.  This is  a large leaf with two full servings in it.  I think I'd have to lay it down or back it up with fondant to make it stand up on a cake.  What do you all think?

I ordered a box of their hot cocoa mix which I was disappointed in because it turned out to only have four servings in it -- two milk and two dark varieties.  Granted these are medium servings of 8 oz each but still only four servings for that price. Well, I hope it tastes great when I try it then review it for you all on two forthcoming Wednesdays.  Yup, our Wednesdays will turn into hot beverage reviews again once the weather turns cold.

Godiva often has limited edition truffles that change from season to season so I got a box of their fall 2010 version that has 10 truffles in it.  Glancing through the flavor guide I don't see 10 different flavors here, there are 11 on the little info packet, but I'll look more closely into that later once we've tried them.  I probably will not use these at Halloween but at a later date.

The special offer was a box of nine assorted chocolates in a spooky box.  The chocolates themselves are not Halloween specific shapes and that was disappointing, too.  I mean, considering how big a company Godiva is, couldn't they invest and make these shaped like skulls or witches or bats or ghosts or mummies or something?  As it is, I hesitate to set these our for Halloween because outside the box they aren't particular special looking for a specific holiday. 

Godiva Chocolate is Godiva Chocolate. Some people adore it but while I think it's very good chocolate I don't think it is the best I've had.  Small batch, freshly made, chocolates are often better but for a gift and for relatively high quality chocolate, Godiva can be a good choice.  I'd recommend if you have a store in your area (we do not) that you walk in and buy instead of order online that way you can buy more chocolate and spend less on shipping.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Newman Double Chocolate Cookies

With Halloween fast approaching you might wonder why I'd be reviewing cookies you can find in many large grocery stores or local food co-ops.  They were on sale and I had a coupon at our local Kroger.  We ate them a while back but as you may not know, I do pre-write some of the regular product reviews.

These are the chocolate sandwich cookies with a chocolate cream filling.  My family loves all the varieties of these that we've found and this wasn't our first time enjoying these, just the first time since I starting reviewing products for all of you, Sisters and Brothers.  The good thing about Newman's is that their donate some of their profits to charities we can get behind so we never feel bad about buying them.

There are 32 cookies in a bag so I do recommend you get them on sale or use a coupon if you have one.  Only 2 cookies make a serving of 130 calories composed of 1.5g saturated fat, 85mg sodium, 1g fiber, 10g sugars, and 2g protein with some iron. Not as bad as similar cookie from other manufacturers.  I thought these were delightfully chocolaty myself and the Milk Chocolate Acolyte liked them as well.  Frankly, if I've been watching what I've eaten the rest of the day, I didn't feel too bad about having two servings or four cookies.

The products are made in the USA and are certified organic.  Add that to the charity support and the taste and nutrition and I have to declare them cookies that I will certainly buy again and again.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Mrs. Fields Halloween

Your Chocolate Priestess had used a Discover Card cash back gift card to order a product from Mrs. Fields for that holiday to review for you all and so she thought she'd do the same for Halloween.  This is the "Grinning Gourd" I ordered because in order to use the e-certificate I had to place an order of at least $40 and inconveniently the prices jumped from $39.95 to $44.95. You see it in the photo next to the jack o'lateran our Milk Chocolate Acolyte made before it turned moldy -- YUCK!

Inside were 72 Nibblers of the no-nut variety that we could chose.  That presents the first disappointment.  I have a list of the Nibblers flavors and four of them are nut-free -- Semi-Sweet Chocolate chip, Triple Chocolate, Cinnamon Sugar, and Peanut Butter.  I'm betting that the folks at Mrs. Fields are confused like others are about peanuts.  They are not tree nuts, they are legumes, you know, like green beans.  They came in plastic sleeve groups of six cookies which is two servings of each type of cookie.

