Take the Bitter with the Sweet.

Yes, go for it! Go ahead and be bitter! Today you can be! Today is National Bittersweet Chocolate Day! Start indulging in your favorite chocolate until the bitter end! Am I getting a little carried away here? I’m sorry! I don’t mean to be obnoxious, but there are just to many perfect ways to express today’s bittersweet day! And just because it’s a day for bittersweet chocolate, it doesn’t mean you have to forget about your milk chocolate. Because we’ve got them all covered today to celebrate Hachez all the way from Germany.

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Let’s first explore what makes chocolate bittersweet:

  • Legally, at least 35 percent pure chocolate with some small amount of sugar added.
  • Also known as: dark chocolate, when it is a European brand.
  • Characteristics: Usually darker and less sweet than semisweet.
  • No legal specifications for the term so not always darker and less sweet.
  • Semisweet and bittersweet can be used in baking interchangeably, depending on personal preferences.
  • Specific sweetness and color intensity varies by manufacturer’s recipes and cacao bean sources.
  • Uses: Baking and eating.

Source: Better Homes & Gardens (Chocolate Types, Selection & Storage)

So, let’s get this (tasty) bitterness out of the way, shall we? Let’s start with these two bittersweet chocolates made by Hachez. The Ecuador green package is a 58% cocoa and the São Tomé blue package is 73% cocoa. How bitter do you like to go?! Missing from our group would be the Madagascar in blue-violet package at 75% cocoa.

Hachez can impress even the best dark chocolate connoisseur. I thought I was a dark chocolate expert until I had some of the darkest Hachez chocolate (I believe 88% is my favorite) and I was blown away! It’s not overly bitter, it’s not “dry” or tastes chalky, it’s just a smooth, chocolatey taste that is very enjoyable! I tried both of these below and they are very good!

 

Back in 1890 Joseph E. Hachez refined superior cocoa from South America according to a simple recipe. The secret to perfect chocolate quality involves roasting the cocoa bean batch, meticulous conching and use of natural ingredients. We still adhere to this recipe today. Enjoy our chocolate compositions handcrafted with love and painstaking care.

Source: Hachez (Product Packaging)

Even though it’s “bittersweet” day, below I thought I would share a photo of some of the Hachez superior milk chocolate, influenced by Venezuela at 43% cocoa and in a yellow package. Silky, smooth milk chocolate, very dreamy and delicious!

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We will be exploring Hachez chocolates some more in the future, so expect to see more delicious chocolate from them coming to the blog! We will also be exploring Hachez’s Taste Navigator in a future post, so look out for that, soon!

To end the post for today, I had to share one of my favorite songs from back in the day, “Bittersweet” by Big Head Todd and the Monsters. Enjoy!

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Getting Saucy.

What better way to celebrate National Spaghetti Day than to introduce to you all a recipe for some homemade pasta sauce? I am getting tired of the same old watered down, store-bought, flavorless pasta sauces. Making your own homemade sauce is the most simple thing to do and it’s not very time-consuming at all. I have to admit, when I did pull this recipe, I didn’t realize that the sauce DOES need to simmer for about 2 hours, but it turned out fine – my husband and I weren’t quite hungry at the time I was making the sauce, and the kids wanted something else besides spaghetti, so we fed them and patiently waited for our sauce to simmer. And it was WELL. WORTH. THE. WAIT!

The following recipe was taken from AllRecipes.com and I have adapted it just a bit. I used Italian sausage instead of using ground beef. I figure, go big or go home. Spice up your life a little bit! And I’d like to introduce to you Oro Di Parma Tomato Paste. I used this tomato paste with the recipe below.

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This tomato paste comes four different ways: triple concentrated, seasoned with vegetables, seaonsed with basil and spicy hot. I also used Oro Di Parma Chopped Tomatoes for my chopped tomatoes required for the recipe. So without further delay, I will provide the following recipe with my changes!

Easy Spaghetti with Tomato Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces spaghetti
  • 1 pound Italian sausage
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons dried minced onion
  • 2 1/2 cups Oro Di Parma Chopped Tomatoes
  • 1 1/3 cans (6 ounces) Oro Di Parma Tomato Paste (these tubes are 7.02 ounces, it’s triple concentrated, so I used about 4 ounces, just over half a tube)
  • 1 (4.5 ounce) can sliced mushrooms (I actually used a full 8 ounce can!)

Directions:

  1. Brown Italian sausage over medium heat. Drain off fat.
  2. In a large pot, combine Italian sausage, salt, sugar, oregano, pepper, garlic powder, onion flakes, chopped tomatoes, tomato paste and mushrooms. Simmer at a low heat setting for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  3. Cook pasta accordingly to package directions. Drain. Serve sauce over spaghetti.
  4. Enjoy and Happy National spaghetti Day!

 

As with all sauces, at least when it comes to pasta dishes, the longer it sits, the better it tastes. I made this the other night and I had leftovers and the sauce was even better the next day! Use this sauce for making lasagna as well! And as with all sauces, it will take time to tweak it and make it your own. While this tomato sauce came out excellent, there are a few things I’d maybe change-up for next time. I might add some fresh chopped garlic, more fresh items and what not, but delicious!

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Cookie Assortment!

It’s time to recap the delicious, tasty, yummy assortment of cookies I’ve shared thus far, because it’s National Cookie Day! So today’s post is dedicated to the many cookies we love to nibble on! What is your favorite cookie? Share with us your favorites! There are more cookies to come, but for now, enjoy the ones below! Some of these are just in time for the holidays and perfect for gift giving and sharing! Below are links to the cookie posts and then beyond that – let your eyes wonder at the tasty cookies in the galleries!

Wicklein Burggraf Lebkuchen with nuts.

Wicklein Pfeffernüsse Cookie.

Wicklein Chocolate Covered Eilsen-Gingerbread.

Shortbread House of Edinburgh.

Bahlsen Hit Sandwich Cookies.

Ambrosiana Ferri Di Cavallo Shortbread with Dark Chocolate

Ambrosiana Fior Di Neve Chocolate Hazelnut Cream Shortbread.

Ambrosiana Pralinati Hazelnut Cream Shortbread.

Jacobsens Butter Cookies.

 

 

Enjoy National Chocolates Day!

Happy Wednesday! According to Foodimentary.com, today is National Chocolates Day! What chocolate are you nibbling on today? I am going to share my chocolate(s) that I am celebrating today, and that would be Butlers Chocolates. They are a favorite of mine! I even want to say this blog has some early roots in sharing the love of Butlers Chocolates in one of the first posts made here!

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It’s true! I have bars hidden in my cupboards and I always forget that I stash them from the children. When I find a bar hidden amongst the items in my cupboards it’s like I have hit jackpot! And then… I hope… that a child is not near by when I make my discovery… because yes… I really don’t want to share! I’m so bad!

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And do we all know that Butlers Chocolates originates from Ireland? So, really, I suppose I am celebrating “International” Chocolates Day!  Butlers Chocolates isn’t all chocolates, they make a variety of products:

In addition to luxurious milk, dark and white speciality chocolate assortments, Butlers Chocolates produce creamy toffee, soft fudge, deliciously moreish chocolate filled and solid chocolate bars, enticing milk chocolate truffles delicately flavoured with famous liquors, hot chocolate and enchanting seasonal collections at Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Easter!

Source: Butlers Chocolates (Our Heritage)

Speaking of CHRISTMAS, these chocolates make awesome stocking stuffers, host and/or hostess gifts, or a perfect gift to pass around the office during the holiday season.

Have you tried Bulters Chocolates before? If so, tell me what your favorite! My inquiring mind wants to know!