Archive for the ‘Chocolate’ Category

The Chocolate Tasters Have Spoken!

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And the winner is….Hostess Mints! We sent our official candy tasters a variety of chocolates to try …and the verdict is in! Out of two cordials – Irish cream and peach – chocolate covered figs, milk Wilbur Buds, chocolate cayenne pepper balls, hostess mints, and the great outlier of them all chocolate covered gummy bears…the winner is the Hostess Mints!! So what about the Hostess Mints? They’re a classic treat with chocolate enrobed or sandwiched mint. and a favorite of bridge players from the 1920s through 1950s… Among the positive reviews were that the hostess mint was “GREAT! Much better…

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The Almost-Astonishing Story of Chocolate Covered Peppermint Candy

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From Ice Cream Cones to a Retro Candy Favorite As you may remember, in my previous blog “The Almost-Astonishing Story of Chocolate Covered Peppermint Candy” I revealed the ascent of the peppermint pattie from Henry C. Kessler’s first ever smooth-and-creamy filled York Peppermint Pattie to the Welsh-Brothers’ Junior Miss nine years later. But, let us not forget all those other peppermint patties that rose up through the 40’s and beyond, including our newest (old-time) peppermint patties, using an original 1940s recipe from the original shop. They were a favorite at mid-20th century family-run candy stores and likely made an appearance…

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Chocolate in the Cards

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Bridge was a popular card game in the early to mid-1900s: it was strategic and engaging, where partners played against other partners, for hours on end. Besides, what better way to escape the horrors of the Depression, the Second World War, and the Cold War? Naturally, the players grew hungry so candy-makers, among others, served as the perfect finger foods where players could nibble away using one hand while holding the cards with another. Soon, the candies found homes in movie theaters, Halloween collections, grandmother’s candy bowls and just about any other candy-friendly places. So here’s the back story to…

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The Chocolate Covered: Peace-Maker and Friend to All

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I have found the answer as to why chocolate is so loved. It comes down to this: its versatility. In fact, so accommodating and versatile is the chocolate, it could be a metaphor, if not symbol, for world peace. We have a number of new chocolates that prove the point beyond reason: Chocolate covered ginger patties. The Mesoamerican chocolate merged with the Asian ginger plant for a perfect balance of spicy, bitter and sweet. All the better as these are hand-dipped in a shop that opened generations ago. Chocolate covered apricot glace´. The cultivated apricot originated in the Mideast and…

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The Almost-Astonishing Story of Chocolate Covered Peppermint Candy: From Ice Cream Cones to a Retro Candy Favorite

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I’ve been thinking about peppermint patties these days, although I’m not sure why. Maybe because peppermint and chocolate, individually or combined, is big on Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day…face it, there’s always a holiday nearby where candy is concerned and chocolate covered peppermints are standard fare. Chocolate Covered Peppermint Candy: The Retro Candy Version Cometh The year was 1940. At that time, chocolate covered caramels, bonbons, and others along that line were old hat: suitors had been giving their intendeds chocolates for decades. But the chocolate covered peppermint languished… the peppermint was soft and gummy and the candy overall substandard….

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Chocolate Candy: An Aphrodisiac – Is It or Isn’t It?

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Is chocolate an aphrodisiac? The answer is yes. And no. And like so much about sex and lust, somewhere in-between. Here’s what happened: when 16th century explorers, such as Hernán Cortés, landed in Mesoamerica they come across a mesmerizing sight: the great Aztec leader Montezuma, bedecked in jewels and feathers, and attended to by 200 wives. And in his regal hand he cupped a golden chalice filled with the cacao drink. Montezuma inspired Cortés, largely to overthrow him, which he did with a devastating, bloody blow. The cacao also inspired the creative talents of Bernal Díaz del Castillo, who traveled…

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Sweets Under Seige: Revolutionary War

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Here’s a picture of my handsome husband over there in Afghanistan. The USO gives a little levity to folks like him with shows and, yes, candy, upholding a tradition that started with the Revolutionary War. I send Dan chocolate covered espresso and bourbon balls among the books and aspirins.  My packages are always followed by an e-mail that exclaims: Got IT!  Then a blow-by-blow of what he ate first. So, why not explore what the troops have enjoyed since way back when starting with the Revolutionary War. The soldiers back then had an unpredictable assortment of food, sometimes nothing, sometimes…

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Ancient Confections: The Secret to Harmony? Who Says?

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Who knew that two ancient confectionery ingredients could provide evidence that 1. two starkly different cultures could come together in a perfect union; 2.opposites can find perfect balance when brought together; and 3. at least men and women really can co-exist no matter what the sitcoms say. We discovered this symbolically (and tastefully) with two new products we introduced at the shop. One involves the cacao nib – the  essence of chocolate in its rawest, most naked form. At the risk of sounding sexist, the cacao is male in nature – the taste is deep, rich and complicated and the…

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Chocolate Talk Bits and Nips

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I attended a talk on the history of chocolate at the historic Dumbarton House in D.C. The speaker, Joyce White, managed to cover a broad swath of history in 90 minutes with plenty of interesting facts. Here are a handful with a few of my own thrown in. We all know that the ancients Aztecs revered the cacao bean: they even considered it money…so drinking chocolate was much like drinking gold. But the crème de la crème of the chocolate drink was the froth. The frothier the better. Chocolate was considered hot and moist in a purely sensual way. In…

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