Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The 2009 CocoaRoar Report


After a whirlwind December, I am now sitting in my quiet clean apartment, taking stock of the past month. The CocoaRoar factory has been dismantled, my cleaning angels have worked their magic, and I’m daydreaming about all the savory dishes I’m going to enjoy cooking in these next weeks. But before that happens, I wanted to thank you all for your great support and chocolate enthusiasm this month!

Last year I enjoyed typing up the CocoaRoar Report for you, and I felt compelled to do the same thing this year. Here are a few photos from these past weeks, and once again, I present to you The Twelve Days of Christmas a la CocoaRoar.

TWELVE Favorite Movies Playing In The Background. I had fun raiding my own personal movie collection and picking out a dozen fun films to keep me going as I truffled my way through the month: L.A. Story, Chicago, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Victor/Victoria, What’s Up Doc?, Quiz Show, Hannah and Her Sisters, Little Miss Sunshine, Cabaret, Waking Ned Devine, The Graduate, and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, of course.

ELEVEN Meyer Lemons. I love taking advantage of these seasonal smooth-skinned beauties, finely grating their floral peel and squeezing their juices into a luxurious white chocolate ganache. This irresistible citrus-flecked truffle has beguiled even the most hardcore white-chocolate haters, and some have even gone so far as to proclaim it their favorite of the six flavors!

TEN-Times-Thirty Pieces of Golden Raffia Ribbon. I did everything I could to prepare the packaging materials, including lining all the boxes with leopard tissue paper and precutting 300 pieces of ribbon to the exact length required. This was definitely a time-saver once I was in the middle of the chocolate trenches.

NINE Times Cranking Up My Chocolate Tempering Machine. Chocolate is finicky to work with, and tempered chocolate is a must for dipping the truffles. The tempering process enables melted chocolate to remain stable at room temperature, and it will cool and harden with a beautiful glossy appearance. (Untempered chocolate will set with a dull streaky finish.) This machine is a total lifesaver, capable of tempering up to 1.5 pounds of chocolate at a time, achieving and maintaining the proper temperature and consistency of the melted chocolate into which hundreds of truffles can then be dipped at a time.

EIGHT People Who Ordered Boxes Filled Solely With Peanut Butter & Sea Salt Truffles. Winner of this month's popularity contest, this salty-and-sweet bonbon was definitely my most requested flavor this time around.

SEVEN Jars Of Peanut Butter. Not surprising, considering that I made enough chocolate ganache for nearly 700 peanut butter truffles alone!

SIX-and-sixty Pounds Of Bittersweet Chocolate Transformed Into Truffles. I’m just saying...

FIVE Other Fabulous Flavors. In addition to the Peanut Butter & Sea Salt, I was also very pleased to offer Extra Bittersweet, Fresh Ginger, Meyer Lemon, Passion Fruit, and Raspberry Earl Grey.

FOUR Kinds Of Ginger Incorporated Into The Fresh Ginger Truffle. I steeped the cream with freshly julienned ginger and a few drops of French ginger extract, and I grated fresh gingerroot directly into the cream to extract even more of its pungent juice. Each of these freshly dipped truffles was topped with a little sliver of crystallized Australian ginger. Talk about experiencing gingery heat in octaves, all in a single truffle!

THREE Memorable Performances of Handel’s “Messiah” at Carnegie Hall. This has become my December ritual, truffling by day and playing Handel's Messiah at night! Tuesday was especially a trip, as I was in a complete chocolate frenzy all day, madly dipping truffles and packaging them up while dozens of friends came by throughout the day to collect their little red boxes. At 7 pm, I washed the chocolate off my hands, put on black concert clothes and hopped in a cab with my violin and a shopping bag filled with an additional 20 boxes of truffles to be delivered to my fellow musicians in the green room. Next thing I knew, I was sitting on the Carnegie Hall stage playing this magnificent music that I love so dearly, surrounded by incredible colleagues and quite thrilled to be a part of it. But if I needed a reminder of what I’d been doing earlier, I kept getting the occasional whiff of cocoa throughout the performance, in spite of how many times I had washed my hands!

TWO Thousand Four Hundred Truffles. Yes, you read that correctly. I somehow managed twenty-four hundred truffles this month, each one individually hand scooped, rolled, dipped in melted chocolate, and packaged in the space of 3 weeks. And no, I’m not sick of chocolate yet!

ONE Very Quick Trip To California. It’s unusual that I would go out of town in the midst of the CocoaRoar mania, but I’ve been working steadily on my Project X these past months and I had a rather unusual business trip connected to this project that required me to be in LA briefly. I will look forward to being able to divulge more about this in time, but for now I will confine myself to saying that the two days were exciting and thought-provoking, not to mention providing a very welcome break from the chocolate factory. As a bonus, I got to see my family in L.A., and it did seem significantly easier to hand-deliver my parents’ 15+ boxes of truffles rather than to deal with my local post office this month!

For those of you who sampled this season’s offerings, what were YOUR favorite flavors? I’d love to know! Please feel free to leave a comment or email me at kitchenfiddler (at) gmail (dot) com. In the meantime, I must utter another huge thank you for your support. I had a fabulous time making truffles for you, and I hope that everyone’s chocolate cravings have been happily satisfied this holiday!


adrienne said...

I was one of the EIGHT! But I still have room in my heart for the others -- all marvelous -- thank you!

louise said...

Thanks, Adrienne! People often ask me which is my favorite of my truffle flavors, and it's a bit like trying to say which of your children you love the best. But I must confess that I do have a particularly soft spot for those peanut butter truffles myself! Glad you enjoyed them all...