At Chocology, we love to learn as well as teach. That’s why when children’s author, Stephanie Sorkin, agreed to read all three of her books to our Chocology Kids at Yogo Delish in Port Jefferson this past Sunday, we were thrilled. The kids were delighted to meet the author and enjoyed hearing some of their favorite stories read to them.
Stephanie is the award-winning author of 3 children’s books, Frenemy Jane, the Sometimes Friend, Nutley and Chocolate Shoes with Licorice Laces. She recently won both the Indie award for Chocolate Shoes. She also won the Mom’s Choice award for Nutley and Chocolate Shoes.
Like Chocology, Stephanie shares our love for giving back to the community. A percentage of the profits from Chocolate Shoes goest to Soles 4 Soles and 100% of the proceeds from Nutley goes to F.A.R.E., an organization dedicated to food allergy research and education.
It is always so exciting to meet the author of our favorite books. After the readings, Stephanie shared with us a bit about how she developed her character for Chocolate Shoes. While visiting schools and doing readings for Nutley, Stephanie created a sort of "focus group" with the kids by placing her draft of Chocolate Shoes on an big piece of oak tag. She would carry this along with her to her readings of Nutley and ask the kids questions about who they thought the character should be. A girl? A boy? Five years old? Ten? She explained to the kids that when she tallied up the results, she would have her character. The kids loved the fact that they had some input on her next book. When all the results were in, Stephanie had her eight year old boy with red hair, the main character in Chocolate Shoes. As Stephanie told this story, all of our Chocology Kids eyes lit up with excitement.
Stephanie's love for children was apparent. After the reading, Stephanie autographed books for the kids. We gave out licorice laces to everyone, to go with this with "Chocolate Shoes", of course! We can't wait to read what she writes next.
For more about Stephanie and her books and to learn more about her charity work, please visit www.stephaniesorkin.com.
Owning a chocolate business is such a joy. This summer we have been busy with summer weddings, farmers markets, festivals and private events. Madeline is participating in a camp counselor program that she loves. With all of this activity, though, there hasn’t been time for a much needed spa treatment.
Since I couldn’t find a place in our schedule for a trip to the spa, I decided to create a little TLC treatment of my own. How better to do that than to incorporate chocolate into the mix?
While Madeline was in camp one day, I decided I would surprise her when she got home. I found a delightful chocolate milk bath recipe here that I hoped would relax and rejuvenate her mind, body and soul. The great thing about this recipe is that you can do it ahead. It would make a great gift for that busy person in your life or for yourself after a hard day at work. And to sweeten this recipe even more, cocoa power provides much needed antioxidants to help repair the skin! Not only is chocolate good to eat, it’s good for your skin as well.
Chocolate Milk Bath
- 1 cup of powdered milk
- 2-tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1-tablespoon cornstarch.
***As an optional treat you could add about ⅓ cup of unscented bubble bath to your warm running bath before adding in the other ingredients
- Mix the ingredients together in a small bowl (not including the bubble bath, if using).
- Transfer the contents to a cellophane bag with a tie or a small container with a lid.
- Add ½ cup to warm bath water. Swirl it around the water to mix it in.
- If you’re using the bubble bath, add it first to a warm running bath before adding in the other ingredients.
Before Madeline got home, I mixed up the ingredients and then lit a chocolate candle to get the room smelling extra nice. I placed the chocolate soap bar that I’d purchased from the Southampton Soap Company and a small plate of Fat Ass Fudge on the tubs edge. Voilà! A much needed spa treatment that fit into our busy schedules. This recipe makes enough for two baths, so we were set.
While Madeline was relaxing in the bath, I enjoyed a Chocolate Fat Ass Martini on the porch. When Madeline emerged she was glowing. Her escape to tranquility had restored her inner and outer well-being. What a fantastic way to take a breath and find that inner peace. This inexpensive spa treatment is one that we will incorporate into our busy schedules more often!
Have you ever taken a chocolate milk bath? If so, we’d love to hear about it. If not, try this recipe and give yourself a much-deserved break. What a sweet ending to a long and busy day.
Thanks goes out to helloglow.co for the wonderful recipe and other great DIY ideas.
Have you ever wondered what makes Fat Ass Fudge so creamy and delicious? Here at Chocology we take pride in handpicking the freshest and highest quality ingredients for our recipes. Our Fat Ass Fudge is chock full of nutritious and delicious ingredients that make our fudge a top shelf indulgence.
We start with Meyenberg goat milk products. Why use goat rather than cow products? It’s simple really. Here are a few reasons we use goat products rather than cow.
- Goat’s milk is naturally homogenized.
- Goat’s milk is easier to digest.
- Goat’s milk rarely causes lactose intolerance.
