April 18th, 2014
01:00 PM ET
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French fashion designers don't hold a monopoly on haute.

Every April the country's top pâtissiers and chocolatiers prove they can be just as outlandish as they unveil their annual collection of chocolate Easter eggs.

These edible delights take countless forms.

Master pâtissier Christophe Roussel looked east when creating "Sweet Japon," a sushi plate made entirely of chocolate, chocolate paste, marzipan and nougat.

Chopsticks allow chocoholics to dip their sugary maki and sushi in salted butter caramel.
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Filed under: Chocolate • Easter • Holidays


Chocolate delights, $600 (and under)
February 14th, 2014
04:00 PM ET
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Kate Krader (@kkrader on Twitter) is Food & Wine's restaurant editor. When she tells us where to find our culinary heart's desire, we listen up.

As a firm believer in the almighty power of chocolate, this was big news for me, and every eight-year-old in the country: Last week, Crest unveiled chocolate toothpaste. To be clear, it’s just chocolate (and mint) flavored; the tooth-cleaning power comes from sodium fluoride. But still.
  
This chocolate toothpaste seems perfectly timed for a chocolate Valentine’s Day blow out. Not that you should wrap it in a ribbon and give it out in lieu of real chocolate. Instead, gauge the level of chocolate expertise for your Valentine and gift accordingly (see below). If you choose to make a present of chocolate toothpaste, save it for National Tooth Fairy Day (February 28).
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February 14th, 2014
01:30 AM ET
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Ray Isle (@islewine on Twitter) is Food & Wine's executive wine editor. We trust his every cork pop and decant – and the man can sniff out a bargain to boot. Take it away, Ray.

This Valentine’s Day it’s very important to keep in mind that there’s a paranoid conspiracy floating around our world to the effect that red wine goes well with chocolate. This delusion isn’t quite on the order of believing that the moon landing was a hoax, but it’s pernicious nonetheless.
 
Here’s the deal. Anything you eat that is sweet (e.g. chocolate) is going to make a dry red wine taste more sour and astringent than it already is. So, basically, if you give your date a nice box of chocolates and then serve her (or him) a big ol’ glass of Cabernet, the reaction is likely to be along the lines of “bleah!” And I’m here to tell you, “bleah” is not the word you want to hear at the end of the evening on Valentine’s Day.
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Filed under: Chocolate • Content Partner • Food and Wine • Sip • Valentine's Day • Wine


Child cocoa labor: 'everybody's problem but nobody's responsibility'
February 13th, 2014
01:30 PM ET
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"So tell me," an old school friend asked, "if the demand for chocolate is so high, why are cocoa farmers so poor?"

We were sitting in the local pub, just days after I returned from a trip to the Ivory Coast, filming a CNN documentary about child labor and poverty in the chocolate industry.

Two years after CNN's Freedom Project exposed Chocolate's Child Slaves, it was time to return to the cocoa plantations to unwrap the chocolate supply chain, to investigate what progress has been made to stop child labor and to explore how farmers can get more money for their beans.
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Filed under: Chocolate • Food Politics • Human Rights • Labor Issues • Slavery


What's the real cost of chocolate?
February 13th, 2014
09:45 AM ET
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Chocolate is the "food of the gods,” a sweet treat for many across the world, and a booming industry worth an estimated $110 billion a year. But as we unwrap a favorite bar or tuck into a truffle, how many of us take the time to think about where it came from, and who helped in its transformation from the humble cocoa bean?

Click through this interactive to find out more about the real cost of chocolate.
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Filed under: Chocolate • Dishes • Food Politics • Human Rights • Slavery


February 12th, 2014
01:00 AM ET
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America's Test Kitchen is a real 2,500 square foot test kitchen located just outside of Boston that is home to more than three dozen full-time cooks and product testers. Our mission is simple: to develop the absolute best recipes for all of your favorite foods. To do this, we test each recipe 30, 40, sometimes as many as 70 times, until we arrive at the combination of ingredients, technique, temperature, cooking time, and equipment that yields the best, most-foolproof recipe. America’s Test Kitchen's online cooking school is based on nearly 20 years of test kitchen work in our own facility, on the recipes created for Cook's Illustrated magazine, and on our two public television cooking shows.

All chocolate starts with the cacao bean. From there, different processing, flavorings, ingredients, and percentages of cocoa solids and cocoa butter can produce chocolate of all sorts. Here’s a sampler of 12.
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February 5th, 2014
11:45 AM ET
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The concepts of eating ethically and watching where our food comes from have become hot topics in the food world.

CNN’s forthcoming Freedom Project documentary examines the cocoa industry and the work undertaken to combat exploitation of workers throughout the journey from “bean to chocolate bar,” shining a light on the often challenging issue of eating ethically.

Broadly speaking, eating ethically can cover anything from vegetarianism to eating only local produce and boycotting foodstuffs and products which are considered wasteful or exploitative - for many it’s a personal choice.
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Filed under: Chocolate • Environment • Food Politics • Human Rights • Hunger • iReport • Labor Issues


Dark chocolate decadence for Halloween
October 22nd, 2013
10:30 AM ET
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Kate Krader (@kkrader on Twitter) is Food & Wine's restaurant editor. When she tells us where to find our culinary heart's desire, we listen up.

In the run-up to Halloween, I’m not so concerned with all the vampires, gas mask–wearing Walter Whites and twerking Miley Cyruses that will be running amok. I’m worried about the giant case of sugar shock that I will fall victim to after I’ve eaten a million mini candy bars.

For the first time in my life, I might throw some dark chocolate minis into the milk chocolate mix. Like a lot of people, I’ve become more of a fan of dark chocolate recently. (The rise in popularity might have something to do with its alleged health benefits; for one thing, it’s high in antioxidants.)

Coincidentally, there’s some great new dark chocolate out there - let’s look at some of them.
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Chocolate costs may crescendo
October 15th, 2013
12:05 AM ET
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Chocolate lovers beware! The price of your favorite treat is on the rise.

Growing demand in emerging markets and bad weather in major cocoa producing countries is pushing up the cost of key ingredients, leaving manufacturers little choice but to pass on some of that pain to consumers.

The price of cocoa butter, for example, stands at a four-year high, having risen by 70% over the past 12 months, according to Mintec commodity consultant Liliana Gonzalez.
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