Edible Cinema – 10th Feb 2014

Happy New Year! 2014 is looking set to be a busy year already – and here’s a date for your diary.

I’ve just come back from an immensely fun planning meeting. It can’t be often that those words are all strung together… We had a private screening of a chocolate-related film, discussing the whats and hows of an Edible Cinema event for next month. I love my job.

Edible Cinema? ‘What’s that?’, I imagine you’re wondering. Well, it will be a feast for the senses, a 4D interactive experience watching an adorable French film with carefully selected treats to accompany the twists and turns of the story.

The film
Romantics Anonymous, a captivating French comedy about chocolate factory employee Angélique and her boss Jean-René who are anxiety-ridden would-be lovers.

When?
Monday 10th February 2014, starting 8pm (yup, just before Valentine’s Day – apropos, non?).

Where?
JW3 Cinema, Finchley Road, London NW3.

How much?
£15 (standard)
£7.50 (concession)

How do I book?
Book your tickets here – places are filling up already so best be quick!

See you there!

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Christmas specials 2013

It’s come round so quickly – that festive time of year again. And with it comes some seasonal limited edition chocolates from Kokopelli’s. This year I fancied giving those classic, favourite flavours a bit of a makeover.

And so… drum roll please… I present you with the clementine pate de fruit.

It’s a French-style fruit jelly (vegetarian of course!), made with tangy clementine puree, enrobed in a fruity Madagascan dark chocolate, and decorated with a dot of orange cocoa butter to finish. As you bite into it, the chocolate cracks between your teeth and the soft jelly yields to your tongue. It’s rather delightful, even if I say so myself.

Next up, we have the nutmeg caramel.

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This is a slightly salted soft caramel, infused with freshly grated nutmeg. It is nestled in a dark milk chocolate shell (yup, that’s a milk chocolate with a very high cocoa content, giving you that chocolate hit and milky creaminess all in one delicious mouthful), swirled with pink cocoa butter and a touch of gold lustre. Christmas all wrapped up in a delicate little dome.

These limited edition wintry beauts will feature in our mixed selection box over the holiday period. We will also be at The Chocolate Festival again this year – Friday 13th December through to Sunday 15th December. It’s on the Southbank Centre Square – please do drop by to say hello and support us in the freezing weather!

Happy holidays!

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Pumpkin spice chocolates

I think this chocolate contains the velvetiest ganache I ever made, thanks to the addition of pumpkin. It is positively silky.

A milk chocolate shell burnished with gold contains a caramelised pumpkin ganache, lightly spiced with a sprinkling of nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger. Pumpkin is a subtle flavour, but it lends an autumnal character and the aforementioned silkiness. So soft and pillowy. Mm-mm.

Crunchy leaves of green, gold and auburn, a crisp freshness in the air, scarves and woolly socks, and of course pumpkins – autumn is here!

This seasonal delight is available in our mixed selection box for a short time only until stocks run out. Enjoy!

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Lucky cats, matcha and passion

I’ve been busy working away in the kitchen this summer, scheming, devising and developing a clutch of new products. I am proud to introduce you to them:

Lucky Fortune Cats
These came to me in a dream. No, really. And then I woke up and decided that I needed to make them a reality. They are so much fun I just couldn’t resist!
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These lucky cats are painted by hand, and cast in smooth dark or white chocolate. Hidden inside each cat is a fortune printed on edible paper for you to discover. Available here in dark and here in white.

Matcha Bar

Matcha, or powdered green tea leaves, has been drunk in Japan for almost 1000 years and was originally created by Buddhist monks. It is known as the rarest and finest of all the Japanese green teas and is full of antioxidants. We have carefully blended a premium grade matcha from Kyoto with creamy white chocolate to produce a 50g matcha chocolate bar – bright green in colour but entirely natural, from the matcha. The fresh earthiness of the matcha cuts through the sweetness of the white chocolate, giving you a refreshing treat. Available from our shop here.

