Health Benefits of Chocolate

Posted on January 01, 2016 by Dorinda Vance | 0 Comments

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.

gourmet chocolate Reno

Which Chocolate is Healthy?

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.

Dark Chocolate Health Benefits

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.

Chocolate And Your Brain

gourmet chocolate Summit South Reno

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 for Heart Health

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.

Everything in Moderation

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.

Dorinda’s Chocolates

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!

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The Perfect Chocolate Gift

Posted on December 19, 2015 by Dorinda Vance | 0 Comments

The holidays are a wonderful opportunity to show your loved ones how much you care about them. Chocolate can be the perfect gift for an occasion, and you have a huge variety of options when it comes to chocolate presents.

Types of Chocolate Gifts

There are so many options for giving a chocolate gift, since there are different types of gifts. You can go with a standard box of milk chocolate or dark chocolate truffles that can be enjoyed immediately.

Another type of gift option is the DIY or kit option. One of our favorites is the Gourmet S’Mores Kit, since it can be a fun one to share. Want to give a present for a date night? Try a chocolate fondue kit, or surprise your special someone with homemade chocolate covered strawberries.

Chocolate Gifts for Chocolate Lovers

chocolate gift box

The first step in choosing a chocolate gift for a friend or family member is identifying what they love about chocolate. Is your aunt obsessed with dark chocolate? Make sure to get her a present that highlights dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate. If one of your children is obsessed with Oreos, he will love a package of hand-dipped Dori-O’s as a chocolate gift.

Are you looking to get a present for a serious chocoholic in your family? A subscription to the Chocolate of the Month Club with Dorinda’s Chocolates can be an unforgettable gift. This chocolate gift option keeps on giving, as your chocoholic is reminded of your love with a delivery of chocolates chosen by Dorinda each month! If you live with your chocoholic, you can benefit from The Chocolate of the Month Club as well -- that is, if your chocoholic is willing to share!

Chocolate Gifts for Your Budget

 

Do you want to give chocolate gifts to coworkers, extended family, and friends? Get the most out of your holiday gift budget with treats like Peppermint Bark or Dorinda’s famous Tahoe Bark. Let your friends try a sampler size of one of these chocolate treats, and you can add a personal touch by wrapping these and adding a personalized note.

Another great stocking stuffer and budget-friendly chocolate present is our Hot Cocoa Cones. One Hot Cocoa Cone makes three cups of delicious hot cocoa, and these treats are available in sets of three so you can get one for each family member!

Chocolate Gifts from Dorinda’s Chocolates

At Dorinda’s Chocolates, our gourmet handcrafted chocolates make the perfect chocolate gift for this holiday season. You can even order chocolate gifts online to get gourmet gifts without having to take off your slippers and go out in the cold!

Stop by to visit our new locations! We now have locations open in Squaw Valley, downtown Reno, The Summit Mall in south Reno, and The Village at Northstar Ski Resort in Truckee. We must warn you, it is difficult to walk into our stores and smell the chocolate without ending up tasting some delicious chocolate. We know you are just trying a truffle to make sure your loved one will love the chocolate gift you are giving them. Your secret is safe with us!

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Learning From a Chocolate Master

Posted on December 04, 2015 by Dorinda Vance | 0 Comments

Some of us are chocolate connoisseurs, and others are chocolate masters! Becoming a chocolate master takes passion and dedication, and lots of training! Dorinda Vance is committed to making the best gourmet handcrafted chocolates possible, so Dorinda went to Costa Mesa recently to learn from the one and only chocolate master Stéphane Tréand!

Chocolate Master Stéphane Tréand

Stéphane Tréand is the ultimate Chocolate Master. He is known around the world as a chocolate craftsman and pastry chef. Tréand even has a ton of awards to prove it! Stéphane Tréand received the Meilleur Ouvrier de France, which is the National Government Award for Best Craftsman in France. The competition for this award in France is often considered the Olympics of Chocolate. What a tasty competition! Tréand lives in Costa Mesa, CA, where he makes delicious chocolate magic at St Pâtisserie Chocolat and also teaches the art of crafting chocolate truffles and pastries to passionate chocolatiers like Dorinda Vance. The pastries at St Pâtisserie Chocolat are definitely worth a road trip. 

Dorinda’s Chocolate Master Training

Dorinda's Chocolates Village at Northstar

Dorinda Vance has had a passion for making chocolate since she was young, which started with her famous Chocolate Covered Cherries. Dorinda learned about the science of chocolate at Ecole Chocolat and the art of making chocolate at Berry Callebaut. Chocolate master must always continue learning new tricks of the trade, so Dorinda spent a weekend earning a certificate of study by training with Stéphane Tréand.

Spending a weekend training with Stéphane Tréand in Costa Mesa was so great because it confirmed that we are using the best chocolate-making processes around. At Dorinda’s Chocolates, we make our handcrafted chocolates using the same techniques as chocolate masters of the highest professional level!

Chocolate Masters Use The Best Ingredients

Valrhona chocolate gourmet

Chocolate masters like Stéphane Tréand and our very own Dorinda Vance know that you have to use quality ingredients to make the best gourmet chocolate treats. At Dorinda’s Chocolates, we use Valrhona Chocolate, which is Fair Trade gourmet chocolate from France. Valrhona Chocolate grows their own cocoa on plantations in Venezuela and the Dominican Republic to make sure their cocoa is of the highest quality.

