The Art of Tasting Chocolate

Posted on June 23, 2014 by 66739222 | 0 Comments

woman contemplating chocoWe at Chocology are committed to and love the study of chocolate – extending that love and knowledge to the world in a new and exciting way is our passion. Chocolate has acquired a reputation over time as a food that should be avoided rather than revered. Most of the candies you find at the checkout line have very little cocoa in them, sometimes as little as ten percent. Instead they are packed with white sugar and milk solids, making them a nice occasional treat with little nutritional value. And still, millions of us consume them in vast amounts on a daily basis. True cocoa, however has been held in high esteem since the days of the ancient Mayans. Used for spiritual and medicinal purposes, it was and still is recognized as one of the super foods of the world. The higher the cocoa content, the higher the health benefits. How do we come to appreciate higher cocoa contents and flip our paradigm from “chocolate is bad” to “chocolate is nutritious”? The art of chocolate encompasses all of our senses; it truly is a sensory experience. We start where we are and become present when we eat chocolate in any form. Mindfully tasting chocolate can be a rewarding experience when we slow down and appreciate it. When we are accustomed to popping it into our mouths heedlessly, we miss the adventure of skillfully tasting this super food. Chocolate tickles the senses and the cocoa in it provides nourishment for our bodies. We want to learn to like the good stuff, right? But going from a highly processed milk chocolate to an eighty-five percent dark chocolate bar is quiet a leap. That’s why we acknowledge where we are now and begin the process of recalibrating our taste buds, moment by moment. Let’s begin by engaging our senses and paying attention to what we are experiencing here and now. We’ll shift the emphasis to the tasting experience itself rather than reaching an anticipated end goal. Perhaps you can close your eyes, pay attention to your breath and then begin the process of tasting. Choose the highest quality chocolate possible. Even if it is one of the popular grocery store brands, it’s a start. Our first goal is to experience chocolate in the moment, with reverence and appreciation. As we expand our awareness, we can choose higher cocoa contents and different brands to experiment with. Rather than popping it into your mouth right away, why not take a moment to evaluate its packaging. Is it a box of truffles or a slick sleeved bar? Is there writing on the container? What does it say? In what region of the world did the cocoa grow? What is the percentage of cocoa in your candy? Unwrap your chocolate slowly. Listen to the rustle of the paper or the crinkling of the box as you open it. Can you anticipate what you will see? Now, ponder the color, texture and shape of your chocolate. Is it dark brown or light? Does it appear smooth or bumpy? Did the artisan design the shape or color in an unusual way? Have they added nuts or fruit? What does that look like? Next, bring the chocolate to your nose. While some of the flavor aromas are “trapped” inside of the cocoa butter until melted in your mouth, there will be others you can detect. Do you know what they are? Can you identify them? Then, break off a small piece. Listen. Does it snap or is it pliable? How does in feel in your fingers? Is it light? Heavy? Filled with ganache or cream? Finally, place the chocolate on your tongue and bite into it gently but don’t chew. Try to experience the taste and not judge it as good or bad. Allow the chocolate to slowly coat your tongue and the roof of your mouth. What flavors do you taste? Is it bitter? Can you taste sweetness? A hint of salt? What sensations do you have in your mouth after you’ve swallowed? Has the taste evolved even further? Do you want to try it again or would you prefer something else? Each time you taste, your ability to decipher new flavors and nuances grow and your appreciation of the quality expands with it. Tasting chocolate is an experience much different than just eating it. While we don’t want to over think it, mindfully considering the elegance of chocolate can leave us feeling satisfied. It satiates our desire for sweetness and provides our bodies with nourishment. Our incessant need for more diminishes and the appreciation of what is in front of us increases. When we contemplate art, we do it slowly and appreciatively. Quality chocolate is an art form worthy of our presence and full attention. The feeling of happiness and well-being grows when we acknowledge appreciation in our lives. Appreciating the chocolate in our lives is good for us and assists us in making the leap to finer and higher quality with each mindful taste.

Posted in chocolate industry, Chocology, Chocology Unlimited, cocoa, food, fun, informative, Uncategorized, vote favorite

