Last night I was tired to work, tired to write, I was even tired to watch anything on the TV, but not yet tired enough to call it a day. I was relaxing on my best armchair and while staring at the ceiling, it hit me – how about just surfing on the Internet with the help of Firefox and see where it takes me. At first I just stopped at sites randomly and if I found something interesting to read, I did. Most of the time, however, I gave up after the first paragraph. It is really tough to find well-written blogs, written with the readers in mind and not trying to please SEO.
I was almost ready to quit when I found this site http://www.exploratorium.edu with a post titled: “The Sweet Lure of Chocolate”. The main reasoned I stopped to check it because it was talking about my favorite topic: chocolate. The appearance of the site is uninspiring; it is nearly monochromatic with a fading-away color and the site lacks organization, yet the writing continued to draw me in deeper and deeper, seeking for more. That just shows you how a well-written post can overcome all other obstacles. In addition, I found some magnetic titles of articles, like: “Chocolate invades Europe” or “Is the effect of chocolate on our health a benefit or risk?”; is that a real question, I asked myself? I had to click on those, if for nothing else, just to satisfy my unabashed curiosity. To make the long story short, I started to read not only this blog but other blogs that have the word chocolate in their URL, or in the title of their top post and that is how I collected blogs and eventually organized them into groups of relevance and came up with my title:
The Top 100 Blogs for Chocolate Lovers.
I. Blogs by Chocolatiers – I selected these sites because, first I already wrote about the top 10 chocolatiers in the US and I believe it was helpful in our selection of gifts, or treating ourself for a change. I thought, perhaps I may find new artists that create interesting confections; or my old favorite artists created something new, worth to mention in my next review.
1. Recchiuti Confections – Michael’s’ new creations include boxes of confections that specifically match with beer, wine or whisky; great timing for Father’s Day. The packaging is very creative, as well. Each box has an opening in the shape of the correct serving glass for beer, wine or whisky.
2. Richart Chocolates – No change here since our last report, but this is exactly what we were hoping to see. How or why would you change something that is already perfect. A father that receives a box of chocolate created by Richart for Father’s Day will realize the extent of care and love his family has for him; they gave him the best.
3. Amedei Chocolates (new)- Amedei is a wonder among Italian chocolate manufacturers; created by siblings that dedicated their lives to produce the best chocolate there is, and they succeeded. They do everything by themselves, including buying the best beans from top growers, from the best geographic locations, and processing the beans into the finest chocolate of the world with their own unique proprietary methods. I use their little bite-size squares in my tasting classes and people just can not stop saying: Oh! and Ah! and begging for more. You must taste these chocolates to experience what I am talking about.
4. Amano Chocolates (new) – Amano is a new American star. Their chocolates are out of his world. Similarly to Amedei, they control the entire of process of production and it shows in the quality of their products. They are innovators, perfectionists, and true professionals. Their cherry cordials are the first that can compete with the top cherry cordial producers of Hungary and Austria. In fact, when I received a box, I thought it was coming from my favorite producers in Budapest.
5. Lilly Belle Farm chocolates (new) – Lilly Belle Farm produces award-winning confections using their organically grown berries in their ganaches.
6. Norman Love Chocolates – I just can not get enough of Norman’s Jewels. His artistic techniques of working with air brushes and other art supplies (some designed by Norman) are so unique that I cannot find a word in the English dictionary to describe it. Add to it the taste, the feel, and the aroma of each chocolate created by Norman and you got a collection of masterpieces. But you do not need to take my word of praise; you need to experience it yourself.
7. Knipschildt Chocolates – see my earlier report
8. Kee Chocolates – see my earlier write-up
9. Fran’s Chocolates (new) – Fran is famous for her buttery caramels enhanced by various designer sea salts. In addition, her truffles are created fresh daily on an “as needed” basis.
10. Garrison Confections (new) – Andrew Shott, owner of Garrison’s confections started his career as a pastry chef in top restaurants in New York City, but his dream lead him to work exclusively with chocolates. Eventually he accepted the top post at Guittard Chocolates where he finally perfected his repertoire. In 2001 he opened Garrison’s Confections and never looked back. In his book he reveals his many of his professional secrets in creating quality confections that are unique, sophisticated and unmatched. You have the option of purchasing his creations either at his store in Rhode Island or on the Internet or buy his book, follow his recipes and enjoy your creations that imitate the best.