I laid them all out so you could see how many there were.  They all tasted really good, soft for days and days after opening for this photo.  That was good because not too long ago I got a Mrs. Fields pack in the cookie aisle of our Kroger and I did not like those cookies at all, they just tasted off for some reason.  With so many cookies we still have a fair amount of these for Halloween itself left.  The container is sturdy so we plan to add that to the Halloween decorations and use it year after year as well.

However I did want to mention that I had one other huge disappointment that means I will not be using another Discover Cash Back Bonus on Mrs. Fields ever again. After my order back for Valentine's Day, I was placed on the email list for the company.  After I got my e-certificate, which is basically a gift card, I received an email telling me about a set rate shipping and handle if I used this code.  So I decided that was a good deal and I went to order the Grinning Gourd.  I found out that I could use two special offers at the same time so I had to go with the more than double shipping and handling rate.  That really annoyed me.  How is a gift certificate a special offer?  Does this mean that if I gave such a certificate to a friend or family member they have to pay more for shipping even if they were on the email list and got an offer?  That just doesn't seem fair to me at all. 

Let's think about this, Sisters and Brothers, whenever an online or catalog has "special shipping offers" aren't they really saying that "we could ship these at a lower rate but we chose not to"?  I've ordered the same products using normal and "special" rates for shipping and I have never notice a different in the amount of time it took or the packaging.  Have you?

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Dreams for Charity

As you know, Sisters and Brothers, we are concerned about more than just taste, texture, scent, sound, and looks when it comes to chocolate.  When we hear that a chocolatier or a chocolate product might be benefiting some charity, we want to look into that.  Our old friends at Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate (guess what they sale?) who were one of the first chocolate makers to send us samples for sacramental review, are supporting the Shriner's Hospital for Children in St. Louis.  For the rest of October they will donate 20% of the sales of their new Dreams line to this hospital.  Now maybe you don't live in St. Louis or near there so let's look at this new chocolate and see if you may want to buy it for other reasons.

They sent your Chocolate Priestess two boxes, one of their Mint Dreams and one of the Fresh Fruit Dreams.  We'll start with the Mint then look one by one at the variety in the Fresh Fruit.  The Mint comes in a green box with lighter clouds on it and holds 16 pieces which measure 1.25 inches in diameter and are almost half an inch thick.  The ingredients start with chocolate but also include added flavor as well as milk, soy, and wheat if these are concerns for you. 

The disc is smooth and cool to my fingertips as I pick one up. They have more heft than I imagined they would.  Taking a bite I get the immediate taste of darker chocolate followed by a rush of cool and peppermint.  The very white inside oozes out slowly but feels very smooth on my tongue.  As the flavors settle they blend together and end in an over all tingling in my mouth that lasts a good minute or more after I finish eating it.   The blending of the flavors is very even and the overwhelming memory is of the tingling coolness.

The Fresh Fruit comes in a reddish purple box of 8 pieces that are larger at 1.5 X 1 X 1 inch in dimensions.  The ingredients are basically the same as in the previous box but with more added flavors and colors.





 There are four of milk chocolate and four dark chocolate pieces.  However, while you may notice a distinctive swirl on top that generally signals flavors there is not code provided either with the box or on the website.  The flavors inside might include Pomegranate, Orange, Lemon, Cherry, Key Lime, Raspberry, Blackberry, Coconut and Mint.

However when I cut them open I see that not all the flavors are present and that suggests that you can get the flavors in both milk and dark varieties but again that's my speculation not something on the website or literature with the chocolates.  Let's start with the four Milk one in the order of the photo starting at the top left  and working across then down.

The milk chocolates by scent and look seems to have blackberry, lemon, raspberry and orange.  The milk chocolate shells make a soft crunch when I take a bite since I cut them in half.  The blackberry has a very sweet flavor that ends on a slightly sour note, and no little seeds -- thank goodness.  The lemon has almost no scent but it has a definite, sharp kick to the flavor that blends almost perfectly with the creamy milk chocolate.  The raspberry's scent faded quickly after I cut the piece open.  The inside is more solid than the other pieces and the tartness is very sharp yet the creamy chocolate is the final flavor I taste.  The orange is very much a sherbet flavor with a sharp tartness on top of the sweetness hidden inside a mostly solid yet slightly grainy textured center.  The orange almost overpowers the milk chocolate though that flavor returns at the end of the piece as I enjoy the flavors naturally fading in my mouth.

