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Incredible Chocolate News

November 19th, 2021

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

Notes from Joanne… Insights
Incr‘Edible’ Chocolate Deals… Customer Service
Recipe Corner Newsletter
What's New? Topics

Notes from Joanne…

This has been a crazy busy year. In spite of stock issues, logistics and other COVID-related calamities, we have been doing well as a business and are lucky that our team is safe, comes to work every day and does their very best to keep us going no matter what. Staffing is one of the positive factors that we are thankful for. And of course our customers — who keep ordering more and more chocolate. What can I say except we wouldn’t be here after 22 years without you and we appreciate every single order.

That brings me to what is happening with Jerry and I. We are not getting any younger although I swear chocolate keeps me feeling young. I turn 71 this month and Jerry is not far behind. He is soon to become the "bionic" man when he gets his hip replacement in early December, so he may be away from the office for a few days recovering. Right now we are laser focused on getting through the season. Hold onto your hat and your chocolate!

And I say hold onto your chocolate because it is getting more and more difficult to keep our stock levels where they should be. Every order we place with our suppliers is an adventure and a mystery. Sometimes we get everything we ask for. Other times we order and get confirmation that the order will be sent as we placed it. Then the suppliers notify us of shortages galore. When we get delivery sometimes between 25% and 33% of what we ordered is not sent, and other times we get just that small amount with most of what we ordered left behind! Chocolate makers are having great difficulty keeping up, much less staying ahead. It’s very frustrating but we know they are trying. Under such circumstances we're trying our best to be able to take good care of you, and we thank you for your patience.

Insights - High Cocoa Content Chocolate… What is it?

When I think of high cocoa content chocolate, it means chocolate exceeding 80% cacao. I love it all, especially certain 100%-cacao chocolate that is naturally sweet or flavorful. I really love the Michel Cluizel Noir Infini which is 99% Cacao and the remaining 1% is a tiny amount of sugar, ginger and vanilla. I look forward to a 5 gram square every morning when I come into the warehouse. It is only about 25 calories and it gives me that little boost of energy and puts a sneaky smile on my face. I feel like I got away with something very valuable and precious. Jerry tells me he will continue to buy it for me after we retire.

If you’re happy eating milk or semi-sweet chocolate, just stay there and be happy. But if you want to ramp it up a bit, here is a nice way to do it.

When you are learning to love dark chocolate, if you’re not there already, you can gradually bump up the cacao percentage. Start wherever you are in the chocolate path and push yourself 5% to 10% at a time to whatever your taste buds can tolerate. You will surprise yourself when you get to 70%. I hung around at 70% for about seven years. It’s a good place to be but eventually you want more chocolate flavor and less sugar.

Here are a few tips to help you deal with the strong taste of high cacao. The tip of your tongue has a sensitivity to sweetness while the back of your tongue tends to pick up bitterness. So if you keep the chocolate at the tip of your tongue rather then getting it all over your mouth it will taste sweeter. Chomp down a few times on a small bite of mmmm and let it sit on the front of the tongue and mouth until it melts. Next, it can float up to the top of your mouth. And finally, try to keep it in your mouth as long as possible before swallowing. You will get used to it faster and find it more and more appealing over time. You'll likely find interesting flavor notes in the chocolate too. And, of course, don’t eat it right after eating something sweet, strong-flavored or spicy. You'll want a "clear" palate to enjoy the goodness of the chocolate.

Here is a similar progression from milk to dark as the journey that I traveled starting around 24 years ago:

Cote d'Or Fin au Lait Connoisseur Bar (Milk and 32% cacao) 150g

Cafe-Tasse Noir Tablet 85g (Semi Sweet and 60%)

Valrhona Guanaja Chocolate Bar 70g (Dark and 70%)

Venchi "Cuor di Cacao" 85% Bar - 100g or Michel Cluizel 85% Bar - 70g (Extreme Dark and 85%)

Domori Criollo 90% 50g Bar (Extreme Dark and 90%)

Michel Cluizel Noir Infini 99% Tasting Square - 5g (Almost Unsweetened and 99%)
This is the listing for a 5 gram square. I like it better, as it’s real portion control and has only 25 calories. We also have it in the larger Noir Infini Bar format.

