What’s the Big Deal about Gourmet Chocolate?

The world is full of chocolate lovers. That is a great relief to the multiplicity of chocolate manufacturers around the world. Still, many of these chocolate lovers do not like to settle for just anything that happens to have a little cocoa and sugar in it. They demand what is known as gourmet chocolate. But what is gourmet chocolate and what sets it apart from the rest of the pack?

Hershey Chocolate Bars

Hershey Chocolate Bars

In contrast to the mass-produced chocolate products that we pick up in the supermarket and discount stores, chocolate is created without the production line mentality. Using time honored base recipes, chocolate makers experiment to come up with blends of ingredients that will excite the palate, taking the experience of eating chocolate well beyond a quick candy bar. As an example, cocoa beans from only the finest plants and prepared under the most stringent of conditions are used. The result is a rich full flavor that creates a foundation for the ultimate gourmet chocolate.

The same attention to detail and quality is applied to all the other ingredients used to create gourmet chocolate. Dairy products, special infusions of mint or other flavors, and sweeteners must be more refined that what one would buy for use at home. Many gourmet chocolate makers still employ the on-hands approach of previous generations. While the high standards result in far fewer units produced over the course of the workday, most would agree that the result is well worth the time and trouble.

Gourmet Chocolate Bars

Gourmet Chocolate Bars

As can be expected, gourmet chocolate costs more than your run of the mill chocolate products. The more unique the finished product, the higher the price tag. In spite of this, there are plenty of people who are more than happy to enjoy the mellow taste of a chocolate that does not leave a bitter aftertaste, or exhibit the clinging sweetness used in lesser products.

Gourmet chocolates are a great way to celebrate any special celebration with the chocolate lover in your life. For more information about chocolates, search the Internet or visit a local gourmet food shop in your area. You are sure to find something special.

The History of Hershey Chocolate

The name of Hershey chocolate is well known to generations of Americans. It is incredible to think that it all began when Milton Hershey started making sweet chocolate in 1894. He called his company, not surprisingly; the Hershey Chocolate Company and many would say that the rest was history. But the amazing thing is that over a hundred years later his company is still making excellent chocolate products. They have continued to bring out new items and win the hearts of chocolate lovers throughout the Untied States.

In 1907 it was the Hershey chocolate Kiss that made its first appearance. This droplet of chocolate was wrapped in silver foil. In 1921 it became an automated process that put the foil on and in 1924 the name was trademarked so that the Hershey Kiss was protected. They followed this success with three new chocolates over the next fourteen years. During the depression the Hershey Chocolate Company survived quite well. They were able to get through this terrible time without laying any employees off and still make a small profit.

During the Second World War the Hershey Chocolate Company made ration bars for the soldiers. Then in 1956 they bought the H.B. Resse Candy Company. This was after a seven relationship during which time Hershey put the chocolate on Reeseís peanut butter. The sale followed the death of Reese. Then in 1968 they changed their name to Hershey Food Corporation and branched out from just chocolate products.

As they walked into the new century Hershey became the top manufacture of chocolate and other confectionery products in the United States. They were still making their own chocolate but had arrangements with other confectioneries to carry licorice, toffee and other kinds of food products. This much loved candy maker is still going strong, selling their products in over ninety countries with an incredible four billion dollars in yearly sales. To think it all started out with that first Hershey chocolate.

Make a Chocolate Covered Strawberry

Are you looking to make a romantic evening for you and your partner? Setting the atmosphere as you choose what to wear and then look for something special to sit in front of the fire with to add to the ambiance of your evening. A glass of champagne accompanied by a bowl of strawberries is always romantic, but what if the treat you serve is a chocolate covered strawberry? Isnít that just one more step towards decadence?

Chocolate Lovers

Chocolate Lovers

You neednít worry about finding this delightful treat at a store near you, though you should be able to find a chocolate covered strawberry at any gourmet chocolate store you go to. But wouldnít you enjoy making them yourself. That way you could serve the chocolate strawberry still hot if you want to or chill them if that is what you prefer.

Finding a recipe so you can make the chocolate covered strawberry yourself is quite easy. There are unlimited recipe sites on the Internet and all you need to do is spend twenty minutes surfing the web to find one that suits you. They all require that you buy some chocolate, whichever kind is your preference; you can use bittersweet, dark or white chocolate for this gourmet treat. From there some recipes call for adding a couple of ingredients to make the chocolate creamier. Once this is done you simply dip the fresh strawberries into the chocolate, hold them up and let the excess drip off. Then you place them on a sheet of wax paper to dry. Wax paper is used because the chocolate wonít stick to it. Serve them right away if you want them hot or chill them if you want to serve them cold.

Chocolate and Strawberries

Chocolate and Strawberries

This delightful treat can be prepared by either a man or woman to delight their partner. As you pick up the chocolate covered strawberry to serve it to your partner youíll see the gleam of surprise and then pleasure, as they taste the treat youíve made. What a delightful way to begin a romantic evening that has started off special with chocolate covered strawberry dishes — and then end it that way, too.

