A Year Long Celebration of a Decade of Publishing about Chocolate on The Chocolate Cult
In February 2009, our founder, TammyJo Eckhart, PhD, wrote and published the first post on this blog. She tentatively reached out to companies after a few months, and soon we had chocolates from around the United States to test and write about. As the years went by we expanded our reach into 194 countries with products from six of the seven continents. We have featured products from 287 brands, companies, and individuals. If it is about chocolate or made from any part of the cocoa bean or cocoa tree, we will cover it. If it is a product that can be used to enjoy or make chocolate goodies with, we will cover it. If it is research about any aspect of chocolate in culture, we want to share it.
Using a standardized procedure, we test each food or beverage we are sent; then describe this in a full-sensory fashion that was unique to us when this blog was created. We have a volunteer group of experts in various common additives to chocolate (coconut, alcohol, coffee, tea) that help us be as objective as possible. Each volunteer adheres to the standard procedure. Products that are not stand-alone beverages or food are tested and described based on ease of use, fulfilling their claims, educational value, use of evidence, or entertainment value, depending on the item.
Now to mark our 10th year of articles we are declaring February 1, 2018 through January 31, 2019 as our Year Long Celebration of The Chocolate Cult.
We will be reaching out to the companies and brands that were brave enough to send us products to test and write about during our first two years of publishing. We welcome other brands that have more recently allowed us to reveal their creations to the world to contact us and get their products featured. We will still welcome newcomers to the chocolate industry as well as new-to-us companies during this year-long celebration. Please contact us using our founder's address "thetammyjo" via gmail.
What is The Chocolate Cult?
We are a group of volunteers who help test products related to Chocolate so that you, our dear readers, can spend your money wisely and choose good foods and drinks for your body as well as nourish your souls with our Sacred Substance: Chocolate.
We use the religious language to reflect the importance of Chocolate in many American and European cultures, the growth of the worldwide Chocolate market, and the history of chocolate as both religious and medical tool. Frankly it is also a bit amusing and reflects our founder, The Chocolate Priestess, lifetime goal of "starting a cult."
Using her published writing and academic training as our starting point, we experience Chocolate using as many of our senses as possible. We conduct testing that allows us to focus on the chocolate above everything else and we try out items related to Chocolate according to their directions. Then we report back to you in as objective a fashion as possible using our own photographs so you don't get the glossy imagines that can mislead.
We look at studies about medical claims and historical/cultural investigations into chocolate to help you be aware of the facts behind the hype. We even get political from time to time but always the focus stays on Chocolate.
We include any product created from the cacao tree in our features as well as books about, movies using, art related to, clothing featuring, bake/cookware used with chocolate, etc. Basically the product must be directly related to chocolate in some way beyond mere color.
If you'd like to be featured please know that we do not charge money for our feature articles; if you approach us through a blog community they will have their own rules in this regard but directly approaching us incurs no fees or payments.
We do require that the food and beverage products to be tested and featured be made from chocolate liquor/mass or cocoa butter. We recommend that brands wanting to be written about on this blog focus on chocolate. Sending us non-chocolate items will result in them not being mentioned or merely mentioned in passing and that wastes your time and money as well as distracts us. We use the USA's legal definitions of chocolate for white, milk, semi-sweet, and dark chocolates. Each volunteer has a few specialities, areas they have more experience in, so we ask that any companies or brands wishing to be featured tell us all the ingredients involved so that your products can get appropriate testing.
Every Summer from July through August we try to focus on cold chocolate products -- ice creams, frozen yogurts, machines to make said things -- and for these we recommend freebie coupons for products we can buy in stores around us rather than sending us products directly.
October is our Annual Halloween Treat Challenge and we only accept 4-8 products during the period and the over all winner gets 31 days of free advertising with us.
We do not accept advertising from chocolate related companies we have not tested and featured. Other ads you see on our site are through the blog communities and Blogger only.
We do not test and review the same product from the same company twice -- our readers need variety.
We have readers in 194 different countries though our largest readership is from the USA followed by the UK, Canada, India, and Australia. Rounding out our top ten reader countries are the Philippines, Germany, France, Indonesia, and Brazil!
We have tested and published articles about chocolates from around the world as well though we would love to add Africa and Australia (are there chocolatiers in Antarctica?) to our list as well as more European, Asian, Central and South American chocolatiers to our list of 287 companies, brands, and individual creators we've featured. We are headquartered in Indiana and thus we are happy to promote Indiana chocolate whenever possible but we never discriminate against a company because of location.
If your company would like to have world-wide exposure at no cost beyond the samples and shipping in an objective and honest fashion, contact our leader (thetammyjo via gmail) who administers this blog.
In January 2017 we were named one of the Top 50 Chocolate Blogs on the Internet! We're very proud but hope we can do even better in the future.
NOTICE: Any comments left on our main pages that contain external links will be deleted. We only provide links for companies and products who have entrusted us to test and reveal their creations to the world and to resources we have personally investigated and found useful.
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