The dark chocolates by scent and look seems to have raspberry, cherry, key lime, and strawberry.  The dark chocolate raspberry is more liquid than the milk version but equally sweet and tart; the bitter darkness chocolate nicely blends and reminds the primary flavor.   The cherry is the most liquid of the centers and it just flows out after I cut it meaning I have to scoop it up on the piece to get the full experience. It has a sharp, candy like sweetness to it and the cherry center is rather sticky but it blends quite well until the bitter dark chocolate becomes the final flavor.  The key lime is a bright green and semi-solid, oozing very, very slowly after I cut it.  It has no scent beyond the dark chocolate but a definite key lime essence as I chew it that holds its own well against the chocolate though once more the chocolate wins.  The strawberry is the second most liquid like center but it mostly stays in the dark chocolate.  It has a semi-sweet strawberry flavor that mixes well at first with the dark chocolate but then is replaced by that wonderful bitterness.

Over and over the dark chocolate was the dominant flavor in those four pieces and here on The Chocolate Cult I have to say that is a good thing.  The milk chocolate could hold its own and that makes it wonderful as well.  Two reasons (flavor and charity donation) to check out the Dreams chocolate line from Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate. Which one is going to draw you to their site or their store in the next nine days to try out this new worthy Sacrament?

Friday, October 22, 2010

"Good" Halloween Candy

When you go out to buy Halloween candy something we all think about is "do we like it" as well as "is this a good buy".

Other things might matter as well.  In one of our Halloween Sacraments we mentioned how supporting some brands is a way to support charities.  We often talk about fair trade, eco-friendly packaging, and sustainable agricultural practices.

A news report caught my eye on Tuesday but I all ready had a post out and had a Special Sacramental Review scheduled for Wednesday; I like to give the companies who've entrusted us to reveal them to you two days of solo notice.  So today I want to talk about other concerns  you might want to think about.

The report that caught my eye was here at PRNewswire.  It revolved around a scorecard recently released that ranked chocolatiers on how well they are supporting various social, political and economic goals for cacao growth, production and consumption.

This is the link to the actual scorecard mentioned.

Let's look at some realistic issues raised for Halloween by and in this scorecard.

How many chocolate makers are listed?  I count only 15 and I doubt that is even scratching the surface of the number of chocolatiers out there whom you could purchase chocolate from.

How many of these offer bite-size candy? This is important because unless it fits in with what you'd normally hand out, it is very unlikely you will switch.  8 of them make bit-sized candy, so less than half.

Of those, how many are likely to have Halloween treats?  For each company I didn't recognize for having Halloween treats, I went to check.

Coco-Zen has three types of Halloween specific treats.

Sweet Earth Organics has six types of Halloween specific treats.

Of course we've looked at the Halloween treats from Sjaak's and Equal Exchange which are also on the list -- you can find those reviews on this blog using our search feature.  Most recently we talked about TerraSource's charity treats that are easily used for Halloween giving and they aren't even on the scorecard.

Oddly Kraft, Mars, Hershey, and Nestle are the list but not for offering seasonal items which we know they do.

How much more expense are the higher ranked chocolate makers?  Sadly in times of economic downturns this may be the most important factor for most of us. 

Fair trade, green and eco-friendly agriculture and shipping always costs more in terms of the cash you have to lay out now.  Some people can't see the future costs because these are hard to layout clearly.

My advice is to do what you can, buy the greener, fairer products when you can and use those in place of the less social/political sound chocolates which also tend to be more full of additives and preservatives.  Consider cutting back on how much candy you hand out to save money.  For example, we allow one piece per child not handfuls or 2-3 pieces like other households do.  If you cut back then you could switch and try a few of the more expensive now but conscious options.

