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Hotel Chocolat Drinks

Celebrating Galentine’s Day with Hotel Chocolat USA

Valentine’s Day has come and gone and many couples enjoyed celebrating the day of love and coupledom. But the day before Valentine’s Day, lovingly known as Galentine’s Day, is a day to celebrate female friendship. In honor of this wonderful day of friendship and support of the fellow women in your lives, Hotel Chocolat hosted a Galentine’s Day event with chocolate tastings, wonderful pairings, and showcases of their special Valentine’s Day hot chocolate drink and sundae. You may remember we indulged in some chocolate delicacies when Hotel Chocolat’s Rabot 1745 Beauty made it’s US debut.

Hotel Chocolat V-Day Drinks

We grabbed one of our favorite gal pals and headed out for a night of fun, friendship, and chocolate. Along with the above Love Potion Hot Chocolate and Sweetheart Sundae, we enjoyed an evening of chocolate delicacies that included the following: White Chocolate Batons, Supermilk Batons, Billionaires Shortbread, Gianduja Bombe, Salted Caramel and Pecan Spread with Milton Amish Cheddar, Enrobed Mango with Saint Antoine, Passionfruit Truffles paired with Dos Alas Blanco Tequila, and Dark Ginger Truffles paired with Hamilton Jamaican Dark Rum.

Hotel Chocolat Chocolate Hotel Chocolat Chocolate Hotel Chocolat White Chocolate

One of our favorite Hotel Chocolat chocolate treat combinations (and this may sound a bit strange to you guys but trust us, it is delicious), was the Enrobed Mango with Saint Antoine cheese. For those not in the know, the Enrobed Mango is mango immersed in mango liqueur and covered in Hotel Chocolat’s signature 70% dark chocolate. It is a delight for the palette and beyond delicious. We also could not stop eating the addictive Passionfruit Truffles (also pictured above). This delight is why the words amuse bouche exists because your mouth will be so happy.

Chocolate Covered Mango with Cheese

There was so much decadent chocolate to love and so much to indulge in. Nut lovers will go wild for the Cashew Nuts Chocolate Selector. Each bite will reward you with the popular nut.

Ladies, we hope you celebrated the women in your life with joyful Galentine’s Day festivities. If you’re looking to treat your besties to some amazing chocolate, this is the place to be. Make sure to stop by Hotel Chocolate or visit their website for your decadent yumminess.

U.S. Pastry Competition Pastry Chef of the Year 2018

Paris Gourmet Presents the 29th Annual U.S. Pastry Competition

Who is ready for dessert? Are you ready to feast your eyes on some of the most spectacular desserts from the 29th Annual U.S. Pastry Competition? Held during the 2018 International Restaurant & Foodservice Show of New York and hosted by Paris Gourmet, several of the nation’s leading pastry chefs competed for the prestigious honor of being called Pastry Chef of the Year.

While some of these will look for like artwork, they are in fact entirely edible desserts. Over a dozen finalists showcased their showpieces inspired by “The Great Race” at the Javits Center.  The leading pastry chefs were selected to participate were tasked with creating a showpiece derived from any form of recognized racing, such as car racing, swimming, horse racing, running, cycling and boating. They had three hours to set-up their exhibit and were each permitted one assistant.

The Pastry chefs showcased their talents by creating “petit gateau buffet” (mini cake/dessert display) and a plated dessert, exhibited along highly technical chocolate sculpted showpieces using Cacao Noel brand chocolate. The top eye-catching winning desserts included:

Stephen Sullivan – Winner & U.S. Pastry Competition Pastry Chef of the Year 2018

U.S. Pastry Competition Pastry Chef of the Year 2018
Steven Tran – 2nd Place Winner of the 29th U.S. Pastry Competition

2nd Place Winner of the 29th U.S. Pastry Competition

Courtney Cormier – 3rd Place Winner of the 29th U.S. Pastry Competition

3rd Place Winner of the 29th U.S. Pastry Competition

Alexandra Inkley – Honorable Mention Winner of the 29th U.S. Pastry Competition

Honorable Mention Winner of the 29th U.S. Pastry Competition

 “It is amazing to see the incredible chocolate sculpted showpieces from these extremely talented chefs. Board members of the Societe Culinaire Philanthropique, one of the oldest and most prestigious chef associations in the world, presided over the judging procedures with over $16,000 of the award money presented,” said Tom Loughran, Vice President for the Event.

U.S. Pastry Competition

The pastry competition also had a Junior Division, the winning desserts included:

Michael Metcalf – Junior Division Grand Prize Winner

Junior Division Grand Prize Winner Michael Metcalf

Sizhen Ivy Chen – Junior Division 2nd Place Winner

Junior Division 2nd Place Winner

Michael Fersner – Junior Division 3rd Place Winner

Junior Division 3rd Place Winner Michael Fersner

“The U.S. Pastry Competition, now in its 29th year, is America’s most prestigious pastry event and we are excited to welcome the competitors and judges to the leading restaurant and foodservice event in the heart of New York City,” stated Dominique Noel, Vice President of Paris Gourmet, the competition sponsor. “We look forward to a dazzling array of entries from the best and most creative pastry chefs.”

