Category Archives: Chocolate

Cured West Now Open

Second location for gourmet food shop.

006Cured has opened a second smaller shop just a few blocks from my house. Color me happy that exquisite charcuterie, excellent cheeses, unique imported and artisanal American grocery items and small assortment of mouth-watering sandwiches and salads are to be had less than a 10-minute walk from my door. Oh yes, and chocolate.

Coral Frischkorn at the meat slicer.
Coral Frischkorn at the meat slicer.
Carefully selected imported and US food items in packages, jars and cans include seasonings, oils, jams, teas and more that are difficult to find anywhere else.
Carefully selected imported and US food items in packages, jars and cans include seasonings, oils, jams, teas and more that are difficult to find anywhere else.
Cured West's wall of chocolate bars.
Cured West’s wall of chocolate bars.

Will and Coral Frischkorn’s original Cured a few blocks east of the Pearl Street Mall has a greater selection, but proximity has its benefits. The shop is simple, pared-down and classy with quality finishes to its shelves, counters and islands as a suitable backdrop for the quality items.

2019 10th Street, Boulder; 720-389-8096.

Buy Chocolate with Your Conscience

Hershey uses cocoa beans picked African child slaves.

HersheyHalloween is upon us, and if you haven’t yet stocked up on candy, you soon will. The Food Revolution Network’s “Is There Child Slavery in Your Chocolate?” is a disheartening report on horrid and abusive child labor practices in West Africa and a series of broken promises by First World candy companies who say they will but are slow to source more ethically.

The worst offender, according to this report, appears to be Hershey’s.

“Buying cocoa from farms that employ such abusive child labor practices enables Hershey to keep its costs down and its profits up. In early 2010, the company reported a 54 percent jump in profits because of what it called “improved supply-chain efficiencies.” Such “efficiencies” allow Hershey’s CEO, David J. West, to make $8 million a year while unpaid children are forced to labor under cruel conditions on the farms growing the company’s cocoa.

….But while Hershey’s primary competitors have at least taken steps to reduce or eliminate slavery and other forms of abusive child labor from their chocolate supply chains, Hershey has done almost nothing….In 2010,  the Hershey company issued its first ever Corporate Social Responsibility Report. Long on platitudes and promises, it was classic example of the practice of greenwashing – a PR effort to mislead the public into thinking a company’s policies and products are socially responsible, when in fact they are not.

…[a] carefully researched report pointed out that the Hershey company lags well behind its competitors in taking responsibility for the impact the company is having on the local communities from which it sources cocoa around the world.

Fair trade chocolate does cost more, but isn’t it worth it to they protect vulnerable children? Here are some certified fair trade companies: Cadbury’s, Clif Bar, Cloud Nine, Dagoba Organic Chocolate, Denman Island Chocolate, Divine Chocolate, Equal Exchange, Gardners Candies, Green and Black’s, John & Kira’s, Kailua Candy Company, Koppers Chocolate, L.A. Burdick Chocolates, Montezuma’s Chocolates, NewLeaf Chocolates, Newman’s Own Organics, Omanhene Cocoa Bean Company, Rapunzel Pure Organics, Shaman Chocolates, Sweet Earth Chocolates, Taza Chocolate, The Endangered Species Chocolate Company and Theo Chocolate.

In fairness, public press is steering some big companies’ practices in an ethical direction. “Even Kraft Foods and Mars, Inc., hardly icons of social responsibility, have begun to purchase cocoa certified by the Rainforest Alliance to be free from the use of forced labor, child labor, or discrimination,” according to article, adding, “Hershey has announced that they are moving towards Fair Trade certification by 2020. That’s a nice step. But why does it need to take them that long to end participation in a horrendously exploitive system? There’s nothing sweet about manufacturing 80 million Hershey Kisses a day, using cocoa that may very well have been produced using abusive child labor.”

New Flavors from Endangered Species Chocolate

Three new dark chocolates — yum. And ethically produced too.