The Variety of a Chocolate Gift

There are many different gifts people would like to receive. Receiving one of those gigantic $4,000.00 television sets would probably be a supremely appreciated gift. However, it is likely that not too many people can afford to purchase a $4,000.00 TV set and even fewer people would enjoy having to carry one. And think of the size of the gift wrapping that would have to surround such a beast. Yes, people opt to give far more practical and affordable gift such as a chocolate gift.

Gourmet Chocolates

Gourmet Chocolates

Now, this is not so say there is no chocolate gift that is wildly expensive. In reality, there are quite a number of stratospherically priced chocolates. However, there is also a large volume of rather inexpensive versions of a chocolate gift. Some of these, believe it or not, can fall under $6.00 a box! But, regardless of the price, the mere fact that one is presenting a chocolate gift to a loved one will endear them to your generosity. No one dislikes chocolate. Absolutely no one! Therefore, a chocolate gift is the best medicine for the problem of what kind of gift one should buy.

Chocolate and Milk

Gourmet Chocolates

A chocolate gift can come in a great number of varieties, twists, shapes and sizes. Chocolate drinks, chocolate bars, chocolate covered cherries and chocolate laced strawberries, etc. The list literally goes on forever and ever. This is one of the main reasons that chocolate makes a great gift idea. The versatility of chocolate allows it to be molded to fit a number of products so it can appeal to a number of tastes and favorites. Some people will love the chocolate strawberries but not the chocolate cherries. Since both products exist, then there is no dilemma. Try that trick with vanilla. Choice makes finding a gift a great deal easier.

Did You Know How Many Types of Wine Are Out There?

Wine is a worldwide beverage, known to all. Everyone has a personal favorite wine type, depending of what sort of taste they prefer. However, there are so many different types of wines, that most people don’t know every single wine available.

Each wine has a different name and taste, depending on the types of grapes it is made from, and the location it was produced. The color of a wine is mostly figured by how long the grape skins stay in the grape juice after it has been crushed. The longer the skins are left in with the juice, the darker the color. For example: rose wines are made by mixing red and white wines, producing a rose like color. White wines are not mixed with the grape skins at all, and red wines are mixed for a longer period of time.

Types of Wines

Types of Wines

Also, there are certain wines that go better with certain foods. White wines go well with foods such as seafood, Chinese food, pork, chicken and turkey. Red wines generally go better with red meats. While this is not always the case, it is often the case.
A few of the available white wines are: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, and Gew¸rztraminer. These are all wines that are actually produced in California. These white wines range from as dry as can be to very sweet. Also, in order to save their taste and freshness, they are generally not aged in wooden barrels.

Each wine has a different name and taste

White or Red Wine

Then there are the red wines. Since I mentioned white wines from California, I will also tell of a few red wines from California. Cabernet Saubignon, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel and Merlot are a few of the red wines. These are usually drier and more acidic than white wines. They are most often aged in wood barrels to give a deeper flavor, but can be produced with a fruitier flavor.

These are just a very few of the possible wine options available. No matter what your taste buds prefer, there is some wine out there that will satisfy your personal tastes. Whether it be from the United States or another country halfway around the world.

The Many Different Types of White Wine

When you look at white wine, you would assume that they are all made with the same types of grapes, since they are all the same color. However that is not true. Each is made with many different types of grapes.

Red Wine

Red Wine

Believe it or not, while the majority of white wine is made with white grapes, it can be made with red grapes as well. The reason for this is because when making white wine, the juice and skin are separated before the fermentation process. This means that the juice does not absorb the color of the skin; therefore the grape juice is always clear.

Chardonnay wine, made from Chardonnay grapes, is one of the most popular white wines, especially in the United States, because of its unique, flavorful taste. The reason it is so flavorful is that it aged in expensive oak barrels, which helps Chardonnay wine age really well. The oak can give the wine a bit of a smoke or vanilla flavor to it. Sometimes the wine can also have a butter, apple or pineapple flavor to it.

Another wine that ages really well is one made from Semillon grapes. Some of these wines have a little bit of an herb taste to them, but usually they taste like figs and such. This wine is usually mixed with other grapes like Sauvignon Blanc, but this is not the case in all counties. For example: in Australia, some of the best wines are just made from Semillon grapes.

New Zealand White Wine

New Zealand Wines

Sauvignon Blanc wines are dry and crisp and usually have a grass and herb flavor to it. This wine is usually blended with grapes like Semillon. However, unlike Chardonnay wine, Sauvignon Blanc wine is not usually oaked.

Pinot Grigio wine, made from darker colored grapes, is another fruity wine. It tastes like fruits such as peaches and apples, and is very popular in Italy, California, and parts of France.

