Chocosphere®
Fine Chocolates from Around the World since 1998
Phone calls welcome: 503‑692‑3323
Open hours: 8:30A-4:30P M-F Pacific Time excluding holidays.

choco-logoThe Chocospherian

Incredible Chocolate News     Spring, 2019

April 1, 2019

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

Bunnies and eggs! Staff Picks
Incr‘Edible’ Chocolate Deals… Customer Service
What’s New? Newsletter
Recipe Corner Topics

Bunnies and Eggs!

Help us with our population explosion.  We still have some wonderful Alma Bunnies and other cute animals.  Get them while they last.  When they are gone we will have no more.  Of course our Easter-time tradition continues with our offering of Valrhona's delicious foil-wrapped and filled small chocolate eggs.

New at Chocosphere this year are Suzanne's Chocolate solid bunnies and amazing eggs.

All these chocolates are good for Easter or Spring munching. Suzanne's eggs are molded in the shape of half an egg and wrapped in fancy colored foil.  All three Suzanne's eggs are filled with amazing ingredients.  The Strawberry Pistachio egg has a two-tone center with one layer of Valrhona Srawberry Inspiration and white chocolate, and pistachio in the other layer.  The peanut butter crunch egg has a dark shell and a filling of milk chocolate, organic peanut butter and organic refined coconut oil.  It has a nice crunch with no wheat ingredients.  Suzanne magically made the crunch of caramelized sugar.  The Passion Fruit Coconut Egg is made with no dairy ingredients and uses Valrhona Passion Fruit.

More about Suzanne's Chocolate

We have been selling Suzanne's chocolate bars for years.  She is changing her packaging so there will be a slight delay and we'll have the whole line up back.  This year we added her bunnies and eggs and hope to expand to other delicacies as the opportunities come.  She attended the Pastry Certification program at The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in St. Helena California.  After graduation, she was immediately offered the position of Head Pastry Chef at Chloe and Bernard’s at the Westin Resort in St. John, USVI.  Then back on the mainland she became Pastry Assistant at Brix Restaurant and next Head Pastry Chef at luxury restaurant Cyrus in Healdsburg, CA.  She is now back home in Portland, Oregon. Suzanne excels in reinventing classic recipes and adding new tastes that amaze the palate, dazzle the eye, and boggle the senses.

Incr‘Edible’ Chocolate Deals

Enjoy our Easter Basket, a $130.00 value, for only $99.95!  If you're not celebrating Easter, tell us in the comments and we'll leave out the Easter chocolate and replace it with something else. There are some nifty gifty items and premium bars on the "On Sale" page at 20% off the regular price.  And the Bargain Basement has small grab bags for 50% off, large for 60% off and lots of items that are 2 for the price of one.   If you purchase a Chocolate Club mempership before May 31st (any size) get $10.00 in additional chocolate in the first shipment.  Just write "10.00 in additional chocolate, please" in the Comments section at checkout.  This month we selected chocolate manufactured in Oregon; Spencer and Creo.

What's New?

Valrhona Sakanti Block 1 kg made with Balinese cacao. Originally introduced in the U.S. for celebrity chefs, we now have it for you, our celebrity customers.  Valrhona Sakanti is a special and rare single origin chocolate made of select cacao from Bali Indonesia. This versatile chocolate is smooth with a gentle tanginess set off by hints of fruit, intense chocolatey notes and a subtle bitterness. It is 68% cacao. 32% sugar, 41% fat. and comes in a 1Kg / 2.2 lb factory sealed block.

A member of Valrhona's sourcing team first traveled to Bali in 2013, searching for unique high quality cacao to make a special chocolate with an uncommon cacao origin. He connected with members of the Kerta Samaya Samaniya (KSS) cooperative by chance in the Jembrana region in the island’s west. KSS’ name translates from Balinese as “drive to co-create prosperity”. This new cooperative joins together more than 400 cocoa producers and encourages them to grow crops of ever-better quality.

