Hippity-hop! Bunnies, chicks, and Easter eggs with zChocolat..oh my!!

Hippity-hop! Bunnies, chicks, and Easter eggs with zChocolat..oh my!!

zchocolat, easter, chocolate

zChocolat Easter Collection

Easter is fast approaching and chocolatiers are hopping around like bunnies to create delectable decadence for chocolate lovers like you. Inside every adult is a child whose eyes open wide in awe and yummy desire when seeing chocolate bunnies, truffles and Easter eggs. But what fun would Easter be if you couldn’t share these delectables with someone you love?

 

This is where zChocolat comes in! Well known for their handmade French chocolate creations by none other than the world-champion chocolatier, Pascal Caffet who prides in the tradition of using all fresh high-quality ingredients from Europe. Very rare to find chocolates made with no preservatives. Their collections are made with dark, milk and white chocolates from Venezuela and the Ivory Coast filled with their signature rich ganaches. So rich and smooth you can feel the decadence melt in your mouth.

 

zChocolat Easter Collection - Bunnies, chicks, & Easter eggs

zChocolat Easter Collection – Bunnies, chicks, & Easter eggs

I had the pleasure to try their Easter Duo collection – fun assortment of truffles and solids. Their truffles consist of white, milk and dark chocolates filled with caramelized hazelnut ganaches in whimsical shapes of bunnies, Easter eggs, chickens and chicks. The solid collection also of white, milk and dark were in the shapes from the ocean – seashells, crabs, carps, oysters, mussels and fish.

 

Why the sea inspiration? I too wondered myself and found this on their website http://www.zchocolat.com/egg-chic-easter. Or read below an excerpt for the reason why:

 

zchocolat, easter, seashells, fish, carp

zChocolat Easter Collection – sea inspired shapes

“Symbol of the Christian faith, the fish is often used to represent Jesus. The other sea-shaped chocolates come from Jesus’s fishing “miracle” – as the legend tells he pulled up a net filled with sea creatures in the lake of Tibériade after fellow fishers had been coming home with empty nets for several days and were beginning to starve. The eggs, first Easter offering tradition, are a symbol of life and the rabbit, a symbol of spring and fertility.”

 

I think it is great that zChocolat honors their European traditions but it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy this wonderful gift of pleasure.

 

zchocolat, easter, chocolate

zChocolat signature brand

Of course the sensual experience doesn’t end here. When you order online, you have options of personalizing your gift with choices of elegant packaging (assortments, zBoxes, basswood boxes and mahogany boxes). Their chocolates are packaged in their black signature boxes and the whole gift is placed in a black fabric pouch. You have the opportunity to personalize your own love message printed on a white card inserted in the pouch pocket. Options to accessorize with a special trinket or a heart shaped padlock with a 4-digit combination you can personalize like a special date you share with your sweetie or even a a date of a birthday.

 

zchocolat, easter, seashells, fish, carpNot sure whether zChocolate is for you? Only one way to find out… is to actually order a small collection to experience the pleasurable delights first hand. Go to: http://www.zchocolat.com/shop/en/114-easter-collection

 

These make the perfect gourmet gifts for your own scavenger hunts or even better surprise your sweetie by having it delivered to your sweetie’s work or home or placing it in their purses/bags for them to find later. Either way you present it, this will definitely bring a smile on their face.

 

Have an egg-cellent Easter with your sweetie. To view their chocolate collections go to: http://www.zchocolat.com

With Love From Provence

With Love From Provence

Zchocolates 'With Love from Provence' collection

Zchocolates ‘With Love from Provence’ collection

“With Love From Provence” 

 

Sophisticated elegance is the two words I would describe my experience with Zchocolat. Known for their ‘slick’ black signature packaging and of course their delectable treats that will get your fingers itching to touch and mouth watering just at the sight of these dark and colorful beauties.

 

First encountered Zchocolat when I was looking for special chocolate gift ideas that would leave a lasting impression and this company does exactly that. They really elevated gift personalization to the next level. When you see their website and actually see their works of art first hand, you will strongly agree with me. You’ll offer selection of distinctive and memorable gifts for the man or woman in your life for many occasions. Most popular time of the year? Of course Valentine’s Day with their chocolate hearts collection.