- Goat’s milk matches up to the human body better than cow’s milk.
- Goat’s milk is less allergenic. —The allergic reaction can be blamed on a protein allergen known as Alpha s1 Casein found in high levels in cow's milk. The levels of Alpha s1 Casein in goat's milk are about 89% less than cow's milk providing a far less allergenic food.
Most fudge products on the market use dairy in their recipes, making it difficult for those with lactose intolerance to enjoy them. Goat products are much easier to digest, making it a pleasure to eat, even with lactose intolerance. We’ve chosen Meyenberg goat products for the creamy, melt in your mouth texture. Plus we find that it is more nutritious for everyone and naturally gluten free. Who ever thought that fudge could taste so good while at the same time being so good for you?
Genuine Belgian chocolate comes next. We are proud to say that we import the highest quality chocolate for our Fat Ass Fudge recipes. From white to dark, rest assured the finest chocolate available is carefully incorporated into the various Fat Ass flavors showcased on our shelves. Now how’s that for quality?
We consider love and care one of our top most ingredients. Chocolate is our passion and careful attention to detail is what makes every bite of our Fat Ass Fudge an exquisite melt in your mouth experience every time. We finish with a last stir of love and hand package each and every slice with meticulous detail. To extend the love even further, Chocology donates to the #ChocologyCares Campaign of your choice, when you choose your charity at checkout. NO extra cost to you; BIG help to those in need. It’s our commitment to spreading the love.
Chocology is devoted to using simple, yet extravagant ingredients in our products. We know that you detect quality when you taste it and we are dedicated to bringing our best~ ALL of the time. From our kitchen to you, rest easy knowing that Chocology always extends distinct quality ingredients and loving care in everything we create. Guaranteed!
Want to do something fun, tasty and educational with the kids this summer? Well, grab these simple supplies and get outside for a science project that will have your kids coming back for s’more!
DIY SUN S’MORES
In this Chocology Kids Project you will learn about:
Energy, Solar Power, Sun, Heat/Melting Point, Cooking
Graham crackers, mini-marshmallows and a chocolate bar or (Fat Ass Fudge!).
Scissors, Ruler, Glue Stick, Plastic wrap, Tape, A Sheet of black paper, A wooden skewer or pencil, Utility knife, Aluminum foil, 2 thermometers
A Warm, sunny day—preferably 85 degrees or warmer
Please read ALL of the steps carefully before cutting. Adult assistance is recommended for the use of utility knife. Also, use caution when cooking with the solar oven. It can get quite hot (sometimes up to 200 degrees)
BUILDING THE OVEN
Clean out the pizza box.
Use your ruler to draw a rectangle on the top of the lid, about 1 inch from the sides.
Ask an adult to help using the utility knife (and the ruler as a straight edge) to carefully cut along 3 sides of the square, leaving the side that runs along the hinge of the box uncut. Cut all the way through the cardboard on those three sides. Once your 3 sides are cut, fold the flap (near the hinge of the box) back slightly along the attached side. Prop the flap open with tape. Lastly, cover the inside of the flap with foil,(leaving the shiny side of the foil facing out) securing with glue or tape.
Cover the opening made by the flap (in the lid) with a layer of plastic wrap. Attach the plastic wrap to the opening's edges using shipping tape or duck tape. Make sure there are no holes in the plastic wrap and that all of its edges are completely attached to the lid. No openings please!
Line the inside of the box with aluminum foil (shiny side out) so that when you shut the box the entire interior is coated with foil. It is easiest to do this by covering the bottom of the box with foil first and then covering the inside part of the lid (don’t cover the plastic wrap!) with foil. Glue the foil in place.
Glue or tape a sheet of black paper to the bottom-center of the pizza box, on top of the foil. This will act as your solar oven's heat sink. How do you think it will help cook your food?
Lastly, use a wooden skewer or pencil (and some tape) to prop the solar oven's lid up, at about a 90-degree angle from the rest of the box.
Think about this:
- Why do you think you should coat the inside of the box with foil like this? What is the purpose of the foil?
- Why do you think it's important to make sure the plastic wrap completely seals the lid's opening?
- Why do you think we use the black paper inside of the box? How will this help us cook our food?
Let’s Make S’mores!
Before you begin, go check your weather app to see what the temperature is outside. Is it over 85 degrees? Then let’s get cooking!
Place your chocolate and mini marshmallows between two graham crackers.
Place your S’mores inside of your solar oven
Take your oven outside. Be sure to place your oven in a place in a sunny place, taking care to position it to where the sunshine will refect from the foil on the flap into your box.
Check your box every 15 minutes to see if the chocolate and marshmallows have melted. BE CAREFUL! It might just be a pizza box, but you’ve made this into an oven! IT’S HOT!
