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French-Style Drinking Chocolate Recipe

I love that chocolate is part of daily life in the French culture. This starts with breakfast where le chocolat chaud, or hot chocolate, is as popular as coffee. Before we get into the specifics of French-style hot chocolate let’s discuss the difference between hot chocolate and hot cocoa.   Hot chocolate vs. hot cocoa is one of those things that is obvious but you never think about until someone explains it. Hot chocolate is made with chocolate and hot cocoa is made with cocoa powder. The difference is cocoa butter which makes hot chocolate rich and creamy. Unfortunately hot chocolate and hot cocoa are often used interchangeably which is why we’ve created the term ‘drinking chocolate’ to distinguish true hot chocolate.   French-style drinking chocolate is simply high quality chocolate and milk. It’s so simple, yet that’s what makes it stand out. It is thick and rich from the high ratio of chocolate to milk but still drinkable. And with only two ingredients the quality of chocolate stands out.   Another popular way to make hot chocolate is Italian or Spanish-style–known for being so thick “your spoon will stand in it.” This effect is created by the addition of…

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2015 Cacao Farm Trip to Peru

This past summer I had the opportunity to visit multiple cacao farms in the Peruvian Amazon basin with a group of 60 chocolate makers from 16 different counties. The trip was organized by USAID to promote Peruvian cacao exports. Maverick Chocolate has used Peruvian beans since the beginning – our Morropon and Tumbes are two of our customers’ favorite flavors.   The trip started in Lima with a tradeshow and exhibition from local growers and chocolatiers. I was able to sample a wide variety of cacao beans and chocolate. The most amusing part was the fashion show with chocolate covered dresses. The business aspects were also beneficial as I met with export companies, more co-operatives, and farmers.      The trip continued in Tingo Maria. We flew from Lima to Pucallpa then by bus to Tingo Maria. The countryside is rugged but lush. This area alternates between mountainous and Amazon River tributaries. We had to swerve around fallen boulders and washed out highways. Landslides are a serious concern and hazard on the highways. Crossing the rivers was done on ferries of old steel hulls strapped together with logs and an outboard motor. We drove onto the logs and away we went.…

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Why Chocolate? Our Story Part 1

I come from a long line of business owners – my mother and father each had their own business; my maternal grandfather was a blacksmith and my grandmother owned a health food store; my paternal grandfather was a farmer. Due to this entrepreneurial family spirit, I’ve long felt that I needed to do something on my own. I suspect this was more for the independence than anything else – I have a bit of a problem with authority. In the past few years, the urge to start something became more acute. I didn’t want to wait so long that I would no longer have the energy to create a new business. It was vital that the new venture be something that my wife, Marlene, and I could participate in equally. I tried consulting and tossed around a few other ideas like furniture making but none of these provided meaningful work for Marlene. Marlene has always enjoyed chocolate. During my travels, I would seek out chocolate shops in order to bring home something new or interesting. Some of the chocolate was terrible but several German and French makers were very well received at home. As I often flew through Paris, I…

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