Archive for April, 2009

Mother’s Day Tea and Truffles

Posted in Uncategorized on April 29, 2009 by Brian

We’re very excited about a very special Mothers Day event — Tea and Truffles!

 

Not only can you treat your mom (or your kids can treat you!) to some wonderful hand-dipped truffles and fair-trade organic tea, but you can also get a sneak peak at the new Kakao shop!

 

Kakao Chocolate and our friends Traveling Tea will host a special Tea and Chocolate Tasting on Mother’s Day at our upcoming new location of Kakao Chocolate, 2301 S. Jefferson, St. Louis, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

 

(“Upcoming new location” means that we’re moving there, but we won’t be completely moved in by the time of this tasting. Don’t worry, we’ll have lots of tables and chairs, and plenty of chocolate and tea. We just won’t have all our chocolating equipment moved in yet.)

 

We’ll offer selections of all-natural, hand-dipped truffles in an assortment of tea flavors, including Chai Tea with Cinnamon, Earl Grey Tea with Orange Sugar, Mint Tea with Candied Lemon Peel, and Rose Petal Red Tea. Traveling Tea selections will include Earl Grey White Tip, “Meeting of the Mints,” Honey Rose, Chai and others.

 

Tea and Truffle pairings include two truffles and a cup of tea for $5, or three truffles and two cups of tea for $7. Individual and packaged truffles, as well as packaged tea, will be available for sale.

 

And be sure to mark your calendar for a couple of other great events:

 

– Every Wednesday, 4-7: Maplewood Farmers Market

– Friday, May 8: Chocolate tasting at Puddn’head Books

– Saturday, May 9: The first Tower Grove Farmers Market

– Saturday, May 30: Kakao Chocolate Grand Opening Celebration (stay tuned!)

Earth Day Festival Sunday

Posted in Uncategorized on April 24, 2009 by Brian

Don’t forget to come down to the St. Louis Earth Day Festival in Forest Park (at the Muny) on Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.  LOTS to see and do, from recycling to healthy foods and gardening to environmental stewardship.

And, of course, Kakao Chocolate! We’ll have an assortment of hand-dipped truffles, including organic chai tea in milk chocolate, organic peppermint with candied lemon peel, organic lavender, and many others. We’ll also have your favorite treats like sea salt caramels, marshmallow pies, and pates de fruits (passionfruit, for those of you in the know!).

Kakao is committed to making all-natural confections with responsible business practices. We use local suppliers, organic ingredients, and are involved in our community.

And for the Earth Day Festival, Kakao is donating 10% of our sales back to St. Louis Earth Day!

Also, please mark your calendars for Sunday, May 10 — that’s Mother’s Day. Kakao is going to host a very special Tea and Chocolate Tasting that day at our new shop.

That’s right, we’re moving. We have a lease on an adorable chocolate shop on the corner of Jefferson and Shenandoah, just south of Hwy. 44. We’ll be moving in May, and we’ll keep you posted on the exact schedule, but we’ll be ready on May 10 with tea and chocolate. Stay tuned for more information.

See you Sunday at the Muny!

Kakao and the Environment

Posted in Uncategorized on April 17, 2009 by Brian

From its founding, Kakao has been committed to being a good environmental steward. In addition to our commitment to using all-natural ingredients, we use as many local, organic, and free trade products as we can. It goes without saying that we recycle. And we’re checking out some great biodegradable packaging that we think will help us offer a whole new line of chocolatey treats.

We also support many local environmental organizations and events. This weekend, in fact, we’ll be taking part in A Different Kind of Green, an eco-art exhibition and green living expo at the St. Louis Community College in Wildwood (directions here) on April 18 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The expo includes a special green-themed art show featuring works by students from local high schools, as well as a variety of gardening and green living demonstrations, green products, music and more. And it will all take place in the college’s award-winning green campus.

We’re also excited to be a part of the St. Louis Earth Day on Sunday, April 26 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Muny in Forest Park. This is going to be the biggest event yet for Kakao, and we’re planning to make a lot of chocolate next week in preparation.

Kakao will be at both events with our all-natural chocolate confections: hand-dipped truffles, sea salt caramels, marshmallows (chocolate, fruit and ‘plain’ vanilla bean), and our new strawberry chocolates.

Hope to see you at both events!

Wine and Chocolate Tasting

Posted in Uncategorized on April 8, 2009 by Brian

There are some who think that wine and chocolate don’t pair well together.

I say pshaw.

