The Chocolate Cult

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Is the Chocolate in this Movie Sweet Enough for Sweetest Day?

Today is Sweetest Day so in honor of that I'm going to review another Hallmark movie, this one is an original from 2019 called Love, Romance & Chocolate. While I'm not a big romance fan, you'd have to search my house to find a romance novel and when you found one is quite likely to be inverting the gender roles or at the very least not involve anyone at all being a virgin in any way. Some folks have called what I've had published romantic and I am certain that no one in that field of the writing industry would agree at all with that assessment. There are tropes to the genre and most of them I hate. I can enjoy when a book or movie acknowledges those tropes and goes out to upset them. Given that chocolate is in the title and should play a big part given the description of the plot, I was willing to give this movie a try.

At first I thought the lead actor looked like Jennifer Love Hewitt, but instead Emma Colvin is played by Lacey Chabert. Emma is an accountant... what? I thought the main plot was going to be centered around a chocolate competition. What would make an accountant qualified to go up against trained chocolatiers such as love interest Luc Simon played by actor Will Kemp? Lacey Chabert has over 150 credits on IMDb, wow, while Kemp has 40 which is the reverse of what I often see on, well, almost anything made for television on the big screen. Director Jonathan Wright has several TV movies and the Good Witch TV series to his credit while writer  Rebecca Schechter has more edgy TV series to her name than romance anything.

Let's see if I like it at all. 

I'm utterly confused by the first conversation. We see someone baking and someone working with chocolate in the opening scene; they are not the same person. Then we see a person with the box we see being filled who is Colvin, our main character, who we have been told in the plot is an accountant, bringing them into work. Someone she works with says these are her best yet while they watch some of the treats being photographed... what? What does that have to do with accounting? Why would an accounting firm be doing photographing food? It is in Bruges, Belgium about 20 minutes into the movie that we find out that the plot on IMDb is garage. Emma is not an accountant, she is a food stylist! 

The chocolate connection continues to be strong in the movie. Colvin and her boyfriend on going to Bruges,Belgium on a chocolate tour but he's got a job offer and breaks up with her. So Emma goes by herself and the decision was quick! I appreciated the Emma traveled light with just one suitcase. She's going alone so why bring more than she can easily carry. And this way she can get another bag to bring home any chocolate or other things she buys, right?

The plot moves quick in this movie. We see Luc not even 10 minutes into it as well as learn about the royal chocolatier competition. Once more IMDb failed because the plot was misleading. It implied that Emma and Luc were competing, as in against each other, but instead, Emma steps in to help Luc out when his assistant has complications with her pregnancy. There is a lot of magic hand waving going on here because of how quickly Luc agrees to let her work with him at Chocolatier Simon & Fils, and how quickly he accepts some (not all) of her ideas. There is a lot of gender role-playing going on too. Luc does a lot of mansplaining about chocolate and tasting that you know that Emma already understands, must understand as a baker, chocolate maker, and food stylist herself, yet she listens and acts like he knows so much. UGH! That's the crap I hate about the romance genre and patriarchy I hate.

One romance trope that this movie rejects the "they hate each other when they first meet" and I am grateful for that. While Emma and Luc don't fall in love at first sight, they don't dislike or hate each other at all. Even a minor dustup doesn't last long at all though miscommunications and the villain are still hurdles. Honestly this is more how most real life relationships work; why invest in the intense fighting until you have a lot more to lose and you have far more feeling invested?

Like many romances this one tosses our heroine a twist by offering her the villain who may actually be a better match for her. Max, who has a very modern chocolate shop, is also in the royal competition. At first, we think that Max is just about the surface, about what it looks like, but his chocolates also tastes good, they just aren't traditional flavors at all. I won't spoil the movie by telling how and when Max reveals his true nature but it happens a few times.

Since this is The Chocolate Cult, I must compliment this movie on the amount of chocolate and the role of chocolate in this film. Every ten to fifteen minutes (if not more often) we are either in a chocolate shop, tasting chocolate with the characters, or making chocolate with the characters.

I actually enjoyed this movie. That is rare for me with mainstream romance of any type. If you have seen it, I want to know what you thought about it, so leave a comment and tell me.

Thursday, October 14, 2021

What Ingredient makes a Dessert Your Favorite?

Today is National Dessert Day! 

Here on The Chocolate Cult, obviously chocolate is the most important ingredient for us all.

For our Chocolate Priestess, dark chocolate is really what makes it possible for a dessert to be in her favorites category. Cocoa powder and a lot of it, can do the same thing to some desserts as dark chocolate. The most chocolate she can taste, the more she loves it.

What about you?

What ingredient must a dessert have to be among your favorites?

Leave a comment and let us know. 

(It is okay if it isn't chocolate.)

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Chocolate Recalls for October 10, 2021

Follow the links for full information on these chocolate related recalls if you live in the USA. If you live elsewhere, consult your nation's own food safety agency if you recognize a product.