Let me know if you've tried any of these chocolates yourself and what the reaction was at your Halloween parties and from trick o'treaters.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Chocolate Eyeballs Halloween 2010

Of all the things we received for our Halloween Treat Challenge this year, the most creepy in terms of looks had to be from Sweet Mona's in the form of their "I only have eyes for you" Truffles.  This 7.5oz box came to your Chocolate Priestess and I was excited to open it but first I wanted to think about the other "eyeballs" I'd seen all ready in the store for this holiday.  Without exception, so far, the "eyeballs" I'd seen were really balls of chocolate or worse waxy pseudo-chocolate wrapped in something that looked like a blood shot eyeball.  Of course for Halloween parties you've probably heard you can peel grapes and people close there eyes.  I was hoping what I'd see in the box would be better than either of these options.

Opening it up I had to blink because, of course, some of the truffles had turned during shipment.  I righted them all and they certainly looked like eyeballs, blood-shot yet calm, staring up at me.  These are the real deal in terms of chocolate with milk chocolate and white chocolate that fully meets our Cult requirements to be called our Sacred Substance.    In terms of allergens these have milk and butter so dairy which is also a concern for vegans.  I don't know what the nutritional values are but I think given the holiday use, that's fine just don't go popping them like grapes.

These are almost perfectly round with a 0.75 inch diameter.  We ate the light, seaform green eyeballs first.  They have a very creamy scent from the white chocolate layer surrounding all by the iris which is dyed white chocolate and appears to be set into the white with a dab of darker chocolate for the pupil.  The blood-shot effect is more of a pink color and is raised off the surface making it extra creepy to hold in your hand and feel with your eyes closed -- something I highly recommend you have a friend do before letting him or her open their eyes.

The white outer shell breaks easily and quietly to reveal the milk chocolate center that I hope this photo shows.   Part of the white cracked when I bit it in half though I suspect some of you, Sisters and Brothers may be tempted to just put the entire thing in your mouth I urge you to at least take this half bite for your first one so you can explore the creamy yet slightly bitter center.  The degree of creamy and bitter was surprising but then high quality chocolate with little added flavors can have this dual nature.  Is the on the same level as the truffles we've reviewed from Island Angel in the past before they became Sweet Mona's?  No, but for novelty chocolates they are head and shoulders above the competition.

Looking for higher quality but creepy treats for your Halloween?  I have to say that these impressed us almost as much as previous samples from the same chocolatier.  The eyeball truffles deserve a stamp of approval for a Halloween specific Sacrament.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Halloween Advice from The Chocolate Cult

This is, in part, a recap of the advice your Chocolate Priestess laid out last year. 

I want to know if any of you, Sisters and Brothers, have been using this advice this year.

I also want to talk about how I followed -- or haven't yet followed -- this advice myself.

1.  Buy at least two types of candy if you are welcoming trick or treaters to your home.



Above is the pile of candy we ended up buying for our trick o'treaters this year.  A  lot more than 2 types, right?  In fact, other than the Butterfingers, each bag is different for a total of 18 bags of candy, 17 different brands or types of candy.

2.  Buy only what those in your household like.



I didn't just go by my memories of what we each like, I asked as we shopped.  At least one person in the household, often all three of us, liked each type of candy. Or we believed we did.  We honestly don't buy candy that often, especially the big mass producers anymore since I have a lot of reviews.  We'll buy a small quantity of something new or we might get something as a gift, but we just don't randomly grab candy at the check out lines any more.



As a personal note, none of the candy we bought is only liked by me.  Thus I have a built in buddy to share with so I don't go crazy eating candy myself.

3.  Compare prices before you buy bulk.




I looked through fliers but I also went into stores around me including Kroger, Marsh, CVS, Kmart, and Target.  For the variety I wanted and for the prices, I personally chose Kroger and just get these during a big but regularly scheduled shopping trip.