 

Zchocolates special fruit jellies and nougat collection

Zchocolates special fruit jellies and nougat collection

I am honored to have received their most popular chocolate assortment and their fruit jellies and nougat selection as part of their “With Love from Provence” collection. Personally not a fan of fruit jellies perhaps due to bad childhood memories of the hard texture and overwhelming amount of sugar, but I was surprised how yummy these were. Soft texture and hint of sweetness loaded with fruit bursting with each bite. Hmmm… cherry, apricot, strawberry, apply and raspberry. I just couldn’t stop at just one.

 

Love nougat when it is fresh, soft and chewy rather than hard and really sweet.  Zchocolat’s nougats were rich and very creamy which were saved for last.

 

Now the best part! Of course I can say the ‘best part’ cause I’m a woman who loves good quality chocolates especially preservative free. Normally I gravitate toward single origin bars as they are already packed with flavors and aromas, but must admit love their gourmet gems. Look at the pictures you can see why.

Display of their gourmet artisan chocolates

Display of their gourmet artisan chocolates

 

All presented nicely in rows you know this is one experience you will want to do again and again. Choose from white, milk (Ivory Coast) and dark (Venezuelan). What’s very interesting is each chocolate is numbered. How cool is that? Easy to figure out with the legend what it is rather than trying to guess based on design. Due to lack of preserves these beauties need to be consumed with a couple of weeks of receiving.

 

Packaging that guarantees fresh chocolates!

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Special temperature controlled packaging Zchocolates designed to ensure your chocolates and treats arrive fresh and in shape upon delivery.

Special temperature controlled packaging Zchocolates designed to ensure your chocolates and treats arrive fresh and in shape upon delivery.

This is one company that doesn’t skim on packaging!

 

Live in a hot city where you experience warm/hot temperatures and climates? Not to worry as Zchocolat got you covered. Your packaged comes in a silver reflective box filled with Styrofoam blocks to prevent from shifting and a number of temperature controlled refrigerant packs to keep the treats fresh and in shape upon delivery.

 

Personalization

 

Yes you can make any chocolate gift to suit your loved one’s personality. Customize the chocolate selection, perhaps have it all contained in a beautiful wooden box and add a personal note all put into a black fabric pouch for your loved one to bring a smile to their faces.

 

This gift package includes:

 

thechocolatedate.com zchocolates provence collection10 small websiteZ – flagship chocolates – sweet and salty caramel and a crunch praline made from slow roasted Piedmont hazelnuts

12 – blend of roasted Dutch sesame seeds and Valencia almond praline with finely ground caramelized almonds covered with 40% Ivory Coast milk chocolate

13- raspberry ganache paired with a hint of violet and drenched in 70% Venezuelan dark chocolate

14 – finely ground caramelized Iranian pistachios mixed with hazelnuts from Piedmont and covered with 40% Ivory Coast milk chocolate

15 – refreshing and acidulous lemon-almond paste surrounded with 70% Venezuelan dark chocolate

16 – solid 40% Ivory Coast milk chocolate with minced Venetian almonds

17 – praline made from piedmont hazelnuts and milk chocolate accented with the warm flavors of finely grated Sri Lankan coconut in 70% Venezuelan dark chocolate

18 –premium ground coffee from Kenya and Nicaragua blended with 62% dark chocolate and silk 40% milk chocolate ganache all covered with 70% Venezuelan dark chocolate

19 – walnut praline with phyllo dough in Ivory Coast milk chocolate giving it the crunchy texture. Sadly I’m afraid this one isn’t gluten free.

20 – light splash of orange in this creamy ganache in a smooth Ivory Coast chocolate

21 – tend almond paste perfumed with a delicate hint of rose cloaked in 70% Venezuelan dark chocolate

22 – surprising blend of freshly milled coriander seeds with citrus overtones and hazelnut praline surrounded with 40% Ivory Coast milk chocolate

23 – silky ganache of 62% dark Venezuelan dark chocolate surrounded by 70% Venezuelan dark chocolate and brightened with floral essence of violet

24 – flavors of pastries and honey in a 40% Ivory Coast milk chocolate ganache

 

Is your mouth watering yet? These are just a few from their collection. Be sure to visit their website: www.zchocolat.com for their complete array of decadent delights to gift yourself and your loved one. This will be one gift you will want to gift again and again.

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Celebrate your love using only 3 ingredients on August 10

Celebrate your love using only 3 ingredients on August 10

Did you know? August 10 marks the celebration of National S’mores Day!

 

thechocolatedate.com national smores day date idea2

 

So grab your sweetie and make this a special date underneath the stars! Make a campfire, toast some marshmallows and sandwich between chocolate and graham crackers.

