April 23, 2012


Oprah's Chocolate Tasting Tips by Jonathan Grahm

Master Chocolatier Tips for a Chocolate Tasting by oprah.com contributor Jonathan Grahm

There's no better way to enjoy chocolate than by hosting a chocolate tasting for you and some of your favorite friends. Here are my four tips for choosing chocolates for a tasting party.



     1. Taste All Kinds and Colors of Chocolate
At Compartes, we do mostly dark chocolate, so I suggest choosing different flavors or brands of dark chocolates for your tasting at home. Traditionalists may want to add in a bit of good milk chocolate or even some white chocolate (although it is not a chocolate at all) to the mix of the chocolate tasting.

When tasting different types of chocolate such as dark, milk and white, I suggest breaking them up into sections since the dark chocolate is going to be the strongest in flavor profile, while the white would be the weakest. 
 
     2. Chocolate from Various Regions
Chocolates from around the globe are all the rage these days. You can find chocolates from all different regions in the Americas such as Trinidad, Ecuador, Venezuela (which is one of my personal favorites and one I use a lot at Compartes), Columbia and Costa Rica, to name a few.

Regional single-origin chocolates from places in Africa such as Ghana, Madagascar, Tanzania, Nigeria and the Congo region are also very popular. While chocolates from regions in Asia such as Papua New Guinea may be harder to find, they are available as well. You can pick up these "single-origin" chocolates in good health food stores, a local Whole Foods market or online for a fun way to compare the flavors based on where the chocolate is grown and cultivated.
 
     3. Try Chocolates Based on Cacao Percentage
You can get a bunch of different dark chocolates that have different percentages of cacao in them for an interesting tasting experience. I suggest starting with the lowest percentage of cacao and making your way up to the highest.

Did you know that 100 percent cacao, with no sugar at all, has a taste that is more bitter than coffee and some may compare it to burnt coal? My favorite chocolates are always around the 75 to 78 percent cacao range. With this kind of tasting, you can also pair several wines to match the strength of the cacao in the chocolate.
 
     4. Explore Exotic Chocolate Flavors
This is my favorite type of chocolate tasting and one I partake in the most often. At Compartes, we do tons of different ganaches or truffles with different all-natural flavor infusions, and I always think this is the most fun way to do a chocolate tasting since you get so many different and unique flavors and flavor profiles while tasting.

There is a broad range of chocolates that can be used in tastings based on flavor. Examples of interesting choices would be chocolates flavored with pepper (like a Mexican hot chocolate truffle or raspberry pink pepper), salt (such as our smoked salt or fleur de sel caramels), exotic fruits (such as kaffir lime or umeboshi plum), teas (like jasmine tea or earl grey) or a multitude of different flavor variations. Truffles or ganaches are my favorite to try for a flavor-based chocolate tasting, but chocolate bars (with exotic ingredients) are also a great way to go.

Overall, have fun and choose interesting combinations and varieties that have distinct flavor profiles that stand out and you are guaranteed a great afternoon or evening with friends and a whole lot of chocolate. Enjoy and happy eating!

See more from Compartes Chocolatier and Jonathan Grahm at Oprah.com
 
 

 

February 03, 2012


A Sweet And Spicy Valentine

 

Compartes Presents: A Sweet + Spicy Valentine

A delicate fresh raspberry puree with a hint of ground pink peppercorns earned this truffle a perfect score in Bon Appétit.
Spice it up, grab a box for your Valentine! Click here to shop Raspberry + Pink Pepper!

 

 Spicy Hot Valentine's Organic Chocolate Raspberry Pepper

November 15, 2011


Chocolate Recipe: Honey Peanut Butter Sea Salt BROWNIES

Compartes Honey + Peanut Butter + Sea Salt and Fudge Brownies

Peanut-studded brownies, Compartes homemade-from-scratch peanut butter frosting and our luxury chocolate ganache...what better way to savor the PB-chocolate combo than these? We think you must get thee to the kitchen and make immediately!
 