Bon Appétit! Enjoy your Sun S’mores!
Think about this:
How long did it take to melt the chocolate? Did the temperature outside have anything to do with the length of time it took to melt the chocolate?
- How did the foil help to melt the chocolate?
- What do you think the black paper did to help the process along?
- Did the size of the pizza box make a difference in the cooking time?
- Do you think preheating the solar oven would make a difference? If so, have you tested your theory?
- Do you think the S’mores would cook on an overcast day? What about on a cold day?
What Is Going On?
Solar Ovens convert sunlight to energy. That energy is retained for cooking food. Although there are all kinds of solar cookers, they all have similarities. For instance, many solar ovens have at least one dark surface to attract sunlight. If you’ve ever worn a black shirt on a hot summer day, you’ve probably noticed that dark colors get very hot in the sunlight. This is because dark colors hold more solar radiation than light colors. The heat absorbed by your dark paper is transferred to the food, which speeds up the process. Most solar cookers also have reflectors, which direct sunlight toward the dark cooking surface and transparent tops that let in sunlight, trapping the heat inside the cooker. Try cooking hot dogs inside of your solar oven and see what happens!
Did you have fun with this activity? We hope so. We encourage you to try it again with different variables. Here’s some to try:
- Experiment with different sized boxes. Does size make a difference in how long it takes to cook your food?
- Try insulating your cooker. Add newspaper or other safe material to trap more sunlight. Does it make your food cook faster?
- Experiment with other foods, such as hot dogs, baked beans or cookies.
- Most of all – HAVE FUN! Cooking with solar saves energy and helps us learn more about how solar power works.
Be sure to check our blog for more fun chocolate activities to do with the kids! Learning should be fun!
Did you know that we don’t taste things solely with our taste buds? We actually taste everything with our brain.
So how does this work? From about the age of 3, people have evolved to use more than their taste buds to know whether something is okay to eat or not. Sight, smell, texture (touch) and even hearing all contribute to why we prefer certain foods over others.
Linda is taking another Ecole Chocolat class and is currently studying the taste buds. This week’s assignment is to consciously taste four different chocolates. It’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it! We love tasting, reading and exploring more about chocolate. Educating ourselves about how taste and flavor work and how we experience the things we eat helps the Chocology team to understand the flavors in our products and make them better.
The class is entitled, Mastering Chocolate Flavor, something we strive to do every day. Our mission is to create flavors that please the senses, not just the taste buds, so that our products are more of an experience rather than just another dessert. Read on to learn more about how all of the senses are engaged when we participate in the act of eating.
Flavor is ALL in your head! Did you know that? All of the senses work together, providing information to your brain. Your brain then determines if something taste good or not. We generally believe that tastes happen on our taste buds. But much more is going on, most of it in the brain.
The eyes have it! If it doesn’t look good, the likelihood of you eating it is very low. Even if an unsightly food IS eaten, the overall taste is affected. Tasting starts with the eyes.
One study by Jeff Shrank was particularly intriguing to us. For instance, when tomato juice was poured into a container marked “blood”, participants were no longer willing to even taste it. Why? Because the eyes saw the word blood and the association of blood and tasting were triggered in the brain. Participants weren’t willing to try it, even though they usually liked tomato juice.
Have you ever heard the term “Follow your Nose?” Well, according to Kids Health, “Olfactory (ahl-FAK-tuh-ree) receptors inside the uppermost part of the nose contain special cells that help you smell. They send messages to the brain.”
When we put a piece of food into our mouths, chemicals are released into the olfactory receptors and tell the brain all about what we are eating. Taste and smell work together to tell a story about the flavor that is happening inside of your mouth! Then your brain decides if you like it or not.
Are peppers really hot? According to Jeff Shrank they are not!
The texture of our foods make a difference in what we taste too! Ever had a limp potato chip? The taste of our potato chips and French fries are definitely affected by their texture. People tend to judge a potato chip as “fresh” if it is light and crispy. That’s a judgment call based on our brain’s past experiences and judgments. The crunch makes all the difference!
Chocolate needs the correct amount of snap for most people to believe it has quality.
Even the packaging on potato chips or crackers suggests a certain amount of crunchiness! In a test by Jeff Shrank, people that wanted crunchy chips chose the noisier bags over the softer paper bags of chips.
Humans have around ten thousand taste buds and even those are replaced every couple of weeks. Sweet, sour, salty, bitter and savory are the major receptors that allow you to experience taste. Children have more and adults tend to lose some over time. And as we build experience and memories about tastes, our taste preferences are influence by those as well.
