Posts Tagged ‘Chocolate’

j0438533I think I’ve learned something interesting in the last few months while writing for Bucks County Taste . “Local” means different things to different people.

We all tend to get very comfortable living within a pretty narrow geographical area. Grocery store, school, work, family, friends, a few local restaurants we go to over and over again. Mark and I are not much of an exception. We live in Central Bucks, and when we’re tired after a long day, we tend to stay close to home – sometimes no further than our backyard.

But we’ve learned in our exploring that there is A LOT going on in other parts of Bucks County. And now is the best time of year to get off your you-know-what and get out there. Go to Lower Bucks, go to Upper Bucks, or even just go into Doylestown, for heaven’s sake.

This weekend is a perfect example. A brand new farmers’ market, the Linden Hill Farmer’s Market, is opening up in Ottsville on Route 611 this Friday. And wait till you see the line-up of vendors (see our post below). That’s not all. Do you know that a totally organic, small batch, locally-sourced ice creamery called Owow Cow Creamery has just opened, also up in Ottsville, right at Routes 412 & 563 (near Nockamixon State Park)? And Perkasie Olde Towne is hosting its Hot Ribs, Cool Music Festival on Saturday. Weather forecast: Sunny and in the upper 70’s. Perfect rib-eating, ice cream-licking weather.

Here’s the run-down – or should I say, “fun-down” (ouch) for the weekend. Check out our online calendar, Food Events in Bucks County for more details.

Friday, May 29th:
Linden Hill Farmers’ Market, 3:30 – 7:30 pm, Ottsville.
Wine Concert Series at Shady Brook Farm,  6 – 9 pm, Yardley. Weather permitting. Free admission. Little Big Thing will be the musical entertainment.
Wines of Australia and New Zealand: From affordable to collectible, 7 – 8:30 pm, Carlow Cookery, Doylestown.

Saturday, May 30th:
Doylestown Farmers’ Market, 7 am – Noon, Doylestown 
Wrightstown Farmers’ Market, 9 am – 1 pm, Wrightstown.  
Quaker Heritage Day – Quakers, Pies & Bicycles, 10 am – 2 pm, Solebury Meetinghouse, New Hope.
Hot Ribs, Cool Music in Perkasie Olde Towne, 10 am – 5 pm, Perkasie. Rib Cooking starts at 7 am, competition and sampling starts around 12!
Beef & Beer at Stockton Fire Company, 4 – 7 pm, Stockton.

Sunday, May 31th:
Breakfast at Haycock Fire Company, 8 am – 12 pm, Haycock.
Saucon Valley Farmers’ Market, 9 am – 1 pm, Hellertown.
Hunterdon Land Trust Farmers’ Market, 9 am – 1 pm, Flemington.
2nd Annual Bucks County Chocolate Show, 10 am – 4 pm, New Hope (see post below).
Sunday Funday: Strawberry Festival, Shady Brook Farm, Noon – 4 pm, Yardley
2009 Bucks County Wine Tour, 12 – 5 pm, Bucks County.
Charity Barbecue at Kids Castle Park, 1 – 3 pm, Doylestown.
Wine Tasting, Cheese & Chocolate Fundraiser for Kehilat HaNahar, 6 – 8:30 pm, Chaddsford Winery Tasting Room, Peddler’s Village, Lahaska.
CB Cares 2nd Annual Celebrity Chef & Waiter Gala 2009, 6 – 10 pm, Doylestown Country Club, Doylestown.

Don’t forget to check our online calendar, Food Events in Bucks County regularly for great stuff happening. Have a wonderful weekend!

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ChocolateSolebury resident Gretchen Tartakoff has a passion for chocolate.

Oh, I know what you’re thinking. We all love chocolate (or most of us – I simply don’t understand people who don’t). But Gretchen decided to do something other than just eat it. She has organized a chocolate extravaganza of chocolatiers, chefs, pastry artists, chocolate experts, growers and industry vendors – a full day of tasting, learning and experiencing chocolate.

The Second Annual Chocolate Show takes place this Sunday, May 31st  from 10 am to 4 pm at the New Hope Eagle Fire House Ballroom. And you should NOT miss it.

Gretchen shares why she started her venture, The Chocolate Bar:

The mission and vision of The Chocolate Bar is founded on combining education, community and good business practices while enjoying amazing chocolate from around the world. With the love of chocolate in common – talking about our favorites, our travels and our recipes – The Chocolate Bar’s projects will provide the vehicle to open conversations about origins of chocolate, about world issues that impact the origin of chocolate, and the history of the recipes. When we start talking about those things, together, then we can begin to talk about the environment the cocoa needs to grow and be sustained with global standards that make sense. It’s complex.

Over the last six years I’ve learned that we can make a big difference in our future by being aware and open to learn from each other. With a passion to protect nature and all that it encompasses, the Rainforest region stands out as a natural phenomenon that is in need of us paying much more close attention to its needs.