4.  Use coupons and consider sales.


This drove my family crazy because I had to organize the coupons and then we went looking for the varieties on the coupons as well as comparing prices.  Yes, it took a lot more time than just grabbing bags but I also saved us a total of $7 or about two bags worth of Halloween treats.

5.  Hide the candy until right before trick or treating or party time.


That huge pile of candy, after we took photos, went into our Halloween box and back down to the basement.  That box will be brought up a day or two before Halloween.  If we want any of that candy, we have to go down a couple flights of stairs and dig around for them.  Result -- we won't do it.

6.  Watch your own treating on Halloween.


I set aside the candy for handing out and since we don't have kids, we don't have to worry about bringing more candy inside the house.  For those of you with children, please leave a comment telling us how  you control how much candy you end up with post Halloween.

7.  Eat other food on Halloween.

This is so important.  If all you eat is the candy your body will pay for it the next day and maybe the day after.  I'll remind everyone to have a breakfast and lunch, we'll do something for dinner, maybe a pizza or something more homemade, but I'll make sure there are options and not just candy.

8.  Track what you use.

Last year, we had 127 trick o'treaters that came to our house.  Sometimes it was a non-stop flood of kids and their parents.  I'm sure I got more than enough candy for that number and our numbers can vary by as much as 20+ kids depending on weather.

9.  If you are throwing a party, think higher class treats.

We aren't throwing a party but we have invited friends to stay and join us in checking out the costumes and handing out candy.  All of the entries to the Halloween Treat Challenge 2010 will be offered to the adults there doing the handing out.  I'll be using their input to name our winners that night.

10.  Store the leftovers.


Of all of the candy we bought, here's the photo to remind you, I'm 100% sure we will have some leftovers.  These I'll store and then use in cookies, bars, cupcakes and other goods I make for the next several months. I'm positive some of our Christmas party goodies will feature broken up pieces of some candy.


However I'll also get some of the leftovers out on our Saturday indulgence days.  For candy that only one of us likes, if any of that is left, then I'll give that person the leftovers.


How have you planned for Halloween this year, Sisters and Brothers?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Chocolate Walk 2010 Price Increase Soon

A reminder that the Pilgrimage to the Nashville, Indiana, Chocolate Walk is soon to see an increase in the price.  Currently it is $15 a person to go and visit 31 different locations in the lovely artist colony.  You can even carpool and walk with other Sisters and Brothers, Acolytes and even your Chocolate Priestess at this event if you send an email telling us you want to do that.

Saturday, November 13, 2010, starting at 10am until 5pm.



The price goes up $5 starting on November 1st and last year they sold out their tickets.  So don't wait, visit them and get your tickets now.

Then leave a comment saying you have done so and send yours truly an email (thetammyjo via a gmail account) if you want to join the carpool or the pilgrimage and have even more fun and fellowship with the Cult.  We plan to be at the start of the walk by 10am sharp, take our time, have a nice lunch and keep doing until we've visited all of the sites and sampled all of the chocolates.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Share More than Candy On Halloween

Last year one of the entries into our annual Halloween Treat Challenge as a chocolate which also gave back to charity.  This year another chocolatier, TerraSource, also sent us their charity "Share Squares" that help with the charity Solar Cookers International which enables people to cook more safely with little damage to the planet.  Unfortunately I don't see on the website how many little packages of these squares you get for becoming a sponsor -- how many pieces are in a set?

The Share Squares come two to a little bag and are made of organic, fair-trade, vegan, gluten and soy free 70% dark chocolate.  WOW!  Other than people who are allergic to our Sacred Substance itself, I'm not sure who couldn't eat these.  The bags themselves are labeled "compostable" so you also take care of the planet in this way.  Solar ovens do not burn any type of fuel so they do not use up a natural and limited resource. Furthermore they don't smoke which is a big danger to the health of women around the world who do most of the food preparation for their families.