The result is KSS’ first ever international cocoa export to Valrhona in France of the superb cacao used to make this unique and delicious Sakanti dark chocolate. This special cacao combined with Valrhona's world-class chocolate making expertise yields a uniquely delicious chocolate.

Shattel has four new bars: Pucacaca, Chunko, Zarumilla and Kimbiri. These bars are from 4 growing regions of Peru made by Lisi Montoya's woman run facilty in Peru. The bars have a new and colorful look and the same quality of amazing chocolate.  Shattel has been winning lots of awards and the price is attractive at $6.50 per bar for singles and even better if you buy in multiples.

Only Child. Yana, an only child, grew up in Moscow. As a tiny tot, she enjoyed tiny squares of bitter chocolate that sweetened the cold of Russian winters.  After moving to the U.S. and attending graduate school in English, she moved to Portland, OR to attend culinary school.

During long days as pastry chef for Crema Bakery in SE Portland, she dreamt of a chocolate company. The offspring of Yana’s love for puns and unexpected flavors, Only Child Chocolate Co. seizes your hand and takes you on a joyful adventure in taste.Try all five of her bars; Pita the Great, The Sun and the Sea, Rosemary and Ginger walked into a Bar, Rose Colored Sunglasses and Hedgehog in the Fog which won a silver medal in the world finals of the International Chocolate Awards. 

Ritual Chocolate Company recently released their Trinidad, Jagassar Estate Limited Edition Microbatch dark chocolate bar. This bar is particularly special as the story of the origin is interesting and the flavors are unique and delicious. Because of unusual conditions during the growing season, only three bags of this particular cacao were harvested from the Jagassar Estate. Ritual Chocolate purchased all three bags, and with a great deal of care created this very special chocolate. The Trinidad Jagassar Estate Microbatch bar has deep, dark and rich flavors with notes of fudge, brazil nut, toast and dates. Though this single-estate / single harvest bar is 80% cacao, it exhibits a very pleasant and balanced sweetness that could possibly make it one of your favorites. More information about the cacao and the chocolate is contained within the wrapper. 60g / 2.12 oz per bar.

Staff Picks

MeLissa, Customer Service Rep, selected her favorites and shared her growing knowledge of and appreciation for chocolate in this issue:

We are consistently asked by our customers, friends, and neighbors what our favorite chocolate is. As we're sure you all understand, this question is nearly impossible to answer. With a lot of head scratching, mental tug of war, and all out taste bud coup (too much chocolate I guess), here are my picks for this month.  You can purchase each separately, or for a great value try our April Staff Pick Chocolate Assortment.

As my years with the company have grown, so have my tastes in chocolate. When I first started here you could not convince me that chocolate was a thing that should be consumed, ever. A bit over 8 years later, I love chocolate and all of its flavor profiles, subtle nuances, amazing differences between growers, regions, additions and varieties.

Michel Cluizel Noir Infini: (also available as tasting squares) This was my first taste of chocolate on my second day of work here. I think Joanne feeds this 99% cacao to us to weed out the weak. I swore off chocolate after that bite, but she is persistent and so is the siren song of the cacao plant. I love this bar now and all it has to offer. The 1% of this bar that is not chocolate carries so much flavor that it is impossible not to savor. There are notes of cinnamon, sugar, ginger and of course dark rich cacao.

Domori Trinitario Madagascar 70%: (also available as tasting squares) Domori chocolate is a personal favorite of mine. The batches vary year to year, much like a fine wine. With this particular bar Domori showcases their beans that are grown in Madagascar. The chocolate is smooth and creamy without the addition of cocoa butter and the flavor profile is that of red fruits, berries, and a hint of cinnamon. This bar is a rival with Domori’s Criollo 100% for my all time favorite.

Cafe-Tasse Noir fourre Fruit de la Passion: This little bar packs a surprisingly large punch. The passion fruit filling between layers of semi-sweet chocolate is a perfect pick me up. This bar is a bit of a guilty pleasure chocolate for me. I love the sweetness of the cacao with the "bite" of the passion fruit. It is a playful and fun bar that makes a great treat.

