The Chocolate Life

Discover Chocolate and Live La Vida Cocoa!

Susie Norris's Blog (16)

Day of Delicious



The biggest celebration of Dia de Los Meurtos or Day of the Dead in America is at Hollywood Forever cemetery in Los Angeles. Part art walk, part street festival, all souls are welcome. The tradition is rooted in the ancient civilzations of Mesoamerica (Maya, Aztec and more) and are the same ones that developed chocolate from their native cacao trees. People decorate alters with memorabilia, marigolds, candles, bread and sugar skulls to attract… Continue

Added by Susie Norris on October 26, 2009 at 4:30pm — No Comments

CHOCOLATE BLISS TODAY

Hey, it’s today! My new book, CHOCOLATE BLISS: Sensuous Recipes, Spa Treatments and Other Divine Indulgences hits bookstores today (Barnes & Noble, Borders, your local independent). It’s a celebration of how chocolate touches the culinary heart of the world. Lots of info on tasting, health benefits, sustainable farming, gifting, plus recipes for brownies, cookies, marbled pound cake, cocoa chili, fondue; AND shopping tips on how to find great… Continue

Added by Susie Norris on October 20, 2009 at 12:10pm — 5 Comments

Chocolate Doesn't Go With Velveeta™

Call my crazy but I just don’t want the makers of Velveeta messing with my Cadbury bars. Kraft Foods bid (underbid?) $16.7 billion for Cadbury this week, declaring they were offering stock holders a 42% increase on Cadbury’s median share price. Cadbury pushed back, declaring the proposal undervalued their stock and they were confident in their "stand-alone strategy and growth prospects as a result of...strong brands, unique category and geographic… Continue

Added by Susie Norris on September 9, 2009 at 2:00pm — 11 Comments

Chocolate Balsamic Vinaigrette

One of the many things I learned in the the cookbook writing process was how to spell “vinaigrette”. It’s one of those words that looks wrong even when it is right so thank you, eagle-eyed editors. Here’s the recipe - it has garlicy, sweet and sour notes which you can adjust by using more or less dark chocolate.









2 tablespoons balsamic



vinegar



2 tablespoons rice wine



vinegar (or white… Continue

Added by Susie Norris on September 5, 2009 at 1:00am — No Comments

CHOCOLATE TANNIC ATTACK

Oolong tea from Taiwan infused milk chocolate from Belgium. Dark chocolate from Venezuela drank up black tea from Ceylon. And Napa Valley red wine seeped into organic chocolate from Hawaii. Such exotic flavor and terroir matchups were among the many found at the 55th Summer Fancy Food Show in New York City in June. What inspired these new combinations? Large amounts of flavonols, the antioxidant-powered chemicals that occur naturally in wine, tea and… Continue

Added by Susie Norris on August 10, 2009 at 10:31pm — 2 Comments

THE MAKING OF A CHERRY CHOCOLATE

Cherry season is almost over - sniff, sniff - so now is the time for all good chocolatiers to honor this exquisite superfruit. Cherries come in sweet and sour varieties, including Bing, Morello, and Schmidt among many others. Historians suspect they are originally from China and first cultivated in Turkey by the Romans in the 1st century. They later captured the adoration of the Chinese brush painters; their blossoms became a national cultural symbol… Continue

Added by Susie Norris on July 14, 2009 at 2:30am — No Comments

SUGAR TALL AND HANDSOME

The sugar and chocolate showpiece competition at the World Pastry Championship is a place to pick favorites. I pick favorites there the way I might choose giant lollipops at the amusement park - which one speaks to my heart in color and design. But here’s the trick that sets the sugar artists of the pastry championship miles apart from the guys in the candy kitchen making giant lollipops. Sugar artists must make their sculptures tall. Not just big,… Continue

Added by Susie Norris on July 13, 2009 at 1:00am — 8 Comments

COCOA CHEESE DECISION

Rambling through the cheese section of the new Whole Foods market in Pasadena is an excerise in delerium. Should I get the sharp farmhouse cheddar I know? Should I try the oozy sheep’s milk raw I’ve never heard of? Blue with veins or white with orange rind??? Then, the little cheese that was meant for me appeared. Cardona with a cocoa powder rind. What a miracle of subtely - no sharpness to the flavor of the cheese, no bitterness from the wrapping of… Continue

Added by Susie Norris on June 16, 2009 at 10:07am — 4 Comments

MAKE MINE MARBLE

Imagine your very own chocolate workshop - shelf space for all your molds, spatulas, pots, pans and junk; room for all your machines which nobody loves but you; boxes and boxes of your fine couvertures from around the world. What is the one thing you need to make your vision complete?



