Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Sensational Chocolate Tastings: What to do with Left Over Chocolate

TeamBuilding Unlimited is known for its Chocolate Team Building events. Maybe that's because Frank Price, the VP, spent 3 years in Cote d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast) in the Peace Corps. Cote d'Ivoire produces one of the largest amounts of cacao in the world. And, then there's the fact that I blog about chocolate every day at Recipes, reviews and chocolate news. And, I'm a Judge at International Chocolate Salons.

Last week for Administration Assistant Appreciation Day, TeamBuilding Unlimited was asked to host a Chocolate Tasting for 75 Admins of a large multi-national company. What a fun time was had by all. The Admins tasted chocolate from different manufacturers and chocolate makers with beans from all over the world. Terroir, process, history and lots of other chocolate information was dispersed as the admins sampled the chocolate. A score card for remarks was provided to participants, so they could rate the chocolate. Chocolate, as you know, is a matter of taste. I personally prefer dark chocolate, but the choices were immense.. beans from Equador over chocolate from Ghana? Stone ground vs. more traditional process?

But let's face it, there's only so much chocolate one can eat at a time. Never fear. Teambuilding Unlimited provided baggies so the participants could take home some of the chocolate they preferred. So here's the quandry. What to do with 'left-over" chocolate? Yes, you can always eat it. But if you're not planning on baking anything, here's an easy solution--Chocolate Covered Strawberries. Simple to make and they look fabulous!


1 quart fresh large fresh strawberries, with tops
1-1/2 cup "left over" Dark Chocolate, broken or chopped
3 Tbsp. heavy cream

Rinse strawberries and dry thoroughly, keeping tops on. In top of double boiler or stainless
steel bowl on top of a pot of simmering water, combine chocolate and heavy cream. Stir until
chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.
Dip strawberries 1/2 to 3/4 way up in chocolate mixture and place on parchment-
lined cookie sheet to allow chocolate to harden.

Wash strawberries and pat dry with paper towels; set aside. Make sure strawberries are
completely dry. A drop of water in melted chocolate can cause it to "seize" and turn the
entire mixture into a mess.
How to Fix Seized Chocolate

How to dip:
Grasp stem of strawberry and dip into chocolate, swirling to partially cover with chocolate.
Give the strawberry a small shake as you pull it out of chocolate. When strawberry is
completely out of chocolate, swirl it in quick, clockwise motion to let excess chocolate drip off.
Place on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
Repeat with rest of strawberries.

The Chef pictured in the photo is by Sonoma artist Cynthia Hipkiss. I love her oddball humor, and I have several of her sculptures. I love this Chef, in particular, and he holds a coveted space by my stove (the blue O'Keefe Merritt), and I've had the Chef and the stove forever. What's particularly fun about the Chef is what he's holding can be changed. I have a strawberry shortcake, a birthday cake, and a plate of hot dogs with all the trimmings.  The smaller food sculptures are attached with velcro. Very clever! Hipkiss Gallery is located in Sonoma, CA, and her work is carried in several art galleries.