Other notable mentions we had to highlight include desserts by:

Xolisile Medina

Timothy Maguire

Julie Velasquez

Sequoya Anderson

The breathtaking competition was co-sponsored by Cacao Noel Chocolate, Pastry 1 (pastry ingredients), Beurremont Butter, Gourmand, and Maison de Choix. For more information, visit www.parisgourmet.com.

Here’s How to Celebrate National Chocolate Cake Day

While we never need an excuse to indulge in a slice or two of chocolate cake, the upcoming National Chocolate Cake Day is the perfect reason to enjoy a slice or two in celebration of this most decadent of desserts. That’s right, on Friday, January 27th, two days from now, you are obligated to enjoy the sinful pleasures of chocolate cake. So without further adieu, in celebration of National Chocolate Cake Day, here are original recipes from Epicurious Wine, Veestro, and Terra’s Kitchen. We invite you to try out one or all of these delicious recipes. Here’s a great tip: To make your National Chocolate Cake Day incredibly fluffy, use sparkling water in your cake batter! We love using Sparkling Ice Essence of sparkling waters, an unsweetened, zero-calorie alternative with no artificial colors or preservatives. We promise each bite will be light as air.

Epicurious Wine’s “Darkest Chocolate Cake with Red Wine Glaze”

YIELD: Makes 10 servings

For cake:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus more for pan
1/3 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate (at least 70% cacao), chopped
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs
3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
Preheat oven to 325°F. Lightly butter and flour pan. Heat chocolate, sugar, and 1 cup butter in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water (bowl should not touch water), stirring, until chocolate is almost completely melted, about 3 minutes; remove from heat and continue to stir until chocolate is completely melted. Let this National Chocolate Cake Day cool completely. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, add eggs to chocolate mixture 1 at a time, beating to blend after each addition. Beat until mixture has a mousse-like consistency. Reduce speed to low and add salt and 1/3 cup flour; mix until smooth. Scrape batter into prepared pan; smooth top. Bake cake until top is firm and edges are slightly darkened, 55–65 minutes (rely on visual cues; a tester inserted into cake’s center will come out clean before the cake is truly done). Transfer pan to a wire rack and let the cake cool completely in pan before turning out.

Glaze and assembly:

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate (at least 70% cacao), finely chopped
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup Epicurious Cabernet Sauvignon
Special equipment:
9″ springform pan
Heat chocolate, butter, and salt in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water (bowl should not touch water), stirring, until chocolate and butter are melted about 5 minutes. Whisk in powdered sugar. Meanwhile, bring wine just to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove chocolate mixture from heat and whisk in wine; let cool until slightly thickened and a rubber spatula leaves a trail in the mixture when stirring, 8–10 minutes. Set cake on a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet. Pour glaze over cake and spread it across the top and over the edges with an offset spatula. Let cake stand at room temperature until glaze is set, 2–3 hours. Cake can be made and glazed 2 days ahead. Chill. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Veestro’s SuperFood Chocolate Cake

1 1/4 cups cooked amaranth
1 cup cane sugar
1/3 cup good cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup filtered water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup apple sauce
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
Combine all ingredients and mix until smooth and well incorporated. Place in a cake pan and bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out dry.

Terra’s Kitchen Bundt Cake Recipe

2 cups cake flour, plus more for dusting
2/3 cup high-quality cocoa powder, plus more for dusting
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the pan, room temperature
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/4 cups sour cream
5 tablespoons cold brewed coffee
Butter Coffee Pour Over (recipe to follow)

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Generously grease a Bundt pan with butter (we used a heart-shaped Bundt for Valentine’s Day). Set aside. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In a standing mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, add the butter and sugar. Beat on medium speed until the mixture is smooth and light in texture (about 5 minutes). Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well and scraping down the bowl after each addition. Add the sour cream and coffee and mix until combined. Gradually add the dry JUST until incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared Bundt and bake until the center of cake springs back when touched and a skewer inserted near the center comes out clean (about 45-50 minutes). Remove the cake from the oven and pour Butter Coffee Pour Over mixture over the hot cake. Let cool completely in the pan on a wire rack. Release the sides and bottom of the cake from the pan with a narrow metal spatula or knife. Invert the pan onto a plate or cake stand. Remove the pan and dust with cocoa powder or powdered sugar before serving.

Butter Coffee Pour Over (Makes 1 ¼ cups)
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup brewed dark roast coffee
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup sugar
Add ingredients to a small saucepan over low heat, stirring until all the sugar has dissolved. Set aside and allow to cool slightly.

