Archive for October, 2008

Magical Pecans

Posted in Uncategorized on October 24, 2008 by Brian

Pecans are pecans, right? 

Not so.

In fact, as I tasted some Missouri pecans from the case I just bought, I was reminded of a phrase often uttered by one of my junior high teachers: wrongo, fongo.

These are simply amazing. Sweet — not at all bitter — and so incredibly tasty. And from just up the road! Well, a long way up the road, but still in the Show Me State.

So what could I do with these magnificent, magical pecans? What would be a deserving debut, something befitting the fall season? Yes, caramels!

 

Missouri Pecan Caramels

Missouri Pecan Caramels

 

I just dipped these, and tasted them, and, well, these are amazing. I made a batch of Kakao caramel — with cream and sugar and vanilla beans and honey — and mixed into the finished product a good bunch of these pecans.  After it set, I cut it into squares and dipped them in semi-sweet chocolate, and topped with a pecan half.

We’ll be selling them in packs of four for $7 at the Tower Grove Harvest Festival Saturday morning — remember we go later for our season finale, until 2:30 p.m. I guarantee that these will sell out long before then, so come early!

Also, we’ll have our pumpkin truffles and hot cocoa, as well as an assortment of other truffles, apricot pates de fruits, and of course our marshmallow pies (which will soon be made with Missouri pecans!). See you tomorrow!

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Kakao Fall Menu

Posted in Uncategorized on October 23, 2008 by Brian

There’s a nip in the air and leaves are falling as we’re served our chilly appetizer to the long, cold winter we’re about to be served. It’s that time of year when one’s thoughts turn to…hot cocoa!

We’ve been working diligently for the past week on a great recipe for hot cocoa, and I do believe we have a winner. Two actually (with one requiring further development).

Kakao Hot Cocoa is a special blend of an extra rich cocoa powder, ground chocolate and sugar. More cocoa and chocolate than sugar, because it shouldn’t be overly sweet. The cocoa powder has a wonderful bittersweet chocolate flavor, balanced with the touch of sugar for sweetness. The ground chocolate — real chocolate, ground to small bits — gives it a richness and depth we think you’ll really enjoy.

Our second recipe is a Kakao Mexican Hot Cocoa, which adds to our regular mix some ground peppers and cinnamon for a bit of a kick. Not too much, but enough to give you an extra kick of warmth, right when you need it.

Kakao Hot Cocoa

Kakao Hot Cocoa

(Still in development is a gingerbread hot cocoa — it’s not quite ready for prime time yet, though.)

We’re also pleased to introduce our re-designed pumpkin truffle. Real pumpkin and fall spices blended with cream, chocolate and sugar to make a creamy ganache, hand-dipped in milk chocolate, and topped with a toasted pumpkin seed. Two taste testers have already declared it their favorite truffle! 

Pumpkin Truffles

Pumpkin Truffles

And what reminds us more of fall than the taste of apricots? (Okay, I know that’s a bit of a stretch, but we’ve got a new flavor and I want to include it here.) We’ve made some delicious pates de fruits from apricot puree, and the response has been overwhelmingly positive. The pates de fruits, known by some as “hard jams,” are delectable little fruit chewies, just enough sour and just enough sweet — and lots of real fruit — to make them a perfect little treat.

Kakao Hot Cocoa comes in a five ounce package — enough to make a dozen cups of hot cocoa — for $6 for either regular or Mexican. Our pumpkin truffle is sold at market in packs of four for $6. And the pates de fruits are sold in packs of nine for $3. Everything will be available at our last two markets of the season: Maplewood next Wednesday afternoon and the Tower Grove Harvest Festival this Saturday morning. See you there!

Chocolate Gift Baskets

Posted in Uncategorized on October 21, 2008 by Brian

Just a few days ago a Kakao customer was struggling to figure out what to send a friend who just had a baby. She had tasted our caramels at a wedding, and wanted to send some of them to her friend, but was also considering a box of truffles, or maybe some of the dragees she’d heard so much about, or what about those pates de fruits?

Send some of everything, I suggested. How about a gift basket?

Kakao Gift Basket

Kakao Gift Basket

A Kakao Chocolate Gift Basket is a perfect gift for someone who loves chocolate and likes to try a bit of everything. The basket includes two four-packs of our hand-dipped truffles, a four-pack of our chocolate-covered caramels, some pates de fruits, a basket of dragees, one plain and one flavored chocolate bar, and two packages of flavored chocolate bark. All tucked into a specially designed gift basket with our signature orange bandana.

Want a different combination? Let us know, and we’ll build a custom chocolate basket for you.

The baskets are $39 plus tax and delivery or shipping (second-day U.S. delivery in an insulated box with a cold pack costs about $20-$25). To order, email us at sales@kakaochocolate.com, or call 314.489.5617.

Kakao Sale!

Posted in Uncategorized on October 17, 2008 by Brian

In case you didn’t catch it, Local Harvest is having a Kakao Chocolate Special this weekend — 25% off, until they run out. (I have a feeling they’ll call me for more, but you don’t want to take that chance, do you?)