Ritual Bourbon Barrel Aged: This is a newer line for us and this bar was an instant favorite of mine. As you can tell I love my chocolate to have a lot of flavor and this bar does not disappoint. The nibs are initially aged in whiskey barrels which adds a subtle whiskey taste without there being any actual whiskey in the bar. The chocolate is smooth and rich and full of flavor.

Dolfin Pink Peppercorn: I love the sweet and spicy mix of this bar. The cacao has a very nice flavor profile that is mild and sweet with a general “chocolate” flavor, while the peppercorns dotted throughout the bar add a hint of spice each time you bite into them.

Jouvay Nutmeg: To finish out my journey of flavor this month, I chose another new brand to us. I found this bar to be delightful and surprising when I first tried it and I continue to crave it. The initial taste of this bar is ginger, which promptly is followed up with a cinnamon note and finishes strong with the namesake nutmeg. The spice in this bar does not overwhelm and you are still able to taste the delicious chocolate as well.

Pricing and Shipping

We get asked all the time if we do free shipping.  There are others who offer free shipping all the time.  Then they jack up the price of the product to cover shipping, and very often their final price is higher.  We choose to price competitively, offering discounts when you purchase larger quantities of most products, and charge fairly for shipping.   And the price we charge for singles of our products is already pretty good.

We're trying to keep our shipping prices as reasonable as possible even though all the carriers have raised their prices.  If you order online and the terms and conditions work for you, our "If it fits, it ships!" offers a great deal on shipping at $10.95.  And we will include warm weather packaging if you let us decide whether to use it or not.  Warm weather packaging consists of styrofoam or another insulator, frozen gel ice, bubble to protect the chocolate from the cold and a plastic bag to keep the chocolate dry.  This means that for most of the summer in most places we can ship chocolate from Oregon to wherever you are in the U.S.,  and with the U.S. Postal Service to APO/FPO addresses and U.S. protectorates.  You won't have to spend extra money for air shipping and you won't have to worry about your chocolate melting.  We have no plans to offer free shipping.

If you're one of those folks who thinks free shipping is best, please be sure you check our prices together with the shipping and then compare against our competitors.  My guess is that in most instances Chocosphere will be a better value.

Recipe Corner

Valrhona Dark Chocolate Cupcake (from Valrhona)

INGREDIENTS

*makes 18-24 cupcakes depending on size

Chocolate Cupcake batter:

1 cup hot coffee (decaf is okay too)
¼ cup + 2 Tbsp. Valrhona Cocoa Powder
1 cup whole milk
1 cup neutral oil ( like Canola)
2 ea eggs
1 ½ cup + 1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1 ½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 ¼ cup flour 

Dark Chocolate Ganache:

1 ¼  cup cream 
2 ½  tbsp honey
7 ounces Caraibe 66% Grand Cru Chocolate in Discs or Blocs

 

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Combine the milk and oil. Whisk the coffee and cocoa powder to dissolve. Add the milk and oil to the mix.
  • Add the eggs, then fold in the sifted dry ingredients. Beat until smooth.
  • Line a cupcake pan with paper liners, and fill 2/3 full with batter.
  • Bake at 350°F (176ºC) for 10-15 minutes, depending on the size of the cupcakes.
  • In a microwave safe bowl, melt the chocolate in intervals of 30 seconds until completely melted. Be careful not to burn the chocolate.
  • In a sauce pan heat cream and corn syrup until hot.
  • Add the cream to the chocolate while stirring in 3 stages to create a smooth cream.
  • Allow mixture to set overnight, or until spreadable.
  • Spread on to cupcakes or use a piping bag and decorating tip.  Optional: Add Valrhona Perles or another decoration on top.  Check out all the decorations we have: https://www.chocosphere.com/default/category/chef/decoration.html

 

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 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, with the exception of commonly observed holidays.

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!!

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