Each square is a bit more than 1.25 X 1.25 X 0.2 inches in dimensions.  On one side they have an etching of a cacao branch with a cacao pod on it.  I took this picture with the flash so you could see the etching but the chocolate is dark not reddish in color.  These have a very dark chocolate scent when I remove them from the bag.   They are light to hold and I'm not sure how much these two squares weigh.  Eat chew is crunchy and the chocolate is nicely bitter and earthy as it melts in my mouth.  This is a very pure chocolate with no added ingredients so make sure you enjoy darker chocolates before buying this.

That raises the only concern I have about these as candy to give out for Halloween.  For adults and perhaps older teens, dark chocolate often works though some people frankly prefer milk or white chocolate.  For younger children darker chocolates are generally too bitter for them to enjoy.  So your target audience for these treats needs to be older.  The packaging makes them good for Halloween but for any gift giving really.  With the support for a worthy charity and the purity of the buzz these create, we have to declare these a good Sacramental choice

Friday, October 15, 2010

Fall Must Mean Fudge

Ah one of the things about the fall and winter that I think of is fudge.  True, you can make fudge or buy it almost any time of year any more and as you may recall from a long photo post I did last year, some towns are full to overflowing with fudge shops.  When people come to the college town I live in though they don't think fudge and yet we have fudge shops if you know where to look.

My friend razzle and I went out a few weeks ago and as we were driving to her house I noticed Dillman Farm which also has an online store.  After hanging out at her place we went back and stopped in to take a look.  They sell a lot of fruit and veggies, preserves and jams, things of that nature but they also have a fudge shop called Cookhouse Fudge.  I didn't have my camera but perhaps in the future the folks out there will invite your Chocolate Priestess back and she can do an interview, a photo shot and a featured review.  Today you'll just get to look at the fudge I bought.

This photo didn't turn out so well I think because of the dark label and the darkness of the fudge inside. This is an interesting container that has a sealed side you break to lift the lid off but it can be snapped back on as well.  It holds 8oz of fudge that they make right there in the kitchens behind the counter where you check out.  You can get samples but I knew I had to try the dark chocolate and this was the smallest amount I could purchase it in.

The fudge looks very thick but it was fairly easy to scoop out with the little spoon that came with it.  You can see me take that first or second scoop.  I can't remember because it was so good. Now it was not as rich as other fudges that I've reviewed here and frankly I think that's a good and a bad thing.  It's good because I could really taste the chocolate, it wasn't hidden under huge quantities of fat and sugar that is very common when you make fudge.  However because it didn't taste so rich it was easy to just keep eating and I tried, I really did to practice moderation, Sisters and Brothers but I must confuse, I faltered with this one.

Obviously we aren't growing the cacao trees here in Indiana but nonetheless this has cocoa, chocolate liquor and cocoa butter so very much chocolate.  It does have soy and milk both if that is a concern for you.  I'm really glad razzle and I stopped.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Cookies & Blondies for Halloween

We've revealed products from The Protein Bakery before here on The Chocolate Cult.  They had a new fall flavor in two forms that they believe could be great Halloween treats so we will reveal their new cookies and blondies to you as part of our annual challenge.  These treats come in individual plastic wrapped treats that each contain one serving so no false sense of taking care of your health by munching on a package only to discover it is actually more than a single serving.  That annoys your Chocolate Priestess when companies do that.

The Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies are two to a serving.  This obviously has tree nuts but also soy and dairy products if you have those common allergies.  It does not have wheat however though it has cinnamon and eggs.  These two cookies are 120 calories, 4.5g saturated fat, 25mg cholesterol, 80mg sodium, 1g fiber, 10g sugars, 4g protein, with some calcium, iron and vitamin A.  These have a very strong pumpkin scent to them and the cookie looks nice and soft.  The cookie is indeed soft when I take a bite but the large pieces of walnut are crunchy.  The pumpkin is really the dominant flavor with the chocolate chips a distant after thought.

The Pumpkin Walnut Blondies do not have any chocolate of any type in them so I can't honestly review them here for The Chocolate Cult.  They are large however and have all the same allergens as the cookies.  I think they really needed some chocolate chips or maybe white chocolate chips like the cookies instead of the cappuccino chips listed on the ingredients.