--------- Chocolate Related Recalls ----------

Chocolate and the Chip Recalls

Chocolate and the Chip of Los Angeles, CA is recalling various flavors (see list below) including chocolate chip cookies, cookie bundt cakes and rice crispy treats because they may contain undeclared wheat, milk, soy, and tree nuts. People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to specific type of allergens run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume these products.

Cookies, bundt cakes and rice crispy treats were distributed locally in the Los Angeles area as well as CA, MA, TX, ID, NY, AL, AZ, AR, WA, UT, NJ, FL, OH, CO, GA, ID, MI, NV, NC, PA, VA, OR,  and reached consumers through e-commerce and pop-up retail locations.

Cookies were packaged in uniform pairs in a clear resealable plastic package labeled with logo and ingredient information. Bundt cakes were packaged in a unit of 4 in a white bakery box and labeled with logo and ingredient information. Rice crispy treats were packaged in single units in a food grade poly tubing labeled with logo and ingredient information.

There have been zero (0) confirmed illnesses reported to date.

The recall was initiated after it was discovered that baked good products containing the allergens of wheat, milk, soy, and tree nuts were distributed in packaging that did not reveal the presence of said allergens. Subsequent investigation indicates the problem was caused by a mistake made on the owners behalf and not having the proper protocol for distributing and labeling baked goods under the proper regulations.

Products Include:

Consumers who have purchased Chocolate and the Chip cookies, bundt cakes and rice crispy treats are urged to disregard items still in their possessions. Consumers with questions may contact the company at 213-792-2810.

Saturday, October 2, 2021

Two Times the Granola

Other than a snack bar from time to time, I haven't looked at granola here on The Chocolate Cult, but that changes today. Today I want to look at two types of chocolate granola that Bakery on Main makes and offers in many mainstream shops including Kroger where I got mine. For us here on this blog we need the products to be chocolate tasting and I expect there to be a difference in the intensity of that flavor between the chocolate and the dark chocolate variety. I received two coupons from Social Nature to try Bakery on Main; the first was for a few bag of their Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Decadent Granola, the other coupon was for a dollar off; No other form of compensation was received for testing the free bag, reviewing it on Social Nature. This review is a surprise to the brand.

First, let's look at the products together. Both products use the following chocolate ingredients: unsweetened chocolate, cocoa butter, and cocoa powder. They both also have almonds and coconut, so I may not like this very much depending on how much coconut they each have. This is why we have a Coconut Acolyte on this blog! The chocolate ingredients are listed third on the Dark Chocolate Sea Salt but sixth on the Grain Free variety. As you can see, the Grain Free variety has fewer large pieces of the product and it has a lot of additional seeds and nuts like pumpkin and cashews that the Dark Chocolate Sea Salt variety does not. Finally, the serving sizes are both 30 grams but the Grain Free has 20 more calories with 8 grams more total fat, but half the total carbs.

Since the free coupon was specifically for the Dark Chocolate Sea Salt, the rest of this article will only mention the Grain Free in comparison. The larger pieces make the free bag's product much easier to eat straight from the bag. These make a loud crunch and continue to crunch with each bite which is what I expect from a granola, don't you? The initial flavor is salt then chocolate which balances it out quickly. There is also a sweetness but the nuts and even coconut are not particularly intense which means I do enjoy this bag. By comparison the other variety is smaller crumbles and has a far less intense chocolate flavor that allows all of the other ingredients to come out; I don't like it as well.

While granola isn't something I have a craving for, I can see myself snacking on this or adding a bit to ice cream or another creamy and soft treat for some added flavor and texture. I can recommend the Dark Chocolate Sea Salt but not the Grain Free Chocolate variety of granola from Bakery on Main.

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Chocolate Related Recalls for September 26, 2021

Did you know that chocolate milk can be easier for lactose intolerant people to drink? Too bad one brand's chocolate milk is being recalled!

--------- Recalls ---------

Green Field Farm Chocolate Milk Recall

Green Field Farms Dairy of Fredericksburg, Ohio announces a voluntary recall of its Whole Chocolate Milk product, with a code date of 9/29/21, due to a laboratory analysis that indicated this product was not effectively pasteurized.

1,242 units of the affected product were distributed in Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Delaware and Washington DC from September 7 through September 16, 2021. This quality issue is isolated to Whole Chocolate Milk with an expiration date of September 29, 2021.

The issue was discovered during routine product testing conducted by the Ohio Department of Agriculture. There have been no reports of illness involving products addressed in this recall, however, individuals exhibiting signs or symptoms of foodborne illness after consuming Green Field Farms Whole Chocolate Milk with an expiration date of September 29th should contact a physician immediately.

If you have purchased this product, please return to the place of purchase to receive a refund. Consumers with questions may call 330-263-0248.

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