Friday, August 14, 2009

November 1999 - From the original Chocolate Diaries

Issue Number 2
November 21, 1999
Greetings! Has this year just flown by for any of you? We feel like time has gone by faster this year than ever before. With the holiday season just around the corner, we wanted to be sure and send out a Chocolate Diaries update before this year ends.
We hope all of you have special plans for the holidays and New Year's Eve. We will be in France on December 31st, having dinner with a group of French and American friends. Of course, we will bring the chocolates! We will also make our favorite chocolate cake. The recipe follows.
We are excited to tell you about our Millennium Special - Truffles and Champagne

Two champagne flutes, filled with gold foil wrapped truffles are beautifully tucked in a silk wine bag with gold tassels. Our logo is on each flute and discretely displays the year 2000, for a perfect souvenir. This is a great gift for those prudent souls who wish to greet the new millennium with the two essential food group: Champagne and chocolate! Supply is limited, so order early. $29.95 (1/4 pound chocolate net wt.)

This time of year there are always invitations to parties and dinners. Carole Bloom, in her new book All About Chocolate, says, "Giving boxed chocolate is America's new politically correct gift." We don't know about the political part, but we do know that almost everyone we know loves to get boxed chocolates! Of course, we think one of our boxes makes a perfect gift anytime!

We are introducing the new Two Layer Box of Assorted Chocolates! Two layers of Pierre's fabulous Chocolates (milk+dark, all dark, or all milk), for $55.00! Just think, 28 ounces of heavenly chocolates to give as a special gift, or to keep for a special occasions or maybe lunch on New Year's Day?

Shopping for candy bars takes on an entirely new meaning when in France. The photo above was taken at a LeClerc supermarket near Avignon. LeClerc is a large chain of French supermarkets, where one can find long aisles of pâtes, cheeses, wines, breads, and chocolates! The Europeans take chocolate very seriously. Anytime you look in the pantry or refrigerator in a French home, you will find several bars of chocolate. You can find the dark or noir, which can have up to 72% cacao (This is our personal favorite.), or chose from the huge variety of dark or milk with nuts and flavors. The quality is amazing! We always tuck several bars in our suitcase to bring home. Really, we do have plenty of chocolate already, but having those bars in the refrigerator is so cool!

Here is a recipe for a very rich and satisfying chocolate cake we call simply...
The Chocolate Cake
1 stick (4 oz) plus 3 Tbsp sweet butter
1/3 cup flour
12 oz bittersweet chocolate chopped in pieces
5 eggs separated
3/4 cup sugar
Preheat oven to 350F.
Butter a 9" pan and line the bottom with waxed paper.
Melt chocolate, butter & sugar in double boiler until smooth.
Set aside and let cool 10 minutes.
Whisk in egg yolks. Stir in flour.
Beat egg whites until stiff. Stir in 1/3, then fold in remainder.
Spoon batter into pan. Bake 35-40 minutes.
Leave to cool 1 hour before removing from pan.
Serve with Crè­me Anglaise or ice cream.

Crème Anglaise
10 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
pinch salt
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 quart whole milk, scalded
Put the egg yolks, sugar, salt and vanilla in a heavy bottomed saucepan.
Mix well over medium heat until completely blended.
Gradually add the scalded milk, adding very little at a time until half of the milk has been added, then pour in the remainder in 2 or 3 additions.
Mix well. Set the pot over high heat. Stirring very fast with a wooden spoon, look for the foam to disappear. Remove the pot from the heat as soon as only 2 or 3 big bubbles remain and whisk very fast and very quickly to cool the custard. Immediately strain the custard into a bowl. This makes a gracious plenty! Caution: You must work very quickly and pay attention to what you are doing! Otherwise, it will become lumpy, in which case it is very acceptable to cheat by putting it in the blender to smooth.
Bon Appetit

We thank each of you for subscribing to the Chocolate Diaries. We will be taking notes and pictures in France for the millennium to put in the next edition. We hope you have a bountiful Thanksgiving, a safe and festive holiday season, and a prosperous new year! Meilleurs Voeux pour la nouvelle année. Pierre & Rainey

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