Makes 30

 

INGREDIENTS

Recommendation:
Substitute bittersweet/semisweet chocolate with some of our 4oz 77% single-origin organic dark chocolate bars

Brownies

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter (use salted for added flavor)
7 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped (see our recommendation)
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
3/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup roasted salted peanuts, coarsely chopped

 

Frosting & Ganache

3/4 cup Compartes Peanut Butter
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, divided, room temperature
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
7 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped (see our recommendation)

 

PREPARATION

Brownies

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 325°F. Line 13x9x2-inch metal baking pan with foil, leaving long overhang; butter foil.

Place 3/4 cup butter in heavy large saucepan. Add both chocolates; stir over low heat until smooth. Remove from heat. Whisk in sugar, vanilla, and salt, then eggs, 1 at a time. Fold in flour, then nuts. Spread in prepared pan. Bake until tester inserted into center comes out with moist crumbs attached, about 30 minutes. Place pan on rack; cool.

Frosting & Ganache

Using electric mixer, beat peanut butter and 1/4 cup butter in medium bowl to blend. Beat in powdered sugar and salt, then milk and vanilla. Spread frosting over brownies.

Stir chocolate and 1/4 cup butter in heavy small saucepan over low heat until smooth. Drop ganache all over frosting; spread to cover. Chill until set, about 1 1/2 hours. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and keep chilled.

Using foil as aid, transfer brownie cake to work surface; cut into squares. Bring to room temperature; serve.

Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit

November 15, 2011


Custom Chocolate: Chelsea Lately x Compartes Gourmet Chocolates

 Chelsea Lately
 Customizes Compartes
 Chocolate Truffles!

 

Chelsea Lately late night comedy talk show host Chelsea Handler chooses Compartes Chocolatier to be the provider of her corporate and private gifts! Adorning our handcrafted truffles with her logo she now shoots us a frequent call to send out boxes of 20 and 40 piece customized truffles as thank you's to her guests! Guests include Gwyneth Paltrow, Taylor Momsen, Mary McCormack, Kris Jenner, Nicki Minaj, Julie Benz, Kathy Griffin, Kate Bosworth, Jennifer Aniston, 50 Cent and many more! She also often selects our Wooden Treasure Trays which we fill up with our delicious chocolate dipped fruit, nuts and traditional's with some customized truffles as the centerpiece!

When it comes to corporate gifts, nothing goes down quite like organic handmade chocolates! Our chocolates are the perfect inclusion in favor baskets or on their own!  Chelsea Handler chooses to mix up her custom chocolate logo with some of our beautiful seasonal patterns which comes out to be a gorgeous gift box of 20 or 40 chocolates that is unique, special and colorful! 

Contact us for any information and questions on customizing and gift-giving!

November 15, 2011


Chocolate Recipe: Jonathan's Browned Butter Chocolate Brownies

Cocoa + Browned Butter Chocolate Brownies w/ Walnuts & Fleur De Sel

Ingredients:

  • 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks)  butter, cut into 1-inch pieces (Jonathan recommends using salted butter to add flavor)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • 1 teaspoon good vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs, chilled
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 cup walnut pieces ( you can substitute dark chocolate chips or a broken Compartes chocolate bar for an even more decadent version)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 8 inch metal baking pan. Put a long piece of parchment paper in the bottom of the pan, letting the parchment extend up two sides of the pan and overhang slightly on both ends. (This will make it easy to remove the bars from the pan after they have baked.) Butter the parchment.

  2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Continue cooking until butter stops foaming and browned bits form at bottom of pan, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; immediately add sugar, cocoa, water, vanilla, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Stir to blend. Let cool 5 minutes (mixture will still be hot so make sure you add eggs once cool so you dont get scrambled eggs). Add eggs to hot mixture one at a time, beating vigorously to blend after each addition. When mixture looks thick and shiny, add flour and stir until blended. Beat vigorously 60 strokes. Stir in nuts.

  3. Spread into prepared baking pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean (with a few moist crumbs attached). Cool on a wire rack.

  4. When cooling, sprinkle with a bit of "fleur de sel" (or any good sea salt) on top.  They taste even better when they're cool!

