Valentine’s Day Gift Released!

So, earlier this week I introduced the idea of a sassy chocolate bar.  You may recall the shock, awe, and absolute astonishment that our very own Sara underwent after tasting that bar.  Here is a photo reproduction of this event:

images

All kidding aside, this is an incredible bar.  Here is a little more about it:

Imagine the culmination of flavor that stems from blending only cacao, whole milk, organic cane sugar and a pinch of sea salt, but in just such a way that they end up tasting exactly like browned butter and sea-salted burnt caramel were mixed right into the refiners with the chocolate.

If your imagination is pretty accurate, your mouth is currently watering.

This is the flavor of our limited-edition Sweet & Sassy milk chocolate bar.  We’ve never tasted anything like it, and it is the perfect gift for the month of love!   Please note that there are only several hundred left before they’ll be all gone.

Here is the problem.

I forgot to tell you about something else important.

We have ALSO put together another special gift for Valentine’s Day, and by my count, there are still about 20 boxes of them left.  So, here is more about that too; the pièce de résistance:

bonbons

We have hand-crafted only a handful of these lovely gift boxes with red ribbon.  Each box contains:

  • 2 hand-painted blackberry port bonbons
  • 2 golden-flecked salted caramel ganache bonbons

These are all made in-house, from bean to bar to bonbon, which is quite rare and quite a feat.

Let me repeat that with a little more detail:

We source the cacao, hand-sort it, roast it, winnow it, create a special chocolate recipe that takes months to perfect, and then refine the beans, organic cane sugar and cocoa butter to make some of the finest chocolate imaginable.  ONLY THEN do we begin the process of hand-decorating and molding these little chocolate jewels, filled with house-made ganache so decadent that words can really not describe the experience.  This is bean-to-bar-to bonbon!

You can check them out here while they last.

I’d tell you to enjoy them, but that would be the understatement of the year.

Best,

Alan McClure

Founder & Head Chocolate Maker

An invitation…

At Patric Chocolate we diligently work day in and day out to bring innovative and delicious bars that satisfy and impress all of your chocolate craving hearts and mouths. Your feedback is always important to us and with the start of the New Year we want to have a more interactive space to share all of our exciting developments with you from inside our workshop. The three of us that make up Patric Chocolate are passionate and proud of the work we do and want you, our valued customers and friends, to join in our passion with us. Not only do we want to share our chocolate with you, we want to tell our stories, explain our work, and spread our knowledge to each of you on a new level. This is your invitation to take a peek inside our workshop, meet the people behind the chocolate, and truly understand what makes Patric Chocolate unique.

I’m Sara Trikenskas, 1/3 of Patric Chocolate and well, I’m a chocolate maker. I’m going to be the primary voice behind the blog and I intend to try my best to bring you (virtually) inside our factory. I will be answering your questions, sharing recipes (for uses of Patric Chocolate in your kitchen), photos, and many other fun things!

I want to hear from you! What do you want to know about us?

Please feel free to contact me with any questions, comments, concerns, and or winning lottery tickets at: SaraT@Patric-chocolate.com

To Blog or Not To Blog

So, since I started this blog, Facebook has really taken off, and I am far more active at communicating in that medium. I haven’t posted to this blog in well over a year, and I don’t anticipate continuing it. Still, I hesitate to delete the posts as I believe that they have a great deal of relevant and useful information for chocolate lovers. That being the case, at least for now, I’ll be leaving the blog running, but inactive.

Read more

Request For Blog Topics

Hello all,

I already have a list of topics that I will be covering on this blog over the next year or so, but I certainly want to make sure that I am not overlooking other issues that are of particular interest to my readers. If you are interested in hearing my take on a chocolate-related topic about which I have not yet written, then please leave a comment below mentioning the topic.

For those of you that don’t have any particular topics in mind, if you see one in the comments below that does interest you, then please note your interest in the comments as well.

