the Chocolate Lover's Diary

A diary concerning all kinds of chocolate. Here I'll comment on chocolate websites and post test protocolls as well as write about other subjects tied to my favourite pastime. I'll test chocolate of all varieties, from the cheap bars at the shop around the corner to the criollo pralines from Fortnum & Mason.

Location: Uppsala, Uppland, Sweden

Indoor gardener and christian chocolate lover with too many interests at hand. In my non digital life I spend most of my time playing in the SCA.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Cloetta Kexchoklad

The Karin Boye Library at the center for Humansitics at Uppsala University is not a haven for chocolate lovers. I managed to find a selling machine with assorted chocolate bars, and are sitting in a part of the building where I'm allowed to eat. I chose a classic among swedish bars "Kexchoklad" - filled wafers in milk chocolate. The design and logo os so wellknown that Cloetta has made pr for the bar using only the checkered pattern on "Kex". It's pretty similar to Nestlé's "Kitkat" and fairtrade marked "Break"

Fun facts:
*The word "kex" is an swedification of the english word "cakes". Is used for thin, chrispy cakes, like wafers.
*Some people substitute their breakfast or lunch with a Kexchoklad

Sweet and crunchy, not bad at all. But if I have to chose between Kexchoklad and and real meal for lunch I'd chose the meal.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Grey day

Today is one of those days when the rain falls like it's determined to soak everything through twice. The only right thing to do is to tuck oneself in with a cup of good hot cocoa and a book....

...but of course, since I'm grown up I have work to do, there's books to be studied, babies to be cared for and bills to be paid.

What I really shouldn't be doing is surfing for chocolate on the web - before lucnh. My God, my stomach is growling! My train of thought started out something like this:
"If I'm a cyberspace chocolate lover perhaps I should take a look on the different webshops for chocolate, do some test ordering and maybe review the outcome."

So I set out to the task and happened to stumble across the website of the Chocolate Society first. I dearly want to become a member of this society; they're english (ie. within EU and less expensive to order from for me), they're posh (I always fall for that) and right now every new member is given a chocolate hamper (I fall for hampers too, especially if they contain chocolate). This is not the first time I risked my keyboard by surfing their website, but it has been a while since I been there. That's why I had a chance to think
"Their membership fee was high, but I may be able to manage it..."

...and then I looked at the fee and felt the hairs rise on my head. Of course, it's quite allright since it's a lifetime membership; not that high at all. On the other hand I still feel that £70 (978SEK, $132) is a bit over my financies. On the other hand... if I save a bit every month....

Ah, well, it's time for lunch! I'll give you a surf report in my next post.

Sweet indulgencies!

Friday, September 01, 2006

Chocolate Serenity

I couldn't resist it. My comment to Newtrees Serenity chocolate made me wonder what kind of chocolate the crew of Serenity would enjoy. Let's start with:

Cpt Malcolm Reynolds
O yeah, he eats chocolate. He even considers it good, but take note if he offers you some; by good chocolate he means something that isn't mouldy or infested with worms. If he is busy protecting his crew he probably won't mind a few specks or wiggly things either.

Zoe Washburn
In general not a gourmet due to her work and circumstances, but has come across chocolate often enough to take a liking to dark bitter varieties. The few times she can enjoy chocolate together with her husband is when they eat Sacher torte.

"Wash" (Hoban) Washburn
The chocolate bunny type. His favourite chocolate are bound to the hollidays and he recieves chocolate santas, easter bunnies, moon hares and other figurines wrapped in colourfull tinfoil due to the season and the wealth of Zoe. He returns the favour with a small bar of her favourite, and they are extremely fortunate when it comes to share a packet of assorted chocolates.

Inara Serra
Luxury chocolate is indirectly a part of her job, and she has taken a liking to filled ones. They are allways provided by her customers, exqusitely made and has a niche of their own in the future stockmarket. Since she only eats one or two, she brings the box home and shares with Kaylee.

Kaylee Frye
Does like filled chocolate too, especially the milk chocolate ones. She notes the difference between Inara's and her own (which she buys at the closest food store at hand), but doesn't really mind about it. If Simon presents her with chocolate she always eats it too fast.

Jayne Cobb
Orange crunch milk chocolate. If he comes by the Newtree variety (or the future equivalent) he makes a show of pointing out how ridiculus the wrapping is. To avoid such embarrassing occasions he has hidden several bars behind the weapons in his bunk.

