Archive for July, 2009

Bloom Can Be Beautiful

Posted in Uncategorized on July 31, 2009 by Brian

I got to the shop this morning to find an amazing piece of artwork on the counter.

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This was some leftover chocolate from last night, which I dumped out on the sheet to reuse next time I needed chocolate. It’s all chocolate — the white streaks are called bloom, and they happen when the chocolate doesn’t set properly and the white cocoa butter separates from the darker cocoa solids.

I suppose the patterns come from how the chocolate was scraped from the bowl. But alas, no religious figures, apparently.

Bloom happens, and sometimes it can be beautiful. It’s completely edible, and tastes the same as the original chocolate. It has different forms, too, like the dusty coating the appears on your chocolate if you forget it in a drawer for several months.

The bloom above, if I was trying to make a bark or bar or something else I was trying to sell, would be bad. It’s a sign that the chocolate wasn’t tempered properly, or in this case, wasn’t given the best conditions to set.

But one of the wonderful things about chocolate is that even if it blooms, it can always be melted and re-used. Which is what I intended to do with this piece of artwork anyway.

The Kakao Cafe is open today until 6:30, and tomorrow from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. You’ll also find us at the Tower Grove Farmers Market tomorrow morning from 8:30 to 12:30. See you then!

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July Chocolating

Posted in Uncategorized on July 23, 2009 by Brian

I know, I know. The month is almost over — but we’ve got a lot happening here at the shop and we want to make sure you know about it.

First, tonight is our first Kakao Book Club meeting, at 8 p.m. at the Cafe. Nikki’s got a nice pile of books she’s read, and will share with us everything we want to know about them. You might be intrigued enough to buy one, or you might just listen in and get the gist so you can talk it up at parties. We’ll have coffee, tea and maybe even some wine on hand.

Oh, and chocolate. We sold out of our cassis chocolate, but will have more for the markets next week. We’ve got blueberry truffles, though, ready for Saturday’s market at Tower Grove. We’ve also got the dark chocolate and sea salt truffles, which we haven’t made in a while, as well as an assortment of others.

And even as I write this, Shannon is making blackberry-lavender pound cakes for the Tower Grove market. Fresh blackberries baked into a vanilla pound cake and then soaked with a lavender-infused syrup. And, of course, some truffle brownies, made with ganache from our lavender, coffee and dark chocolate truffles. (Update: before I even posted this we sold out of the coffee brownies.)

There are two Kakao events this Saturday, too. The Art of Food, in support of the St. Louis Slow Foods will be 6 – 10 p.m. at the Mad Art Gallery in Soulard. And Swirl, Sip and Savor, to benefit Parents as Teachers, from 7 to 11 p.m. at the Abstrakt Art Gallery, not far from Soulard. Kakao will be represented at both events, sampling our sea-salt caramels and marshmallow pies.

Further ahead, we’re excited about our Pajama Party on August 13. We’ll have a very special guest, PJ’s by Pinkie, showing her wears/wares, and other fun pajama-themed activities for the evening. Be sure to mark your calendar for that and stay tuned for more info.

And then there’s the Kakao Cafe, with our chocolates, confections, pastries and coffee and tea. Our “official” hours — when you can be sure we’re open — are Fridays from noon to 6:30 and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. But we’ve been open a good part of the rest of the week, as we’re able, so you’ve got a good chance of catching us. Call 314.489.5617 just to be sure.

Look for longer hours this fall, as well as more coffee drinks, and hot chocolate. Stay tuned!

Truffle Myrtille

Posted in Uncategorized on July 17, 2009 by Brian

That would be French for blueberry.

I’m not sure exactly how French blueberries are. I grew up in northern Minnesota where they’re plentiful — I remember a patch that grew wild in front of our house. Not the big domesticated ones, but the little juicy sweet wild ones.

What is French, though, is the all-natural blueberry liqueur we used in our new truffle. It’s another one of those century-old recipes, made by a family business in the heart of Dijon, France. Hard to find, and hard to beat.

So we make our cream and chocolate ganache, and blend in some of the blueberry liqueur. Then we dip the ganache in a special blend of semi-sweet chocolate, and top it with an unsweetened dried blueberry, and voila:

Kakao Blueberry Truffles

Kakao Blueberry Truffles

We’ll have the new truffles — along with your traditional favorites — at the Kakao Cafe and at the Tower Grove Farmers Market tomorrow. Oh, and we’ll also have some fresh-baked Pinched-Peach and Blackberry Cobblers, and Ricotta Cheese and Semi-Sweet Chocolate Muffins, and, of course, the Truffle Brownies. While they last!

