Saturday, September 03, 2005

Katrina Relief and Chocolate Chip Cookies

Some 20 families, including mine, decided to get together to try and help those that have sufffered so much on the Gulf Coast this past week. Our kids decided to make Chocolate, Cookies and Lemonade to sell on the street in the neighborhood to raise money for those in need. Mass Mutual Insurance agreed to match the cash raised. I don't know what we expected to raise in a 2 hour period on Saturday, September 3rd, but the power of kids, families and Chocolate raised $5000. With the match, $10,000 goes to help those in need--- we hope the Red Cross will put it to good use right away.

All of the extra cookies were taken to a downtown Dallas homeles shelter. The men and women there were so appreciative, as well.

Many good lessons for our kids-- out of a real tragedy, not to far away.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Alaska: KetchiCandies

OK, I'm on a ship cruising the Inside Passage in Alaska and I'm dying for fresh home made chocolate. Then we arrive for a short stop in Ketchikan. I get off the boat to stretch my legs and look for bald eagles when I smell that wonderful "choco" whiff. I passed the salmon swimming up stream and headed straight for KetchiCandies.

HOME MADE CHOCOLATES!! Every thing I could have ever asked for. These guys make it all and I bought it all. I armed my way past the other chocoholics to the counter and walked away with $100 worth of chocolate covered oreos, samplers, grahams, smores, caramels, etc. Enough to keep me fat and happy for the rest of the cruise.

Thank you KetchiCandies for being an Oasis of Chocolate in the middle of nowhere.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

All Candy Expo and my new friend Jacques Torres

Always love visiting this great convention. So much chocolate- so little time.

Highlight- meeting Jacques Torres!

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Bay Area: Aida Opera Candies

A throw back to Grandpa Tony's 1947 business. This store is run out of Burlingame, Ca. I bought and ate the 8 oz sample box as well as several "foiled candies". It was all terrific. "Rocky Road" and "Crunchy Honeycomb" are worth the trip! (

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Colts Bolts

Don't know is any of you have ever had one of these "peanut butter" cups, but the addition of almonds makes this a special treat. 2 oz is the perfect size for a mid-afternoon snack. Made in Nashville, TN., I found these in California. Sold in specialty stores. The website shoes other products I can't wait to try (

Friday, April 15, 2005

San Francisco: CocoaBella Chocolates

What a nice find on Union Street in San Francisco. ( ) This store has looked the world over and found gems from places like Tuscany, Wavre, Bale, and Kansas City.

Pierrick's "Praline Noisettes"- Dark Chocolate with Hazelnut Praline
Corne' Port•Royal's "Rocher"- Crunchy Praline in Milk Chocolate
Charles Chocolates "Lavender Honey Truffle"- Cream w/ Lavender and Honey
Charles Chocolates "Poire Williams Circle"- Caramel and Poire William Liqueur
Amedei's "Vin Santo"- Vin Santo infused Ganache in Dark Chocolate

Ask for Michael Freeman, the proprietor. I can't wait to get back to SF to experience his next "find"!

Friday, April 01, 2005

Bay Area: Scharffen Berger

Scharffen Berger- Took a tour of the factory in Berkeley. What a terrific opportunity to see how chocolate if made. Go on-line and book your tour in advance. They give samples and really discuss the whole process from cacao to the stores. Also, make time to eat at the Cafe', there are some great treats made with "fresh" chocolate.Add Image

I bought several items at the Company Store. I particularly like the Chocolate Sauce and the wooden sample box with plenty of sample size mini bars to last awhile.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I LOVE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES! I have my favorite places to go, but today I got to participate in a restaurant food sampling. My day job has me in contact with a lot of restaurants and on occasion I get be a part of the team that tries out new offerings before they "hit the streets".  I occasionally get to also help dream up ideas. In the future as the new blog/website is finished, I'll add a recipe section.

Monday, February 28, 2005

Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory

RMCF- I can't say anymore that I have been to all of their locations- They are growing to fast and I would explode if I ate that much; but I certainly remember my 1st experience in the early 80s. I remember ordering my 1st "avalanche" and the chocolate covered marshmallows on a stick, chocolate covered pretzels and, of course, seafoam! Through the years, no matter whether I'm in Colorado or California or anywhere else their 275+ stores are located, I love stopping by and trying something. Dipped fruit & goodies to fudge to regular chocolate candy, this is Paradise.

Sharon Morris-Zaidins has opened a new franchised location near my office at the Dallas Galleria; and I can experience great travel memories any day.

