September 24, 2015

Posted in Karl's Craft Soups, Organic, Seasonal, Soup, Vegan, Vegetarian

Soup Is On! Karl’s Craft Soups: So Good!

Much as we’ve tried, one cannot live on cocoa alone. Hence the “ + Co.” part of our name. First it was La Colombe coffee and Kilogram teas complementing our global chocolate collection. Now we’re offering Karl’s Craft Soups--organic seasonal selections that change daily.

Like everything we carry, we’ve sampled the best and have chosen a winner in Karl Bader’s artisan-made soups. Karl’s signature is thick, creative, vegetable-based combinations with complex flavors that don’t rely on thickeners so they’re gluten-free. They’re always organic and we’ll have at least one vegetarian or vegan option on hand. Fall selections might include: Roasted Tomato & Cheddar, Black Bean Chorizo, Minty Split Pea & Tarragon, Pumpkin Bisque, Moroccan Chick Pea, and more.

We talked to Karl about his craft recently. Here’s what he had to say:

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Sustainability: The Key To World Class Chocolate

Based in Amsterdam, Original Beans is one of the most acclaimed chocolate companies in the world, and not just because of their chocolate. Founder Philipp Kauffmann is both an entrepreneur and conservationist who comes from a long line of forest explorers and environmentalists.
After leaving his job at the United Nations, Philipp drew on that experience to create an elite chocolate company that positively impacts the fragile regions where cacao is grown. “Since 2008, Original Beans has helped to plant one-million trees in regions as remote as the Amazon and challenging as Eastern Congo. Original Beans has changed the lives of 20,000 cacao-growing families, preserved some of the rarest cacaos in the world, and helped to buffer forests that harbor the last mountain gorillas and the breathtaking birds of paradise.”

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Check-Out This Recipe!

Nutella-Stuffed Brown Butter + Sea Salt Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Chocolatier Profile: Daniel Herskovic, Mayana Chocolate

Renowned chocolatier Daniel Herskovic began his career in chocolate when he started making truffles as take-home gifts for clients.

“I spent a lot of time as a caterer and private chef,” says Herskovic. “I would do multi-course dinner parties and wanted to create a gift for guests to take home, so I made them boxes of truffles. When I was first starting out, they were huge, like golf balls. Then I started to really learn about my craft, and studied with some of the best chocolatiers in the United States and France. I really loved it.”

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The Chocolate Life: A Long and Winding Road

In August, 2001, I had the proverbial flash of understanding. I was on a plane heading back from Europe, where I’d been working with two amazing winemakers: Angelo Gaja and Michel Chapoutier. They’d each been teaching me about the concept of terroir, the way in which a wine’s taste is shaped by the climate, slope and soil of the specific place where it’s grown. Thumbing through magazines on the plane, I came across an article about a rare chocolate grown in Hawaii and its unique flavor profile.

These were still the days of milk chocolate’s supremacy, when Hershey’s and Mars were pretty much the only options. No one was talking about the complexity of cacao (more flavor components than Burgundy!) or the nuances of terroir. Talented artisan chocolatiers were just starting to sprout up, particularly on the coasts, but you had to stumble onto them. No one was hunting out these obscure producers, bringing them together and telling their stories. No one was offering both the depth and breadth that something as complex as chocolate deserves. I couldn’t help but wonder if chocolate lovers would get excited about the same kind of discovery, learning and variety that made wine lovers so passionate. It seemed like a pretty good idea to find out!

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April 07, 2015

Posted in

Welcome to Cocoa + Co.’s Blog

You’ll often hear us talk about “Provisions for the Chocolate Life” at Cocoa + Co. Yes, you’ll find an unprecedented wealth of chocolate and chocolate-related items at our shop in Chicago’s Old Town neighborhood. But that’s only part of what we mean.

The Chocolate Life is rich and filled with pleasures to be savored, not just yummy things to eat. The Chocolate Life is mindful, enhanced by learning, and curiosity is rewarded with endless adventure. It’s a life of conviviality, celebration and warmth. The Chocolate Life is the good life, lived large.

So, if we’re truly going to encourage living The Chocolate Life, we know that it takes more than simply stocking your pantry. We’ll take you along on chocolate’s journey from bean to bar, introduce you to passionate artisans, and tell you where to find our favorite chocolate-related places for your travels. We’ll bring you into our kitchens and share the chocolate creations we’re serving friends and family. And we’ll invite you to become part of our community of chocolate lovers, tasting limited edition treats, meeting some of our knowledgeable guests, and joining us for events celebrating The Chocolate Life.

We’ll be doing all that and more right here, so stay tuned. If we have but one life to live, shouldn’t it be The Chocolate Life?