Many are wondering if chocolate really is an aphrodisiac! After all, chocolate is the traditional gift of love, but does it really stimulate our libidos? The truth is that pure cocoa contains specific chemicals that may indeed stimulate our desire. Scientists believe the aphrodisiac qualities can be linked to three specific compounds that are present: Phenethylamine, Tryptophan, and Theobromine. Phenethylamine is released in the brain when people fall in love, and stimulates our "craving neurochemical", dopamine. Tryptophan is linked with serotonin, also referred to as a "feel good" chemical, creating pleasure, soothing pain, and playing a role in sexual arousal. And, Theobromine is a type of stimulant (similar to caffeine) that also helps elevate our mood. These three together help create heightened sensitivity, and a sense of euphoria.
This finest quality of chocolate should definitely be considered, since studies have shown that the quantities of these certain compounds found in cocoa are only present in minimal amounts. Perhaps the quantity is too small to have an effect?! Let's consider the response of the chocoholic when receiving this sweet treat as a gift. It is said that 99% of women love chocolate, describe it as sinful, and some even prefer it to sex! You decide if calling chocolate an aphrodisiac is a bit of an exaggeration. The gift of chocolate has been a symbol of romance for many years. Even if it is only "in your mind,” eating this delectable goody does make you feel good, and just thinking about chocolate can arouse a pleasurable response!
Everyone has different tastes when it comes to chocolate. Your best friend may love white chocolate, while you are more of a dark chocolate fan. No matter what type of chocolate treat you are craving today, make sure you are getting the good stuff!
Good chocolate should contain cocoa, cocoa solids, and cocoa butter. If the primary ingredient in your treat is milk or sugar, the quality of the chocolate will not be as great. Good chocolate has a higher percentage of cocoa (or cacao, depending on the labels), which means more of the chocolate bar or truffle is made from actual chocolate.
High-quality chocolate treats will have no preservatives or paraffin wax in them. These additives will make the chocolate last longer on the shelf, but you pay a price in taste. When you visit a chocolate confectionery shop, ask them what chocolate they use. If the chocolatier is not willing to tell you his or her source with pride, keep walking! The chocolate supplier makes a huge difference in making good chocolate or making “just okay” chocolate.
Open up your box of chocolates and take a big whiff! What do you smell? If you smell chocolate, great! If your chocolate doesn’t smell like anything, there is a chance the chocolate has not been made or stored well. If your chocolate smells like something besides chocolate, toss it! Chocolate can take on other smells from foods in your refrigerator or cupboards.
Finding out if you have quality chocolate can be as easy as tasting it. When you put a piece of chocolate or truffle into your mouth, does it melt in your mouth? Does it leave a filmy residue in your mouth? Can you still taste the chocolate as an aftertaste?
If chocolates or caramels melt in your mouth, that indicates that there are little to no preservatives or paraffin wax mixed in with the chocolate. Quality chocolate treats also will not leave a filmy residue in your mouth, which comes from the additives.
Good chocolate does not have a gritty taste in your mouth because confectioners use a lot of cocoa butter to make the chocolate high quality. The taste of good chocolate also lingers in your mouth for a little bit, so you can savor the taste!
At Dorinda’s Chocolates, we pride ourselves in making our chocolate from fresh ingredients and quality chocolate. We use premium Valrhona Chocolate, which uses gourmet cocoa harvested from their own cocoa plantations in Venezuela and the Dominican Republic.
The caramels at Dorinda’s Chocolates are a testament to our dedication to making the best treats. We use real honey instead of high fructose corn syrup to make our famous Sea Salt Caramels. Beware: once you try our caramels, there is no going back to lesser caramel delights!
Stop by our stores in Squaw Valley, The Village at NorthStar Ski Resort in Truckee, and our two Reno locations on the Riverwalk and at The Summit. You can see for yourself that our chocolates are a taste above the rest!
Happy New Year! As we enter into 2016, many people are determined to get healthy as part of a New Year’s Resolution! Incorporate chocolate into your plan to get healthy, and you will start to see the benefits. Take it from the experts: chocolate is good for your health and is worth keeping in your diet.