 

Alternatively you can use a toaster oven or microwave to toast marshmallows. Also available is a S’more Maker that comes with a mini burner and all the utensils. Click the image to buy. 

amazon smores maker complete set

   If you want more ideas on variations of s’mores you can make go to: http://www.pinterest.com/chocolatedate/national-smores-day-august-10/

 

   If you like this idea please click the buttons below to share this with your friends. Enjoy the yummy gooeyness of love. 

 

 

Black Bean Chili with Chocolate and Coconut

Black Bean Chili with Chocolate and Coconut

Black bean chili with chocolate and coconut from gimmesomeoven.com

Black bean chili with chocolate and coconut from gimmesomeoven.com

Black Bean Chili with Chocolate and Coconut

For you chili fans, here’s another savory chocolate chili recipe to make for your next dinner date with your sweetie thanks to www.gimmesomeoven.com. Especially made with black beans with chocolate and coconut.  Enjoy!

 

Recipe from: http://www.gimmesomeoven.com/black-bean-chili-with-chocolate-and-coconut

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours, 45 minutes
Yield: 6-8 Servings

Ingredients

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large white onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup good-quality chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
8 cups water
1 pound dried black beans, rinsed
1 (4 oz.) can diced green chiles
1/4 cup coconut flakes
2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder (use dark chocolate cocoa for vegan version)
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1-3 teaspoons minced canned chipotle chiles in adobo, to taste
toppings: chocolate chips and additional toasted coconut flakes

 

Method

Black bean chili with chocolate and coconut from gimmesomeover.com

Black bean chili with chocolate and coconut from gimmesomeoven.com

Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and cook for 4-5 minutes, until translucent, stirring occasionally. Add in chili powder and cumin cook for an additional 3 minutes until fragrant. Add in the water, black beans, green chiles, coconut flakes, unsweetened cocoa powder, and oregano. Bring to a boil. Then reduce heat to medium-low and cover, leaving the lid slightly ajar. Simmer for about 2 hours or until the beans are mostly tender.

 

Add in the chipotle peppers in adobo sauce by teaspoons until it reaches your desired taste. Season with salt and pepper, and add an additional 1/2 cup or more of water if needed. Then return to heat for a final 30 minutes or until the beans are fully-cooked. If you would like a smoother soup, feel free to use a potato masher or immersion blender to puree. Otherwise, serve as-is with toppings.

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How to Boost Your Energy & Stamina

“Chocolate – The breakfast of champions” – Unknown

 

It is well known fact that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. After a sleeping for a number of hours the body will need nourishment to function at an optimal level. It has been strongly recommended by fitness nutritionists to eat breakfast within the first hour of waking up because this is when the metabolism is at the highest.

 

Organic raw cacao nibs

Organic raw cacao nibs

So why not add chocolate to your breakfast using cacao nibs?

 

Cacao, known as one of the world’s superfoods is the raw material of chocolate or the bean that has been fermented and roasted before it is processed into chocolate. As one website described them as “nature’s chocolate chips.” http://navitasnaturals.com Nutty flavor with hints of bitter chocolate that tastes like cocoa powder.

 

What are some benefits of this little bean?

  • Contains antioxidants and nutrients that enhance physical and mental well-being that will give you a healthy boost/pick up.
  • Rich with magnesium and contains more antioxidant flavoids that red wine, green tea and blueberries.
  • Helps release endorphins giving you a natural high or the ‘feeling of being in love’
  • Natural snack without sugar, additives, and preservatives.

Not too shabby for this little bean. You can find this gem at health food stores and organic food markets. You and your Chocolate Date sweetie can enjoy both the health benefits and the yummy flavor.

 

Simply add a couple tablespoons of cacao nibs to granola, cereal or breakfast smoothie for a morning chocolate treat.

 

Here’s a few recipes to get you started:

Amazon The Art of Raw Living Food
Chocolate Supreme Smoothie
From book: The Art of Raw Living Food by Doreen Virtue and Jenny Ross

Raw cacao is high in magnesium and other creativity enhancers. This superfood smoothie is great for unlocking your mind’s potential to create, and it also provides a naturally stimulating energy. The most important thing about this recipe is that it’s balanced by rich green foods.