Shepherd Book
You never see Book buying his own chocolate. When he's offered a taster from someone else he's instantly able to tell what brand, manufacturer and bean it originates from. This includes Wash's easterbunnies.

Simon Tam
The belgian chocolate type; dark and sweet. If he buys some, he buys a napolitan of the most expensive variety to find. Sometimes he even gets a clue and buy some for Kaylee too. On the other hand he's always too absent minded to tell her that it's supposed to be enjoyed sloooowly and stands crestfallen when she asks for more.

River Tam
Since River's reality is complicated she preferes chocolate, ie. a simple bar of dark chocolate in between 40-70% of cocoa. However, if Jayne leaves some of his bars around she grabs it, tells him
"It's just an object."
and devours it before he has a chance to react. In the ensuing brawl she gives the most equisite and innocent doe eyes.

Sweet indulgances!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Newtree chocolate and health

The chocolate trend gives us some interesting new chocolates to play around with. Newtree, a company founded 2001, combines chocolate and health in a pretty romantic way. Take a look at their website and listen to the nice flutes for exemple. We found their napolitans (small chocolate bars 9 gram each) at Anneli K (swedish only) and decided to try them out. Since we weren't in a mood for big protocols we just scribbled some words on the back side of every wrapping, giving a short "grade" and an evaluation.

Ok, here we go

Newtree Napolitans

The overall presentation is very nice. The wrapping is graphically pleasing, with a hint of the romantic. On the front side you the healthy ingredient (or the flavour) is depicted and on the backside you find a small note of your benefits. I've included the benefits for you to read

Dark chocolate (72% minimum)

"Your benefits
*Also contains a natural cactus extract, rich in fibres
*Reduces the intake of calories"

Our grade: Hmmmm
Evaluation: Excuse me, where's the lemmon?

Chocolate Noir
72% Cocoa

"Your benefits
*Contains 72% cocoa
*Naturally rich in vitamins, minerals and fibrers"

Our grade: OK
Evaluation: Your average dark chocolate

Milk chocolate

"Your benefits
*Also contains a natural extract of soy germ, rich in isoflavenes
*Soy isoflavenes are known to relieve feminine problems and to reduce the loss of calcium"

Grade: Tasty!
Evaluation: As soon as you felt the actual cinnamon taste.

Milk chocolate
Bitter orange

"Your benefits
*Also contains natural lime blossom extracts
*3 squares = same relaxing effect as 1 cup of lime blossoms tea"

Grade: Nice and sweet
Evaluation: Sort of crunchy, but I really wont say if it makes you more peacefull.
[Small note: I think this is the chocolate Jayne eats, but he rips of the wrapping immediatly and grunts a bit first to prove that he's not a sissy.]

Dark chocolate

"Your benefits
*Also contains grape, rich in antioxidants
*3 squares = more antioxidants than in 1 glas of red wine"

Grade: Well....
Evaluation: Not a successfull mix of tastes

Dark chocolate

"Your benefits
*Also contains grape, rich in antioxidants
*3 squares = more antioxidants than in 1 glas of red wine"

Grade: Ok
Evaluation: You had to search for the cherry taste.

Dark chocolate

"Your benefits
*Also contains guarana, a small red fruit with invigorating properties
*3 squares = same stimulating effect as 1 cup of coffee"

Grade: Not bad at all!
Evaluation: Well worth eating again, eventhough the ginger taste was pretty discrete

Dark chocolate

"Your benefits
*Also contains guarana, a small red fruit with invigorating properties
*3 squares = same stimulating effect as 1 cup of coffee"

Grade: Good
Evaluation: Coffee and chocolate fits together, but do I feel coffee ground between my teeth?

Milk chocolate

"Your benefits
*Also contains natural lime blossom extracts
*3 squares = same relaxing effect as 1 cup of lime blossoms tea"

Grade: Odd

Sweet indulgence!