The nutritional value of chocolate is more noticeable in the purer forms of chocolate, especially dark chocolate. A candy bar does not hurt every now and then, but the chocolate with the most nutrition is the dark chocolate with a high cacao percentage around 70-85%.
When are you looking for good chocolate to add to your New Year’s health kick, it is best to look for chocolate that has a cacao percentage above 60%. The higher the cacao level, the more the nutritional benefits! A higher cacao level also indicates that the chocolate will taste more bitter than milk chocolate.
Chocolate can actually protect your sun against skin damage. Chocolate has antioxidants! The amount of flavonoids, a specific type of antioxidant, in chocolate can be five times higher than the amount found in an apple!
For pregnant women, those chocolate cravings can actually help prevent complications of pregnancy like preeclampsia. Studies have shown pregnant women who consume chocolate each week have a much lower risk of preeclampsia.
Just like exercising, eating chocolate releases endorphins. Endorphins are hormones released into the brain that affect your mood. Looking for a pick me up? Take a bite or two of some delicious dark chocolate and let the magic happen!
The tasty treat can also improve brain function! The theobromine and caffeine in the chocolate act as stimulants that can increase the blood flow to improve brain function. If you have a slump in the middle of the day, consider keeping some good chocolate by your desk for a midday pick-me-up.
Chocolate can lower your cholesterol. Ditch the bran cereal, and instead you can use your chocoholic craving for good! Dark chocolate can lower your risk of cardiovascular disease. Chocolate has a lot of soluble fiber and minerals.
They key to having healthy chocolate is to limit your portions. To all of our beloved chocoholics, quality is more important than quantity. Indulge in a few bites of really good chocolate to experience the health benefits instead of eating an entire box of chocolate candy.
If you simply cannot resist the chocolate urge, sign up for our Chocolate of the Month Club at Dorinda’s Chocolates in order to have a steady supply of chocolate at all times! Explore our dark chocolate options to get the most benefits from chocolate.
Try some of our classic truffles through our website from the comfort of your own home, or stop by one of our many locations! Dorinda’s Chocolates now has stores in Reno on the Riverwalk and at The Summit, at The Village at NorthStar Ski Resort in Truckee, and our Squaw Valley store!
Halloween is just around the corner! t’s almost time for trick-or-treating! Unleash your inner trick-or-treater by finding candy shops that create delicious treats for big kids, too!
For our fellow chocoholics who have an occasional sweet tooth beyond a visit to a chocolate shop, we have created a list of the top candy shops to visit in your lifetime. The sugar cravings travel across continents as we explore candy stores all over the world!
In the heart of New York City, Dylan’s Candy Bar brings out the child in all of us. With colorful and gummy treats for all ages, Dylan’s Candy Bar satisfies that sweet tooth while being hip and cool with pop culture. Your candy can make a statement or be the celebrated guest at your next party!
Dylan’s Candy Bar is a sweet icon and has been featured on shows like Gossip Girl and Project Runway. The flagship store in New York City remains a top tourist attraction to this day! You can also visit a Dylan’s Candy Bar satellite store in cities like Los Angeles or Chicago.
Candylicious is the world’s largest candy shop! Candylicious at the Dubai Mall is also the home of Spun Candy, where you can watch the wizard candymakers create candy like lollipops and gummies from scratch.
Imagine a real-life version of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory -- 10,000 sq ft of sugary wonder, and there are even lollipop trees!
The Old Dutch Candy Shop is a perfect place for you to have candy with a side of history! The Old Dutch Candy Shop was created in the style of an old fashioned candy shop, and you can see shelves lined with jars of sugary treats!
The Old Dutch Candy Shop is also known as Het Oud-Hollands Snoepwinkeltje, since a sugar craving knows no language barriers! The Old Dutch Candy Shop offers traditional Dutch candies like liquorice and caramels.
