It wouldn’t be the holiday season without chocolate! From big festive parties, to small family gatherings, or maybe just enjoying a quiet moment with someone you love, chocolate is a great addition to your holiday season. Each year, we love to share some of the fun and creative holiday products that we come across from the fabulous chocolatiers and chocolate makers we know in the fine chocolate industry. And there are also several new chocolate books that came out. Here are just a few of the great examples we found this year! This is definitely NOT an exhaustive list, or we’d be writing this blog post well past New Year’s Day!
Holiday Chocolate Collections
Norman Love Confections
This year, Norman Love Confections created a collection inspired by Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer! The bonbon pictured above is called the “Dasher” and is a pumpkin pie flavor. What are the other bonbons called? Prancer…Cupid…Donner…Blitzen…do you see where this is going?? Each bonbon is named after one of the reindeer in Santa’s team. And with seasonal flavors like eggnog and Santa’s cookie, this collection is sure to delight kids and grown ups alike!
T’was the night before Christmas, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse! We all know this classic poem, and this year, Moonstruck Chocolate created a themed collection with Santa, Mrs. Claus, a sugar plum bonbon, and yes…even a mouse! They also have other bonbon collections with cute holiday characters.
Happy Fan Photo Friday! Black Friday marks the start of the holiday shopping season, so we loved this cute pic of our seasonal collection from @Imeldak. We hope you're all doing well on finding gifts for your loved ones — why not stop in for a hot drink at a Moonstruck Chocolate Café if you're in the area? . . . #gifts #shopping #blackfriday #fanphoto #shoppingseason #tistheseason #treatyourself #truffles #moonstruck #portlandnw #chocolatelovers #pdx #traveloregon #portland #handcrafted #chocolate #seasons #holiday #christmas #delicious
liv a lil chocolate
Made by Julia and Jordan Keller in the B.C.’s Okanagan, their beautiful collection features classic holiday flavors such as eggnog, rum and pumpkin spice.
Holiday Chocolate Bars
Washington, D.C.’s Harper Macaw created this special edition bar for the holiday season called Winter’s Cheer with mint dark chocolate, cranberries and pop rocks! It would be a festive addition to any holiday gathering!
We launched Winter's Cheer just a couple weeks ago with a 1,000 bar batch. Amazingly it's already nearly sold out. Can't get enough mint dark chocolate with cranberries and pop rocks? We have a few left online and you can also find them at our pop-up boutique @thewharfdc and our friends @cafechocolatdc @glensgardenmkt @eachpeachmarket @bourboncoffeeus – Also available within days @chinatowncoffee @bakersbaristas @olivesandgrace – Get'em while you can!
Mint and chocolate are one of those pairings that are just classic for the holidays. The Minty Dark bar from Creo Chocolate takes this classic pairing to the next level, with a fresh flavor of NW peppermint, paired with a perfect 73% dark chocolate from Ecuador made with heirloom cacao. It is one of our favorite bars, and as you can see from all those award stickers, we are clearly not alone!
Another classic holiday flavor pairing is orange and chocolate. Brooklyn’s Cacao Prieto puts their own unique twist on this combination with their mandarin and bergamot bar made with 72% dark chocolate sourced from the Dominican Republic.
This may not LOOK like drinking chocolate, but it is! And in fact it’s so good that it won an International Chocolate Award! Made by Madre Chocolate in Hawaii, when this bar is melted in hot milk or water, it turns into an amazing cup of hot chocolate.
It's a full house at Madre Chocolate with all of our bars back in stock including our ever-popular International @ChocolateAwards gold medal-winning Chocolate de Mesa drinking chocolate, passion fruit, Triple Cacao, and the rarely seen but instantly devoured Horchata golden chocolate bar. Get all this deliciousness in our shops, farmers market s, or online today while they last. They always go fast! #Chocophiles #MadreKnowsBest #TraditionalChocolate #HawaiiMade #UniversallyDevoured
Toronto’s Soma Chocolatemaker does it all – bean to bar chocolate, bonbons, confections, and even drinking chocolate! Check out this video they made of their drinking chocolate packaged up for the holidays. Made with cacao from Venezuela, you’ll never go back to powdered hot cocoa again!
Dinner party showstopper… . Just heat up milk and pour….watch the pod melt into a rich, creamy hot chocolate and serve to your favourite peeps. Makes the best Hostess Gift. . Made with beautiful beans from Canoabo, Venezuela. . We just tasted this finished hot chocolate making this video and oh man is it ever good. Anyone that was lucky enough to get this limited edition pod.. are you ever in for a treat. . #VenezulaCacao #SOMAnewOrigins #SOMAxmas2017
Bean to Bar Chocolate: America’s Craft Chocolate Revolution: The Origins, the Makers and the Mind-Blowing Flavors by Megan Giller
You may have heard of Megan Giller from her series on chocolate makers called Chocolate Noise. She’s delved even deeper into the world of bean to bar chocolate in her new book. A fascinating read for experienced chocolate lovers or those new to the world of fine chocolate, Megan’s book introduces you to many of the bean to bar chocolate makers that are leading the way in the U.S. today. She also leads the reader through their own opportunities to explore with chocolate tastings and recipes!
Making Chocolate: From Bean to Bar to S’more by Dandelion Chocolate
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past 10 years, you’ve probably heard of Dandelion Chocolate. Started in San Francisco and recently expanded to Tokyo, Dandelion Chocolate was one of a handful of bean to bar chocolate companies in the U.S. when they launched in 2010 (we’re also proud to be part of their story, as several Dandelion Chocolate staff past and present in those early days are Ecole Chocolat grads). At Dandelion Chocolate, they only use two ingredients in their chocolate bars: cocoa beans and sugar. Now they’ve written a book where they share all of their knowledge about the process of chocolate making, and fabulous recipes for the home cook tailored for working with two-ingredient chocolate, which behaves differently in recipes than other types of chocolate.
Meaningful Work: A Quest to Do Great Business, Find Your Calling, and Feed Your Soul by Sean Askinosie & Lawren Askinosie
Shawn Askinosie left his career as criminal defense lawyer behind to make bean to bar chocolate at a time when hardly anyone was making bean to bar chocolate or had even heard of it. That was back in 2006. Since then Askinosie Chocolate has become known for making fabulous chocolate, but they’ve also become known for something even more important. They practice direct trade, meaning they work directly with the farmers who grow their cacao, cutting out an often complex web of cacao brokers and other “middle men”. They also share their profits directly with the farmers, an important practice when most cacao farmers live in poverty. This book tells the story of Shawn’s quest to find more meaningful work, which eventually led him to the world of fine chocolate.
What to look for when you’re buying fine chocolate
So, you step into a chocolate shop looking for a great gift – what should you be looking for? How do you know if what you’re buying is of high quality? We tackled these questions and more in one of our Chocolate Masters Hangouts! Before you head out shopping, watch our hangout and let Megan Giller (you already met her above), Eagranie Yuh, author of The Chocolate Tasting Kit & Jessica Ferraro of Bar Cacao share their expertise with you.
Happy Holidays from everyone at Ecole Chocolat!
We hope you have a wonderful holiday season and wish you the very best in 2018!