Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Chocolate Version


The Weekly Menu: The Chocolate Version


Schakolad

Chocolate Wanted

Sister-Style Pain Au Chocolat



I could not help it, chocolate has been around me everywhere this week.


Schakolad

Besides a random fusion chocolate and coffee shop I discovered in Marietta a cou
ple of months ago, Schakolad, a small chocolatier located off of Hammond Drive is my first discovery of “Atlanta” chocolatiers. I did not know what to think of it at first, just because I am not used to seeing chocolatiers in strip centers. In any case, I knew I had to go in the moment I saw it.


This Florida-based chocolate franchise originated as an attempt to save a father’s dream back in the late 1990's. Once a small corner shop in south Florida, Schakolad now has numerous locations across the country in addition to Kfar Saba, Israel as a unique attempt to spread the expertise of producing and selling exceptional chocolate.

This particular store in Dunwoody slightly reminded me of Varsano’s chocolates in Greenwich Village except
without the red and pink decor. I could instantly sense the quality of the chocolates just through the store’s aroma, temperature, and display. I had to try something.


I could not get my hands off of the Italian Amaretto truffles. I even came back a second time just for another round of them. I was impressed with the champagne truffles, as they successfully managed to balance the champagne, butter, and cocoa flavors. If you are a nut fan, I recommend the nut clusters. Each morsel has just enough chocolate and nuts mixed together. I was not too fond of the raspberry or Key lime truffles. The raspberry filling was not entirely too fresh, and the Key lime tasted more like lemon. The peanut butter cups tasted okay if you like your chocolate and peanut butter swirled together. However, I prefer having a peanut butter-filled center. I would also note the Grand Marnier truffle was a little bland, but maybe I am just used to more liqueur in my chocolates.

Like Varsano’s, Schakolad creates personalized chocolates for special occasions, p
rofessional events, and gifts in addition to its specialty chocolates. You can enjoy the luxury of ordering items online, however the selection is limited compared to the actual stores which would limit yourself even more from being able to receive a free piece they showcase daily.

Verdict? Overall, even though Schakolad carries some items of not my particular taste, it does produce fine quality chocolates and gifts. Since I have been going through withdrawals of not being able to pass by a Li-Lac, Varsano’s, or Leonida’s on my way home from work, Schakolad is becoming a sweet exception.


Schakolad Chocolate Factory
1100 Hammond Drive NE

Suite 430-A
Atlanta, GA 30328
(770) 730-9770
www.schakolad.com


Chocolate Wanted

Upon leaving New York, I knew I was going to go through the same experience I once did upon returning from Europe five years ago. I have a curiously addictive sweet tooth, and I miss almost all the chocolate I can practically only buy in New York, especially, I dare say imported chocolate.

Fairway’s Venezuelan and Ecuadoran chocolate bars? Nope.
Zabar's chocolate covered cherries? Yeah, right.
CĂ´tes d’Or? Only at World Market if its available. The hazelnut cream filled elephants are even more difficult.
Cadbury’s British vast variety of chocolate bars? Yes, but much more expensive than where I could find them in New York.
Kinder Bueno? Only on Marietta Square, thanks to a lovely lady from Wales.
Giotto? Do not even think about it. I was lucky enough to find those in Queens for several months.
Milka and Ritter Sport? Yes, but only limited varieties.

The situation is to say the least, frustrating.

I am aware and understand the items mentioned above unveils a slight obsession, but I also know it’s a reflection of me missing New York, especially now I am fully recovered from the events earlier this year.

In any case, if anyone finds anything related to the missing chocolates above feel free to drop a line at rsvp@rsvpconfessions.com. I, too will be on the lookout.


My Sister’s Pain Au Chocolat

I finally admit it: I miss my sister’s pain au chocolat. I never thought I could be nostalgic over pre-made pastry dough, but they were always a staple while we were living together in the city. Even though I would prefer to make the dough homemade, these little pre-made croissants are by far one of the easiest and fastest ideas for dessert, breakfast, or an uncontrollable chocolate craving if you seriously have little time to bake.


Tip: The chocolate you use makes a big difference. My sister used many kinds of chocolate in the past, usually whatever chocolate I had in the kitchen at the time. If you want to make up for the pre-made dough, I would go for the gold and purchase Valhrona or for the New Yorkers out there, go to Fairway and purchase the previously mentioned Venezuelan or Ecuadoran 70% chocolate bars. Enjoy the left-over chocolate for future baking or those dangerous chocolate cravings.

Package of pre-made croissant dough

.25 lb chocolate or large chocolate bar

Powdered sugar (optional)

Shortening, lard, or cooking spray

1. Follow instructions on pre-made dough package until dough is rolled out and torn into individual pieces.

2. Place desired amount of chocolate on wider end of dough. Roll dough starting from the wide to narrow ends, completely covering the chocolate.

3. Bake to golden brown, usually 12-13 minutes.

4. Allow several minutes to cool. Sprinkle powdered sugar if desired.

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