We’re sure one of these decadent chocolate cake recipes will help you celebrate National Chocolate Cake Day properly. We know our favorite (all of them), which chocolate recipe is your favorite?

When Hunger Strikes Grab New SNICKERS Crisper for #Satisfaction

This blog post has been sponsored by SheSpeaks/MARS. The company has compensated me via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value to review their product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. #satisfaction, #spon

We all react to hunger differently. When those hunger pangs hit, some of us get tired and confused, some get irritated, many get down right angry. We go beyond just feeling hungry and angry, we fall somewhere between rabid and scary, making us the unholy combination of “RABARY”. If you haven’t noticed from the amount of food and snacks we cover on this blog, we’re very much a foodie and a snack lover, so we thoroughly enjoy not being hungry, but on those rare occasions where hunger hits us……watch out! we’re definitely no longer cute when we’re hungry. That’s why we were extremely happy to be introduced to the latest satisfying snack, SNICKERS Crisper.

SNICKERS_Crisper_Fun_Size_www.mylifeonandofftheguestlist.com SNICKERS_Crisper_www.mylifeonandofftheguestlist.com

These delicious pieces of edible joy offer the same chocolatey goodness from the Snickers you already know and love, with a satisfying crunch! SNICKERS Crisper deliciously combines crisped rice and peanuts, topped with a layer of gooey caramel, and coated in creamy Snickers brand milk chocolate.

SNICKERS_Crisper_Chocolate_www.mylifeonandofftheguestlist.com

Just look at the layers of yumminess jammed packed into every delicious bite. These delectable bites of crispy, chocolatey goodness are the perfect snack to help tame the hunger beast that we turn into when we’re hungry.

Snickers Ad

There are many ways to enjoy the new SNICKERS Crisper. The tasty anytime snack, which boasts 100 calories per chocolate square, is available in three size options, the individual single pack holds two pieces, allowing you to enjoy one Crisper now and save the other one for later; the SNICKERS Crisper 4 to Go pack, which contains four pieces of the delicious treat, and the medium 12-count, fun-size bag, boasting individually wrapped squares for a satisfying snack you can share with your friends and family when hunger strikes them.

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Want to try these delicious squares for yourself, find full-size SNICKERS Crispers, 4 to Go packs or a bag of Fun size bag at your local Walmart or on www.walmart.com.

Skinnygirl Candy Launches at Dylan’s Candy Bar

It is said that alcohol and candy are two indulgences that have the most calories, mostly because of their very high sugar content. Real Housewives of New York castmember and lifestyle product mogul, Bethenny Frankel, has already gifted us with some great, 100 calorie alcoholic beverage options with her range of Skinnygirl Cocktails (a delicious range of alcohol we’ve highlighted several times) and now she’s bringing that same delicious joy to the candy market. Join us in welcoming Skinnygirl Candy, a premium line of Belgian chocolates, gummies and mints.

Skinnygirl-Candy-Launch-Event-www.mylifeonandofftheguestlist.comSkinnygirl-Candy-Launch-Event2-www.mylifeonandofftheguestlist.com

We walked into candy wonderland that is Dylan’s Candy Bar in Union Square, not with sugar plum fairies dancing in our heads, but with visions of decadent milk and dark chocolates, fruit gummies, and cool mints, and that’s exactly what we got. Boasting delicious gummies and chocolates that are individually packed in 100 calorie servings, along with  zero calorie mints, you’re giving up the guilt of indulging in these decadent sweet treats. The delicious, low-calorie range of Skinnygirl Candy includes Dark, and Milk Chocolate Coated Almonds, Elderberry and Sweet Lemon Gummies, Annabella Cherry and Mango Gummies, Dark Chocolate Mini Bars with Pistachio and Caramel, Milk Chocolate Mini Bars with Nougat and Almonds, Sugar-Free Mints in Lemon Lime, Mocha Cappuccino, and Pomegranate Green Tea, Dark Chocolate Truffles with Almonds, Milk Chocolate Truffles with Mint Cookie Crumble, and Milk Chocolate Truffles with Sea Salt Toffee.

Dylan Lauren and Bethenny Frankel

photo courtesy of Skinnygirl Candy

Bethenny-Frankel-at-Skinnygirl-Candy-Launch-Event-www.mylifeonandofftheguestlist.com

Frankel, whose hair we absolutely love, sat down for a Q&A with Dylan’s Candy Bar Founder, Dylan Lauren, before greeting and serving guests some of her wonderful treats…all of which were caught by BravoTV cameras (so look for this sweet treat to be featured on an upcoming episode of Real Housewives of New York. For those who are really health conscious, please note the Skinnygirl Candy chocolates and gummies contain no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives and they’re made from premium Belgian Chocolate and gummies. Although the products are low calorie, the chocolate, and gummy products are not sugar-free, and the chocolate products are gluten free with the exception of the Mint Cookie Crumble Truffles. For those of you with peanut allergies,  a few products do contain nuts, but their production facility is peanut-free.