The topic ideas need not be technical or science-related, though they certainly can be. If you simply would like to know more about something, or if something just doesn’t seem completely clear to you, then that is fair game for a topic.

I look forward to seeing all of your ideas!

Very best,

Alan McClure

Nibs, Cacao Seeds and Cocoa Beans, Oh My!

These words are thrown around indiscriminately at times, and I am probably also guilty of it, even as I try to clarify, rather than obfuscate, chocolate-related issues. So, here is my attempt to create some order out of this chaos. Luckily, this topic is one of the least complicated ones of which I have written as of late.

The journey of “cacao” starts with a tree, also called “cacao,” or more specifically, by its scientific name, Theobroma cacao. On the trunk and lower branches of the cacao tree’s canopy grow beautiful, if a bit odd-looking, fruit. These fruit are slightly smaller than a large papaya and roughly the same shape, though some of them have quite a few bumps, ridges, and curves that give them a bit more character (see photo above). As mentioned in a previous post, these fruit are actually large berries, and within these berries one finds tart pulp-covered seeds that are approximately the size of an almond, though a bit plumper. These seeds are, therefore, called “cacao seeds,” or often simply “cacao.” So far, so good.

The cacao seeds must be removed from the fruit, and fermented and then dried. This processes leads to a product that can then be roasted and refined to make chocolate. At this stage it can still be called “cacao,” but in English speaking countries, is often referred to as “cocoa beans” or simply “cocoa.” It is easy to see that the word “cocoa” is quite similar to “cacao,” and that the terms are related, but this does not help solve the confusion related to the fact that “cocoa” can also be used in ways other than to refer to “cacao seeds” or “cocoa beans.” Often “cocoa” is used to refer to “cocoa powder,” which is roasted and ground “cocoa beans” that have had much of their natural fat removed. And speaking of “cocoa beans,” why is it that they are called “beans” anyway, when they are actually not beans at all? The reason is probably quite simple, despite the confusing common usage: the seeds are somewhat bean-shaped, and apparently the English were not the only ones to think so, as the French terminology–fève de cacao–references a fava bean in its description of the seed shape.

So, all confusion about “cacao seeds” and “cocoa beans” aside, what are “nibs?” The term “nibs” is one that is cropping up quite a bit lately, but many people, perhaps most, are still not familiar with it. To understand what “nibs” are, let us discuss just a bit about the structure of a cacao seed. The seed has a thin seed-coat that when dried is quite brittle. This dry seed-coat is usually called the “shell.” This shell is removed, generally after roasting, and what is left–the internal part of the bean, or botanically, the cotyledons–is 100% pure unground chocolate. This unground, shell-less seed can be broken into pieces quite readily, and these pieces are called “nibs.” When roasted, as they usually are, these nibs have a pleasant chocolate-like aroma and flavor, though since they are unsweetened, also have some additional bitterness. Their nut-like texture, however, does moderate the strength of the nibs, and so they tend to be far more munchable than refined 100% chocolate. Nibs can be found in bars of chocolate, where they take the place that nuts might normally fill, and also in small bags to be eaten out of hand, or mixed in with fruit, or even cooked with. They are a tasty and satisfying food, and one that Patric Chocolate will be offering in the near future.

I hope that this brief essay helps to clarify the differences between some very commonly used words, despite the large degree of overlap. For an article that touches on a few of these terms in relation to the percentage that we often see on the chocolate bar wrapper, please see my previous post called Chocolate and Percentages: What Does it All Mean?

Very Best,

Alan McClure

Calling All Commenters:

Since the Patric Chocolate blog began last year, the “commenting” feature has been inactivated. However, it just doesn’t seem like nearly as much fun to write post after post without people being able to put in their two cents. So, commenting is now activated, both for future posts, and retroactively. If there are any posts that you found to be particularly interesting or perhaps you wanted to add a side note to something, then please do so. Hopefully this blog will become more of a living dialogue on chocolate in the process.

Best,

Alan McClure