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.

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.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Pralus Chocolatier "Venezuela"

We did our usual shopping at Annelie K today (unfortunately the site is only in swedish, but I've included it because of the pictures). Besides the filled chocolates she sells a big variety of chocolate bars of the posher kind. You'll find most of the finer lables there, and it's there where I buy most of the chocolate I try out for this blog. It's a small treat for my economy that she sells small square bars from a lot of the finer ones, so today we bought eleven smaller bars from Pralus Chocolatier. Unfortunately the information about percentage of chocolate was omitted from this small parcels - except for the one with 80% minimum - but according to the lady in the shop it should be around 70-75%. According to my tastebuds, she's right.

Pralus Chocolatier


Click: On the crumbly side
Bitterness: High, burnt sidetaste
Sweetness: Low
Mouth feeling: One of those chocolates that starts out solid in your mouth, giving you a feeling of tasting a stearin candle, rough when it melts.
Hot chocolate: - (too small amount for that)
Allergic friendly: -

Comment: The wrapping is nice. Apparently Venezuela is pastel pink if you ask Pralus, and the rest of the design are excellent. Unfortunately I was so happy to have a chance to enjoy my chocolate, that I didn't look much at the small bar inside, so I'll comment on that part when I eat my next square. The burnt taste was a surprise to me; usually finer chocolate have sidetastes that are sour or fermented. This sidetaste was more enjoyable. I liked this one.

Friday, July 14, 2006

I was wrong, huzzah!

A couple of days ago I complained about googling chocolate and end up with an endless number of websites selling chocolate and useless link collections. I wish I had made a chocolate googling before I wrote that entry, because things have improved. There a few more websites that actually has contents, hooray! Among them facts and timelines for the interested. I'm about to sort my material, and in the meantime I'll post one of the useful link collections I've found:

Chocolate Now! is a good one! The link to this diary was posted without me even knowing it, which shows the ambition of the owners (this blog was a teensy weensy newbee by then).

Sweet indulging!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Oxfam's Cacao

In the beginning of this year I hosted a test on different brands of instant cocoa, which included several swedish brands, O'boy (I have a feeling this one's available outside my fair country) and Oxfam's Cacao. Oxfam's Cacao didn't do very well, but I have to say neither of the one's we tested did. I think we overdid it in some way, because when we had spent more than an hour sipping cocoa from glases most of it tasted like ****. (That's why I've never published the test on this blog, by the way.)

Oxfam's Cacao is fair trade labled, and has since become my favourite. A big minus for the packaging; happy people in Ghana sorting cacao beans are portrayed on the parcel. I've said it before and I'll say it again; I want fair trade chocolate, not a political manifesto. But the powder goes a long way; instead of using a tablespoon you can use a teaspoon and still get the strength you want. The taste is plain chocolate with a hint of vanilla, which is just what I want. Do as I do, buy the cocoa, pour the powder into a nice jar and throw away the original packaging. The cocoa is worth it, in many ways.

(Oxfam manufactures both instant cocoa and several varieties of chocolate that are very good, but I haven't found any information about this on their website. If you are interested in fair trade and international aid, you should look it up.)

Sweet indulging!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Finding good chocolate sites

Type "chocolate" in the google form, and you are most likely to find millions of webshops selling pralines and millions of link collections. For some reasons sites with good solid content are extremely rare, much to my disappointment. I want facts and curiosities, fun anecdotes and fan stories too. Yesterday I found one site where you can read about the chocolate history, and it seems to be really good

The Exploratorium; the Sweet Lure of Chocolate

I'll continue to browse this jungle and bring you the good beans I find. Tomorrow I'll review Oxfam's Cacao (instant cocoa) for you.

Sweet indulging!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Virtual Chocolate

Rats! I'm broke! I'll have to wait a couple of weeks before I join the Chocoholic Club Virtual Chocolate so gracefully have set up. This is one of the sites that understands that chocolate can be both posh and luxurious and utterly fun. Enjoy!