I dropped off their order today — lots of coffee, ginger and almond bark and bars; marshmallow pies; sea salt caramels; almond dragees; and, of course, truffles! Local Harvest is at 3148 Morganford, just south of Tower Grove Park.

Local Harvest was named the Best Gourmet Grocery Store in St. Louis by Sauce Magazine! This is good stuff, folks.

Of course we’ll also be at the Tower Grove Market on Saturday, with all the usual assortment of chocolates and confections. And we made a special caramel sauce for Oh Crepes! at the market so you can have Kakao for breakfast!

Kakao in the News

Posted in Uncategorized on October 14, 2008 by Brian

Actually, we were on the news! A crew from KSDK 5 was at the Tower Grove Market on Saturday asking how the economy was impacting the market, and interviewed Brian on camera. We didn’t see it, but heard from others that it ran a few times on Sunday.

Has the economy impacted the market? Probably in some ways. But I told the reporter the Tower Grove and other markets made it easier for people to buy fresh, locally grown and all-natural foods, which more people want to eat, even if times are tough.

Brian was also featured in an article in the October Small Business Monthly entitled Discovering the Art of Chocolate. There are some great pictures, but are only in the print version, if you run across it.

A couple big orders this week, plus the Wednesday market at Schlafly’s and the Saturday market in Tower Grove Park. And we got rave reviews from a huge wedding on Saturday, which featured single-malt Scotch and lavender-vanilla truffles at every place setting and dragees on every table. We’ll be posting some pictures of our wedding chocolates soon, so stay tuned!

Yellow Farmhouse Chocolate

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on October 12, 2008 by Brian

We’re pleased to partner with the good folks at Yellow Farmhouse Winery in Defiance to offer Kakao Chocolates!

The Yellow Farmhouse is a small, family-run winery that turns several different grapes into wonderful Missouri wines. They grow some Norton — a native American grape of the ripiarian species — on the hills behind the house, and some Traminette — a German-American hybrid developed by Cornell University — in a small vineyard to the west. They also buy Chardonel, Vidal Blanc, Couderc Noir and Chambourcin grapes from our neighbors up and down the valley.

Dale is the winemaker, and has developed some wonderful vino. From the smoky “Sweet Talkin’ Blonde” to the smooth Chardonel to the hefty Norton, the Yellow Farmhouse has a wine for every taste.

Linda is the marketer, and saw a great opportunity to partner with Kakao Chocolates. We visited the winery recently, and sampled some Kakao Coffee Bark — fresh-ground coffee sprinkled generously on our special dark chocolate — with the Norton.  What a wonderful pairing! And then a bit of Kakao Pates de Fruit — soft chewy candies made with fruit puree — with the Traminette, which was a match made in heaven.

So when you’re out on the Missouri Wine Trail, whether driving along Highway 94 or biking the Katy Trail, stop in at the Yellow Farmhouse in Defiance. Seriously, it’s bright yellow and there’s no way you could possibly miss it. Try some of their great wines, and have some Kakao Chocolate to go with it!

The Oolong Collaboration

Posted in Uncategorized on October 2, 2008 by Brian

One of my favorite things about making chocolate is developing new recipes. And one of my other favorite things is talking to Kakao customers about our chocolate recipes. Combining the two — well, that’s really the best.

When Kateri Meyer stopped by at the Tower Grove Market and started talking about oolong tea truffles, I was intrigued. I’ve had oolong tea before — it’s not quite green tea and not quite black tea, with both a bitterness and a sweet aftertaste.

Kateri gave me two different packages of tea, a longevity oolong and a bit of tamil nadu nilgiri (a black tea with a hint of sweetness), with specific instructions for how she prepared them. I translated the brewing instructions into chocolate-speak, fiddled with a combination of chocolates, and somehow (I really just know enough about chocolate making to be really dangerous) made a truffle that tastes like oolong tea!

The next trick was deciding what to put on top. Lots of cute things can top a truffle, but you have to have something unique enough to identify it from all the other truffles, and something that will complement and enhance the flavor profile of the chocolate. With so many options, and not knowing how they’d turn out, I just left them “blank.”

Kateri tried the truffles last Saturday and judged them a success (whew!), and I asked her to take some home and see what she thought about a topper.

Yesterday she had her second flash of brilliance: Brian, why don’t we try a small slice of dried pineapple? I’m not at all sure how she came up with it (after all, who puts pineapple in their tea?), but it not only makes perfect sense flavorwise, but will also be a beautiful truffle.

This first batch will be “do it yourself,” with separate truffles and dried pineapple (hopefully from Kimker Hill Farm) at the Tower Grove Market on Saturday. Stop by and pick some up!

Oh, and our first batch of hazelnut-chocolate spread sold out in an hour at the Maplewood Market. We’re making more for Tower Grove on Saturday, so be sure and stop by try some (free samples!) and grab a jar before we run out!