The Protein Bakery has a range of cookies, blondies and brownies that are a bit healthier than most of the cookies you can buy out there. Many of these do have chocolate of various types so they are worth you checking out.  We've reviewed some of their flavors before so do a search for them under "Saturday Sacraments" or "Special Sacramental Reviews".

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Celebrate Fiji Day with Chocolate

Fiji Day is the end of a week long festival in Fiji that marks the islands' liberation from English rule. Why am I mentioning this at all here on The Chocolate Cult?  Your Chocolate Priestess found out that one of their official symbols is the the cocoa pod.

The Fiji islands have a a tropical South Sea maritime climate which makes it perfect for growing cacao.  As you may recall from other posts on this site, cacao is very picky about weather so there are limited areas of the world where a serious crop can be grown. 

Here is the official description of Fiji's coat of arms from their government website: "Fiji's National Coat of arms consists of the images of two Fijian warriors on either side of a shield and the motto "Rerevaka na Kalou ka Doka na Tui" below the shield. These words mean "Fear God and honour the Queen." The shield from the coat of arms has the image of a heraldic lion holding a cocoa pod across the top. Sugarcane, a coconut palm and bunch of bananas are represented in three of the shields sections. The fourth contains the reproduction of a dove of peace, the main feature, of the Cakobau Government's flag before cession."

Fiji is a multi-cultural nation that honors several religions and traditions even though their official language is English likely because of British control in the past.  Cocoa production is a fairly recent agricultural development though the coat of arms suggests it was important for local consumption for a very long time.  Currently Fiji is a small player in the global market but as chocolate prices rise and climate change affects where our Sacred Substance can be grow, they may become more important.

We here on The Chocolate Cult would love to try some Fiji chocolate so if anyone out there knows of a chocolatier or company who uses their cacao, please leave us a comment and let us know.

To learn more about Fiji, visit their official government website.  Then leave a comment letting us know if you marked today with a special chocolate salute to their nation.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Brazillian Chocolate Treats

Chocolate is popular world-wide and I am always delighted when someone outside the lower 48 states sends us a sample or someone uses an older tradition or non-American or European approach to our Sacred Substance.  Thus when the folks from Obrigadeiro in Minnesota told me that they create a Brazilian treat they and decorate it for Halloween, I knew we had to try it.  It came in a fairly unfancy brown box that we've received other gifts in.  It makes me think this must be a sort of standard chocolate gift box someone out there makes.

Inside were 16 pieces of their traditional flavor Brigadeiros in their "Fall Collection".  These were covered in chocolate and orange jimmies to make a very Halloween like tableau.  There are eight different flavors  you can choose from but the traditional is simply chocolate fudge like treat covered in milk chocolate sprinkles obviously of different colors.


I cut one black and one orange piece to give you a look inside and as promised these have a very fudge like look and feel, not truffles or bon bons at all even if they appear to be that way and are often compared to those more European style chocolates.  The odd thing is that these do not have a strong scent but then as I thought about it I realized that fudge often does not have a strong fragrance either especially if you let it set out for a few minutes.  The jimmies are very crunchy but don't add much to the flavor.  These are semi-soft and a lighter feeling compared to most fudge.  They have a very earthy and almost coffee like essence to them but still very chocolaty.  They basically can melt in your mouth if you let them.  The colors of jimmies do not represent a different flavor -- yes, I tried one half of each to be certain.  The combination of textures, the sweet almost mocha flavor and the light cocoa and sugar buzz makes these a delightful treat.

If you want to try a sample of Portuguese or Brazilian inspired chocolate you want to try Obrigadeiro.  I was thrilled that their website includes information about this candy and the politics which inspired it.  You should plan to spend a good twenty minutes or so just reading their website for these historical and cultural facts.  The quality, the jimmie colors, and the uniqueness of these make this another worthy Sacrament you should check out, Sisters and Brothers.