What did I do last Saturday?  It seems to me something unusual happened.  It’s coming back to me…  Ah.  Yes.  Saturday involved chocolate royalty and making my very first chocolates.  🙂

(Disclaimer: If melting down existing chocolate to make other chocolates is cheating, then I cheated.  Because it’s simply not possible to grow my own cacao, roast it, grind it, conch it, AND mold it within the space of a few hours, which is all the time I had.)

I’d be happy to recount my day with El Rey, which totally involved cool photo ops like this one:
My Day with El Rey Partially Chopped Chocolate


I repeat, nothing in my house is safe.

Do we have monsters under the bed? Nope. (I’ve checked.) Termites? No. (At least not that I know of.)

Absolutely nothing is safe from the very real possibility of showing up alongside a bar of chocolate in my next batch of photos. If scented candles, half the spices in the cupboard, or my wallet could talk, you could ask them.  They’d tell you.  So would the colored pencils, paired here with Sweet Riot 85% Dark Chocolate:

Nothing In My House is Safe - Sweet Riot Chocolate with Colored Pencils

You’ll notice I didn’t even spare the bougainvilleas. They live outside the house.


Once in a while, a chocolate comes along and manages a statistical improbability: winning over every single member of my family after the first bite.  This isn’t exactly an easy task. If it is too dark, 2/5s lose all interest. 1/5 of us do not eat white chocolate at all. (“What is white chocolate even made out of?”)  Peanuts in chocolate are a welcome addition (if you ask 3 out of 5) and not-so-welcome (if you interview the other two).  Coffee in chocolate…well, that’s a story for another day.

The most recent chocolate to be unanimously approved? Alter Eco Truffles.

Alter Eco Truffles - Velvet

Words fail me.  These truffles – made with coconut oil, whole milk powder, cane sugar, cocoa butter, cacao beans, caramel flavor, & vanilla beans – are incredibly silky and decadent.  They melt in your mouth.   I wouldn’t be surprised if these truffles have inspired people to write poetry about them.

(In case Alter Eco is new to you, visit their website for more info.    Fair trade and organic ingredients?  Check.  Compostable packaging?  Check.  Dark chocolate with flavors such as burnt caramel, quinoa, and brown butter?  Check check check.)

Words may have failed me, but, if I remember correctly, everyone else had this to say:

“They’re SO creamy!”
“I remember you got the purple ones a long time ago.  They’re both really good.”
“I think these are my favorite.”
“Are there any more of those?”

There weren’t.   Be warned: Alter Eco Truffles (in Velvet) disappear.  Fast.

Because they’re really good.

Alter Eco Truffles - Coconut Oil + Cocoa Powder(This is proof I haven’t mastered the art of making coconut oil photogenic yet…)

If chocolates grew on trees, which trees would you make a point of planting first?

(After planting my Ritter Sport Cocoa Mousse tree, I’d branch out (pun intended) and grow other brands and flavors.   There would be craft, bean-to-bar chocolate trees.  There would be chocolate-with-inclusion trees.  And of course there would be individual bonbon trees.)

If Chocolate Grew on Trees Photo

Only, in reality, these delicious morsels don’t grow on trees.  (At least directly. Presumably you know where chocolate comes from!)  This should be good news for those of us who don’t have much of a green thumb.

Chocolates like these are formed in moulds, and I decided it was high time to take the plunge, acquire a mould, and make my own chocolates.  (Some people might think it is cheating to melt down existing chocolate and re-mould it instead of starting with raw beans, but I’m taking baby steps. With no easy access to Valrona, which keeps popping up on the internet as THE chocolate to use for such things, I am thinking about using El Rey chocolate for my first chocolate making experiment.  It will be a splurge, but I want my first chocolates to be extra-special.  It has occurred to me that I have no idea what I am doing and they might look a sight, but at least they should taste good!)

My first mould almost turned out to be a selection of leaves, but my final choice was a 30-Cavity silicon mold by Freshware.  (Partially because the leaf mold only made eight chocolates at once.  With a family of five, deciding how to portion off the chocolate would have been problematic.)

If Chocolates Grew on Trees Chocolate Mold PhotoPictured: Four designs (out of six) of my new mold

The mould comes with its own user manual, which was promptly read from front to back because I often find user manuals quite entertaining.   This one did not disappoint.   “DO NOT use over direct flame.”  Uh – naturally.  “DO NOT use metal utensils like knives, forks, or other sharp objects.”  Somebody would use a sharp object in a silicon mold??

My mind isn’t completely made up as to whether my first attempt at using the mold will involve plain chocolate, or if I will be brave and try to include a filling of some sort.    I’ll be sure to follow-up with how much of a success (or a disaster!) my chocolate-making experience turned out to be.

In the meantime, please keep me off of sites that make moulds.  There are far too many options.   (If you’re looking for a mind-blowing selection, visit Tomric.  See the cute violet mould?  There are a slew of amazing moulds; your chocolates could come out in the shape of shoes and ships and ceiling wax and cabbages and kings.  Well, at least I saw shoes and ships and alligators and acorns and tractors, which is basically the same concept.

Until next time…

Confession time: I just ate the Equator.

Either that, or part of an ocean.  I didn’t pay too much attention to whether it was the Atlantic or the Pacific; my eyes had been a little glazed over ever since opening the wrapper of my first bar of Salazon chocolate.   No boring square shapes for them!  Instead, I discovered the world, intricately molded in chocolate.

Salazon Caramel Sea Salt Chocolate, unwrapped:

Salazon Caramel Sea Salt Chocolate Map


Picture this:

  • Traveling the world (Trindad. New York. Istanbul. Hong Kong.)
  • Making chocolates (Mint chocolate bars.  Hazelnut vanilla chocolate squares.  Mahajanga cherry chocolate infusions.  Coffee Cinnamon Truffles.)
  • Purchasing ingredients at local markets  (Macadamia nuts.  Caramel.  Raspberries.)
  • Completing quests (Finding recipes.  Delivering chocolates.  Manufacturing new products.)

…All from the comfort of your chair (or couch/desk/bed or wherever you park your computer/laptop/device).

Sound like fun?  It is!  Allow me to show you a brief glimpse of the Chocolatier Game:

Chocolatier Game