How to Tell You Have Good Chocolate

Posted on January 28, 2016 by Dorinda Vance | 0 Comments

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 Ingredients for Good Chocolate

good chocolate Dorinda's Truckee

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.

Smell Your 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.

The Taste Test

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!

Good Chocolate at Dorinda’s

Dorinda's Chocolates NorthStar Truckee

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!

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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 Make Hot Chocolate

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

The winter season is upon us, and we start to get that “curl up next to a fire and drink hot chocolate as we watch the snow fall” feeling. Make your very own delicious hot chocolate from scratch with a few helpful tips from us at Dorinda’s Chocolates!

Hot Chocolate Ingredients

You can make hot chocolate using cocoa powder and milk or by melting your own chocolate, depending on how much time you want to take and how decadent you want your hot chocolate to be. If you make your hot chocolate with cocoa powder, add some creaminess back in with evaporated milk or half and half cream. Sweeten your hot cocoa with sugar and add flavor with a dash of vanilla extract!

hot chocolate northstar village truckeeAn epic hot chocolate recipe starts with good ingredients, like all amazing chocolate treats do. The quality of the chocolate you use will make a huge difference in how the hot chocolate turns out in the end. Too much semi-sweet chocolate could make your hot chocolate bitter, so use a combination of semi-sweet chocolate and milk chocolate to balance the chocolate flavor. Hot chocolate from scratch starts with heating milk and half and half and adding chocolate in so the heat of the milk melts the chocolate. YUM!

Famous Hot Chocolate

We are big fans of famous chocolatier Jacques Torres. His hot chocolate recipe is phenomenal! Jacques Torres uses corn starch and heavy whipping cream in his hot chocolate to make the liquid chocolate beverage even more rich and creamy.

how to make hot chocolate Village at Northstar Truckee

Another life-changing hot chocolate experience is available in New York City at City Bakery, which is liquid chocolate with their popular homemade marshmallows! Serendipity 3’s famous Frrrozen Hot Chocolate in New York City is also a huge tourist attraction that is perfect for any time of year!

Don’t Forget the Marshmallows!

While the hot chocolate may be the main event, our inner child demands marshmallows! Add marshmallows immediately after pouring to encourage the marshmallows to melt into the hot chocolate.

If you want to take your gourmet hot chocolate made from scratch to the next level, add homemade marshmallows! You can make your own marshmallows with gelatin, sugar syrup, and vanilla. For special seasonal flavored marshmallows, add peppermint extract and red food dye for peppermint marshmallows to go with your hot chocolate!

Hot Cocoa Cones

Not everyone has the time or ingredients to craft some gourmet hot chocolate this winter, but you can give them the gift of hot chocolate made easy! At Dorinda’s Chocolates, we have Hot Cocoa Cones with cocoa powder, chocolate chips, and marshmallows! Keep your house stocked with ingredients for delicious hot chocolate by grabbing a few of this hot cocoa cones. Everything is already measured, which makes this hot chocolate trick perfect for kids.

Looking for some fun Christmas gifts? Hot cocoa cones from Dorinda’s Chocolates are perfect stocking stuffers! Stop by our stores at The Summit Mall in South Reno, The Village at Northstar in Truckee, our Squaw Valley location, or our downtown Reno location on the Truckee River Riverwalk!

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Different Flavors & Types of Chocolate

Posted on October 23, 2015 by Dorinda Vance | 0 Comments

Chocolate is a majestic creation that comes in many forms. Do you know all of the different types of chocolate? There are varying flavors of chocolate like dark, milk, and white chocolate. There are also different types of chocolate that are used for various chocolatey intentions. Become a chocolate expert by reading this quick and easy list!

Dark Chocolate

 types of chocolate

Dark chocolate contains cocoa butter, sugar, and chocolate liquor. Chocolate liquor is not what chocolatinis are made of -- chocolate liquor is the term for the liquid created by grinding up the center of cocoa beans.

This type of chocolate can range in cocoa percentages. A higher percentage of cocoa indicates that the chocolate will be more pure and likely less sweet.

Milk Chocolate

Milk chocolate is the most common type of chocolate, since many people long for the creaminess of milk chocolate. Milk chocolate must be made up of at least 12% chocolate liquor in order to be considered milk chocolate. Try milk chocolate combined with many different flavors with our Milk Chocolate Assorted Boxes!

White Chocolate

Many have wondered how white chocolate can count as chocolate. White chocolate is made of cocoa butter, but it does not contain any cocoa solids. Instead, this type of chocolate contains only the fatty part -- the cocoa butter -- as well as milk and sugar.

Though white chocolate’s legitimacy as a true type of chocolate is heavily disputed, your love of white chocolate can be very real. Some of our favorite white chocolate truffles include our Lemon Truffle and Lemon Raspberry Truffle because white chocolate goes really well with nice fruity or citrus flavors!

Regular Chocolate

“Regular Chocolate” sounds like an odd term. Does this mean there is irregular chocolate? Well, not exactly. Chocolate can be divided into two categories of real chocolate and compound chocolate.

Compound chocolate is made using vegetable oil instead of cocoa butter, since it is a cheaper chocolate option and does not require as much work to use, including the process of tempering.

Couverture Chocolate

types of chocolateCouverture chocolate is the type of chocolate that is used for truffles. Couverture means “covering,” and is high quality professional chocolate. Couverture chocolate is made with the best cocoa beans and a high percentage of cocoa.

When you melt this type of chocolate, you get a smooth consistency that is perfect for molding and making confectionery treats!

Ultra Couverture Chocolate

Ultra couverture chocolate is a type of chocolate for making confectionery that has even more cocoa butter than couverture chocolate. Ultra couverture chocolate can be hard to work with sometimes, since that extra cocoa butter makes this type of chocolate tough to balance the texture and the taste.

Quality Handcrafted Gourmet Chocolates

At Dorinda’s Chocolates, we offer gourmet handcrafted chocolate treats made from the highest quality chocolate. We use nothing but the best type of chocolate, Valrhona Chocolate, to make our gourmet handcrafted chocolates.

Taste the difference in chocolate quality when you try some of our treats like the Hub Espresso Truffle, which is the lovechild of Dorinda’s Chocolates and Hub Coffee Roasters!

Stop by our stores in Reno and Squaw Valley to decide what is your favorite type of chocolate today!

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