Chocology News – Up Close and Personal

Posted on June 16, 2014 by 66739222 | 1 Comment

[caption id="attachment_233" align="alignleft" width="271"]Pizza and Ice Cream Party! Pizza and Ice Cream Party![/caption] Madeline’s Innovative Thinking Pays Off We at Chocology pride ourselves on personalizing every experience. Our 12-year-old cofounder, Madeline is no exception. With her big ideas and out of the box thinking, she keeps us hopping with new possibilities. Madeline and her mom Linda had just attended a girls club meeting where a party for the girls was being planned. Madeline was in charge of providing the treats. As she and her mom drove home, Madeline sat in the passengers seat deep in thought. Conversation bubbles seemed to dance above her head. Pizza party or ice cream social? What should I choose? What would be the most popular option? What will get everyone excited? Suddenly, Madeline exclaimed, “I’ve got it, Mama! Why can’t we have both? Chocolate on top of pizza crust with ice cream!” Linda smiled and veered off the road toward their favorite Whole Foods grocery store. With loving care they picked out all natural light multigrain cocoa pop cakes, which would become the pizza crust for their new creation. They also chose a variety of chocolates; dark, semi-sweet and milk. Ingredients in hand, they set out to make Madeline’s creation a reality. Since the Johnson family normally eats dark chocolate, the milk chocolate proved to be a bit tricky to work with on their “pizza dough.” But their diligence paid off and the pizza crusts were brought to fruition. Next, they worked on presentation. Linda had the idea to call their favorite pizza place in New York and tell them what they were doing. To make the pizza experience fun, she asked to buy 10 personal pizza boxes to present Madeline’s treats in. The pizza place loved it. “Come on in…,” they said. When they arrived, Linda and Madeline were surprised that the pizza shop not only provided boxes for the girls, but plates, bags and t-shirts as well. With ice cream in tow, Linda and Madeline made their “pizza” delivery to the girls club. The delight on the girls’ faces was all Madeline needed, to know that her idea was a success. Madeline’s drive to create limitless possibilities is an inspiration at Chocology. She knows that sometimes we don’t have to choose. Sometimes we can have it all! Linda’s “Ooops” Moment So much goes into starting a new business; planning, purchasing, advertising and much more. Linda loves her chocolate business, but at times her mind spins with the conversions that are necessary for the operation of Chocology, an international company.
  • Time Zone conversions
  •  Kilos/Pounds
  • Inches/Centimeters
  • Euros/British pounds/US Dollars
It was time to get ready for the big U.S. launch promotion. Needing to order chocolates that would be offered as samples to potential customers, she sat down with her computer to make the online purchase from her Belgian Chocolatier. Making her selections was fun. Her focus on personalizing her sample products was at the forefront of her mind. She excitedly hit the place order button. Ahh. The order was complete. The confirmation flashed to the screen. She did a double take. Wait! Did I just order 1,440 pounds of chocolate? Oh NO!! I’m ordering samples, not stocking all of the Whole Food Stores in the U.S.! Grabbing her phone she hit speed dial to her Belgian supplier. They laughed over her blunder and then got it corrected. All was right in the world. Luckily Linda knows that these things are bound to happen when running a business. We are human after all. Mistakes turn to learning experiences and she definitely learned one here. Always double-check the Kilo/Pound conversion. Always… Our North American promotional chocolate will be going out the second week in July. If you would like to try a sample, please contact us at Bon appétit!

Posted in Chocology, chocology Chocology Unlimited, Chocology Unlimited, Madeline, New York, pizza, Uncategorized

5 Health Benefits of Eating Chocolate

Posted on June 10, 2014 by 63390433 | 0 Comments

“With the health of a nation deteriorating, studies are showing that cacao contains interesting health benefits that could reverse the effects of a fast-paced lifestyle.” Center for Flavonoid Research, White Paper Supplemental: University Studies Chocolate heart healthAt Chocology, we are interested in all aspects of chocolate, including reasons why we want to and should eat it. Spawned by an article in the Huffington Post, “17 Reasons You Should Eat Chocolate Every Day we went on a search to prove why we really should eat chocolate every day. Who doesn’t love chocolate? It’s rich, luscious taste and consistency has enamored young and old alike for centuries. We all feel a little guilty when we eat it, don’t we? But what if indulging in chocolate is not as bad as we originally thought? In fact, what if it actually saves lives? In recent years, the study of the effects of cacao on the human body has increased at Universities around the world. A publication from The Center for Flavonoid Research suggests that eating cacao daily provides many health benefits including the healing of certain chronic ailments.  Another article published by Dr. Bret S. Stetka at also suggests benefits of eating chocolate and even offers amounts that should be consumed daily to attain these benefits. So what are the benefits? Here are just five benefits of eating quality chocolate on a daily basis.

Lowers Blood Pressure

In his article on Medscape, Dr. Stetka references a study that suggests that 3.5 ounces of dark chocolate per day for a month can lower blood pressure by 2.27/2.20 mm HG. That’s quiet impressive! The blood-pressure-lowering properties are attributed to the flavanols found in cacao.

Lowers Risk of Mortality Due to Heart Failure

According to Stetka, a study published in European Heart Journal found that “daily dark chocolate consumption over a 4-week period improves endothelial and platelet function in patients with congestive heart failure. Chocolate consumption has also been associated with a lower incidence of myocardial infarction and mortality from coronary heart disease.” Now there’s a great reason to eat chocolate every day!

