Archive for artisan chocolate

DEAD

Posted in personal with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 14, 2008 by uglydudefood

Okay.  I’m not dead.  But my car is.

On Sunday, my girlfriend and I were driving down a four-lane highway (2 lanes for each direction of traffic, natch) toward my sister’s college graduation.  As we were passing a tractor trailer (fully in view of his mirrors), he flipped on his turn signal.  He immediately and quickly began to merge into our lane.  I slammed on the brakes, but it wasn’t enough.

My poor car was slammed by the semi in two places–the front of the hood and the rear passenger door.  We were sent careening across a raised median and into the two lanes of oncoming traffic.

The truck driver did not stop.

Since the accident happened, I’ve been known to say, “With the exception of being hit by a tractor-trailer, things could not have gone more perfectly.

1)  We were in a tiny, 1-mile stretch without any walls dividing the highway.  Had we run into a median wall, we would have been killed.

2)  The two impact points directly sandwiched my girlfriend.  If the truck had hit where she was sitting it would probably have been the end of ol’ Rachel.

3)  We somehow, miraculously managed to miss all oncoming traffic.

4)  Despite coming within feet of it, we avoided the guard rail on the opposite side of the highway.

5)  When the car eventually screeched to a stop, we were sitting atop the median, completely out of harm’s way.

I feel incredibly lucky to be here today blogging obnoxiously.  Soon I will be the owner of a brand new car (I’m looking into the Prius at the moment).  At the moment, money is going to be tight and a lot of the more extravagant recipes and foods I have bookmarked to try may not happen as fast as I had planned.  Thank god for $21 worth of free artisan chocolate!

On a related note, when I had to kick the car door open, I felt like an action hero.

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Loco for choco

Posted in food with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 13, 2008 by uglydudefood

I used to love milk chocolate. Then I went on a crazy, obsessive diet and cut all chocolate out of my life for a period of years. When I finally decided to return to the realm of the healthy and the sane, the typical Hershey’s bars (even the Special Dark which contains more milk and sugar than any good dark chocolate bar should) left me with a nasty, saccharine taste in my mouth.

One day I was wandering through the “health food” section of my grocery store–although really, how much healthier is “organic” macaroni and cheese compared to a blue box of Kraft Dinner?–and I passed a rack of chocolates I had never seen before. They all had weird numbers on them and they told me where they were from. What the what? I picked up a 55% dark chocolate Chocolove bar. It was exquisite. Instead of an overload of sugar or almost-artificial creaminess, there was depth to this candy. This candy had secrets.

I couldn’t get enough. As I continued on my journey, the percentages kept getting higher and higher. 70%. 80%. My life changed the moment I put a chunk of Endangered Species 88% dark chocolate in my gob.

But there was a problem.

The numbers stopped going up. My grocery store didn’t carry any chocolate darker than that 88% bar. I wanted more! More complexity! Would I live my life forever chasing the dragon, trying to relive my first 88% cacao experience?

Not if the baking aisle had anything to say about it. I marched right up to the unsweetened baking chocolate rack–which, in hindsight, probably looked pretty silly–and I grabbed a bar of Hershey’s finest 100% chocolate. It had to be good, right? I mean, my experience has done nothing to discourage the belief that higher cacao percentage equals higher deliciousness percentage.

Mistake.

I guess this post is meant to say that I love dark chocolate. I love dark chocolate ever so much. In fact, I may be the only living proof of going retarded over chocolate that you’ll ever actually see.

Amano Artisan Chocolate produces some of the most wonderful, complicated dark chocolate flavors out there.   I was lucky enough to receive over $21 worth of their chocolate for free from BlakeMakes.

Via Amano’s website:  “In a world of mass-produced merchandise, Amano strives to return to chocolate’s roots by making the chocolate slowly and in very small batches while concentrating on developing the finest flavors possible. There is much fine chocolate made throughout the world. Each company or artisan has its own unique vision. We hope that you will share Amano’s vision of quality without compromise.”

Due to the fact that this is probably the most expensive chocolate I’ll ever eat, I feel like I need more ceremony than just chomping on the bar.  Any suggestions on what to do with some really, really good dark chocolate?  Should I use it to bake something? Share it with work friends and gauge reactions in some sort of faux-wine-tasting?  Or should I just chomp on it?