Chocosphere®
Fine Chocolates from Around the World since 1998
Phone calls welcome: 503‑692‑3323

choco-logoThe Chocospherian

Incredible Chocolate News

November 22nd 2017

Written By: Joanne Kryszek, Chocosphere Co-Founder and Chocolate Goddess

Preface Awards
Incr‘Edible’ Chocolate Deals… Customer Service
What’s New? Newsletter
Recipe Corner Topics

Preface

Happy Thanksgiving!  Do we ever have something to be thankful for at Chocosphere. We are so appreciative of you, our many customers who have been with us over the years through thick and thin from Fukishima and 9‑11 to birthdays, snniversaries and the holidays. Through all of the changes that have happened in the chocolate industry specifically and the world in general, I have found that chocolate truly has the ability to soothe and make this planet a nicer place to live. I have so many stories about the ways in which we have worked together to make Chocosphere a great place to buy chocolate and how I count you as not just customers but as the best of friends. I recognize your names, your voices; you send emails, letters and Facebook posts and some of you are even Facebook friends. From all of us at Chocosphere, we thank you!


Incr‘Edible’ Chocolate Deals

We are doing something a little different this year so that all of you can enjoy the promotion for Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday. Everyone who places a viable order (in the U.S., the rest of the world and for gift certificates and chocolate clubs) can take advantage of this extra value. You don’t have to pick “if it fits, it ship” and you are not limited to a specific brand or type of chocolate.

Please enjoy and take advantage of this very special SPECIAL.

***BETTER THAN BLACK FRIDAY DEAL***

Who says that Black Friday has to be only one day? Certainly not us!!

The Deal: Place an order (on the www.chocosphere.com web site only) from 11/21/17 @ 12:01 PM Pacific Time to 11/27/17 @ 11:59 PM Pacific Time, shipping to a single address. Write “Black Friday/Newsletter” in the comments section at checkout. Newsletter readers can use this for merchandise as stated below, gift certificates and chocolate club memberships. Follow the conditions of this offer and you'll get a Chocosphere Gift Certificate good towards a future order:

  • Order $50.00 to $99.99 in merchandise, get a $5.00 gift certificate.
  • Order $100.00 to $149.99 in merchandise, get a $10.00 Chocosphere gift certificate.
  • Order $150.00 or more in merchandise, get a $15.00 Chocosphere gift certificate.

To get the deal, Chocosphere must be allowed to ship no later than 12/31/17. This offer may be modified by Chocosphere at any time to correct errors and/or omissions, or for any other reason.

Gift certificates will be e-mailed to you no later than the next business day after you place your order. HAPPY SHOPPING!


What's New?

Belvie

We have Belvie from Viet Nam and we love it. Belvie has already won three Acadamy of Chocolate Awards: Bronze for Hao Moc, Bronze for Tien Giang, and Gold for Lam Dong. If you love coffee, don’t miss the “Good Morning, Viet Nam” bar. It’s invigorating!

Original Beans

There are two new Original Beans bars: Piura Malingas 75% Peruvian and Bio and Arhuaco Businchari 82% Colombian and Bio.

Hot off the press: Sibo wins medals in Central America judging!

We received a message from Sibo about this just before publishing: "We won 7 medals in the Central America Chocolate Awards yesterday. What a year it's been. We also were honored in June with a Silver Medal in the America's division (The only Central American winner), as well as an Excellence Award from tbe FCIA."  Congratulations to our friends and chocolate makers Julio and George at Sibo in Costa Rica!


Awards

I have been asked to comment on the chocolate awards that are given for outstanding chocolate. I have to preface this and let you know that Chocosphere has never been involved with any award process (either receiving awards or judging), but we do sell awarded bars and try to display the award on our site for you to see. I have done some research and heard from many applicants and makers who do not participate so, I have a little tiny bit of knowledge.

There are so many awards from the “Good Food” award to the “Academy of Chocolate” award and all other awards that are given for delicious taste, texture, regional excellence and more. We have about 50 brands of chocolate.  Some makers compete for awards. Some, including excellent long-time chocolate makers, do not get involved in award judging and competition.  Some enjoy the thrill of competition, and others just want to focus on being the best they can.  You can find the best of the best either way at Chocosphere.

Examples of brilliant chocolate makers where we don't often see award stickers are Valrhona and Domori, and of course we have others. In my opinion, they consistently produce incredible chocolate and can stand up to any of the awarded chocolates. I have a library of Valrhona single-plantation bars that go back to the early days of Chocosphere, and to this day when I open a bar, I am astonished that they still taste amazing. This is because they not only make excellent chocolate, but the system of wrapping maintains the quality of the chocolate far past what most folks would consider to be the life of chocolate. Right now we are sampling the Valrhona 2013 Lomo Sotovento bar to customers who order more than $100.00 in chocolate until they are gone. I have 48 bars left and the next 48 customers who place orders will be lucky to get one.  This morning we tasted a new Domori Trinitario Peru bar with a group of friends.  The intensity of flavor combined with the excellent melt and texture (just the right amount of smoothness) of that Domori chocolate really impressed the group!