Papabubble is the place to go for some of the greatest artisanal caramels on the planet. Watch as the masters make candies right in front of your eyes as your gobble up free samples. If you don’t have the air miles for a quick trip to Tokyo, try Dorinda’s award-winning Sea Salt Caramels!
Try sugary experiments like caramel toothbrushes and candy sushi at one of the Papabubble locations in Tokyo, Seoul, Taipei, Amsterdam, Barcelona, and New York.
There are candy shops around the world, but you can also get world class level sweets at Dorinda’s Handcrafted Chocolates. Our caramels are truly sinful for those moments when you want something sweet and chewy that is not chocolate.
Entertain your Halloween guests or coworkers with our “Halloween bones” treat: pretzels dipped in white chocolate and handmade marshmallows with a scary chocolate face! For your next fall bash, entice your friends with our delicious Pumpkin Truffles. Stop by our Dorinda’s Chocolates locations in Reno and Squaw Valley to find other fun Halloween treats!
Many of us LOVE chocolate enough to want to make homemade gourmet chocolates every day, but how do you know if you should become a chocolatier? There are a few steps involved in becoming a chocolate master besides loving all kinds of chocolate!
The process of making chocolate from cacao tree to your dessert plate includes different types of chocolate experts, from harvesters to chocolate makers and chocolatiers! What could be the difference between a chocolate maker and a chocolatier?
A chocolate maker creates chocolate using a combination cacao beans and other ingredients. A chocolatier makes chocolate confectionery like truffles, bark, and fondue out of chocolate. Chocolatiers use skills like tempering chocolate to make all sorts of delicious chocolaty treats.
If your chocolate expertise is currently limited to experiments in your kitchen or visits to the local chocolate candy shop, consider getting some official training to become a chocolatier! Dorinda Vance became a chocolate expert after learning about chocolate from Ecole Chocolat and Barry Callebaut in Chicago!
At chocolate school (which sounds like the most fun type of school, don’t you think?), you learn all about the different types of chocolate, skills like tempering chocolate, and the science of chocolate. There are very specific formulas involving ganache, fondant, and different sugars. You will also come to understand how chocolate can have different textures depending on its source and how it is prepared!
Once you complete a professional training program to become a chocolatier, the next step many aspiring chocolatiers take is the step of working as an apprentice underneath the tutelage of a real professional chocolatier.
When you spend your time working for a seasoned professional, you will get a better sense for what may be your chocolatier specialty. Do one thing incredibly well while you learn how to make all of your other chocolaty treats as delicious!
You will make a bad batch or two as you learn -- do not panic or give up! Experimenting and some chocolaty failures will help you learn and grow to understand what combinations do work. It took many great minds and thousands of years to hone the craft of a chocolatier so far, so have some patience as you learn about the textures and combinations of chocolates through trial and error.
We must warn you that spending all of this time around chocolate may cause you to crave the really good stuff like gourmet handmade chocolates even more than an occasional candy bar. When you have that chocoholic craving and are not in the mood to make chocolate for yourself, stop by Dorinda’s Chocolates, with locations in Reno and Squaw Valley!
Taste the skill of the tempering and confectionery chemistry with our Caramelia Melt Away or the Toasty Blonde! For the serious chocoholics, join our Chocolate of the Month Club so you can have some chocolate treats stashed away when your next craving hits.
Stop by and try some gourmet chocolate at Dorinda’s Handcrafted Chocolates today!
Chocolate is one of the greatest things in the history of the world. But what about the history of chocolate? When did this magical, delicious treat come to us?
The history of chocolate all began in the Amazon Rainforest thousands of years ago! The cacao tree grows in tropical areas in Central and South America, Southeast Asia, and West Africa. Inside the fruit of the cacao tree, also known as a pod, there are cacao beans. The cacao beans are what make up cocoa and chocolate.
The Aztecs invented chocolate over 3,000 years ago not as a dessert treat, but rather as a beverage. What could be better than drinking chocolate? Those who had the chance to drink the celebratory beverage made of cacao beans were high-status in the Aztec world. When the Spanish conquistadors came to the Aztec empire, they fell in love with this scrumptious chocolate beverage that they had never had before.
