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.