 

Recipe yields 16 brownies, but Jonathan likes em big, so 8 brownies total! :) Enjoy!

Adapted from Bon Appetit, February 2011

November 15, 2011


Custom Chocolates: Dreamworks x Compartes Dragon Chocolate

Compartes was officially selected to customize chocolates for Dreamworks' latest animation "How to Train Your Dragon"!

Honored to be selected from all the chocolate companies across the nation, Dreamworks chose us at Compartes for our uniqueness in handmaking organic gourmet chocolates without losing touch with an artistic result; a result that still retains the look of true luxury -- not to mention the palate of flavours that makes Compartes so spectacular, and lest we forget, so delicious!

Early proofs included this one...

To the finished product... 

 

Contact us via phone or email to have your custom logos and designs made out of gourmet chocolate.

November 15, 2011


Jonathan's Gourmet English toffee Recipe for Oprah

Compartes Chocolatier Los Angeles English Toffee
Oprah Exclusive Gourmet Food Recipe
 
 
Servings: Makes about 2 pounds
 
Ingredients
 
  • 1 pound unsalted butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups raw almonds, chopped finely or ground loosely (with skins on)
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean (scraped or split so the seeds will come out inside the toffee)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • Fleur de sel, for finishing (optional)
  • Melted chocolate, for dipping (optional)
Directions

Melt butter in a heavy-bottomed pot on stove top. In separate bowl, mix together white sugar and brown sugar, add to melted butter. Add 1/4 cup water. Cook mixture on medium-high heat, stirring with a wooden spoon. Using a candy thermometer—most can clip onto the pot—cook until 240°, stirring hard and fast to make sure nothing is sticking to the pan and your toffee doesn't burn. At 240°, add the almonds. At 260°, lower the heat and finish cooking until your candy thermometer reads 300° and reaches the soft ball stage. It should take about 15 to 20 minutes total to reach the 300° mark. The mixture should be a beautiful, bubbly, golden brown color. At 300°, turn off heat immediately.

Add vanilla (if adding vanilla beans, you must fish them out when you pour the toffee before it cools) and add the salt. Stir quickly. Pour the mixture out onto a marble slab that has been greased with butter, or grease 2 rimmed baking sheets (10" x 15" or around that size). Smooth out the toffee to 1/4-inch thickness. After about 5 to 10 minutes, you can score the toffee with a knife in order to break it up later. Using hot water and wiping the knife clean after every slice can help in scoring the toffee. You may now let the mixture cool. When cool, you can sprinkle with a dash of fleur de sel (French sea salt), break them up and wrap them in cellophane or an airtight container to maintain the freshness.

Alternatively, dip into tempered chocolate (which can be made by melting down your favorite chocolate in a double boiler). Dip toffee pieces fully in the chocolate (which will keep the crunchy freshness of the toffee for much longer), sprinkle each piece with fleur de sel to finish or roll them in freshly toasted nuts (we prefer almonds, but any will do).
November 15, 2011


Custom Chocolate: Discovery Channel x Compartes Chocolatier

Another delicious day is passing at the chocolate factory here in Los Angeles when the Discovery Channel calls and places an order for 2000 (yes, that’s right, two thousand!) customized chocolate truffles for their 25th Anniversary special.

Setting to work immediately, we discuss presentation; how the logo would look best; sharing our designs and ideas together to come up with what results in a truly unique and striking box of chocolates that the Discovery Channel sends out to some of the most distinguished members of press and contacts that have supported them throughout their history.

An initial draft of the chocolate box layout.


 

2,000 Discovery Channel customized truffles ready for packaging.

 

 

 

The Chocolates are carefully boxed and inside is placed a custom message signed by the Discovery Communications Team.

Watch one of the lucky recipients capturing the moment he opens his box from Discovery! 

 

 

Customized Chocolates and Chocolate Gifts by Compartes

We at Compartes take pride in using all organic ingredients and the quality of our chocolates is of utmost important to us. Each truffle is individually made by hand taking care to ensure accuracy in both the appearance and the taste. Best of all, anyone can customize our chocolate for any occasion! Weddings, baby-showers, marriages, birthdays, holidays; the list is endless!

