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Saturday, January 08, 2005

Chocolate Revisited

Alice Medrich's book Bittersweet: Recipes and Tales from a Life in Chocolate was published a little over a year ago, since then I've noticed how crazy we are for chocolate. Again. It seems we are rediscovering how great chocolate is, especially bittersweet chocolate.

I've also noticed how many companies are making hot chocolate products (mixes, powders, etc.) Not hot cocoa, but hot chocolate, big difference. Hot chocolate is made with chocolate which contains chocolate liquor (not alcoholic) and cocoa butter. Cocoa is a powder and contains no cocoa butter. Cocoa butter is the fatty part of chocolate that gives chocolate its richness.

Perhaps you've also noticed a number of spicy hot chocolates on the market? Hot chocolate in many variations, often Aztec or Maya inspired, is becoming quite popular. In fact, Starbucks has just introduced a new super decadent hot chocolate called Chantico, named after the Aztec goddess of hearth and fire. A 6-ounce cup has 390 calories, 21 grams of fat and 51 carbs, so this stuff is a lot like "liquid dessert". Chantico made it's premiere in stores today but on January 13th from 4-5 p.m. Starbucks will be sampling this cup of sin.

I plan on trying Chantico on January 13th, (if I'm anywhere near a Starbucks) but I also plan on conducting my own hot chocolate tasting at home. If you have a favorite hot chocolate, please let me know which ones you think I ought to include.

On another note: Nominations for the fifth annual weblog awards are now taking place and they include food blogs! There are some rules to be aware of, at least three different weblogs total must be nominated. You may nominate your own weblog, but the total nominations for your own weblog must be less than one third of your total (legitimate) nominations. There is no limit to the number of categories a weblog may be nominated for. May the best blogs win!