See you soon.

Best Chocolate, eh?

Posted in Uncategorized on July 16, 2009 by Brian

Yes, we did indeed see the July issue of Sauce with the “Best of” awards, including the Best Chocolatier, which didn’t include Kakao anywhere on the list.

There are several reasons we didn’t make the cut, including the fact that Kakao wasn’t in the Sauce database, which meant that one had to take some extra steps to include us as a write-in. (We’re in there now.)

Another reason is that there are still a lot of people out there who don’t know about Kakao. We’re going to remedy that, and we need your help.

We’re going to give them — and you — free chocolate.

In exchange for…a Bissinger’s catalog.

We’re going straight to the top, and since Bissinger’s won the poll, we’re going to take them on directly. So bring in one of those free Summer 2009 Bissinger’s catalogs (you’re going to have to leave it here), and we’ll give you a hand-dipped truffle or caramel of your choice, whatever all-natural flavor we have on hand.

Or, you can trade that catalog for $5 off any Kakao purchase of $25 or more of our chocolates and confections, including marshmallow pies, beer brittle and pates de fruits. And don’t forget our pastries, like our pinched-peach and blackberry cobbler and our French macarons…I could go on.

One catalog per person, per day, if you please. Today through August 31.

Tell ALL your friends. Tell them to tell their friends.

Bissinger’s gives away catalogs — Kakao gives away chocolate.

All-Star Beer Brittle

Posted in Uncategorized on July 13, 2009 by Brian

Did you hear there’s a big ballgame in St. Louis tomorrow?

I love going to baseball games. (If anyone has a spare ticket for tomorrow, just let me know!) And one of  my favorite things about going to the game — besides the match-up itself, of course — are the snacks. Especially beer and peanuts.

So why not combine them?

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Indeed, peanut brittle made with beer instead of water. And not just any beer, local beer. We’ve got some made with Square One Brewery’s Bavarian Weizen, and some with Mattingly Brewing Company’s Cardinal Direction Abbey Dubbel.

(We’re all about “local” here at Kakao — both breweries are within 1.5 miles of our shop!)

The Weizen is a German-style unfiltered wheat beer that has bit of clove and some banana fruitiness. The Dubbel is a Belgian-style Dubbel, a caramelly, fruity and spicy ale brewed in the Trappist monk style.

Both beers make for a sublime brittle, rich in peanut flavor and the best flavors of the beer. And you can get them both TODAY and TOMORROW at the shop during our special hours — 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. — for our All-Star Game visitors.

See you soon!

Kakao Book Club

Posted in Uncategorized on July 12, 2009 by Brian

Here’s something extra fun: the Kakao Book Club!

No, it’s not a run-of-the-mill book club. Not another one of those groups where everyone is assigned a book to read and then gets together to discuss it, except no one has really read the book, and so everyone chats about other things unrelated to the book. (Unless, of course, the book was made into a movie, whereas the discussion revolves around whether so-and-so was the best choice to play this-or-that character…)

No, this book club is different.

But first, mark your calendar for Thursday, July 23 at 8 p.m.

Next, RSVP to bookclub@kakaochocolate.com to reserve your place — there are a limited number of chairs in the shop, so please do let us know if you’re coming, or if you need to change your plans after you’ve RSVP’ed.

Here’s the deal: our good friend Nikki Furrer of Puddin’Head Books in Webster Groves will bring in a dozen or so of the best, most interesting books just hitting the shelves, and will spend a few minutes telling us about each of them. Nikki is a voracious reader (what other kind of person would open a bookstore?) and she loves all kinds of books, so you’re sure to hear about something you’ll like.

You many only want to read one or two, but you’ll be able to talk about the rest of them at parties, and other people will think you’re well-read and even more interesting than you already are — no reading required! 

And, of course, since the book club will be at the Kakao Shop at 2301 South Jefferson, there’ll be plenty of chocolate on hand, as well as coffee, tea, and — if we’re feeling particularly daring — some wine.

RSVP and let us know you can make it. See you soon!

Dessert Cook Concocts Light Summer Treat

Posted in Uncategorized on July 1, 2009 by Brian

Hooray for Kakao Confectioneer Teresa Lo, who is featured in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch!

You’ll see the article here, but if you pick up the actual paper you’ll find a great photo of Teresa and her pup Jersey.