I knew the day was coming.

For a long time, I’ve lived with the realization that chocolate with ants existed. And that, one day, it would be available somewhere locally, and that I would make myself buy it.  It would make for a great story and, apparently, “you haven’t lived until you’ve gone out on a limb and eaten chocolate with bugs”. Think of the extra protein!

Bugs are not my thing.  Bugs in chocolate are definitely not my thing.  But for the sake of trying as wide a variety of chocolates as possible (and hopefully living to tell about it), and because such a chocolate was too interesting to pass up, I bought a bar.

I’ll be honest.  I was hoping for a chocolate with tiny, black ants that could be mistaken for bits of pepper if one didn’t think about it too hard.    What ended up staring me straight in the face and following me home was a little alarming:  larger-than-should-be-legal bachaco ants:

Chocolate Studded With Fat Bottomed AntsMantuano 60% Lemon With Bachaco Ants

Google has informed me that this variety are leaf cutter ants straight from the rain forest.   I didn’t even need to be told that these ants are rather famous for their large, fat bottoms (as that part was quite obvious at a glance).


So, a few weeks ago I had a brilliant plan.

At least, it had all the makings of a brilliant plan.

With snowstorms raging in the U.S. (it being the middle of winter and all), I thought it would be a perfect time to chance shipping chocolate to the tropics.

With such cold temperatures, the chocolates were sure to be fine in any delivery trucks.  Shipping offices (the box passed through quite a few on its trip south) are air-conditioned.  I think.  Furthermore, it hadn’t been 110º Fahrenheit (43.33° C.) locally… lately. (85° maybe, but not 110°).

So, I took a chance, ordered a box of chocolates* I wanted to try, and hoped for the best.

It turns out that the chocolate must have spent a lot of time in the un-airconditioned belly of an airplane.  Or perhaps on the tarmac in 85° F. weather awaiting processing? Or maybe shipping offices aren’t as air-conditioned as I thought!

Melted Mess of Chocolate


This Tuesday (January 19th) was National Popcorn Day.  Last year I was totally oblivious to the fact that National Popcorn Day even existed.

This year, I’m on Twitter.

While my Twitter feed usually serves up a steady stream of decadent chocolate photos (or chocolate-and-fruit or chocolate-and-nuts), I started noticing a lot of popcorn-mixed-with-chocolate photos and therefore found out about National Popcorn Day.

Which led to the question:  What chocolate-related national days should I be keeping an eye out for?

I’ve compiled a handy reference list (with the help of the National Day Calendar) of the upcoming national days involving chocolate.

Assorted Wrapped Chocolates


On the hunt for a new mint chocolate?

Many of us have tried the ones widely available in the States, such as Andes, York Peppermint Patties, After Eights, and Lindt Intense Mint Dark.

There are also specialty mint chocolates I would love to try, including (but not limited) to Dark Chocolate French Mint Truffles (Philadelphia Candies) & Maine Mint Chocolate Truffles.

The latest mint chocolate my family has sampled is Equal Exchange Chocolate Mint Crunch.   (We bought ours on iherb.com, although it is also available on Amazon.)

Equal Exchange is an organic, Fair Trade chocolate:

Equal Exchange Chocolate Mint


A few weeks ago, a friend of mine informed me that her son had brought her a chocolate bar all the way from the ‘States. She said it was a special chocolate that had won an international award, and wanted to know if I wanted a photo of it.

Of course I did. New chocolates aren’t easy to come by. Unless the local stores surprise me, acquiring most brands or new flavors of chocolate is a tricky process. It involves finding a site that even ships here, ordering it online, and hoping it doesn’t melt during its journey.   (I can’t do that all the time; it turns out that chocolate can be a rather expensive habit!)

I was mystified as to which chocolate it would be, and from which far-away place that it would be from. A celebrated hand-crafted bean-to-bar chocolate made in the USA? Or perhaps highly acclaimed European bar?

When the chocolate arrived at my house to have its picture taken, I had to chuckle.

Behold, Franceschi Chocolate, 70% Dark:

Franceschi Chocolate Comes Home to Venezuela

Award-winning chocolate, yes. Very fine tasting chocolate, without a doubt.

But it is hardly from a faraway place.   This chocolate had been transported back to the place of its birth; Franceschi Chocolate is Venezuelan.

We sampled this chocolate immediately after taking a few pictures of it, despite the fact it was before lunch. (Mom, if you’re reading this: I know you always said “no candy before lunch”.   But since chocolate comes from cocoa beans (beans are vegetables) and sugar comes from a beet (which is also a vegetable), I think it was okay. You never said anything about not eating vegetables before lunch.)