11. XOX Truffles (new) – Truffles of XOX are still created by hand and perfected with the use of top quality ingredients. Customers are traveling San Francisco (where he retail store is located) from around world, that is how huge Chef’s Jean-Marc Gorce reputation is. Chef Jean-Marc Gorce received many awards since his opening of the store and is listed in year-after-year among the top artisan chocolatiers internationally.
12. Donnelly Fine Chocolates (new) – Richard Donnelly still makes most off his chocolates by hand, using the finest French and Belgian couvertures. Richard, after studying with master chocolatiers in Paris and Brussels, including the owner of La Maison du Chocolates in Paris and New York City, returned to United States to create his own line of chocolates, focusing on simple yet sophisticated flavors.
II. Blogs with Great Chocolate Recipes (no explanation needed here;
I always like to find new recipes, new ideas and new perspectives about chocolate)
2. Chocolate Bakery. Get plenty of great chocolate recipes from this site, but it seems that unfortunately the owner deserted the site about a year ago. OOPs! not true, they moved, but failed to tell people who land on their old site with the name “Chocolate Bakery Blog.” But in this new site they are selling cakes. For now I am leaving them here because you can get great recipes from their old site.
3. David Lebovitz. David recipes are foolproof. That they are all delightful, easy to make (with the directions of David) and will leave your guests asking for more; after all they are coming from the author of such wonderful cookbooks as, “The Great Book of Chocolate” or “Ready for Dessert.”
4. 101 Cookbooks. (Chocolate Recipes). From brownies to cookies, from chocolate clusters to chocolate fondue, get delicious chocolate recipes from this popular site.
5. Nook & Pantry. Take a look and enjoy the photographs of finished products for inspiration. Look at the french macarons, the linzer cookies, the green tea cheesecake with white chocolate brownie and more and you know you are on the right place for great chocolate-based desserts.
6. PastryWiz. You know if the owner of his blog calls chocolate the “food of God”, the recipes cannot be bad. Pastrywiz uses recipes from famous chefs, like Nick Malgieri, or Jacques Pepin, to the best recipes of the Chocolatier Magazine. Definitely worth a stop – a long stop.
7. Joy of Baking. The name says it all: it is a joy to bake. And if you use chocolate, the joy becomes delight, excitement, building memories and more. Just visit the site, and drool. Seventy thousand like the site. Can you imagine?
8. Recipe Girl. 100 chocolate chip recipes? WOW! I got dizzy reading chocolate this, chocolate that, but go and see for yourself; this girl really worked hard to bring you that many great chocolate-based recipes. Now, please do not let her down; try those great looking stuff.
9. Allchocolates. chocolate is at the center stage at this blog. It is not only loaded with chocolate recipes, but everything you wanted to know about chocolate, but did not know where to find it – well, this is it.
10. Simply Recipes. (dessert recipes) I am sure you are familiar with this popular site of Elise Bauer; now all you have to do is spell chocolate in the search button, and wallah!, you will get an endless list of recipes that contain our favorite ingredient: you know, the brown stuff.
11. Whole living. Great photographs of creative chocolate recipes. The site also uses very creative accompanying ingredients. It appears that health is on their mind.
12. Yumsugar. Chocolate and Brie Panini? Yum! and chocolate covered bacon? WOW! what an interesting combination. I wonder how many layers that huge layer cake has? Please let me know if you found out.
13. Chocolate & Zucchini. Well, this site is my cousin; of course, blogging for that many years, and with a name like this, this blog must have plenty of desserts using chocolate as the main ingredient.
14. Chocolates & Figs. Did you think I am going to be modest and leave my blog out. Why would I? Why would I deprive you from great chocolate recipes? I do not want you to miss a site that not only has great chocolate recipes, but its main goal is to help you to be able to re-create everything with ease and simultaneously understand why you do, what you do when you mixing stuff together.
I think this post is long enough, but I did not want to divide it into too many tidbits. Please do not be concerned about the length, or over crowding, etc., just send me your favorite blogs. It can be any blog that you like and if needed, we will create another class. It is only fair to share our findings, so that everyone can enjoy great reads, perhaps learn new “tricks”, or compare ideas. Thanks, Georgette.