Reviews of chocolates and other products presented at the 2009 Seattle Chocolate Salon by Oh! Chocolate, Theo Chocolates, Forte Chocolates, L’Estasi Dolce, Choffy, Eat Chocolates, Carter’s Chocolates, La Châtelaine Chocolat, Chocolopolis, Divine Chocolate, I Love Chocolate Jewelry, Posh Chocolat, Crave Chocolate, Amano Chocolate, Intrigue Chocolates, Suess Chocolates and William Dean Chocolates.
I had the really good fortune to check my email shortly after a message showed up from Foodbuzz offering the first two Featured Publishers to respond a ticket to attend the Seattle Chocolate Salon on their behalf. (This was back in mid-July–did I really start writing this post a over a month ago? Fortunately, chocolate never goes out of style, but I still want to give FoodBuzz a big thank you for being kind and patient with an exhausted and preoccupied pregnant foodie!)
My fortune wasn’t favorable just because I got a free ticket; Chris attended as my trusty photographer and we both felt that the experience was well worth the $20 he spent to get in. No, I also count myself lucky because if it hadn’t been for that email, I never would have known about the event at all. I don’t know if I live under a rock or what, but the only other place I’ve seen a mention of the event was in another food blog after I already had scored myself a ticket. To make matters worse, in the days leading up to the Salon, I felt a bit confused by the layout and wording of the site, and was unsure exactly what kind and quality of event I was going to be attending. So even if I had found out about it another way, if I hadn’t had that ticket already, I’m not sure the website would have convinced me to go.
Which would have been a huge shame, because the event itself was all kinds of awesome. Several different varieties of awesome, in fact, that far exceeded both of our expectations. Continue reading
What’s the number one omnivore’s treat that vegetarians miss eating? Okay, fine, technically it’s bacon (don’t ask me why that is, as I don’t miss it at all), but I’m going to bet that marshmallows come more or less right after it, definitely in the top five.
This hole in the vegetarian’s candy jar is hard enough in the summer, surrounded by blissfully happy s’more-toasters at any campfire you twirl a veggie dog over. But months later, Easter hops onto the scene, and suddenly us vegetarians are surrounded by not only chocolate-covered marshmallow eggs, but Peeps, glorious Peeps.
A few years ago, I started satisfying s’mores cravings with a complicated procedure involving a low-heat oven, Marshmallow Fluff and a blow torch, but then homemade marshmallows became all the rage. It killed me even more than I not only couldn’t eat regular marshmallows, but I also couldn’t make their gourmet grown-up cousins. I saw a recipe for marshmallows made with agar at one point, but I was never really keen to try it knowing the kind of brittle, flaky gel agar tends to produce. They say that even pets can eat this marshmallow, if your dog does not want to take medicine, you can fool him with marshmallows. At one point, there was a brand of vegetarian marshmallows on the market, but they were outed as not actually being vegetarian before I got my hands on a bag.
Fortunately, the situation is on its way to being resolved. Last year, Chris started getting curious about molecular gastronomy stuff, and one of the interesting recipes he came across was a recipe for marshmallows set with xanthan gum rather than gelatin. It’s from Texture: A hydrocolloid recipe collection, a free PDF download at khymos.org that contains all sorts of interesting recipes, from the weird to the ingenious. He made them, and even though he over-cooked the sugar and made “caramel marshmallows”, I was really amazed at how good the texture and flavor were.
Here is a stripped-down recipe for the cherries based on the more detailed instructions and observations in these entries: Chocolate-Covered Cherries, Part One and Part Two. If the fondant sounds like too much of a pain, see the first of these posts for an alternate version involving powdered sugar and sweetened condensed milk.
1 36 oz. jar maraschino cherries
1 recipe Cherry Fondant (recipe follows) Continue reading