Today, I needed to take some snacks to a meeting, so I sauntered over and bought the place out! For a quick fix of fun chocolates, find a location near you (like I have) and take a moment to close your eyes and go skiing.



Thursday, February 17, 2005

NoKa of PLANO? !

Well, I didn't believe it when I read it in the Dallas Morning News. So I took a little drive North. When I rolled into a sleepy strip center in north Plano, I still didn't believe it. The dark chocolate colored Hummer in the parking lot pointed the way. It took a moment to figure out where the door was under the sign. And then it happened... I walked into NoKa Chocolate's exclusive studio, "HelloOHMyGosh!"

NoKa: it has been called "minimalist" for what they sell and how they sell it- I call it cool. In the studio, there is a display counter for showing off the packaging and a display counter with stools for "tastings". All of the pomp, circumstance and professorship of a Napa Valley experience.

4 chocolate pieces and 4 truffles, each different in flavor and lineage, is what they sell: made from expensive rare single-origin cacao- a minimum of 75 percent, loaded with natural cocoa butter- no lecithin or vanilla added.

The result is simply breathtaking! Take a bite and let it melt on your tongue. No bitter taste, no after taste. Just PERFECT Dark Chocolate that is better than the finest of fine wines.

I met Noah and Katrina; they are my kind of people- real Texans (although they are from Canada and here less than a year). They brought their dreams and passions to Dallas because of the "anyone can do anything they dream as long as they work hard and play fair" attitude this part of the world allows and craves to keep alive.

Notoriety is coming fast for them. Chosen as "THE" gift for interviewees at the Golden Globes by Entertainment Tonight, it won't be long before all America finds this rocket ship on the launching pad.

They ran out of chocolate after the DMN article broke the Saturday before Valentine's week- but they are making more as fast as they can.

I've been back 3 times already- My advice: stand in line behind me!

Available also on-line at (great website).



Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Cooking School - Viking style

In December, when I got the e-mail from a store that they were having a "Chocolate" class to teach people how to make chocolate candy, cakes and goodies, I knew it was post graduate education that I needed. I wasn't sure how I was going to get my wife to agree, so I invited her- saying it was a pre-Valentines present- and it worked. 3 minutes later, WE were signed up!

I couldn't wait! I did all kinds of things to help the time pass (see my previous blog about the SF Fancy Food Show). Finally, the day arrived and I was so excited: a night of chocolate with the acceptance, approval and companionship of my beautiful bestest friend - how sweet it is! Bottom line: It far exceeding my expectations.

When Amy and I arrived at the Dallas, Texas Viking Culinary Arts Center (, next door to my favorite store in the world (the Apple Store on Knox street), neither of us realized that this was going to be a completely "Hands-On" 3 hours course in how to make Truffles, Double Chocolate Lava Cakes, Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries and a Chocolate Pate with a Cabernet Cordial.

"Hands-on" means they give you an Apron, let you make a mess and tell you to lick the bowl. I was with 5 very nice/proper women, which meant I got to lick all of the bowls. WOW, what a treat.

The class started with a sampling of various kids of chocolate: grocery vs. specialty, milk, white, semi-sweet and dark. Frankly, I loved them all! They also gave us instruction on Tempering chocolate and a "chocolate chart" that further described the different types of chocolate and the flavor and uses of each. Then we moved to the prep table and began to make and eat our way through 3 and a half hours of chocolate, chocolate, chocolate.

Our gourmet chef instructor, Lisa Aldana, was terrific.

I strongly encourage you all to take a class. It was great fun and I am now a certified graduate in chocolate from a very prestigious Culinary Arts School. CIA, here I come.



Thursday, January 27, 2005

San Francisco: Fancy Food Show - check out these great goodies

There was no better way to start reporting for the blog, than my visit to the 2005 San Francisco Fancy Food Show. I found several fantastic new treats that I’d like to share with you:

If you get as far as San Francisco and don't have time to make it to Napa: Champagne Truffles are always a terrific way to pretend you're in the wine country. My personal favorite has been Teuscher's version (, now I have another to look for: L'Estasi Dolce ( Founder Rose Ramos-Benzel has taken secret family recipes and turned them into one great chocolate company. I met Rose at the show and was blown away by her passion for her family business and her marketing savvy. Her Cabernet Truffles are as good as the Champagne Truffles- both obviously are made by someone who cares.