Awards are especilly helpful to new bean-to-bar chocolate makers. People notice and they buy. There are so many new “bean to bar” makers now in the U.S. and the rest of the world that it is difficult to differentiate yourself from the rest of the makers and an award helps.

The tasters have a special challenge. It is my understanding that bars they judge are molded exactly as they are for sale and the molds identify the maker. Although the Award rules claim that the tasting is “blind”, it would be a challenge. Jerry recently spoke to one person who ocasionally judges and she always asks that the samples be delivered to her with the back side of the bar facing her.  That way it is harder for her to identify the maker.  The chocolate bar and confection maker world is a close knit group of people who know each other and the rest of the chocolate community. We presume most judges try hard to be impartial.

Something else we've experienced with awarded chocolate made by small producers is that the makers can submit a great batch/lot of chocolate for judging. Then, in some instances when we place our order, the chocolate that arrives may not taste the same and the texture and finish may vary. This is the problem with any grown-food product, and chocolate making poses extra challenges in this regard.  Some of the newer makers often have a more diffiuclt time being consistent while others who are more skilled consistently deliver great chocolate. There are changes from batch to batch due to weather, soil, manufacturing and the transit issues that the chocolate faces.  Long-time experienced chocolate makers and the better new makers have figured out how to be more consistent from batch to batch given the variation that occurs in the cacao and the process they work from.

Entering a chocolate bar or confection for judging is an expensive proposition. There is generally travel involved and, in order to be considered for the International Awards, only those who have won regional awards can enter. So there is a time consuming process to go from entry to award. By the time that the award is given, it is possible that the maker will be into the next year's harvest of beans. Most of the small batch bean to bar makers are still in a less than profitable situation and they can not afford the expense.

It is no easy task, but the award judges get the job done and you can decide if you agree. I recommend that you make decisions not only on the awards but on your exposure to what you love. We try to enter some tasting notes in the “learn more section” of the website for the product description, or you can often find a description online if you need more information.


Recipe Corner

Derek’s Irresistible Cookies

Created by Derek Poirier, Valrhona Pastry Chef
  • Ingredients
  • 2/3 cups Sugar
  • 9T Butter
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 4 oz. Valrhona Extra Bitter 61% or Caraibe 66% chocolate
  • 1½ cups Almond flour (lightly roasted)
  • 1/3 cup All-Purpose Flour

Preparation and Assembly

Lightly toast almond flour at 325 F degrees just until lightly browned. Allow to cool.
Cream butter and sugar until smooth. Use a whisk to mix (cream) until the sugar is fully incorporated (2 to 3 minutes).
Add the egg yolk into the mixture.
Melt the chocolate in microwave safe bowl in 30 second intervals until melted; add to the butter/sugar mixture.
Sift flour and add to mixture.
Add the almond flour.
Scoop with an ice cream scoop or form small balls with your hand and place on baking pan with either a silpat or parchment paper on it.
Bake at 400 F for approx. 10 to 15 min.


Customer Service

Of course we are happy to help over the phone, but we do appreciate it when you place your order on line. It helps us to give the most prompt and accurate service. And when you need help, we are here for you. There is generally someone answering the phones between 8:30am. and 4:30pm. Pacific Time, Monday through Friday.

There are five of us answering phones at Chocosphere, where we speak fluent Chocospherian. We try hard to answer all calls personally during normal business hours, but occasionally one slips over to voice mail. If you call and end up in voice mail, please leave a message. We will do our very best to call back promptly. If by chance you don't hear back from us in a reasonable time, please call again during our normal business hours.

We each have varying levels of experience. It is our goal to happily serve you the very best chocolate!!

If you're ordering for holiday delivery, please take note of ordering deadlines so we can get the chocolate to the right place at the right time.  You can find a link to our holiday shipping deadline page inside an information bloc shown at the top of the Chocosphere home page and the top of the checkout page.

Finally, and very importantly, our web site lists our service commitments as to when we ship an order based on when the order is placed. However, we certainly understand there are circumstances where you may want us to process an order faster, when you need your chocolate “now”! If you need your order shipped faster than our listed service commitment, please place your order online letting us know of your need in the “Comments” section, and then call us (503-692-3323 x 0 for Customer Service) to let us know. We can't guarantee early shipping, but we always try hard to provide chocolate happiness to our valued customers.


Newsletter

If you want us to send a copy as an email every time there is a new issue or to tell you about special offers, please create an account at chocosphere.com and check the newsletter box.


Topics:

If you have a topic you would like us to cover in the newsletter, please drop us a line: customer‑service@chocosphere.com and we will be happy to include it in a future edition.

Contact us at 503-692-3323 and press 0 for Customer Service

Fax 503-692-1494