Virtual Chocolate

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Chocolate Jesus

If you ever feel like combining your christian of jewish faith with chocolate, this site is what you need. You can chose if you want your angel/Jesus/Mazel Tov card/whatever in white, milk or dark chocolate, and the angels even have golden wings.

Religious chocolate on Chocolate Fantasies

(They do have "adult chocolate" too, and boy is it adult! Don't go there if you are under 18 or easily embarrased. Remember that I warned you! There are things that I indeed can give to my husband, but my ears would be brightly pink.)

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Muddus choklad

Today has been an extremely warm day in Sweden. It was warm enough to make 70% chocolate as soft as milk chocolate and we've mostly stayed inside to keep "cool". One of my friends came to visit us, and brought pralines from a small company in northern Sweden called Muddus Hjortron AB, which translates as Muddus Cloudberry Inc (unfortunately their website is in swedish only). They specialise in making products from northern berries like cloudberry and arctic raspberry. We had six pralines to try, and the heat had made them considerably soft. In fact, when we tasted them, five out of six tasted like mint. We concluded that the heat made the flavour spill over to the neighbouring pralines. I was lucky enough to get the only one that didn't taste mint, instead it was violet flavoured - a quite pleasant taste.

Muddus' pralines are luxury pralines to the standard pattern, but you will definately not be disappointed if you put one in your mouth. The company have been given a diploma by the Swedish Gastronomical Academy (swedish only), which indeed speaks for them. If you want exotic pralines without reverting to strange fillings, these are your men and women. Their website is in swedish only, but most swedes are pretty god at english, so if you email them they'll probably be able to send you prices and lists on available pralines, jams and other items.

Friday, July 07, 2006

El Ceibo Cocoa

My current cocoa powder is from El Ceibo (a Bolivian cooperative that use organical methods and is fair trade labled). The powder in itself is pretty light coloured, which made me think something along the lines of
"Is this really cocoa?"
when I prepared my first cup from it.

It is indeed cocoa, and of a pleasant taste. The only thing I'm not entirely happy with is that it seem to contain a small amount of fibrers, which in unfortunate circumstances gives a furry feeling in the mouth. But if you prepare your cocoa in a proper way this "feature" is removed. The taste is chocolate (I have now learned that the finer the cocoa or chocolate, the lesser the possibility that it actually tastes chocolate - unless it is the finest cocoa or chocolate) on the strong side and a hint of coffee. I really liked this one.

Unfortunately I haven't been able to find an hyperlink directly to the cooperative, but if you want to buy some you should turn to your local fair trade dealer.

Thursday, July 06, 2006


My current favourite chocolate brand is Divine. They sell milk chocolate and dark (70%) chocolate. The dark one has a pleasent chocolate taste, tinged with a hint of tea. The special thing about the brand is that it's Fair Trade labeled. I'm not a politics person per se - I'd rather stay at home with a cup of cocoa than fighting for a cause, and I want chocolate to be nothing more serious than a treat in life. On the other hand I don't want a bitter aftertaste to it either, and the cocoa workers' conditions are in general horrible. The chocolate industry have taken some steps to change this, but the process is slow, and has been slowing down further in recent years. By buying fair trade chocolate I can be sure that my treat is a light weight treat instead of another peoples burden.

Nuff said about that, but expect a lot more reviews on fair trade chocolate.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Chocolate museum!

I guess this piece of news have travelled around the world by now, but I would be a bad chocolate lover if I didn't include this in my blog. There's a man in Holland who's planning to build a chocolate museum, partly in shape of Willy Wonka's wonderous chocolate factory. Read the BBC article here. The project do have a website on its own, still only in dutch. If you visit it I recommend clicking on the link "film" in the left hand margin. This will lead you to a movie that is a computer generated round trip through the musem, quite fun (you may have to chose heavy or light version for your band width first - so don't stress out if you are asked to make some klicking).

De Chocoladefabriek