Also from the grape section: B.T. McElrath Chocolatier ( creates artisan chocolate that is gorgeous. I sampled a little of everything and was drawn to the Zinfandel-Balsamic Dark Chocolate truffle. Sounds strange but tastes good.

Hot Chocolate: Schokinag's "Triple Chocolate Drinking Chocolate" ( This is a fairly large family owned business from Europe that has been around since 1923. They certainly have perfected a great Hot Chocolate drink.

Companies are really beginning to show greatness in the way they package their chocolate:

Up and Coming Chef Hilly from Atlanta ( has created a line of dessert products that is to die for. Chocolate Crème Brulee kits (which include the blow-torch), Chocolate Chip Cookie mix in a mason jar and a new Chocolate Fountain-- you will see more of Hilly on the Food Network and in the press. Chef Hilly even gives a portion of the proceeds to charity. Both of our mothers are Breast Cancer Survivors, so I am very excited about his mission! Go Chef H!

Cocoa Pete’s Chocolate Adventure Company ( has “boxes of chocolate” that I would pay extra for at a movie theater. The boxes come in four flavors, sold 4 chocolate pieces in a box and they look great. Caramel Knowledge and MaltImus MaxImus were terrific.

Chocolove XOXOX ( has large gourmet candy bars that come in 10 different flavors. Very original and a rich taste, too! Several of their bars are made in a limited production so check the website often and buy when it is in stock.

"Chick Chocolates" from Seattle Chocolates ( offers a cute marketing of good chocolate bars: Extreme Chick, Nutty Chick and Strong Chick are a great present for that independent friend that needs to be reminded every once in a while about how you feel about her.

San Francisco Chocolate Factory ( has always been a favorite of mine. The 1st time I ran across these guys, I bought a tin of chocolates (looks like an altoid box filled with big flat chocolate chips). I have kept this tin in my brief case for emergencies for more than 2 years now (refilling often).

Charlotte’s Confection Company ( has done it again! A few years back, they made candy for William’s Sonoma and I believe Restoration Hardware- available during the Holiday Season. Peppermint Bark is always a personal favorite but the Smores that they created one year (but not brought back this past year) was to die for. I was very upset w/ my favorite stores for not ordering them in 2004, but I happen to bump into the Charlotte's guys at their booth and WHOA they now have an individual portion Smores Bar. Great Marshmallow, real graham cracker and excellent chocolate: Pop this treasure in the microwave for a few seconds and you've got... The Real Deal!

Quality Candy ( has been around forever, 1916 to be exact. We don't have their stores in Texas, but I have received boxes of their chocolate as gifts. It wasn't until the show that I learned to truly appreciate how hard they must work on the Marshmallow. The Marshmallow Egg they sampled was as if they made it in front of me!

Shari's Berries ( Chocolates and Strawberries are an amazing combination. Shari's has just about the best Chocolate-dipped Strawberries I have ever sampled. I went back here for seconds. The rest of her expanded dessert line looked great as well.

Hagensborg didn't have a big booth or a big website (, but the "Kiss Me" Frog chocolates certainly caught my attention. One kiss of these chocolates is forever bliss- as the marketing suggests. The "Truffle Pig" peanut butter bar looked good (though I didn’t sample it).

As for Peanut Butter, several like-minded lawyers should be commended for taking time off their busy schedules of chasing accidents to create very unique Peanut Butter Flavors. They loaded me up with samples of each chocolate type (they have 5, I think) and each was equally terrific. The PB w/ Dutch Dark Chocolate is simple and excellent! Find there stuff on the web (, at a specialty store near you, or in their store, "P.B. Loco", in the Minneapolis Mall of America. I'll wait till winter breaks, then I'm off to Minnesota to check out the store myself!

Chocoholics Devine Desserts ( has given me many a fun night to remember. Known originally for their "Body Frostings” that comes with paintbrushes, these sharp creators have now developed a new board game that promises to be equally fun. The entire line is well thought out. I need to use their "chocolate" Patch, as do most of us who visited the show...

Well there will be more later- let me know your thoughts,

and continue to EatMoreChocolate!
Joe H.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Traveling in Q1

I kick off 2005 in a whole new light. I am gearing up to begin several very exciting projects: the opportunities seem endless!

By the way, I’m enjoying a large Dark Chocolate Truffle from Joseph Schmidt as I type this:

My travel schedule over the next 3 months includes:

San Francisco
New York

Please let me know where I should sample great desserts, candies and other chocolate confections: Happy Travels to you, as well...