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May 13, 2021

ATTENTION: CHOCOHOLICS!

It is my great pleasure to announce that Scharffen Berger chocolates can be found not only online or bars of it in some hotsy totsy food stores, but shop has been set up at 473 Amsterdam Avenue (212-362-9734), so that you can indulge in an entire variety of these yummy morsels.

It was at one of the Annual Chocolate shows that I encountered what was the United States’ newest chocolate company since 1950. Like Hershey, Ghiradelli, and Wilbur, Scharffen Berger creates their chocolates from the cocoa bean. There were two things (other than the taste) that highly struck me: all dark chocolates and nibs.

The chocolate process goes as such. Cocoa beans are picked from cacao plants. The beans are roasted and the shells are removed. They are then chopped up into bits called nibs and the nibs are the pieces that are put into the machinery that turns them into that dark brown oozy stuff that makes you want to dunk your entire body…sorry…I’m getting carried away.

John Scharffenberger and Robert Steinberg, long-time friends, decided that they wanted to create the most flavorful chocolate from the purest and best cacao in the world and making small batches, using restored vintage machinery imported from Europe.

Scharffen Berger label their bars with the percentage of cacao they contain. The higher the percentage, the more chocolate you get and the less sweet the chocolate will be. For instance, there’s a dark chocolate that is 99% unsweetened, an 82% extra dark, a 70% bittersweet, a 62% semisweet and...I guess they finally broke down and given you milk chocolate lovers one that is 41% cacao and using organic milk.

By favorite bar is the called the Nibby, which is a semisweet 1 ounce bar with nibs mixed into it. How chocolate can you get? They sell a can of nibs. No sugar! Like eating chocolate nuts!

Back to the store on Amsterdam Avenue. More than just bars of chocolate. Chocolate Sauce made with 99% unsweetened chocolate, whole milk, cream and just enough sugar to make it nice and thick. Cocoa Powder with no alkalai (the chemical in Dutch process cocoa). If you’ve tasted Dutch processed cocoa you know how bitter it is on the tongue. Without the chemical, you can actually not only tolerate the cocoa, but enjoy the flavor.

Schaffen Berger has a cocoa powder that is sweetened (for hot chocolate) and another product, a Drinking Chocolate, made with shavings from the 70% bittersweet. Hint: Place milk and this chocolate in a pot and heat it up as if you are making hot chocolate. While it’s heating mix some cornstarch with cold water. Add the cornstarch and keep stirring until it thickens…you now have chocolate pudding!

But that’s not where it ends! The chocolate makers have designed those small chocolate combinations. Splurge on a box with 12 creations. Nibs Nougatine: nibs and crunchy caramelized sugar with a velvety chocolate ganache. Sea Salt Caramel: chocolate ganache with a sea salt caramel. Milk Ganache: organic milk in rich ganache. Mint Leaf: crushed whole mint leaves in ganache. Spiced Praline: almond, hazelnut and chocolate with a hint of clove. Palet d’Or: Sumatran coffee and semisweet chocolate topped with a gold leaf. Yunnan Tea: tea infused in ganache with a crunchy sprinkle of tea leaves. Fresh Lemon: freshly squeezed Eureka lemons in a tart ganache. Enough.

I highly recommend that you either make your way to the store or if you’re just too darn lazy, go the website of www.scharffenberger.com.

I just wanted to mention a few new things that I encountered at this past November’s Chocolate Show. Health guru Gary Null put out Nutritious Chocolate, a chocolate bar that contains: organic raw cane sugar, organic cocoa mass, organic cocoa butter, lecithin, vanilla , soy protein, green algae powder, wheat grass powder, green barley powder, alfalfa leaf, oat grass, broccoli, parsley, kale, aloe vera, cranberries, strawberries, apples, cherries, red raspberries, peaches, pears, papayas, mangoes, watermelons, red currants, nectarines, pink grapefruits, blood oranges, pomegranates, pineapples, lemons, limes, tangerines, and apricots. Sounds disgusting? Not at all! In sampling it, I thought that it was a rich chocolate with a bit of flavor. Great idea for a chocoholic who wants a healthy snack!

Origins, the company with the skin treatments, now has Cocoa Therapy. Body Butter: Cocoa butter and nourishing Theobroma Garndiflorum…there’s also some vanilla, ginger and orange. Cocoa therapy: roll on this cocoa elixir over energy points for an instant fix. Oils of Meadowfoam, Jojoba and Sweet Almond with light scents of Theobroama cacao, ginger, orange and vanilla.

And that’s not all. Jacques Torres created sensory therapy chocolate bars for Origins. Mandarin, lemon and chamomile to help sweeten your sleep; sweet orange, grapefruit and juniper for relaxation; and a few others to check out at www.origins.com.

January 06, 2005 - Queens Times

 


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