Chocolate is actually a lot like wine, in that they both are influenced by terroir, or the earth in which the original plants grow. And fine chocolate is a lot like good wine in that they both have nuanced flavors — chocolate can have hints of floral, savory, fruity, nutty, and many other flavors.

(Well, good chocolate can. You’re probably not going to detect rose notes on convenience store chocolate.)

If you like chocolate and you like wine (and who doesn’t?) here’s the perfect opportunity for you to learn about both — and how to pair them: the Chocolate and Wine Pairing at Cafe Ventana. The event is Tuesday, April 14, from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.

Kakao will be there with plenty of chocolate — I’ve got a couple different kinds of “plain” chocolate (one that will knock your socks off) and several truffles. And Marco Angeli of A. Bommarito Wines will be there as well, with four high-value, small production wines that he’s paired specifically to our chocolates.

I’ve even got a special treat — a new chocolate and fruit confection we’re introducing exclusively at this event.

The cost is $20 per person — well worth it for the chocolate and wine alone, not to mention what you’ll learn. To attend, RSVP to promotions@cafeventana.com.

See you then!

Two New Truffles

Posted in Uncategorized on April 3, 2009 by Brian

We do like new chocolates!

We’re introducing two new truffles this week, just in time for the Cherokee Street Open House tomorrow (April 4) and the Yellow Farmhouse Winery barrel opening this weekend (April 4 & 5).

The first new flavor is one that’s been on our mind for a long while – Earl Grey Tea. Earl Grey is distinctive in its flavor of bergamot, an orange-like citrus fruit. Our special blend, brought to us by Kateri Meyer of Traveling Tea, includes white tips of the tea, the most prized part of the plant.

Our Earl Grey Tea Truffle is made with this special tea steeped in sweet cream and blended with chocolate to make a creamy ganache, and then dipped in our semisweet chocolate blend. We topped it with natural sugar scented with orange zest.

I won’t tell you that it’s a great truffle, but I will say that the both brides (and one groom) who tried it this past week chose it for their wedding.

The other truffle is made with another very special ingredient — dessert wine from Yellow Farmhouse Winery. The “Old River Ruby Norton Dessert Wine” is fortified with VSOP Brandy from France, and is a wonderful wine made in the style of dessert wines that come from Portugal (note the purposeful avoidance of the term “Port” — legally and traditionally Port wines only come from Portugal). The wine spent two years in oak barrels, in accordance with the 19th century recipe the winemaker used.

For those who wonder if wine and chocolate go together well, wonder no more! The truffle blends the sweet, fruity flavor of the wine with a special mixture of sweet, fruity chocolate.

Both truffles — along with many more and a variety of other confections — will be available at the Kakao Open House tomorrow from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. And you’ll find the Dessert Wine Truffles at the Yellow Farmhouse Barrel Tasting, where you can taste an unlimited amount of wine for $5, meet the wine maker, and on Sunday only. The event is Saturday and Sunday, April 5 from noon to 5 p.m. For more information, call (314) 409-6139.

See you this weekend!

Serious Chocolate

Posted in Uncategorized on April 1, 2009 by Brian

As a chocolatier, I take different kinds of chocolate and add things like cream and sugar and natural flavors and turn it all into tasty confections.

A different kind of chocolate maker takes raw dried cacao beans and turns them into chocolate. These “bean-to-bar” producers are few and far between — of the small-batch individual chocolate producers, there are probably not more than a dozen in the U.S.

It’s a true art, and with the right techniques can produce chocolate beyond exquisite. Which is exactly what Alan McClure of Patric Chocolate does at his shop in Columbia, Missouri. His chocolate bars have only two ingredients — cacao beans and sugar — and are magical in their deep, complex flavors of coffee, citrus, nuts and berries.

Alan and I have been collaborating, and just this week used some of his 70% Madagascar chocolate in one of my truffles. Because his chocolate is so pure, I wanted to add as little as possible so I wouldn’t alter the flavors. I made the ganache with only cream, sugar and butter, and dipped the truffle in a blend of Patric chocolate and another neutral-flavor chocolate. Nothing on top, just straight chocolate coating.

The result is a truffle for serious chocolate aficionados. The deep Patric flavors come through the creamy ganache center beautifully, all bound together with the wonderfully rich Patric chocolate coating. It tastes kind of like magic.

To showcase the Patric flavor, Kakao is packaging the truffles with a bar of Patric 70% Madagascar chocolate. We’ll be selling the packages at the Maplewood Market (which starts its weekly Wednesday run today, April 1) and at the Kakao Open House this Saturday.