There’s a pull, like a magnet, for me to continue to learn more and suppCocoa beansort those who are experts in the industry. The Bucks County Chocolate Show and the exhibit “The Journey of The Pod” is giving me an opportunity to share some of what I’ve been learning and the truly gifted people that I’ve been meeting.

C2nd Annual Chocolate Showheck out the The Chocolate Bar website to learn more about the seminars, exhibits and wonderful chocolate that will be available for tasting. Admission is only $10 for adults, $7 for seniors/students and free for children 9 years old and younger. A portion of the admission fees go to the National Wildlife Federation.

The 2nd Annual Chocolate Show, 10 am – 4 pm, New Hope Eagle Fire Hall, 46 N. Sugan Road, New Hope, PA

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Here’s something I learned about chocolate yesterday: Never bite it, chew it and swallow it. Instead, let it melt on your tongue, then press it against the roof of your mouth. In a few seconds you’ll experience a wave of flavor – spices, herbs, whatever the chocolatiers have seen fit to include in their recipe. It’s like a special treat for people willing to take the extra moment savoring requires.

Judy Logback of the Kallari Association taught us that yesterday during her talk at the Northampton Library, sponsored by Slow Foods Bucks County. The Kallari Association is an 850-family agricultural cooperative in Ecuador that specializes in organically grown, high-end chocolate. Between describing the world of chocolate farming and artisan production, she led us through a blind tasting of nine chocolates that ranged from several of Kallari’s offerings to tidbits of Lindt and Ghirardelli. Going into her talk, I’d have waxed on about Lindt and Ghirardelli, and though I still wouldn’t turn them away I’ve come to appreciate the difference between a good chocolate and an exceptional chocolate.


Here’s another thing I learned about chocolate. The politics surrounding it are as complex as its taste. It won’t come as a surprise that large companies sell most of the chocolate in the world, and their recipes, production and storage methods often have more to do with economies of scale than outstanding quality or subtle quality. What Judy has done is point the Ecuadorian farmers toward carving out their niche as producers of exceptional chocolate. Though the event was billed as a tasting, it was quickly obvious she’s as business-smart as any executive from Hershey’s (and I’ve met some of them – they’re pretty smart), and is more interested in developing something that’s good for the environment, good for her colleagues in Ecuador, and good for people who love chocolate. Kallari’s growth argues against the notion you have to sacrifice quality in order to succeed.

Kallari’s chocolates are available at Lilies of the Field in Doylestown, the Chocolate Box in Lambertville and Whole Foods.

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Slow Food Bucks County is hosting a Valentine’s Day tasting event of Kallari Chocolate, an Ecuadorian Fair Trade company that produces chocolate from the cacao they grow. The event will begin at 11:00 am on Saturday, February 14th at the Northampton Library, located at 32 Upper Holland Road, Richboro.

As Kimberly Kaufmann, Leader of Slow Food Bucks County, explains:

Ordinarily, ‘Fair Trade’ chocolate is made by large North American and European owned companies that pay a fee to a third party to be certified. Cacao beans used by conventional chocolate companies are warehoused or stored for years before they become chocolate. During this time, the beans are exposed to insects, worms, mold, and fungus all of which reduce the potency of the antioxidants and polyphenol compounds.

By purchasing Kallari Chocolate, Kaufmann says, consumers are taking a giant leap ahead of standard Fair Trade practices. Buying directly from the producer achieves higher income for all the local farmers involved.

Kallari Chocolate (pronounced kai-YAH-ri) produces chocolate from cacao beans harvested by a cooperative of Quichua farmers. A profile in the New York Times gives more background about this unique enterprise:

The cooperative uses an unusual blend of cacaos that grow on the Quichua land — fruity Cacao Amazónico, nutty Criollo, Forastero Amazónico, Tipo Trinitario and, most important, a rare variety that flourishes around their homes, Cacao Nacional.

“They have a certain smell and taste that is herbal, flowery but also savory, like black pepper,” Tomas Keme, a Swiss chocolate expert who consults for Kallari, said of the Cacao Nacional beans. “It’s the same taste I find in a Californian cabernet.”

So join us and other Bucks County chocoholics on Saturday, February 14th. There will be a member of the Quichua present to explain the Kallari operation and plenty of chocolate to taste. Slow Food Bucks County is asking for donations of $10 per person to pay for the Quichua family member’s travel expenses to the US.

RSVPs would be greatly appreciated at bucksslowfood@comcast.net.

Think of it as doing good AND eating chocolate. Kaufmann puts it best when she says,

By paying a bit more for a little taste of heaven, end-consumers of Kallari chocolate play a small role in increasing the standard of living in a developing nation, and are in return rewarded with a higher quality product.

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