Incr‘Edible’ Chocolate Deals

There are just a few things on the “On Sale” and “Bargain Basement” pages. We keep adding products. But it seems they sell as soon as we put them up. Remember our basket specials where you will get extra treats for your family and friends for the Autumn holidays.

For Black Friday and Cyber Monday we will be selling all of the Planetary Design products at half the regular price if you use this code: GREATVALUE. This code can be entered in the Gift Certificates / Coupon Codes box of the Cart page. And Teekanne Teas from Germany will be 30% off the regular single price - no code needed! Any order placed before or on Monday November 29th will get a special free surprise product worth at least $8.00 added to their order over $50.00 where the comments say "Please surprise me because I read the Chocospherian."

Here is a special for all you Chocospherian readers who follow the instructions noted here. Between now and January 1st, 2022 every gift wrap item with either a gift bag or basket where you allow us to pick the contents will be made with no part of the price allocated to preparation and supplies for the bag or basket. For example, if you pick a gift basket where Chocosphere picks the contents that is $52.50 where usually $9.95 is allocated to basket preparation, with the special you will get all $52.50 in products. All you have to do is write “free gift bag (or basket) preparation because I am a Chocospherian reader” in the "Comments" field of the checkout. And there is no limit to how many times you can do this between now and the first of the year. So get going and go shopping.

What's New

We have two Advent Calendars, and the cutest red Venchi truck filled with goodies. There are new higher cocoa content bars from Michel Cluizel and Valrhona. And it’s exciting that we have Vegan “milk” chocolate from Valrhona in bloc format and Norohy whole organic Madagascar vanilla beans.

We have many new products from Café Tasse, Michel Cluizel, Venchi and Valrhona. Also one new product from each of Republica del Cacao, Suzanne’s, Scharffen Berger and Slitti.

Here’s a link to all new products:

Recipe Corner

Courtesy Valrhona


An original recipe by by Danielle Oron
Category: Cookies and Bars
Makes 16-18 cookies

Note: Valrhona's complete recipe includes Vanilla Bean Milk to be served with the cookies, which we have omitted.



  • 15 oz can (425g) pumpkin puree


  • 12 tbsp (170g) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup (230g) packed light brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup (67g) white sugar
  • ¾ cup (170g) concentrated pumpkin puree
  • 2¾ cup (330g) all purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp (15g) cornstarch
  • 1 tsp (4g) salt
  • 1½ tsp (4g) cinnamon
  • ½ tsp (1g) ground ginger
  • ½ tsp (1g) nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp (>1g) cloves
  • ¼ tsp (1g) baking soda
  • 220 g ORIADO 60% Chocolate Feves (Chopping ⅔ very roughly. Leave ⅓ as whole feves)
  • As needed, flaky sea salt


Concentrating the Pumpkin Puree:

  • In a medium non-stick pot, bring the pumpkin puree to a light simmer over medium heat. Simmer for 10-12 minutes until the puree has thickened and darkened in color, taking care to stir often and then constantly towards the end of the cooking time to ensure it doesn’t burn.
  • Remove from the pot and spread out on a plate or wide bowl to cool to room temperature. You will not need all of it.

Preparing the Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

  • In a large bowl, whisk together the melted and cooled butter, light brown sugar, and white sugar until it has lightened in color, about 1 minute.
  • Whisk in ¾ cup concentrated pumpkin puree until just combined.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and baking soda.
  • Add half the dry mixture to the wet mixture and using a rubber spatula, fold to combine. Once the dry mixture is almost fully incorporated, add the remaining half and continue to fold until just combined. Do not over mix.
  • Add the chocolate and fold to combine.
  • Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Using a 2-oz disher (ice cream scoop with release), scoop out the cookie dough. Each cookie dough ball should be about ¼ cup in size.
  • Tightly wrap the sheet pan with plastic wrap and freeze for 1 hour or overnight for best results. These can be transferred to a zip-top freezer bag and kept in the freezer for up to 3 months.

When ready to bake

  • Preheat the oven to 375°F with the rack in the middle position. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and place cookie dough balls about 2” apart. Bake for 14 minutes. The key is to underbake these cookies to keep them dense and chewy.
  • Immediately sprinkle a little pinch of flaky sea salt on each as they come out of the oven. Cool and enjoy.
  • The cookies will last in an airtight container for 3 days. Bake them one at a time for a treat or all at once to share.

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 at 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.


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