Nick & Julie Anne Rhodes
My ex once mentioned he liked Thornton’s Continental chocolates after sex in an interview, so Duran Duran fans bombarded him with an endless supply of chocolate truffles and caramels. I don’t, however, recall any sprinkled with sea salt, scented with lavender, or with a slight kick of chili like the inventive flavor profiles and, beautifully hand crafted chocolates I got to sample at the Los Angeles Luxury Chocolate Salon. It’s no secret that coffee enhances the flavor of chocolate, but I never considered infusing chocolate with organic teas from around the world as The Tea Room specializes in. Odd as it may sound, Christopher Michael’s (chocolatier to the 51st annual Grammy Awards and 2009 Oscars) newest chocolate bar features sizzling bacon! The crowd gobbled it up so fast they couldn’t keep the sample plate full. I hear the stores are selling out of the bars just as quickly.
The Tea Room’s chocolate infused with organic teas
While I love to experiment I still have to say my two favorites were Clarine’s Florentines, and my friends’ CJ’s Bitz. The former are a delicate treat made from thinly sliced natural almonds, then mixed with with butter, sugar, honey, and cream and baked into a golden brown brittle topped with Guittard bittersweet chocolate. The later are pretzels dipped in chocolate, then hand rolled in English toffee bits. They should both come with labels warning caution, highly addictive!
Apart from stuffing my face full of the scrumptious endorphin stimulating confection (yes there is a reason why the forlorn tend to reach for it), I was fascinated by some of the other uses of chocolate. A major highlight of the event was the chocolate art exhibition where guests swigged down chocolate martinis and voted for their favorites. I went from “Coco Before Chanel” to cocoa Chanel shoes this week, and couldn’t resist voting for this one. I love it… chocoholic meets couture in chocolate shopaholic heaven! The detail is exquisite.
TCHO Chocolate
Choc-O-Bama
Also of note this year were the chocolate books in a bookcase, and an intricate Out of Africa display. Neapolitan Printing Company deserves mention as the most patriotic chocolatier with their chocolate President Obama.

The Xocai company claim their unprocessed cocoa products mixed with acai berry and blueberry will make me healthier. I guess it will take more than the shot size cup of Xocai Active (their high-antioxidant drink) before I feel the full benefits. It is probably not wise to taste the drink right after wolfing down dried mango chips dipped in creamy milk chocolate either… I fear Xocai may be a bit of an acquired taste.
Xocai: health products
Sweet Beauty: organic chocolate spa treatments
One whiff of Sweet Beauty’s organic spa treatments, and I was longing to be lathered from head to toe in chocolate… what could possibly be more decadent? The adult line includes lip balms, body scrubs, body cream, milk chocolate bath, hand & body wash, a facial scrub, and a facial masque… but why not pamper your baby too? They also do a line of baby lotion, balm, massage oil, and cleansers. Perfect for bridal and baby shower gifts!
Meagan Mullen & Julie Anne Rhodes
I may have to double up on my cardio this week, but it was well worth every calorie. Special thanks to my friend Cheryl for the tickets, and to Meagan for helping me navigate my way to Pasadena as well as being a far more reliable photographer than I am. I’ll leave you with one of my favorite chocolate dessert recipes my grandmother served when I was little.
Chocolate Waffles


Servings: 6

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt, scant
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla (or coffee extract)
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
  • cooking spray for waffle iron
  • powdered sugar for dusting
Directions:

1). Heat waffle iron.

2). Mix dry ingredients, flour through baking soda, in a large bowl.

3). Mix eggs, canola oil, and vanilla in a small bowl, then add to dry ingredients. Add buttermilk, and mix until just incorporated. Stir in chocolate chips.

4). Ladle about 1/2 cup into center of waffle iron, close, and cook until crisp on both sides. Dust with powdered sugar and serve immediately.

Serving Suggestions: Grandma served this topped with banana ice cream and chocolate fudge sauce, but I think it would be sensational with my salted caramel ice cream and homemade chocolate fudge sauce, or berries with fresh whipped cream.

PS. I think the LA Luxury Chocolate Show needs to add a chocolate fashion show next year. Check this groovy cool fashion show out!
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