Passionfruit Caramels
Some of you may know that I have a penchant for that heavenly marriage of passionfruit and caramel. The tangy and the sweet all loved up in one delicious morsel. Now available is a new incarnation of this pairing in the form of a soft caramel. It is slightly chewy, but melts away on your tongue. The fresh passionfruit puree gives it a slight tang and exotic flavour, balanced by the rich butteriness. I can never get enough of these and I’m always left wanting just another taste. Available here. Let us know if there are other caramel flavours we should try – leave a comment below and we’ll send you a sample if we try your idea. Mango? Cinnamon? Raspberry? Cardamom? Ginger?

All these new products are now available on our online shop. I’m always open to new ideas so let me know if there is something else you’d like us to try! Thanks once again to the talented Macnifique for the gorgeous photos.

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All you need is LOVE: a special wedding cake

As a chocolatier, I often receive surprising phone calls, emails and unusual requests.

allpaintEarlier this summer, I was asked if I could make some elaborate wedding cake decorations from chocolate. The client wanted the words “All you need is love” and “Love is all you need”, along with 25 brightly coloured chocolate flowers. I was given a detailed specification as to the exact size of each word and general style of lettering. The cake was for a wedding party in Italy this summer.

What a daunting, but exciting challenge! It was one I readily accepted.

I taught myself how to make detailed decorations from chocolate, how to paint on chocolate, and techniques for making a wide variety of chocolate flowers.
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I enjoyed the project so much, getting creative, colouring, shaping, painting and coaxing the chocolate into lovely forms. Being a chocolate artist was immensely satisfying. I was thrilled when the happy couple sent me pictures of the finished cake.4smIsn’t it just fabulous?! As you can see, it also contains some marzipan creations made by another food artist (the animals and world landmarks), but these could be made from chocolate too.

I sent over a preview picture of the work to John, the client, as soon as I had completed all the pieces. I received the loveliest email soon after.

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I am utterly speechless – like them!? I LOVE THEM!! You have done a magnificent job. I am over the moon with how they look! I could not concentrate at work after seeing them, they are so beautiful. Thank you so much for all your hard work. I could not be happier with the result!!”

John

Do get in touch if you’d like to discuss bespoke chocolate decorations for your special cake.

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New Product: Chocolate Gingers

New product alert!

A love of ginger runs in my family. It went straight down the line, from my ginger-loving grandpa, to my ginger-loving dad, to ginger-loving me. It is thus with great pleasure that I bring you Kokopelli’s latest product: Chocolate Gingers. These truffle-like chocolate covered ginger jewels are doubly gingery. A hunk of juicy candied ginger is dipped by hand into rich and silky dark chocolate, then given a light dusting of ginger-spiced cocoa powder.

Biting into one of these is immensely satisfying – the crack of the chocolate shell gives way to the soft, sweet ginger, followed by a burst of ginger fire.

This is a sweet and warming treat to please the ginger lovers in your life, newly available for sale at Kokopelli’s online shop.

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Bloom

I’m often asked about chocolate bloom. What is it? Is it harmful? What causes it? So here’s a post dedicated to answering your bloom-related questions. Most people think it’s unsightly (and on fresh chocolates it rings alarm bells), but I think it can be a beautiful and intriguing sight. Doesn’t it look like something you’d expect in a petri dish? bloom
However, it’s not something you want to see on your chocolate!

What is bloom?
Bloom is what happens when chocolate is exposed to heat fluctuations or moisture. It’s that crumbly white appearance you sometimes see on the surface of chocolate. Some people mistake it for mould, but it’s perfectly harmless. There are two kinds of bloom.

Sugar bloom occurs when chocolate is exposed to humidity or moisture. The sugar within the chocolate dissolves on contact with tiny water droplets in the air. When the water on the surface of the chocolate evaporates, small sugar crystals are left on the surface of the chocolate, giving a dusty appearance. This is why chocolate should not be stored in the fridge!

Fat bloom can happen for a number of reasons (including if the chocolate is untempered or incorrectly tempered), but commonly occurs if chocolate is stored in fluctuating temperatures. When chocolate is left in a warm place and starts to melt, the cocoa butter (the fat) within the chocolate separates from the rest of the ingredients, rising to the surface. Once it has cooled again and re-set, this gives the chocolate a mottled appearance. The picture above is of melted, untempered chocolate that has developed some serious bloom!

