Archive for March, 2009

The Colors of Easter

Posted in Uncategorized on March 29, 2009 by Brian

This weekend I saw a lot of Easter chocolates, some beautiful and some not. The beautiful ones had intricate, colorful patterns and chocolate colored in deep shades of red and yellow. The not-so-pretty ones had bright yellow duckies and bunnies and blue and red fluorescent frosting flowers.

I’m not sorry to say you won’t find these colorful chocolates available from Kakao.

From our founding, Kakao has committed to offering only all-natural chocolates and confections. Which means that we have to forgo the edible decals that use artificial colors to make those intricate patterns, and the food-grade paints that create those deep reds and yellows. We’re also taking a pass on the chemical food dyes used to create those brightly colored ducks and rabbits and flowers.

Instead, we’ll continue to focus on making the best possible chocolate we can. And if you’d like to get that chocolate in the form of a cute bunny, we can definitely do that. Just without the artificial colors.

Kakao Easter Chocolates

Kakao Easter Chocolates

Kakao Easter Chocolates are available in both milk and dark chocolate, which we blend from several different types of chocolate to get the best possible chocolate flavor. Nothing artificial, not even to make them pretty.

But because it is Springtime, and because we’re not totally against Easter colors, we package our chocolate bunnies with some colorful — and non-edible — ribbons.

A New Marshmallow

Posted in Uncategorized on March 26, 2009 by Brian

No, we’re not changing the marshmallow pies. So don’t worry, those aren’t going to be new marshmallows.

Instead, we did something a little different. Well, a lot different.

First, though, let me introduce Teresa. She’s been helping me in the workshop, doing some packaging and keeping things organized, and eventually learning how to make marshmallows for the pies. Soon after that she was making two batches in less time than it took me to make one.

So I did the only sensible thing one could do in that situation, and asked her what she wanted to do next. And she said she wanted to make marshmallows. Real marshmallows, the kind you can toast on a campfire and put in your hot cocoa.

We tried it with the marshmallow pie recipe, and it wasn’t quite right. We found another recipe and that wasn’t quite right either, but was close enough that she could tinker around a bit and make it work. Perfect real marshmallows, miles better than store bought.

But she wasn’t done yet. She wanted to try making fruit marshmallows.

Fruit marshmallows?!? Indeed. And they’re YUMMY. Like nothing we’d ever had before.

And we started thinking…you know what would be fun…

Kakao Easter Marshmallows

Kakao Easter Marshmallows

Yip, those are them. The yellow layer is apricot, the white later is apple, and the pink layer is strawberry. The thin purple layer is blueberry, thin because it’s so amazingly blueberry-ish we didn’t want it to overpower the other three.

If you’ve never had a fruit marshmallow (we’re betting you haven’t), you’re in for a real treat. These are made with real fruit puree, so they have tons of fruit flavor, but are still light and fluffy.

We’ll have them at the Maplewood Market on Saturday and Wednesdays (weekly starting April 1), the Kakao Open House on April 4, and at the Tower Grove Market on April 11th.

And by then Teresa will probably have come up with something new…

Chocolate Tasting and Open House

Posted in Uncategorized on March 25, 2009 by Brian

You may have seen that the Riverfront Times named Cherokee Street the “Best Mile in St. Louis” last fall. And you may have said, well, sure, there are all those cool antiques down there. True, true.

But maybe you didn’t know about Apop Records, one of the funkiest shops in the city, up the road. Or Cranky Yellow, which might be even funkier. Or Diana’s Bakery, where I can see, from the Kakao workshop, a steady stream of people picking up cookies and pastries all day long. Or Firecracker Press, where they do amazing wood-cut printing, just like in the olden days.

Now’s your chance to check it all out, on Saturday, April 4, when the entire stretch of Cherokee Street has an Open House.

Cherokee Street Open House

Cherokee Street Open House

From 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. you’ll find unique shopping, delicious food, and live music.

And, of course, chocolate! Kakao will open its doors from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. with hand-dipped truffles, sea salt caramels, almond dragees, assorted chocolate barks, marshmallow pies, and special Easter marshmallows!

We’re at 2837  Cherokee, and look forward to seeing you next Saturday!

About to Spring

Posted in Uncategorized on March 23, 2009 by Brian

It’s officially Spring, which means that Kakao is kicking into high gear with a bunch of tastings, markets and special events coming up:

– Saturday, March 28: The last winter market at Schlafly’s Bottleworks in Maplewood, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

– Saturday, March 28: Kakao will be sampling and selling our chocolates at the Local Food Fair at The Market at Busch’s Grove in Clayton, 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.

– Sunday, March 29: Kakao will be sampling and selling at Veritas in Chesterfield, 2:00 to 3:00 p.m., and co-hosting a wine and chocolate pairing class there from 3:00 to 4:30 p.m. (email sales@kakaochocolate.com to register)

– Wednesday, April 1: The weekly Maplewood Farmers’ Market begins at Schlafly’s Bottleworks, 4:00 to 7:00 p.m.

– Saturday, April 4: Cherokee Street Open House, and the Kakao shop will be open for the day! Stay tuned for more information.

– Saturday and Sunday, April 4 and 5: Yellow Farmhouse Wines will host their annual Barrel Tasting Weekend, and Kakao Chocolate will be there to help launch the 2009 Season — more details soon.

