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Top Pick Of The Week

November 25, 2008

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White Cocoa - Anthony Grace

We sprinkled some lavender buds atop this cup of lavender white hot chocolate, but it’s perfect in its ungarnished form. The brownie is from Mari’s New York Brownies, another Top Pick Of The Week. Photography by Daniela Cuevas | THE NIBBLE.

WHAT IT IS: White hot chocolate, in five luscious flavors.
WHY IT’S DIFFERENT: Shaved Callebaut chocolate is flavored in five sophisticated yet totally approachable ways—any child will adore it as much as any food writer.
WHY WE LOVE IT: It’s incredible—at the same time, the most sophisticated food and the best comfort food.
WHERE TO BUY IT: AnthonyGraceCollection.com. Click on the shopping cart on the left side of the page. Or telephone 1.866.544.1655.
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Anthony Grace Collection Chocolat Blanc: Loco For White Cocoa*

CAPSULE REPORT: The founders of the Anthony Grace Collection were on a mission to elevate hot cocoa into an elegant drink. They succeeded beyond even our wildest dreams: Their white hot chocolate beverages were our very favorite product among the thousands we tasted at the 2008 Summer Fancy Food Show. And, amazingly, company founders Sharissa Fox and Angela Marruffo and had no prior culinary experience: Both are healthcare professionals (and the parents, respectively, of Anthony and Grace). We would have expected these exceptional white hot chocolate beverages to come from the world’s finest chocolatiers or most innovative chefs, not from two young working moms. Brava, ladies!

*We couldn’t resist the rhyme, but Anthony Grace is not cocoa, which is made from cocoa powder, but the much richer hot chocolate, which is made from shaved chocolate. Both cocoa powder and shaved chocolate are mixed with either hot milk or hot water to create the chocolate beverage.

Shaving white chocolate from Callebaut of Belgium, the pair have created five irresistible flavors: Bitter White, a blend of white and bittersweet chocolates; Indian Kari, an amazing marriage of white chocolate and curry; Star Anise, with cinnamon and cloves; Taiga, redolent of lavender and a hint of juniper berry; and Zingiber, ginger with wasabi and lemongrass. Leave your preconceived notions at the door—you must have all five. For a memorable dessert, serve them as a flight in demitasse cups. The economy may be uncertain, but this is guaranteed excitement for $17.00 per 10-ounce container. Dream of a white Christmas (or Chanukah or Kwaanza), but turn dreams into reality with an affordable indulgence of white hot chocolate from the Anthony Grace Collection. Read the full review below.

     
THE NIBBLE does not sell the foods we review
or receive fees from manufacturers for recommending them.

Our recommendations are based purely on our opinion, after tasting thousands of products each year, that they represent the best in their respective categories.

 

Beautiful Cups For Beautiful Beverages

Bodum Teacups Bodum Latte Cups
Bodum Insulated Cups With Saucers. Beautiful white
hot chocolate deserves the museum-quality styling that
Bodum has achieved here. The hand-blown, double-walled glass cup shows off the beverage; the stainless steel saucer is a stunning counterpoint. The insulating double wall keeps contents hot. The cups are microwave and dishwasher-safe. The saucer is dishwasher-safe, but metal isn't microwaveable. Item #23511.
Bodum Insulated Espresso and Latte Cups. We love these cups—we have them in every size at THE NIBBLE offices. Whether we’re drinking milk, iced tea, juice, soda or coffee, we enjoy the aesthetic of the beverage seen through the glass. The hand-blown, double-walled glass insulates hot or cold drinks. The double wall protects table tops; no coaster is required. Microwave- and dishwasher-safe. Item #23767.
Find These And Other Great Products
At Chefs Catalog Online
Chef's

Anthony Grace Collection Chocolat Blanc: Loco For White Cocoa

INDEX OF REVIEW

Click on the black links to visit other pages.

MORE TO DISCOVER

Cocoa Versus Hot Chocolate

Chocolate began life as a beverage more than 2,000 years ago. Until about 470 years ago, it was a lukewarm drink, drunk only by Mesoamerican royalty, warriors and the wealthy merchants who traded it. Sugar and honey were not indigenous to the Americas, so the chocolate was unsweetened, but spiced with vanilla, pepper, hot chiles and other local seasonings. When Hernán Cortés and his conquistadors arrived in Mexico and were offered the sacred drink, they spat it on the ground—that’s how odious the unsweetened, tepid chocolate tasted to Europeans. When Cortés brought cacao and vanilla back to Spain in 1527, the first thing the royal chefs did was sweeten it—and then it became the thing among the royal and the wealthy, who, for many years to come, were the only people who could afford to drink chocolate (read the history of chocolate.)

The cacao beans were ground and mixed with milk. In 1828, Coenraad Van Houten invented a hydraulic cocoa press, to squeeze out some of the cocoa butter from the beans, leaving behind the defatted cocoa powder and reducing the fat content by nearly half. It made fashioning the beverage much easier, as well. Chocolate was still only for drinking and for flavoring puddings and cakes; the first chocolate bar—“eating chocolate”—wasn’t invented until 1847. (See the chocolate timeline.)

Lavender White Hot Chocolate

Shaved white hot chocolate and lavender buds, along with juniper berries and nutmeg, turn into an exquisite elixir when mixed with hot milk. We also sprinkled the mix straight onto vanilla and chocolate ice cream.

 

Some time after that, though, someone in Switzerland thought to shave a chocolate bar and mix it with boiled milk to create hot chocolate. This melted the chocolate and created a much richer drink than hot cocoa, because of the high cocoa butter content of the chocolate bar versus the defatted cocoa powder. Both drinks can be mixed with either hot milk or water, but since cocoa powder is defatted, hot chocolate is a richer beverage. It can easily have double the cocoa butter of cocoa.†

† Supermarket cocoa powders tend to contain 10% to 12% cocoa butter, while premium brands have 22% or more. Fractions such as 10/12 or 22/24 on the package indicate the percent of cocoa butter: e.g., 10/12 indicates 10 to 12 percent. By comparison, a semisweet chocolate bar can have 46%-54% cocoa butter. Cocoa butter is a heart-healthy vegetable fat.

Thus, while they are brethren, cocoa and hot chocolate aren’t exactly the same. All things being equal, hot chocolate is a richer experience. The fat levels can be played with. For example, you can mix shaved chocolate with water, and mix cocoa powder with half and half or light cream, which add butterfat. Another trick is to add a tablespoon of unsalted butter to the hot beverage. But, all things being equal, hot chocolate is a richer beverage than cocoa.

That’s why, when seeking to make the ultimate white chocolate beverage, the Anthony Grace team didn’t think twice about cocoa powder, but went straight for the shaved chocolate. They selected one of the finest chocolates in the world, Belgium’s Callebaut, a brand used by many top chocolatiers and pastry chefs. The results are spectacular.

Continue To Page 2: The Flavors Of Anthony Grace Chocolat Blanc

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