1 ripe peeled banana or avocado
1 young Thai coconut (water and flesh)
2 tbsp. raw cacao nibs or powder
1 tbsp. maca-root powder
1 tsp. vanilla extract or 1 whole vanilla bean
2 tbsp. hemp seeds
2 tbsp. agave nectar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tbsp. SuperGreens or spirulina
1/2 cup ice
Blend all ingredients well in a high powered blender. Pour into a glass lined in chocolate sauce and serve, or sprinkle with fresh cinnamon and garnish with a cinnamon stick.

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chocolate granola w cacao nibs almonds and cherriesCrazy-Good Chocolate Granola with Cacao Nibs, Almonds, and Cherries
http://wayfaringchocolate.com/2012/03/15/chocolate-granola-with-cacao-nibs-almonds-and-cherries/

3 cups (270g) rolled oats
1 cup (120g) slivered almonds
1/2 cup (60g) sunflower seeds
1/4 cup cacao nibs
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/4 cup honey (I used Manuka honey, ’cause I’m fancy like that. Agave or maple work for a vegan version)
1/3 cup canola oil
a few pinches of salt
1/2 cup raisins
3/4 cup dried cherries

1.Preheat oven to 150°C (300°F).
2.In a large bowl, mix the oats, almonds, sunflower seeds and cacao nibs together. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder, sugar, honey, oil, and salt. This will make a very, very thick mixture, so don’t fear it. Embrace it.
3.Mix the wet mix into the dry, stirring vigorously to make sure it’s all mixed through.
4.Pour the granola mixture onto one or two baking trays, then bake for about an hour, stirring every twenty minutes. (I only had one baking tray so baked the mixture for 1 hour and 20 minutes.)
5.Stir in the dried fruit and bake for five minutes more, although this part is probably completely unnecessary. You could certainly just stir in the dried fruit and be done. Your call. Also, don’t stress if the granola still seems a little bit wet straight out of the oven; as soon as it cools down, it because stupendously crispy.

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tropical fruit salad w cacao nibs chow.comTropical Fruit Salad with Cacao Nibs Recipe
http://www.chow.com/recipes/14112-tropical-fruit-salad-with-cacao-nibs

1 cup banana, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch slices (from about 1 medium banana)
1 cup kiwi, peeled and cut into medium dice (from about 3 medium kiwis)
1 cup mango, peeled and cut into medium dice (from about 1 medium mango)1 1/2 cups solo papaya, peeled, seeds removed, and cut into medium dice (from about 1 medium papaya)
1/4 cup hazelnuts, toasted, skins removed, and coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons cacao nibs
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon agave nectar

Place all ingredients in a large bowl and gently mix to combine. Serve immediately.

 

Action: Try these ideas and let me know what is your favorite one. Or if you have any that you would like to share please post them in the comments below. Love to hear your story.

Nigella’s Chocolate Chip Chili

Nigella’s Chocolate Chip Chili

Nigellas chocolate chip chili from bakedbree.com

Nigellas chocolate chip chili from bakedbree.com

I love chili especially on a cold night to warm up the body and chocolate to nourish the soul. With this recipe from www.bakedbree.com you can have the best of both worlds. With chocolate you add a new dimension of taste you would not have imagined. Make it an evening for two in front of the fire place and remember a bottle of red wine. Enjoy!

 

Nigella’s Chocolate Chip Chili
Recipe from: http://bakedbree.com/nigellas-chocolate-chip-chili

Ingredients

1 1/4 pounds chorizo
3 1/4 pounds boneless beef cut into chunks (I buy stew meat)
3 onions
3 garlic cloves
1 long red chile
1/4 cup vegetable oil
seeds from 3 cardamom pods
2 Tablespoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon dried pepper flakes
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/4 cup ketchup
4 (15 ounce) cans red kidney beans
3 (14 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1 cup water
salt and pepper

Instructions

1. Put the onions and garlic in the food processor.

2. In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, cook the onion, garlic, and red chile until soft, about 10 minutes. Add the cardamom, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, and pepper flakes.

Nigellas chocolate chip chili from bakedbree.com

Nigellas chocolate chip chili from bakedbree.com

3. Cook the onion and spice mixture for a minute or two. Take the chorizo out of the casing and add to the pot.

4. Add the beef and cook until it starts to brown.

5. Add the beans, tomato paste, ketchup, diced tomato, and water. Bring the chili to a boil.

6. Once the chili comes to a bubble, add the chocolate chips. Stir the chips in until they melt. Cover the pot and put in a preheated 300 degree oven. Cook the chili for 3 more hours. Give a taste and check to see if you need salt and pepper.

7. Top with cheese and cilantro.

 

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