Monday, October 6, 2014

Chocolate and Wine Pairing at Chocolate Therapy (Framingham, MA)

I recently joined a group of bloggers at Chocolate Therapy in Framingham. Chocolate Therapy is a husband and wife-owned specialty handmade chocolate shop just outside of Boston. Just like the name suggest, Chocolate Therapy tries to add therapeutic ingredients in the chocolate, like lavender, bay leaf, ginger, etc.

They use primarily Belgian chocolate and make a lot of European style dark chocolates with no additive. They also do customized chocolate orders. Perhaps you want to outdo this giant chocolate goat they made for a goat dairy farm?

Anyway, I was there for a chocolate and wine pairing event. Before the wine pairing, the husband walked us through the chocolate making process. Cocoa pods (pictured below, bigger than you'd imagine!) are fermented, then the beans are squeezed so that the cocoa butter is squeezed out. The rest is ground and eventually made into what is called chocolate liquor.
The main differences between chocolate types is the ratio between the two. Swiss chocolate is creamier and has more cocoa butter compared to chocolate liquor. Belgian chocolate has a little less cocoa butter. It takes the pods from 2 cocoa trees to make 1 pound of chocolate! No wonder it's expensive. 

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Opening Alert: Mac-o-licious in Valley Village

by: guest blogger @iam_robot

The wait is over! Mac-n-cheese extraordinaire Kelly Chapman is finally doling out cheesy, gooey pans of gourmet macaroni and cheese from her humble little store in Valley Village. Riding the success of recent television appearance on CNBC’s Restaurant Start Up, Kelly is one of the very few food truck entrepreneurs who are able to turn profits of the food truck into a brick and mortar establishment. As a fellow entrepreneur, I admire her dedication.

The Trinity (Left to Right): Original Southern Mac, American Mac with Asparagus & Bacon, Frous Frous Crab Mac
While I love Kelly’s traditional mac-n-cheese, I am amazed how much customization can go into the bowl. In a way, Kelly’s Mac and Cheese offering is genre bending – inspired by culture, tradition, grandma recipe, and boundless imagination. To begin, you can have her 5 cheese Mac, which is topped with Asiago, Fontina, Gruyere, Parmesan and Cheddar. Then you can add on premium ingredients like black truffle, hot dog, or applewood-smoked bacon. Or if you’re a seafood lover, definitely try their new menu called as the Frous Frous, filled generously with blue crab claw or lobster meat. I had mine customized with Middle Eastern 7 spice and tons of Ghost Pepper. I also thought the American Mac was a firework of taste and sensation – crispy top cheese adorned with salty bits of bacon and crunchy asparagus.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Maine Lobster Roll #1: Eventide Oyster Co. (Portland, ME)

A lobster roll tour of Maine is never ending. There are so many famous spots to hit up. I've made two trips to Maine and I've only hit a few of them!

My first stop in Maine was Eventide Oyster Co. in Portland, Maine. The lobster roll at Eventide is non-traditional. You can choose between Hollandaise, housemade mayo, or brown butter, but the bun they use is similar to a Chinese bao.
The lobster was fresh and the house mayo excellent, to be sure, what I didn't quite dig the soft Chinese-bun like roll with the lobster meat. I preferred the contrast of a toasted bun with my lobster.

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