These are just a few of the different white wines available. So now you have an idea of how many different combinations of grapes are used in the process of making each wine. Each white wine is specially blended to create a unique taste.

The Possible Benefits of Red Wine

It is a well known fact that too much alcohol consumption at one time can be highly dangerous, even deadly. Wine, beer, all of it can be harmful if used without care. However, could you ever imagine that red wine might actually be helpful for your body if drunk in moderation? Well, recent studies have shown that there might actually be a few benefits from drinking no more than two glasses of red wine a day.

One of the possible benefits of drinking red wine is that it seems to reduce heart disease and stroke. An example of this really happening comes from France. The French tend to eat food that is very high in fat, so you would think that it would start to cause heart problems right? Well, the French are also known for drinking red wine with almost every meal. Needless to say, the French are no less healthy from their high in fat diets. So what is it about red wine that might possibly help their hearts?

Using grapes in Douro Valley, Portugal

Using grapes in Douro Valley, Portugal

Researchers are not sure if it is the red wine itself that has this effect, or if it comes from an ingredient in the red wine. They are studying ingredients like flavonoids and other antioxidants in the wine. As part of this research, researchers are also studying foods like grapes and red grape juice.

Studies also show that drinking no more than two glasses of red wine a day can actually reduce the risk of heart attacks by up to 50%. This is probably due to a maturing process that softens red wines.

More studies say that red wines, and possibly other wines, can increase good cholesterol, lower risk of Alzheimer’s, help stop colds, reduce amount and size of fat cells, reduce risk of prostate cancer, and can help with inflammation.

These red wine benefits are still being researched, as there are not enough facts to prove anything for sure. So, before you decide to try drinking red wine on a regular basis, make sure to talk to your doctor, just to be safe. You don’t want to end up in the hospital for trying to stay healthy.

The Port Wine Story

Every wine has a history behind it, telling us when it was invented, who invented it, and how. Port wine, however, has one of the most detailed histories out of all the wines. It is not only a historic wine, but is also one of the stronger wines on the market today.

Port wine is a sweet, very alcoholic wine. It is usually sweeter and heavier, and has more alcohol than most other wine because distilled grape spirits are added to the mixture. Spirits halt fermentation to prevent all the sugar from turning into alcohol.

Port wine originates from northern Portugal using grapes in Douro Valley, Portugal and placed in caves there as well. It was first sold in the city, Porto, in the 1600ís. From there it began to travel all through out Europe. However, around 1760 the Port Wine protected region was established. It is the oldest one in the world that still exists.

Since then many wines have been produced in a few countries that are also labeled port wine. A few of these countries include: Australia, India, and South Africa. However, in countries such as Canada and those of the European Union, the only wines that are allowed to be labeled Port wine, are those directly from Portugal. Also, due to a treaty with Portugal, port wines in the United States much the labeled ìPortoî if they are from Portugal. This is so people will know the difference, and there will be no deceit involved.

There are two different categories used to separate all the different types of port wine made in Portugal. The first group is for wines that are matured in tanks that allow no air exposure. It slowly causes the wine to become smoother and tawnier colored. The second group is for wines that were stored with a little air exposure, causing them to quickly become more strong and intense.

Port wine is a great dessert wine. However, it is not meant to be served with a dessert, but strangely is often served with cheese.

What is Different About Ice Wine?

Ice wine is probably the most unique type of wine, as you can guess from the name. All other wines start from crushing regular grapes, which is what sets ice wine apart. The way in which ice wine grapes are picked and crushed is the biggest different.

Ice wine is made from frozen grapes. The grapes are actually harvested and crushed while they are still frozen. This means that the mixture contains frozen water, very highly concentrated sugar and acid. This is what gives ice wine its very sweet taste.

Youíre probably wondering how they manage to keep the grapes frozen. Well, what they do is they pick the grapes very early in the morning, right when the frost hits. Thatís all there is to it. It is a natural process, so there are no freezers involved. After the grapes are crushed, the wine mixture is placed in oak barrels for several months.

The story behind the discovery of ice wine began in Germany in the late 1700ís. Well, actually, itís more of a legend. They say that the owner of a vineyard got home from vacation after the harvest one year, to find that all his grapes were frozen. However, instead of wasting them, he decided to use them anyway. After picking the frozen grapes, they continued to make the frozen grapes into wine just as if they were thawed out. The result of this persistence became known as ice wine, and has continued to be made to this day.

As you can imagine, in able to harvest frozen grapes, the weather must not be too warm. That is why countries such as Germany, Canada, Austria and such are better known for their ice wine. The colder weather is more ideal for consistent ice wine making. Much of the United States, for example, has very unpredictable weather, making it more difficult to make ice wine.

Since ice wine is such a long and hard process, it is usually very expensive and comes in smaller bottles. It is also best served chilled, and its sweet taste compliments almost any dessert.