EndangeredSpeciesChoc-logoI love dark chocolate, and I’ve become a bit fanatical about buying products that bear the “Fair Trade” logo, as well as being organic, non-GMO and non-mega-corporate. Yes, I know it costs more, but such products please my palate and soothe my conscience. With all that, I welcome the news that Endangered Species Chocolate (ESC), the first American-made chocolate brand made with fully traceable Fairtrade cocoa from West Africa, has three new 60 percent cocoa bars. These are Dark Chocolate with Lemon Poppy Seed, Dark Chocolate with Blackberry Sage and Dark Chocolate with Cinnamon, Cayenne and Cherries, formulated to today’s current food trends. I share the  millennials’ taste for  lemon poppy seed, blackberry sage and especially the combo cinnamon, cayenne and cherries that balances heat and sweet.

ESC’s chocolate bars are Fairtrade International certified, Non-GMO Project Verified, vegan, gluten-free and support wildlife preservation efforts – differentiating factors among other chocolate bars. I expect that they will be relatively easy to find in one of Boulder’s several natural grocers and many specialty shops.  I know such products are premium-priced, and I’m willing to pay it.

Beaver Creek’s Cookie Contest

Beaver Creek selects this season’s official chocolate chip cookie.

Beaver Creek ResoBeaverCreek-logort opened on November 26 with 589 acres of terrain, six feet of snow in November and the new Centennial Express combination gondola/chairlift.  But for chocolate chip cookie addicts, perhaps the best part was the afternoon taste-testing of 5,000 cookies at the 11th annual World’s Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Competition.

Cookie bakers submitted their entries to Beaver Creek Resort Company back in October, and the five finalists were chosen by local judges. Entries came from all over Colorado plus Texas, California, Wisconsin, Georgia, Oregon and elsewhere. Conveniently, the finalists all came from Colorado, because each one had to bake 1,000 cookies to be judged. Finalists were Lori Lavicka of Avon, Cassie Sewell of Eagle, Kristen Gorrell of Gypsum, Hannah Bailey of Lone Tree, and Julianna Kopec of Avon. After sampling all of the cookies, guests had the opportunity to vote on their favorite recipe. Kristen Gorrell and her “baker’s Dozen” recipe took home the top honors and $1,000.

Her recipe is the new “official” Beaver Creek cookie for the season. Second place winner, Hannah Bailey won third place and $750 for “Hannah’s Mile High Chocolate Morsels,” and third place winner, Julianna Kopec  took home $500 for “Cookies of Prey.” Fourth place recipient, Lori Lavicka’s “2015 Champion Chip Cookie” earned her two tickets to Dancing Like Pros Live performance at the Vilar Performing Arts Center, and fifth place netted Cassie Sewell two tickets to the Cirque Mechanics Pedal Punk at the Vila for her Cassie’s World Class Chocolate Chip Cookies.”

Beaver Creek's signature daily cookie service begins on day one of the ski season.
Beaver Creek’s signature daily cookie service begins on day one of the ski season.

Cookie Time is Beaver Creek’s guest service program daily at 3 p.m. when Cookie Time chefs in chef whites serve warm, fresh, chocolate chip cookies on silver trays.  The tradition started in 1985 and evolved into the cookie competition in 2004 providing opening day guests with a village celebration. More than 500,000 cookies are served annually and the new Beaver Creek Cookie & Crepe Company, located by Beaver Creek Lodge, now allows guests to purchase their favorite Beaver Creek cookies to take home  or to their resort accommodations.  

Kristen Gorrell’s Baker’s Dozen Cookies

2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 cup unsalted butter, partially melted
3/4 cup granulated white sugar
1/2 cup tightly packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons additional brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 cups  semi-sweet chocolate chips

Beaver Creek did not provide baking instructions, but typically all ingredients are combined (I’m guessing first dry ingredients, then butter, then sugars followed by eggs and finally chips). The dough is dropped in balls about two inches apart on cookie sheets often lined with parchment. Without instructions, I’m mystified by the divided brown sugar, but perhaps you will figure that out and post a comment. Bake at 350 to 375 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes until the edges begin to brown and crisp. Remove to a wire rack to cool slightly. Devour.

Piece, Love & Maya Glyphs

Boulder chocolatier custom-makes pieces for new museum exhibition.