Imagine living back then with the Aztecs when the only people who experienced the joy of chocolate were the elite. These days you can live like the king or queen you are with gourmet chocolate any day of the week! The Latin name for the cacao tree is Theobroma cacao, which means “food of the gods.” Those Latin dudes knew what they were talking about!
Just as technology has developed over the ages, so has the technology of chocolate. Chocolate doesn’t just come off of the tree as magical truffles -- perfection takes time. The cacao beans are harvested and then ground into powdered form. Once cacao beans are ground into powdered form, the substance is called cocoa!
It took awhile for us measly humans to understand how to make chocolate out of the pods from the “food of the gods,” but we got there! In the sixteenth century, Spanish nuns sweetened their chocolate by adding delicious things like honey, sugar, and cinnamon. Cocoa on its own can be quite bitter, so these nuns were very clever to add sweetness to the rich chocolate.
The journey of trial and error with chocolate continued for much longer. It wasn’t until 1657 when the first chocolate house opened in London that people started to add milk to chocolate instead of water -- can you believe it?
Chocolate has been so important to humans that in the 1980’s there were even chocolate spies! At Dorinda’s Chocolates, we understand just how significant chocolate can be. Now that you know the full story of how chocolate came to be one of the most delicious creations on the planet, indulge in some chocolate of historical significance! Get the good stuff.
At Dorinda’s Chocolates, we use only the best ingredients to make heavenly chocolate treats that entice your palate. Some of our favorites here at Dorinda’s Chocolates include the Award-Winning Sea Salt Caramels and our famous Tahoe Bark, which is made of dark chocolate and toffee.
Stop by Dorinda’s Chocolates and find more history-making chocolate today!
You have purchased delicious chocolate treats or made your own chocolate to give to friends and family as gifts. How do you preserve the quality of the chocolate over time? Store your chocolate properly with our helpful tips from your friends at Dorinda’s!
Chocolate absorbs other scents, so make sure to store your chocolate away from anything odorous like onions or strong-smelling herbs. The part of chocolate that is a smell-absorber is the fat of the cocoa butter. The different smells will be absorbed by the chocolate, and when you bite into your chocolate treats you will be tasting all of those other flavors!
Keep your chocolate away from direct sunlight, as the sunlight will warm the chocolate and cause problems. Another enemy of chocolate is moisture, as water can spoil chocolates! Keep your chocolates stored in a cool, dry place out of reach from pets and devious chocolate thieves.
The higher ratio of cacao to milk or cream, the longer the chocolate will last. Dark chocolates can be stored for up to one or two years, while milk chocolate and white chocolate are best if consumed within six months to one year.
Chocolate truffles should be consumed within 7-10 days, since they have delicious fresh ingredients on the inside! If you must store chocolate truffles, store them for no longer than three to four months.
If you are storing baked goods like chocolate chip cookies, the storage rules are a little different. Baked goods will not last as long as chocolates, so share the chocolate baked treats so they don’t spoil or go stale!
Storing chocolate in a hot area will cause the fat to rise to the top of the chocolate, forming a white film layer over the chocolates. Storing chocolate at too cool of a temperature will mess with the sugar in the chocolate and cause blooming.
So what’s the magic number? Our friends at Chocoley suggest storing your chocolate at 55°F to 68°F in an area where there is less than 50% humidity.
Preservatives in large brand chocolates ensure that the chocolate keeps for a very long time. Purchasing artisanal chocolates like Dorinda’s gourmet handcrafted chocolates means purchasing chocolate with little to no preservatives.
Instead of buying in bulk, buy enough chocolate to take care of you for a month at a time. The fresher the chocolate, the more delicious!
Cannot get enough of our Sea Salt Caramels? Add them on to your chocolate subscription so you will always have chocolate treats available in case of a chocolate emergency.
With help from fellow chocoholics at Dorinda’s Handcrafted Chocolates, maintain and protect your chocolate stash at all times.