We taste our beliefs and expectations and our senses help us along the way. Chocolate covered ants are a delicacy in some places around the world, but for most Americans, just the thought of eating an ant is repulsive, even if it is enrobed in our favorite chocolate. Working together, the senses, along with our perceptions of what is good or not so good, communicate a story to our brain about the foods we are attracted to. Our tastes really are all in our heads! Be sure to check out Jeff Shrank’s slideshow entitled, “Taste: Your Brain on Food”.
“Love heals, love does; especially when it’s got a wet nose, 4 paws and a wagging tail.” ~Mary Cortanni —Founder Operation Freedom Paws
This Independence Day we are giving back to an organization who helps veterans become more independent! Operation Freedom Paws is one of the Chocology Cares organizations and we are very proud to partner with them to match homeless dogs with veterans and others who suffer from post-traumatic stress syndrome, complex PTSD, traumatic brain injury and other physical, neurological, psychological and mobility needs.
Operation Freedom Paws is an organization that saves lives. From the shelter dog given a second chance, to the disabled client given an opportunity to regain their independence, to the client’s family who is able to re-connect with their loved ones. OFP is committed to helping veterans regain their independence and live full and happy lives.
From other organizations, the cost for a service dog can range from $10,000 - $60,000. At Operation Freedom Paws, there is no cost to the Veteran, OFP provides everything.
Operation Freedom Paws carefully matches clients with their specially chosen four- legged companions. The partners then begin a 48-week program which trains the clients to train their own dogs. At the end of the program, they’re certified together as service dog team. ”Four paws, two feet, one team.” —The slogan of Operation Freedom Paws
We were very excited to write them a check this week for $257. This money was raised through the sale of our Fat Ass Fudge at both the Farmer’s Markets and the website.
“The most amazing thing,” says Mary, “is to see the person and the animal transform into this amazing working team where they just help each other navigate life and they create a new normal. My life is blessed. I may not be worth a lot of money, but I am very rich.”
Every time you order Fat Ass Fudge, choose your charity and Chocology will donate a portion of the proceeds to the charity of your choice.
Thank a veteran this Independence Day by donating directly to Operation Freedom Paws. You’ll not only save a shelter dog, help a veteran to regain autonomy and a new friend.
Happy Independence Day from Chocology! #ChocologyCares
This Memorial Day weekend is sure to be one to remember. The Chocology team will again be participating in Taste the East End at the Long Island Aquarium. We were delighted to participate in this event last year and this year is going to be extra special.
And how is it going to be extra special? Well, Chocology has been “paired” with the extraordinary vineyard, Baiting Hollow Farm Vineyards. Together Chocology and Baiting Hollow Farm are working to create a spectacular experience for our visitors at Taste the East End and we hope that you’ll join us!
Last week, we had the pleasure of meeting up with Sharon and Steve Levine, the owners of BHFV and their lovely manager Rose Vasta. Like Chocology, BHFV is a family run business with a foundation built on giving back. Their greatest passion is rescuing horses that are marked for destruction either due to their age or to no longer meeting the requirements as a racehorse. The Levine’s are passionate about raising awareness around the fate of most of these animals and rescuing those that they can – providing a sanctuary on the farm where the horses can live out the rest of their lives free and happy. Three of the BHFV wines are dedicated to the rescue horses and all of the profits from these wines go back to helping these animals. We love that philanthropic spirit and knew immediately that we had been paired well.
During our visit we brought along six Fat Ass Fudge flavors and a mix of our artisan chocolate truffles to pair with some of the BHFV wines. We even drizzled some of The Amazing Olives balsamic vinegars on some of the tastings. Wine, balsamic and chocolate! What a delightful experience for the palette!
The six BHFV wines we tried with our chocolate were Savannah Rose, Riesling, Sam’s Legacy, White Satin, Red Velvet and my personal favorite Mirage; named after BHFV’s adored Arabian Princess, who was rescued in 2007. The Mirage is a dry, yet bold “Bordeaux Style” red blend and is a perfect combination of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. This particular wine won the 2013 New York State Commercial Gold award and is one of the BHFV horse rescue wines.
As we’ve said time and again, the people we meet on the Chocology journey make our job so fun, adventurous and educational. And meeting the Levine’s and their manager Rose was no exception. In fact, as we were leaving, Linda said to Rose “If I didn’t love my job so much, I might like yours!” Rose chuckled and then replied, “If I didn’t love MY job so much, I might like yours as well!”
We hope that you’ll join us at the Long Island Aquarium for The Taste of The East End on May 29. It’s sure to be a fun experience for all who attend, not to mention a tasty one!
Baiting Hollow Farm Vineyards and Chocology are preparing a table that you won’t be able to resist. And with over forty other local restaurants, live music and locally craft beverages and wines, a good time will be had by all.