Friday, August 25, 2006


As you may have noticed there's a big gap between my two last posts. Together with my family I went to Belgium, one of the paradises on earth for chocolate lovers. Since we did a homeexchange we didn't get any chocolate on our pillows when we got there. No, our hosts had kindly left at least half a kilo of Côte d'Or for us to enjoy. Being on a regular vacation I didn't explore as much chocolate as one can imagine, but we did try three different makers of filled chocolate, and in general enjoyed the chocolate culture. Being oversensitive of coffee and tea I allways order hot cocoa after my meal or for my midafternoon snack (the most common swedish custom is to have coffee), and I allways had good hot cocoa in Belgium. Shouldn't have come as a surprise, but years of watery instant cocoa made from powder has made me a bit suspicious.

The names of the three makers of filled chocolates were G Bastin, Elisa belgian chocolate and Devina, finest belgian chocolate. They were all located in or close to the most touristy parts of Antwerpen (regular vacation, remeber). The quality on the chocolates was nevertheless good, and seem little affected by the location

Elisa, belgian chocolate
Grote Markt 2

Elisa sells general luxury truffles. They look nice and tastes good. The shopkeeper was nice too.

G Bastin
Blauwmozelstraat 3
2000 Antwerpen
(they also have a bigger shop at Paardenmarkt 106-108)

G Bastin sells luxury truffles as well as luxury chocolate bars. Since we visited the shop close to the cathedral we could buy tin boxes with minibars having the cathedral as a carving on the top side. The truffles were in level witt our own chocolatier (Anneli K, Uppsala), and I particularly remember the Rubens coin and the chocolate with ginger that was shaped as a buddha. G Bastin is the only one of the three that has a homepage (that I know of), and as a bonus you can order their chocolate online. Recommended.

Devina, finest belgian chocolate

Devina looks like yet another filled-chocolates-for-tourists-shop (which isn't that bad - I suspect it's impossible to get bad chocolate in Belgium). They claim to sell the best chocolates in town and they mention in their flyer that they have a post in "Guide Bleu", unfortunately my swift research on the internet haven't given me any clue on what that is or its relation to the wellknown Guide Rouge, so I can't evaluate the statement. What I can say is that their filled chocolates were the best we ate. I fondly remeber the one filled with caramell. Highly recommended - a must.

Trying belgian filled chocolate is perhaps not the best way to do it. The belgians seems to enjoy chocolate, so what we should have done was to buy us different brands of chocolate bars, as well as the different chocolate pastes for sandwiches. Ah well; that's a very good excuse for making another trip :-)

Sweet indulgance!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Working at the chocolate factory

I've done it for a few month. Not to be recommended if you really love chocolate, because a job at a factory (whatever it makes) is hard work if you're on the floor like I was. You can easily lose your taste for this sweet indulgance. What I did discover was that some things you thought were made by machines still were made by hand. I put on little golden strips on tin boxes to keep the lid on, and I put in luxury truffels by hand too. So when I read about a man in Wisconsin that got trapped in a vat full of dark chocolate, I'm not surprised at all. I do send my best wishes to Darmin Garcia, I'm very happy that it all ended well.

CNN coverage of Darmin Garcia and the chocolate vat.

Sweet indulgances!

Friday, July 21, 2006

Chocolate, great cure for 'no wanna'!

Yesterday was a chocolate day. A chocolate day is a day when you wake up with severe "no wanna" in your body; your limbs are heavy, your brain is dull and you contemplate if it's any idea at all to get up. Unfortunately we had big things to do. Literary a ton of junk was to be brought up to our storage. (Whoever designed this house didn't put an elevator reaching to the attic, were half of the flatowners' storage are placed. Probably he's an avid collector of foam and ping pong balls, and expect everyone else to be the same.) Our bottom hall should be repainted, another set of shelves should be put up in one of the rooms etc. etc. As you can imagine, this is not possible to do suffering from 'no wanna'.

Here's were the chocolate has its place. 'No wanna' is cured by getting the blood level down in the chocolate, preferable bars with 40% cocoa or up. I spent the last day indulging in chocolate, hauling things and kicking around my hubby (he has a tendency to pause and contemplate the things he are about to do instead of just doing them). The outcome are pretty good. Most of the stuff are in the attic, the holes for the shelves are drilled, and we'll start paint tomorrow. I've bought another bar of chocolate for tomorrow, but now I need my rest. Ingoring 'no wanna' is not good in the long run.

The chocolate used by me is Marabou Mörk Choklad (not fair trade >:-( ), available in Sweden and via specialised shops on the net, I've given you a link to one of them.