We’ve got something special planned for each of these events, and we’ll tell you more about them as they get closer. Meanwhile, mark your calendars and we’ll see you soon!

(More) Good Company, and Great Truffles

Posted in Uncategorized on March 13, 2009 by Brian

I need to tell you about our new St. Patrick’s Day truffles. Actually, you need to taste them, but for now I’ll just tell you — they’re really great.

But first I need to tell you about a couple more places where you can find Kakao Chocolates.

Cafe Ventana, near SLU, has been selling our chocolates for a while now, including barks, bars, caramels, truffles, and marshmallow pies. They were just written up in Sauce Magazine, but I can’t find the article online (anyone?). Great place, cozy, with amazing beignets that will make you feel like you’re in New Orleans. Chef Lee really has done a great job.

Kakao is working on some chocolate tastings with Ventana, so stay tuned for that.

Also, we’re very pleased to announce that Kakao Chocolates are now available at The Market at Busch’s Grove in Clayton. This gourmet grocer has great goods, including a large selection of organic and locally produced foods.

And right now you can get Kakao Marshmallow Pies and boxes of assorted truffles. As long as you keep buying them, we’ll keep making them and delivering them to Busch’s Grove, and Cafe Ventana.

Now, about these truffles. First, we made a sweet cream ganache with just a bit of vanilla bean and a special blend of chocolate. Then we added some reduced Schlafly’s Irish-Style Extra Stout, which has an amazing combination of rich malt and tangy hops. Then we added a bit of Jameson Irish Whiskey, a triple-distilled whiskey known for its smoothness.

Yes, there’s a drink out there that involves mixing a stout and whiskey. Forget about it — this is completely different.

I was floored when I first tried this truffle. It’s made with bittersweet chocolate, but the malt in the beer gives it a deep sweet richness that carries through as you eat the truffle. And if you’ve enjoyed our bourbon truffle, you’ll appreciate the flavor of the whiskey that comes through at the end.

I’ve got a limited number of these St. Patrick’s Day Truffles (we are a small-batch producer, after all) and they’ll be for sale Saturday at the market at St. John’s, near the corner of Arsenal and Grand in South City. We’ll be there from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., with truffles, barks, marshmallow pies, caramels…

…and a sneak peak at our special Easter treat that’s unlike anything you’ve ever had before!

See you there!

The Company We Keep

Posted in Uncategorized on March 8, 2009 by Brian

It’s no secret that we are known by the company we keep, and Kakao makes a point of staying in good company!

One of the retail outlets for Kakao Chocolate is Puddn’Head Books in Webster Groves. Nikki Furrer, the proprietor, became a fan when she sampled our chocolates at a farmers market last fall, and when she opened her bookstore she said she had to have Kakao Chocolate for sale there.  We’ve since had a sold-out chocolate tasting workshop there (and plan to have another after Easter) and have kept her customers supplied with an assortment of chocolates, especially the ever-popular sea salt caramels.

If you haven’t already seen it, St. Louis Magazine did a great write-up on Nikki and Puddn’Head (named for a Mark Twain character and book), noting the uphill battle a brick and mortar bookstore needs to fight. But when you go there you’ll find something you can’t find online — shelves full of fun and interesting books you won’t be able to put down. And coffee and Kakao treats to go with them!

We’re also proud to be friends with Mark Sanfilippo of Salume Beddu, who makes some of the most delicious — and authentic — Italian sausages you can get on this side of the Atlantic.  We’ve shared a kitchen with Mark, and the care he puts to his craft is only outdone by the tastiness of the sausages he crafts. You can read more about him in a recent article in Sauce Magazine.

Also, we’ve got a lot of activity on our calendar in the next few months, and want to let you know about a couple of important dates:

  • Saturday, March 14 – Winter Market at Tower Grove (with special St. Patrick’s Day truffles!)
  • Saturday, March 28 – Last Winter Market at Schlafly’s in Maplewood
  • Wednesday, April 1 – First weekly Farmers’ Market at Schlafly’s, from 4 to 7 p.m.
  • Saturday, April 4 – Cherokee Street Open House, including a Kakao Open and Tasting!
  • Saturday, April 11 – Last Winter Market at Tower Grove
  • Saturday, April 18 – Kakao at the Green Living Expo at St. Louis Community College in Wildwood

Stay tuned for more information!

Kakao Around the World

Posted in Uncategorized on March 1, 2009 by Brian

Of course Kakao is available in St. Louis at several retail outlets, farmers’ markets, and at our workshop on Cherokee Street. And you can also order chocolates via our website shopping cart, available for shipping anywhere, or for pickup at the shop.

We recently received some photos from Kakao customers, which tickled us thoroughly, and we can’t help but share them.

The first is from a customer in the Chicago suburbs, someone who’s been job hunting for several months, finally landed a great gig, and wanted to express her thanks to people who helped her along they way — with Kakao Chocolate. She ordered a bunch of six-piece truffle boxes, and dressed them up with some beautiful ribbon.

Kakao Thank You Gifts

Kakao Thank You Gifts

Further afield (and yet closer to home), some St. Louis friends took Kakao with them to Costa Rica and documented the trip with these beautiful photos. 

Kakao Costa Rica

Kakao Costa Rica

Thanks, Sharon, Mark and Erica!