LogoWhile waiting for a media reception for the Denver Museum of Nature & Science‘s new “Maya: Hidden World’s Revealed” exhibition, I browsed the gift shop and say chocolates made by Boulder’s Piece, Love & Chocolate. Click here for my post about the show.

Piece, Love & Chocolate items are for sale at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science gift shop.
Special Piece, Love & Chocolate items are for sale at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science gift shop in conjunction with the current Maya exhibition..

Some of the items, like the sipping chocolate, are regularly or irregularly available at the downtown Boulder shop, but the chocolate glyphs were specially molded for the museum and the Mayan chocolate truffles are larger than the regular ones. The Maya-related chocolate items are on sale only at the museum shop and at the Boulder retail location.

Hooray for Longmont’s Robin Chocolates

Top trade publication names Robin’s one of top ten on the continent

P1050442Dessert Professional, a trade publication, has named Robin Chocolates of Longmont one of the top 10 chocolatiers in the United States, Canada and Mexico. Founder Robin Autorino describes as “bold, beautiful and delicious chocolates and pastries” made  by hand, using traditional, time-honored artisanal techniques from top-quality ingredients imported from France, Belgium, Switzerland and Venezuela. Her suppliers work directly with growers and cocoa plantation owners to ensure that the GMO-free cocoa powders and additive-free fruit purees and nut butters are produced in a fair trade manner.


Autorino was a Navy satellite communications technician/ electronics tech for 14 years, a position most often held by men, and after getting out of the service, worked as a pastry chef at the Brown Palace Hotel,  the Flagstaff House and the Dushanbe Tea house, with a detour into the software business. Then, in February 2008, after years of making caramels and hand-rolled truffles for friends, Autorino received her first order for chocolates from a local florist for 12 four-piece boxes to sell for Valentine’s Day.

That was it. With the support of her husband, she quit her job and formed Robin Chocolates, first supplying local resellers and marketing via the company’s website. A retail shop followed  in October 2011. Robin has a way with truffles. Her  previous awards include:

The shop is located in the L-shaped shopping center with its back to the streets at the intersection of South Airport Road and Nelson Avenue. The address is 600 South Airport Road, Longmont; 720- 204-8003. Hours are Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Stop in to congratulate her — and pick up some of those award-winning sweets.

Delight of a Chocolate Cake Top Kempinski Dessert

Turkish ingredients spike award-winning mini-chocolate cake

Bosphorale, 1013 Kempinski Dessrt of the Year, incorporates Turkish ingendients.
Bosphorale, 1013 Kempinski Dessrt of the Year, incorporates Turkish ingendients.

If you think baklava or halvah whenever someone mentions Turkish sweets, think again. Bosphorale created by the executive pastry chef of Çırağan Palace Kempinski İstanbul was named the Kempinski Dessert of the year. Granted, William McCarrick, said executive pastry chef and also a master chocolatie, is not Turkish. More importantly, he was open-minded in adapting Turksh ingredients into an international confection, also made with Bergamot-scented tea from the Black Sea sweetly paired with delicately dried Malatya apricots and Valrhona chocolate.

“With our focus at Çırağan Palace Kempinski to use local culinary products as inspiration, my cake is symbolic of a trip to Turkey,” states McCarrick,said.  “I combined the best of these regional flavors for my creation, as Turkey produces 80 percent of the world’s dried apricots. and it is among the world’s top five tea-growing countries.”

Among the ingredients ingrained in Turkish cultural traditions and  creatively used in the cake are dried fruits, including apricots that are usually served at village festivals, weddings and other celebrations, while tea has become a culture of its own, with specific brewing techniques and drinking customs. Offering tea and drinking it together are considered a gesture of friendship and hospitality throughout Turkey.

To enter the competition, Kempinski chefs submitted original recipes using  specific guidelines. This year, the key ingredient had to be chocolate, the dessert had to be presentable both as an individual cake and as a platable dessert and it could not be a soufflé, dessert à la minute or ice cream. Bosphorale was chosen as the Kempinski Dessert of the Year in a blind tasting by 80 judges from recipes by submitted by some 50 executive pastry chefs. It will be  offered in all Kempinski properties worldwide throughout 2013. Alas, there’s not a single Kempinski hotel in North America.

Cross-posted to Travel Babel.