Improves Mental Acuity

Professor David Kennedy of Northumbria University in England conducted a study exploring the benefits of chocolate on the human brain. His group suggests that high levels of flavonoids found in quality dark chocolate can improve brain function when performing mentally challenging tasks, such as counting backwards from 999. They also found that subjects were less tired after performing these tasks.

Lowers Risk of Stroke

As stated by Stetka, Neurology published a study reporting that individuals who eat at least 1.8 oz of chocolate per week have a 17% lower risk for stroke compared with people who ate less.

Lowers BMI (You’ve got to be kidding!)

No, we’re not kidding. Frequent chocolate consumption is associated with a lower body mass index (BMI). The antioxidants found in cacao are believed to contribute to metabolic health, which in turn can help you stay trim. Universities around the world have recognized and proved some of the benefits of eating chocolate and studies are still being conducted.  Knowing your chocolate can yield great benefits not only to your palate but also to your health. Go ahead and have a bit every day! You may be very glad you did. Reference Websites:  

Posted in chocolate, health, Uncategorized

Day 15 - Homeward Bound

Posted on April 25, 2014 by 63390433 | 0 Comments

Screen Shot 2014-04-27 at 12.09.31 PM Screen Shot 2014-04-27 at 12.11.22 PM Screen Shot 2014-04-27 at 12.14.11 PM Homeward Bound -After one final English breakfast at the hotel (and saying farewell to our favorite concierge Mohammed Ahmed) we headed over to the airport to board our homeward Air Canada/United Airlines flight back to New York via Toronto Canada.  This has certainly been a memorable adventure.  We are so grateful to have Chocology and to get to work with our friends in the UK AND in America.  I feel as if Chocology is our new baby…I really love Chocology and can’t wait to get home and get to work! Happy travels, Linda and Madeline

Posted in chocolate business, Chocology, London, New York, Uncategorized

Day 14 - Meet Natalie!

Posted on April 25, 2014 by 63390433 | 0 Comments

Screen Shot 2014-04-27 at 12.57.57 PM Screen Shot 2014-04-26 at 6.28.53 AM Meet Natalie -This morning we met with Natalie who was flying in from Cape Town—bless her heart after flying for 22 hours on Easter morning she still wanted to take her time to meet with us.  Natalie will be bringing in new business with Chocology.  Natalie was magical as David’s PA here in England.  She would always believe that something is possible and somehow she made it so.  I love her positive attitude and trust our new clients couldn’t be in better hands. Our final destination of this trip is the London Eye!  Madeline and I had the most lovely afternoon tea, the staff was charming and we were in the center of absolutely everything. After our hour ride we stolled along the River Thames and enjoyed the street fair (in the rain) and indulged in the sites and smells of the rich indian foods and the diversity of people only to be found in London.  It’s no wonder Madeline wants to move back here. Happy travels, Linda and Madeline

Posted in chocolate, Chocology, Heathrow, London Eye, River Thames, Uncategorized

Day 13 - London Chocolate (and Tube) Tour

Posted on April 25, 2014 by 63390433 | 0 Comments

Screen Shot 2014-04-26 at 6.30.51 AM London Chocolate Tour We are staying out by the airport for the duration of our trip so that tomorrow morning we can meet an old friend and possible Chocology team member out at Terminal 3 at 10am. Yes, today is once again back to work—we must indulge again in more chocolate.  We engaged in secret shopping in order to check out some of the competition.   Madeline even drew some images of the competitors products on the iPad! Screen Shot 2014-04-27 at 11.49.51 AM Yes, I know our products and how we wish to service our customers but I also want to know what our customers are doing.  I don’t want to miss anything.  When I was an Inn Keeper in Maine I was sure to sleep (and shower) in every room just so I would know how each guest might experience their room. As we were entering the tube station Madeline said to me “Mama why do you always tell me where we are going—every little detail?”  I stopped, then asked her to close her eyes and then I turned her around a couple of times to disorient her and then started dragging her along with me.  She looked at me with a big question mark on her face and I explained to her how Knowledge is Power and don’t you feel more in control when you know where you’re going and what’s coming next?  She said “yes” and then I had her get us into Leicester Square.  Now she knows her way around the London tubes like a local. Happy travels, Linda and Madeline

Posted in chocolate, Chocolate Tour, Chocology, London tube, Uncategorized

Day 12 - Glastonbury back to London

Posted on April 25, 2014 by 63390433 | 0 Comments

Screen Shot 2014-04-26 at 6.37.23 AM Glastonbury back to London -Joe chauffeured us back to the Bath train station bright and early in the morning.  It was a treat to count the hot air balloons along the way.   Another long travel day on the ever efficient British Rail. We arrived back to our hotel around midday and what a treat it was to just stay in our room the rest of the day and do nothing.  We were so exhausted, we watched 3 movies in a row! Happy travels, Linda and Madeline

Posted in chocolate, Chocology, Glastonbury, London, Uncategorized