The world of chocolate continues to grow. As you shop for holiday baking supplies or for chocolates to eat, look for many new choices coming to supermarket shelves. Toledo also will have a visit from a master chocolatier.
Toledo-area connoisseurs may learn more about the uses of chocolate from Ann Czaja, a master chocolatier from New Hampshire, who will visit the Lindt Chocolatier Shop at Westfield Franklin Park from noon to 6 p.m. tomorrow and Thursday. She will discuss how to use all five senses when tasting chocolate.
The holiday line of all the major chocolate makers is a feast for the taste buds. There are products from Lindt, Godiva (including the Limited Edition Cocktail Truffles), Lake Champlain Chocolates (Vermont); B.T. McElrath s new line of artisan chocolates (Minneapolis) that includes champagne truffles, and Joseph Schmidt Confections chocolate truffles infused with sweet pear or toffee ganache, and truffles flavored with apricot brandy.
When selecting baking chocolate, read the package labels. In The Seven Sins of Chocolate, author Laurent Schott (DK Publishing, $50) reveals the secrets of Henri Le Roux, a Breton pastry cook. For a ganache, he advises choosing a chocolate with a higher proportion of cocoa powder and a lower proportion of cocoa butter. The cocoa powder contains chocolate flavors while the cocoa butter enriches and improves consistency.
While most home cooks select what s on the store shelf based on price and previous experience, more brands are available to try. Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker is expanding the baking collection with 6-ounce Home Baking Bars and premium Chocolate Ganaches. The bars include:
l 62 percent Cacao Semisweet Chocolate Home Baking Bar (6-ounce bar is $5.99).
l 70 percent Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Home Baking Bar (6-ounce bar is $5.99) for melting chocolate for hot chocolate, pots de creme, and chocolate sauce.
l 99 percent Cacao Unsweetened Chocolate Home Baking Bar (6-ounce bar is $6.99).
The Chocolate Ganaches ? Milk Chocolate Ganache, Bittersweet Chocolate Ganache, and Gianduja Chocolate Ganache (10-ounce jars are $10) ? are sold at specialty retailers, gourmet grocers, and Scharffen Berger s retail and online stores. Note that Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker was established in 1996 in San Francisco and is now a subsidiary of the Hershey Co.
In September, Cacao Reserve by Hershey s was launched with premium chocolate products in single-serve and take-home bars, truffles, and drinking cocoa. Varieties include the Premium Milk and Milk with Hazelnuts (35 percent cacao) and Extra Dark and Dark with Nibs (65 percent cacao). Premium Drinking Cocoa has two blends: Classic Mayan and Mildly Spiced Aztec. In December, watch for Cacao Reserve by Hershey s Country of Origin bars: Java, Indonesia; Arriba; Santo Domingo, and Sao Tome.
You can also make your own gourmet chocolates with the help of Truffles by Dede Wilson (Harvard Common Press, $12.95). Recipes include Cranberry White Chocolate Truffles, Black Tea Bittersweet Chocolate Truffles using Dutch-processed cocoa powder, and Cognac Truffles.
Or fix hot beverages using Hot Chocolate by Fred Thompson (Harvard Common Press, $12.95). Make Ecuadorian Heirloom Hot Chocolate with bittersweet chocolate (70 percent cacao), Ghiradelli Square Caramel Hot Chocolate with a 6.9-ounce bag of Ghiradelli milk chocolate squares with caramel filling, and Old-Fashioned Peppermint Stick Hot Chocolate Mix (with natural cocoa powder).
Kathie Smith is The Blade s food editor.
Contact her at: email@example.com or 419-724-6155.