This is why it is important to store your chocolate in a cool, dry place, and it also demonstrates the importance of tempering! If you’d like to learn how to temper chocolate, find out more about our chocolate-making workshops.

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Festive stalls and a bit of press

So, Easter is now over! It was a busy period, making lots of large handpainted Easter eggs (each one a little different, each one with it’s own quirks), mini eggs and mini chickens. Preparing for Easter trading is a lot of work – imagine hand-making and packaging thousands of chocolates in just a week or two!


We spent an extremely cold three days at The Chocolate Festival, braving the wind, rain, snow and sub-zero temperatures. It was actually colder than the December Festival! Luckily there were lots of lovely people there to meet or catch up with, and lots of top notch chocolate to keep us going (especially the delicious, rich hot chocolate from Jaz and Jul’s, with their melt-in-the-mouth vegan marshmallows).

One lovely lady who had enjoyed chocolates from us before said she uses her Kokopelli’s box to keep her earrings in – I adored that!

Quite a few food bloggers came along and wrote some very nice things about us. You can read them at Where The Wild Things Are, savannahsunset, Dining Belles and Chocolate Couverture.

We also ran an Easter chocolate stall in a swanky office in the City of London (thanks to Anna for helping out). This was a very civilised affair, nice and warm indoors without having to worry about products and signs flying away in the wind! I always like talking to new customers about our chocolate and telling Kokopelli’s story. Our handpainted Easter eggs went down very well.
As much as I enjoyed the Easter rush, it’s nice now to have some time for planning, reflection and product development.

We also have a lot of workshops booked in for the summer so this will be a good change of pace for a few months.

Finally, we had our first piece of newspaper press last week – exciting! (Click to enlarge.)

 
 

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Matzah toffee


So it’s Easter Sunday, and while most people are eating their Easter eggs, I have been nibbling (okay, okay, devouring) my matzah toffee. A layer of matzah covered in a layer of toffee covered in a layer of chocolate. I’d been planning to make this for weeks, ever since I found a recipe for it. A simple, quick and delicious recipe. It’s crunchy and sweet and a little bit salty all at once. During Passover, we eat lots of matzah, which is essentially a plain dry cracker that replaces all the usual foods containing wheat or other grains (and then some). This recipe jazzes up the matzah with yummy butter, sugar and chocolate. That’s my kind of treat.

I used David Lebovitz’s recipe, which is simple and quick. I felt pangs of guilt for using chocolate chips rather than good quality chocolate, and for just melting the chocolate and spreading it, rather than tempering it. But David said it was okay (and if it’s good enough for David Lebovitz, the accomplished pastry chef living in Paris, it’s good enough for me), so I went with it and it was delicious. In fact, this would even be tempting any time of year. Crunch crunch crunch.

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Easter 2013

Springtime is here! I can see it in the daffodils and sense it in the (slightly) warmer weather. Hoorah! And with spring, comes Easter, just two weeks away now. I am really excited to present Kokopelli’s ridiculously adorable Easter Collection, available at our online shop.

Our signature box contains four handpainted chocolate hens, two cast in solid dark chocolate, two in milk. Meticulously painting each one is a labour of love! These sweet little chickens are surrounded by eight chocolate eggs. Four have dark chocolate shells, filled with a zesty lemon-infused caramel and brushed with golden lustre dust. Four have milk chocolate shells and contain a smooth malted milk chocolate ganache, handpainted with lilac cocoa butter to highlight the design on the egg. Cute, right?

We will be at The Chocolate Festival again in London next weekend (22nd-24th March), where we will be selling all manner of chocolatey goodness, including these lovely chickens and eggs, Easter eggs, chocolate lollipops, as well as our year-round chocolates, and other sweet delights too. If you’re around London do pop down and say hello! It’s a fantastic event, with demonstrations, talks, beautiful things to look at and eat, and some of the country’s top chocolatiers all in one place. For a whole weekend. Come!

Huge thanks to the highly talented Talia of Macnifique for the gorgeous photos. Check out her out – not only is she a talented photographer, she is also a wonderful pastry chef!

Happy Easter!
 
 
 
 

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