At Dorinda’s Chocolates, our gourmet handmade chocolates are made without preservatives or paraffin wax to make sure you get the pure gourmet chocolate experience without any junk added. We use the finest ingredients like Valrhona Chocolate to make our hand-dipped and handmade gourmet chocolates, and you can taste the difference.

How Do I Become A Chocolate Master?

It takes years of training to become a chocolate master, but you can still be an expert in your love for chocolate! You can start your journey to becoming a chocoholic by trying good chocolate and knowing what a difference quality ingredients can make for chocolate treats. Try a wide variety of chocolate truffles and more by signing up for our Chocolate of the Month Club here at Dorinda’s Chocolates!

Stop by any of our Dorinda’s Chocolates locations at The Summit Reno, The Village at Northstar Ski Resort, Reno’s Downtown Riverwalk, and Squaw Valley to see what makes our chocolate the gourmet chocolate standard.

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How to Become a Chocolatier

Posted on September 22, 2015 by Dorinda Vance | 0 Comments

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!

What Is A Chocolatier?

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.

Chocolatier Training

how to become a chocolatier

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!

Work With A Pro

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.

Taste The Difference

how to become a chocolatier

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!

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The Tasty History of Chocolate

Posted on September 03, 2015 by Dorinda Vance | 0 Comments

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?

In The Beginning

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!

From The Pod to The Table

history of chocolate

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?

 

 

 

 



History In The Making

history of chocolate

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!

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How to Store Chocolate

Posted on August 26, 2015 by Dorinda Vance | 0 Comments

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!

Where to Store Chocolate 

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. 

Store Different Types of Chocolate 

how to store chocolateThe 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!

Not Too Hot or Too Cold

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.

How Long to Store Chocolate

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!

Always Have Fresh Chocolate on Hand

how to store chocolateKeep a constant supply of delicious chocolate in your house or office without worrying about the chocolate lasting longer than a month by signing up for Dorinda’s Chocolate of the Month Club. When you become a Chocolate of the Month member, you will get a monthly delivery of chocolate treats hand-selected by Dorinda herself.


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.

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Chocolate & Wine: The Perfect Couple

Posted on August 07, 2015 by Dorinda Vance | 1 Comment

A beautiful summer night calls for a beautiful combination of chocolate and wine. Watch the sunset as you take your palate on a journey through the magical world of wine and chocolate.

A Simple Rule

When in doubt, start with a wine that is as sweet as the chocolate if not a little bit sweeter than the chocolate. This will help your palate bounce back and forth between the chocolate and wine instead of experiencing a shocking jolt when transitioning from sweet chocolate to a perhaps bitter wine.

The Body of the Wine and Chocolate

 

 

wine and chocolate

When pairing chocolate and wine, you will want to pair heavier wines with heavier chocolates, and lighter wines with lighter chocolates. This concept does not mean white chocolate goes with a white wine necessarily.

When we talk about the body or depth, we should be thinking about the fullness or density of the chocolate and the wine. Is it thick and creamy? Thick and creamy chocolate will pair with a different wine than a light chocolate. A strong chocolate will pair better with a fuller-bodied wine than a lighter wine. A white chocolate goes with a tame chardonnay before it goes with a malbec. 

Dessert Wines

If you are looking for a wine to go with a decadent chocolate dessert, put what white zinfandel away and pick up a dessert wine like a port. You won’t need as much wine in quantity, but the combination will make your taste buds sing!

At special occasions you may find yourself with a champagne flute filled with sparkling wine around dessert time. Fear not; sparkling wines can be really fun with desserts! White chocolate and champagne or moscato is a fun and light combination. This pairing is a nice alternative to the rich, dark chocolate and port pairing. Between wine and chocolate, there is something for everyone!

Better Quality = Better Pairing

It is possible that the greatest wine ever cannot make a bad chocolate good. Don’t put a 10 with a 2 -- it will just never work out! Instead, try a few different wines and chocolates of a good quality so you can really see what goes well together. This does not mean you have to break the bank to have a good night, but treat yourself because you deserve it!

Get Adventurous

Sometimes the best pairings of wine and chocolate are those least expected. Get crazy and experiment with different combinations you thought you would never like. If you come into this with an open mind, you can make a night of fun pairings with different chocolates and wines!

Wine and Dorinda’s Chocolates

wine and chocolate

Pair Dorinda’s Chocolates with different wines at Fine Vines Cheese & Wines on Wednesday, August 19 at 6 PM. Get your tickets now!

At Dorinda’s Chocolates, we can also bring the chocolate to you for your night of experimenting with different chocolates and wines. Whether you are having a night out at Fine Vines Cheese & Wines or hosting a special night of your own, Dorinda’s Chocolates can provide the chocolates for your fun evening!

If you have a bottle of wine that is in need of a friend, stop by Dorinda’s for an assortment of handmade gourmet chocolates. We have a huge assortment of different chocolates for you to explore different tastes and pairings! Share your wine and chocolate experience with your friends. It is a fun way to get together and try new things! Happy pairing from all of us at Dorinda’s.

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