You need a marble slab! I am the proud owner of a new marble slab which now lives in my state-of-the-art-on-a-twizzlestick-budget chocolate studio formerly… Continue

Added by Susie Norris on June 1, 2009 at 8:30pm — 2 Comments

So Much Chocolate in San Francisco

Today I joined 40 other chocolatiers - bayside with seagulls - thinking: this is a perfect day for chocolate lovers in San Fran to collect at the waterfront wharf and celebrate chocolate. Look out! 5,000 of them turned up! I was next to Chocolatique from LA, Jade from SF, Amano from Utah, William Dean from Florida, and nearly 20 wine and liqueur makers, 20 artists....and thousands of enthusiasts sampling the wares. My observatons: chocolate is still recession-proof! People were buying,… Continue

Added by Susie Norris on March 22, 2009 at 7:00pm — No Comments

CHOCOLATE IN CHICAGO

The swirling snow through Chicago’s bare trees seemed a long way from the humid breezes and thick leaf canopies of chocolate’s growing regions. Yet when I arrived at the new Barry-Callebaut’s Chocolate Academy in Chicago, I found the fragrant bags of chocolate from Costa Rica and Tanzania and Mexico ready for action. I had heard that this facility was the best of all chocolate work labs in the country, and maybe even the world. Could it be true? This was no ordinary candy kitchen - the kind… Continue

Added by Susie Norris on February 13, 2009 at 12:30pm — No Comments

HOLIDAY DISCOVERIES

This rainy December day marks the end of my first year back in the chocolate production business after a few years off teaching baking & writing. Some things have changed! Many, many more artisans going bean to bar. I don't work bean to bar myself - I'm all about confections - but I've sampled some very delicious products from companies like AMANO in Utah. More chocolate shows. More health news, more "spin", more single origins and high percentages, more daring flavor combinations and… Continue

Added by Susie Norris on December 17, 2008 at 8:45pm — 2 Comments

THE CHOCOLATE BOOK - she lives!

If your goal in life is to write a book, allow me to share what I know about the process. Here’s my first piece of good news: the books on how to write a non-fiction book proposal are really good! These are the only self-help books that ever worked for me. What they will force you to do is to refine your idea (Great ideas are a dime a dozen - how do you make yours work as a book?). They will help you think competitively about the marketplace (What other books on the subject are out there? How… Continue

Added by Susie Norris on September 19, 2008 at 2:46pm — 1 Comment

MUST WE MUSHROOM?

May 19th, 2008

Accepting chocolate with crubled bacon bits was a stretch for me. Love chocolate and god knows, love bacon, but the unusual combination from a very fine American chocolate company made me suspicious. When I tried it, I gained insight. It’s not that chocolate doesn’t go with bacon conceptually because what is bacon after all but a lot of animal fat & salt & a little piggy essence. What made this bar so very, very bad was that the bacon tasted like Baco-o’s (those… Continue

Added by Susie Norris on May 20, 2008 at 10:11pm — 8 Comments

CHEFS & CHAMPAGNE IN LA

Not just any chefs, my friends, but the best chefs in LA were on the street at Melrose Place in West Hollywood last night. The guests - fashionistas & foodies from Europe, New York, LA - were decked! I’m neck-craning - where to look? Beautiful people or beautiful food? Ah, the food! Under white tents, elegant amuse bouce and bite size specialties popped out from the chefs' tables - marinated big-eye tuna from Sona, rock shrimp shooters from Zov’s… Continue

Added by Susie Norris on May 6, 2008 at 5:00pm — 2 Comments

Aloha, Hawaiian Chocolate.

Here's a post from my chocolate blog (www.chocolateallthetime.com/blogspot). Comments?



You don't get to see cacao pods in the USA unless you go to Hawaii, and even there they a rare sight. Cacao trees (from whence, of course, chocolate) are cultivated only sporadically around the Hawaiian Islands. But Tony Lydgate of Steel Grass Farm on Kauai hopes to change that. His botanical garden (www.steelgrass.org) specializes in cultivating organic plants that bring value to the islanders and… Continue

Added by Susie Norris on April 28, 2008 at 12:04am — 12 Comments

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