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choco-logoThe Chocospherian

Incredible Chocolate News

February 2, 2019

Written By: Joanne Kryszek, Chocosphere Co-Founder and Chocolate Goddess, and the Chocosphere Team

Valentine's Day is Just a Kiss Away! Staff Picks
Incr‘Edible’ Chocolate Deals… Customer Service
What’s New? Newsletter
Recipe Corner Topics

Valentine's Day is Just a Kiss Away!

Do you want your sweetie to love you forever? The answer just might be something sweet to eat and more specifically CHOCOLATE!  We have many options here at Chocosphere to satisfy that Valentine's chocolate craving.

This year try one of our chocolate clubs to keep the love alive! Send at least 5 bars a month for the next 3, 6 or 12 months. Or if you want to send a variety of chocolate confections, we can send at least a pound of pure joy every month and you will get the reaction you deserve.

Or send a big basket of chocolate to the one you love. There are two Valentine’s Day Promotional baskets that are a great value and are lovingly created with hearts and red accents: the large Valentine's basket containing $130.00 in product for only $99.95 or the regular Valentine's basket containing $60.00 in product for only $49.95.

Another place to visit is the Product Type -> Gift Items -> Boxed Chocolates page where you will find many options for exquisite boxes of individually wrapped squares, Michel Cluizel, Valrhona, Amedei & Slitti bon bons and more.

Chocosphere has a long tradition of bringing Michel Cluizel's foil wrapped hearts for Valentine's Day and this year is no exception.  Newly arrived from France, the Milk Chocolate hearts (filled with praline) are covered in red foil and the Dark Chocolate hearts (filled with single-origin Los Ancones dark chocolate ganache) are covered in silver foil.  These hearts are sold in 250g Michel Cluizel logo bags, or for those who want to give a lot of these hearts they are sold in 1Kg and 2Kg bulk boxes.  We have a variety of gift wrapping options available at the "Add Gift Packaging" drop-down menu.

New from Michel Cluizel and also just arrived from Frrance is the 8 Chocolats Dark and Milk box, a delicious assortment of dark and milk enrobed filled chocolate bonbons.  The outside of the box is bright and colorful.  With red accents on the outside and a red chocolate heart as part of the assortment inside, this box makes a delightful gift for your Valentine.

Incr‘Edible’ Chocolate Deals

20 years and counting!!!

We’re still celebrating our 20th Anniversary!

Here's something chocolate that you can celebrate.  Put in an order for more than $100.00 in chocolate or other products and get a free 500 gram block of Domori Chuao, a $26.95 value at the original price! We bought way too much and it is just too good to pass up this deal. In the "Comments" section at checkout write “Free Domori Chuao Block”.  If your order qualifies we'll gladly send you one.  This offer is limited to orders placed during February 2019 and while supplies last.

This is also our 5th annivery of offering "If it fits, it ships" shipping at an economical price!  Orders sent "If it fits, it ships!" are sent either by Postal Priority Mail or Value shipping (we get to pick the shipper) for $10.95. This includes the shipping charge and warm weather packaging if it’s needed. "If it fits,it ships!" is valid for orders that can fit into one of the Postal special rate boxes or a box of our choosing. So we can try to fit as much as reasonably practical in the shipping box, you have to be willing to accept breakage as long as the wrappers remain intact.  "If it fits, it ships!" shipping can save a significant amount on shipping costs and is available only for orders placed on-line by the customer.

A Wide Variety at "On Sale" and "Bargain Basement" Prices!

Right now there are quite a few products at the On Sale page at 20% off. They include couverture and Slitti nut bars as well as lots of other choices. You just have to check it out. 

And don’t forget the Bargain Basement.  There is a good selection of products on the Bargain Basement page. This is your opportunity to try these items (for yourself as these products are usually past-date and thus not suitable for gift giving), with some two for the price of one, others at half price, or up to 60% off for the large Grab Bag..

What's New?

Pralus:  We've just received a shipment from France including individually wrapped chocolate tasting squares in bulk (previously available only in gift packs), Cocoa Powder and Hot Chocolate Mix in tins, two new large Infernale bars, a large dark chocolate and nib bar, and finally Hazelnut Almond Chocolate Spread a re-closable squeezable tube.

Ritual: We've managed to get our hands on the Limited Edition Enliven Cacao Nicaragua La Colonia  bar.  Try it while you can, because there are no more available from Ritual!

Valrhona: A new gift box containing 18 individually wrapped Guanaja dark chocolate squares has arrived from France!  This attractive new paperboard box is part of Valrhona's new environmental packaging initiative, replacing the prior metal tin with a box that is elegantly beautiful while being recyclable.

Almost new - Nina and Marana (update): In our last newsletter we introduced two new Peruvian bean-to-bar chocolate makers -- Nina and Marana.  At that time we had only a very limited stock available and we ran out of some of the types very quickly.  We just recevied new shipments from both Nina and Marana so now you can try those things that interest you but were out of stock by the time you got around to ordering.  Plus, we have some new Nina items including a 6-type 25g chocolate bar gift box assortment, plain roasted cacao nibs and chocolate covered roasted cacao nibs.

Staff Picks

This month Joanne, one of Chocosphere's co-founders, shares thoughts about some of her favorites

People ask me what I like and I honestly tell them it is hard to choose. I’ve been thinking about this a lot, and because we carry so many brands it actually gets harder and harder for me to narrow in on my tastes. We have been adding around 4 to 5 brands a year since we started. And for one reason or another we lose some brands each year. But there are some things that luckily stay around and they are forever imprinted on my chocolate noggin.