For pricing and info, please click here for our contact page or call us now at 310-826-3380.

------------------------------------------------------

See more about the 25th Anniversary of the Discovery Channel

http://dsc.discovery.com/tv/25-anniversary

November 15, 2011


Custom Chocolate Favors: Baby Carriages for Baby Shower

Sweet and cute, we recently received an order to create personalized baby carriages as baby shower favors! We made delicious hollow organic milk chocolate intricately-molded baby carriages, filled them with our gourmet dark chocolate foil-wrapped hearts, closed the baby carriage with a milk chocolate top and wrapped them in cellophane. For a final personal touch, we printed individual recipient names on linen paper and attached them with a complementing pink ribbon, the sweetest little gifts to celebrate a newborn baby girl!

 
  

  
 
  
 
 
Please contact us for more information on personalized and custom chocolates! Also check out our other custom chocolate blogs!
November 15, 2011


Gourmet Recipes: Chocolate Panna Cotta w/ Kaffir Lime + Chili

CHOCOLATE KAFFIR LIME PANNA COTTA WITH CHILI CREME ANGLAISE

         
 
Ingredients:

For the Panna Cotta

Canola oil
1 cup whole milk
2 1/4 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
2 cups whipping cream
1/2 cup sugar
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
Several drops of Kaffir Lime oil, or 6 Kaffir Lime leaves, sliced in half, plus the zest of one Kaffir lime

For Chili Creme Anglaise

5 large egg yolks
2 cups half and half
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise or 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup granulated white sugar
Several dried Chiles de Arbol (or a non-smoked dry chili of your choice)

Directions:

For the Panna Cotta:

Brush six small custard cups (like, 6 oz ones) with canola oil. Pour the milk into a medium sized bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over it. Let it stand for at least 5 minutes, or as you cook the rest of the mixture.

Stir cream and sugar in heavy medium saucepan over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves. If you are not using Kaffir Lime oil, and are using leaves and zest, add them now. Bring to boil and remove it from heat. If you added leaves and zest, strain the mixture. Add the chocolate, whisking until melted. Whisk warm chocolate mixture into gelatin mixture, stirring to dissolve. Stir in the Kaffir Lime oil if you haven't used the leaves and zest. Divide mixture among custard cups and cool them in the fridge overnight, to set. You can make these up to 2 days ahead of time.

For the Creme Anglaise:

In a small bowl, stir the sugar and yolks until well blended.

In a small saucepan heat the half and half, vanilla bean (if using), and 4 chiles roughly chopped just to the boiling point. As the mixture heats, taste it to make sure the heat is to your liking. Remove the saucepan from the heat and whisk a few tablespoons of the half and half mixture into the yolk mixture. Then, gradually add the remaining cream, whisking constantly. This is called tempering, and prevents the egg from cooking and curdling in the hot half and half mixture. If it does curdle, finish preparing the sauce, strain it, and blitz it in a blender until smooth.

Pour the mixture back into a saucepan and, over medium heat, gently heat the mixture to just below the boiling point. Steam will float off of the mixture and the mixture will be slightly thicker than heavy cream. Check to see if it is the right consistency by holding a wooden spoon covered in the mixture sideways and run your finger along the back of the spoon. If the mixture doesn't run to fill in the streak the finger made, it's ready.

Immediately remove from the heat and pour through the strainer, scraping up any thickened cream that settles on the bottom of the pan. Remove the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds into the sauce. Stir until seeds separate. For maximum flavor, return the pod to the sauce until serving time. (If you are using pure vanilla extract, instead of the vanilla bean, add it to the cream now.)

The creme anglaise should be covered with plastic wrap and left in the fridge until cool. When ready, drizzle over the panna cotta, or if you're feeling adventurous, toss it in an ice cream machine and make spicy ice cream!
 
- Guest Blogger Claire Thomas from The Kitchy Kitchen