2 chicks with chocolate

An Accidental, Eventful, Week

by Anne Maxfield on November 21, 2011

Accidental Locavore Sicilian Pizza

What do you say about a week that starts out with the Accidental Locavore’s appearance on Emeril’s Table, slides into a feast of local meat and matching cocktails, moves into a pizza tour of Brooklyn, stops for “breakfast” at the Chocolate Show and ends with Clown U for the Thanksgiving Parade? Toss in almost all the rest of the boroughs for fun and a couple of Broadway plays and it was a wild week!

Since you all know about the Emeril show, let’s get started Monday night at City Winery for Meat With a Twist, the kick-off for Meat Week. Lots of great (local meat) nibbles, ranging from various sliders to pâtés and more. The Locavore favorites? Two lovely versions of steak tartare, but the best? Amazing fois gras from Hudson Valley Fois Gras. The best cocktail? Blood orange vodka with lemon juice and simple syrup (lemonade to you and me). Later in the week, a fun bus tour, with a Slice of Brooklyn to explore that  borough’s famous pizza. Because we were part of a shoot for an upcoming TV show, we only got to one stop on the tour, L&B Spumoni Gardens for their famous Sicilian style pizza. What makes theirs different is they put the cheese directly on the dough, then add tomato sauce. I missed the nice gooey cheese on top, but the pizza did taste good. Tony, who runs the tours, is a fun, knowledgeable guy who obviously loves what he’s doing! I’ve signed up for his tour of Christmas lights on  December 3rd, want to come?Accidental Locavore 1 Chick

Friday morning, a quick run-through of the annual Chocolate Show. The Locavore has learned (the hard way) to limit the amount of chocolate I eat. It’s awfully tempting to try everything in sight, but a little discretion goes a long way. My friend, Elyissia, 2 Chicks With Chocolate, had a great booth, with lots of new treats, including jars of their amazing lemongrass caramel that you can take home (heat in microwave for 10 seconds and pour over ice cream…delicious!). I also met the two partners in Salt of the Earth Bakery who do incredible brownies, the must-have and aptly named, OMG, with caramel and fleur de sel…  Warning — you’ll be hooked!Accidental Locavore Salt of the Earth

Saturday morning, a trip to the Big Apple Circus to get my clown training from Grandma and the other clowns for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade. This year I’m a birthday clown, towards the end of the parade, with Ronald McDonald. Confetti is rationed this year, anyone want to start a Twitter campaign… #moreconfetti?

Happy Thanksgiving to All!Accidental Locavore Big Apple Circus

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Accidental Locavore 2 Chick With Chocolate Tasting

Admit it, you’ve always fantasized about being locked up overnight in a chocolate factory, right? One night last week, the Accidental Locavore had the closest thing, a private tour and tasting at an amazing chocolate company; 2 Chicks With Chocolate. We were given the fantasy treatment by the “Chick in Charge”, Elyissia Wassung. She had arranged a total tasting of all their products, from bean to finished bonbons and everything in between. Nothing like skipping dinner and going straight to dessert in a big way.

Did you know that cacao can only be grown within 20 degrees of the equator? Elyissia showed us the big pod that contains the seeds (about the size of very large Lima beans). The growers ship the seeds in big bags to the roaster, who like a coffee roaster, is primarily responsible for how the chocolate tastes. Too much roasting at too high a heat, burnt tasting chocolate (think Starbucks). Then, much like a wine tasting,  she had us smell and taste different chocolates from 100% (really bitter) down in stages to milk chocolate. You’re supposed to let them melt on your tongue, almost impossible with the 100% and generally difficult when you’re just wanting that big chocolate hit!  My favorite was the 64%. It’s really flavorful, dark, and creamy, but not too dry and bitter.

Accidental Locavore 2 Chicks With ChocolateAfter that,  Elyissia showed us how they make their filled chocolates.  First, they airbrush edible color into the molds, then make the shells with the tempered chocolate (think a much bigger and cooler chocolate fountain), add the fillings, let them set, and top them. All through the process, temperature is critical, and the molds are constantly vibrated so no air bubbles ruin your eating experience. There’s an awful lot of work for a quick bite, so the next time you treat yourself, relax and enjoy!

Did I mention that at every step, we had to stop and taste? Tough work but we managed to pull through. From there we went on to the bark and toffee collections. The pumpkin spice bark was great, with a base of pumpkin seed brittle, and I even really like the coffee bark, and I’m not generally one to mix my chocolate with coffee. After that a quick taste of the newest addition to the line, the spicy tiles, and a very rich jolt of the fire and ice hot chocolate.

The grande finale? We got to make our own chocolate bars. Using the milk chocolate in the tempering machine, we poured it into a couple of bar molds, and then got creative. I added coco nibs, and some round crunchy things. My friend Laura added some fleur de sel to hers. Once they were set, and we had goodie bags filled with samples (believe it or not there were a couple of things we hadn’t tasted…the popcorn, wow!), we piled into the car and headed home, our fantasies fulfilled.

To fulfill your fantasies, 2 Chicks is offering a 30% discount until the end of the year. Use code LOCA30. Enjoy and don’t forget the popcorn!

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