I took a walk through our warehouse late last week and I came up with 12 things and then narrowed it to these 5 that I'll tell you about here, and I'll tell you about other favorites another time.  You can buy some separately or you can buy all five items in the Staff Picks Assortment for a limited time with a nice discount while supplies last.

Cote d’Or Milk Chocolate:  This was my first true love of chocolate. Before 1995 you couldn’t get me to eat a bite of a chocolate bar. This bar changed me. It has a sweet undescribably delicious flavor that I attribute to the whey that is added. It makes a difference and introduced me to chocolate in a soft and gentle fashion. From there the rest is history.

Valrhona Guanaja: This bar has been my lover since the day we started Chocosphere.(Don’t tell Jerry).  It has a peppery, sultry, flavor note in this pure dark chocolate because Valrhona does amazing things with the beans. Sometimes with other things in life the memory tends to outshine the replay, but with Guanaja every time I try it, I find it to live up to the memory.

Domori Chuao:  Domori managed to get the genetically identical Chuao beans from the town of Chuao in Venezuela. The trees were planted somewhere else in Venezuela where they thrive and shine with the low heat, low impact processing from Domori. When I taste it I first get a beautiful smooth consistency and very little fruitiness. But in the middle of the melt in my mouth goodness a burst of tart cherry blasts through and then it transitions to a wonderful warm creaminess that lasts.

Slitti Mezze Luna: These half-moon candied orange slices are accented with cinnamon and then enrobed in 60% dark chocolate.  The Staff Picks Assortment contains a 200g bag of this item. You just have to try these to understand why they are a favorite. If you like orange and chocolate this one will bring you to a happy place and put a smile on your face.

Amedei Acero 95: This bar is the newest favorite of mine. It starts out without sweetness but a full and strong flavor of roasted cacao, melting slowly with a bitter hint and then the maple sugar evolves with a slight hint of sweetness that nicely rounds out this chocolate. At the end there is no bitterness only the long lasting taste of beautiful chocolate.

Recipe Corner

Thomas Keller's Brownie Recipe à la Joanne

Since we're featuring some of Joanne's chocolate favorites as our Staff Picks this month, it is only fitting that we feature her favorite chocolate brownie recipe in our Recipe Corner this month.  A friend who scaled the recipe up to a larger pan (more brownies is more better, right?) and adjusted the baking procedure slighly passed the recipe along.  Joanne likes her brownies a bit more chocolatey and a little less sweet, so she adjusted the recipe slightly to her taste and, in the case of vanilla, to what she had in the pantry.  Jerry approved 100%!

INGREDIENTS (for one 9" x 13" pan)

  • 1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 cup unsweetened alkalized (dutch processed) cocoa powder
  • 4-1/2 stick / 18 oz unsalted butter, divided into two sections.  2-1/4 sticks to be melted, and 2-1/4 sticks to be removed from the refrigerator for 15 minutes and cut up
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 9 ounces dark chocolate, 60% to 70% cacao.  If using chocolate in discs or blocs, chop into pieces approximately the size of typical cookie chips.  The precise size of the chopped chunks is not important.


  1. Preheat the oven to 350F (convection if available).
  2. If you use a metal or glass baking pan, butter and flour it. Use a mixture of half flour and half cocoa powder to "flour" the baking pan.  Set aside.  
  3. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, and salt; set aside
  4. Melt half the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  5. Put the remaining butter in a medium bowl. Pour the melted butter and stir to melt the butter. The butter should look creamy, with small bits of unmelted butter, and be at room temperature.
  6. In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, mix together the eggs and sugar on medium speed for about 3 minutes, or until thick and very pale.
  7. Mix in the vanilla.
  8. On low speed, add about one-third of the dry ingredients, then add one-third of the butter, and continue alternating the remaining flour and butter.
  9. Add the chocolate and mix to combine. (The batter can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.)
  10. Spread the batter evenly in the pan.
  11. Bake for 20 minutes, then lower temperature to 325F and bake another 15 minutes, until a cake tester or wooden skewer poked into the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs sticking to it. If the pick comes out wet, test a second time, because you may have hit a piece of chocolate chip; then bake for a few more minutes longer if necessary.
  12. Cool in the pan until the brownie is just a bit warmer than room temperature.
  13. Run a knife around the edges if not using a silicone mold, and invert the brownie onto a cutting board. Cut into 12 rectangles.

Chocophere has many chocolate and cocoa powder options at a range of price points that will work well in this recipe and lead to perhaps some of the best brownies you've ever tasted!

Customer Service

Of course we are happy to help over the phone, but we do appreciate it when you place your order on line. It helps us give the most prompt and accurate service. And when you need help, we are here for you. There is generally someone answering the phones between 8:30am. and 4:30pm. Pacific Time, Monday through Friday, with the exception of commonly observed holidays.

There are five of us answering phones at Chocosphere, where we speak fluent Chocospherian. We try hard to answer all calls personally during normal business hours, but occasionally one slips over to voice mail. If you call and end up in voice mail, please leave a message. We will do our very best to call back promptly. If by chance you don't hear back from us in a reasonable time, please call again during our normal business hours.

We each have varying levels of experience. It is our goal to happily serve you the very best chocolate!!

Finally, and very importantly, our web site lists our service commitments as to when we ship an order based on when the order is placed. However, we certainly understand there are circumstances where you may want us to process an order faster, when you need your chocolate “now”! If you need your order shipped faster than our listed service commitment, please place your order online letting us know of your need in the “Comments” section, and then call us (503-692-3323 x 0 for Customer Service) to let us know. We can't guarantee early shipping, but we always try hard to provide chocolate happiness to our valued customers.


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