Bethenny-Frankel-at-Skinnygirl-Candy-Launch-Event3-www.mylifeonandofftheguestlist.com Skinnygirl-Candy-Launch-Event4-www.mylifeonandofftheguestlist.com

Of course, the sweet treats were not the only low-calorie enjoyment e had at the event. Along with Skinnygirl Candy, guests were also treated to some low-calorie cocktails from Skinnygirl Cocktails, tea, and hot chocolate. We confess in our indulging in one or two

Skinnygirl-Candy-Launch-Event-Cocktails-www.mylifeonandofftheguestlist.comSkinnygirl-Candy-Launch-Event-Hot-Drinks-www.mylifeonandofftheguestlist.com

Want to know more aboutSkinnygirl Candy? Visit www.skinnygirlcandy.com for more information on each product line and where to buy. Are you excited to try Skinnygirl Candy? let us know in the comments below.

What We’re Craving | Awake Caffeinated Chocolate

As a lifestyle blogger I always have a vast amount of posts to write about daily, which most times means racing the clock. Updating this blog can sometimes feel like cramming for an exam or writing a 1000-word paper, so getting as much done as I possibly can before I pass out is a priority. Of course exhaustion and falling asleep usually win the battle. While most will drink coffee (I’m a tea person myself), red bull or pop a few no-doze, I have been indulging in chocolate to stay awake. Combining two of my favorite things – Chocolate + Caffeine, Founders Matt Schnarr, Dan Tzotzis, and Adam Deremo have created the most delicious way to combat feeling tired – Awake Caffeinated Chocolate Bars.

Available in Milk Chocolate and Caramel, one full bar of Awake Caffeinated Chocolate packs as much caffeine as a cup of coffee or a 250ml energy drink. This deliciously addictive, caffeinated chocolate bar is the perfect pick-me-up when you’re feeling drowsy. say goodbye to mid-day slumping at your desk or consuming multiple cups of coffee to stay alert (cutting down on trips to the restroom as well). Just grab an Awake bar and continue with your work day. Who knows…you may impress your boss with your non-stop energy.  Of course if you find you need less of a pick-me-up, both flavors of Awake also come in bite-size, with as much caffeine as half a cup of coffee.

I’m loving everything about Awake; from it’s deliciousness, to its convenience and absence of any aftertaste, you can’t go wrong with this Canadian import. You need not worry whether it tastes like coffee or tea – it doesn’t – it’s just delicious milk chocolate or caramel-filled chocolate, what’s not to love. My only advice, stock up on more than one bar….it’s so yummy you’ll end up wanting more. Get to know Awake Caffeinated Chocolate now.

M&M’s Reveals New Character, Ms. Brown

Finally coming out from the behind-the-scenes after seven decades, M&M’s Boss Lady aka Chief Chocolate Officer, Ms. Brown, is finally ready to let the world get to know her. Hidden behind an oversized package of M&M’S Milk Chocolate Candies at M&M’S World in Times Square (located at 1600 Broadway in NYC), a 10ft high statue of Ms. Brown was revealed to excited cheers from M&M fans and staff.

Take a look at the Ms. Brown unveiling and an interview with Lauren Nodzak from Mars Chocolate in the video below:

Ms. Brown is sassy and smart and is a lover of sophistication as is evident by her chocolate-colored Marc Jacobs designed glasses and Judith Ripka glove links. Ms. Brown will make her official national debut in an M&M’s commercial airing during the first quarter of Super Bowl XLVI this Sunday. Following the successful launch of products like M&M’S Pretzel Chocolate Candies, as well as witnessing the admiration her fellow characters enjoy from fans around the world, Ms. Brown decided now was the time to come out from behind-the-scenes and remind the world that M&M’S are not your average milk chocolate.

With the reveal of M&M’s Chief Chocolate Officer, a new collection of Ms. Brown inspired attire was also unwrapped. The collection included t-shirts, hooded sweatshirts, racer-back tanks, canvas bags, and of course, M&M candies.

At the event, I met a true fan of M&M’s Chocolates, she goes to every M&M’s launch event, buys all the new merchandise and is a die-hard fan of all thing M&M’s, so of course Ms. Karen Axel-Knispel was in attendance wearing her brown M&M t-shirt, M&M Jacket, M&M tote bag, brown nail polish with little m’s on each nail.

She was the first person to get to the new merchandise racks when they were open to the public – as I said a die-hard fan. But back to Ms. Brown, remember to keep an eye out for the the latest M&M character as she comes out from behind-the-scenes to make her debut during the first quarter of Super Bowl XLVI.