Franceschi Chocolate Comes Home to Venezuela, Unwrapped

I enjoyed my taste of this delicate, velvety smooth dark chocolate. Since I do not have any formal training or experience tasting and naming the flavors or “notes” contained within each bar of fine chocolate, I won’t try to give my opinion on the exact flavor.

You’ll have to find this, try it for yourself, and see what you think!

I’ve quickly decided it is simply not possible to write an entire article or commentary for every bit of chocolate related news.  There aren’t enough hours in the day.

It is, however, entirely possible to present a collection of assorted chocolate news that I found interesting.  Therefore, this week, I present:

Assorted Chocolate News (2016 – Week 2)

(Mmmm.  Assorted chocolates.  I am officially making myself hungry.)

Sisters Who Can’t Eat Chocolate Due to Dangerous Health Condition
It’s hard to imagine, but there are those who can never take a single bite of chocolate without endangering their lives.  It sounds as if these girls are making the best of their situation by experimenting with new dishes made with ingredients on their “safe food” list.

Things I Know to Be True About Craft Chocolate & Small Business: As The Dust Settles on Mast-Gate
A well written, thought provoking article on Huffington Post by Shawn Askinosie (Founder and CEO of Askinosie Chocolate).   “It’s not about the chocolate, it’s about the chocolate.”

Chocolate Makers Fight a Melting Supply of Cocoa
We’re being told not to panic.  Yet.

Then, of course, last not but least, there was the Toblorange:  Simple Lifehack to Make “The Best Chocolate Bar in The World”

Toblorange Photo Credit: James Hannah

If you took one look and guessed that a lot of people got a stomach ache when trying this out with their Toblerone at home, you’d have guessed correctly!

Long ago in a land far away, my brother used to take naps.
Yours (if you had one) probably did the same thing when he was two.

Sam would take forever to go to sleep.   At least, for two impatient, older sisters that were allowed to have a snack as soon as he drifted off, it seemed like forever.  He’d play with his toys.  He’d play with his toes.  He would do anything other than drift off to dreamland.

At one point, one of our favorite snacks was a small bowl of chocolate chips.   Not wanting to waste time, we started asking Mom, many times within earshot of our supposed-to-be-sleeping sibling,  “May we have some c-h-o-c-o-l-a-t-e c-h-i-p-s later?”

Chocolate Chips

                 Photo: FreeImages.com


There are a startling amount of chocolate brands that are either:

Hard or impossible to find outside of their country of origin
Not available in many flavors worldwide.

There is, of course, a solution (of sorts). If the chocolate can’t come to you, why not come to it?

If you happen to be planning a trip to Venezuela, you may want to do some research regarding which chocolates to sample during your visit. (You’ve probably heard; Venezuelan chocolate is rather famous.  Case in point: Two of the top eight chocolate bars mentioned in recent New York Time article were from….you guessed it!)  I’ll cheat and help you with your homework.  One of the many brands you should be on the lookout for is Mantuano Chocolate.

Those of us who have had the pleasure of sampling Mantuano (in my case, more times that I care to count) could technically keep our lips sealed.    However, that would be a “the less you buy, the more there is for me” mentality, and that is not my modus operandi.  I believe good things ought to be shared.

Mantuano Chocolate Review Photo 2



Hot off the press, via Bustle: 12 Foods That Taste Better Dipped in Chocolate

Some combinations look positively scrumptious, while other pairings aren’t exactly my cup of tea.

Mandarin Oranges Dipped in Chocolate
(This pairing is one of the scrumptious ones.)

Photo Credit: Bustle

Since I’m at it, here’s my take on all 12 foods (covered or dipped in chocolate):


Awhile back, I stumbled onto a site called Chocri.  Simply put, they make customized chocolate bars from Belgian chocolate.

More elaborately, there should be a fanfare and shower of confetti when someone discovers Chocri or a similar company for the first time.  (Yes, I am known for being a little dramatic.)  I lost all track of time, totally in awe of my new discovery.   Never heard of Chocri?  First, on their website, choose the type of chocolate you prefer (dark, milk, white, or milk-and-white).  Then comes the “hard” part: selecting up to five flavors (from an amazing selection of fruits, nuts, spices, candies, & other toppings) to customize your chocolate bar.

Chocri Customized Chocolate Bar













Customized Chocolate Bars – Flavor Combination Examples: