Nick & Julie Anne Rhodes
My ex once mentioned he liked Thornton’s Continental chocolates after sex in an interview, so Duran Duran fans bombarded him with an endless supply of chocolate truffles and caramels. I don’t, however, recall any sprinkled with sea salt, scented with lavender, or with a slight kick of chili like the inventive flavor profiles and, beautifully hand crafted chocolates I got to sample at the Los Angeles Luxury Chocolate Salon. It’s no secret that coffee enhances the flavor of chocolate, but I never considered infusing chocolate with organic teas from around the world as The Tea Room specializes in. Odd as it may sound, Christopher Michael’s (chocolatier to the 51st annual Grammy Awards and 2009 Oscars) newest chocolate bar features sizzling bacon! The crowd gobbled it up so fast they couldn’t keep the sample plate full. I hear the stores are selling out of the bars just as quickly.
The Tea Room’s chocolate infused with organic teas
While I love to experiment I still have to say my two favorites were Clarine’s Florentines, and my friends’ CJ’s Bitz. The former are a delicate treat made from thinly sliced natural almonds, then mixed with with butter, sugar, honey, and cream and baked into a golden brown brittle topped with Guittard bittersweet chocolate. The later are pretzels dipped in chocolate, then hand rolled in English toffee bits. They should both come with labels warning caution, highly addictive!
Apart from stuffing my face full of the scrumptious endorphin stimulating confection (yes there is a reason why the forlorn tend to reach for it), I was fascinated by some of the other uses of chocolate. A major highlight of the event was the chocolate art exhibition where guests swigged down chocolate martinis and voted for their favorites. I went from “Coco Before Chanel” to cocoa Chanel shoes this week, and couldn’t resist voting for this one. I love it… chocoholic meets couture in chocolate shopaholic heaven! The detail is exquisite.
TCHO Chocolate
Choc-O-Bama
Also of note this year were the chocolate books in a bookcase, and an intricate Out of Africa display. Neapolitan Printing Company deserves mention as the most patriotic chocolatier with their chocolate President Obama.

The Xocai company claim their unprocessed cocoa products mixed with acai berry and blueberry will make me healthier. I guess it will take more than the shot size cup of Xocai Active (their high-antioxidant drink) before I feel the full benefits. It is probably not wise to taste the drink right after wolfing down dried mango chips dipped in creamy milk chocolate either… I fear Xocai may be a bit of an acquired taste.
Xocai: health products
Sweet Beauty: organic chocolate spa treatments
One whiff of Sweet Beauty’s organic spa treatments, and I was longing to be lathered from head to toe in chocolate… what could possibly be more decadent? The adult line includes lip balms, body scrubs, body cream, milk chocolate bath, hand & body wash, a facial scrub, and a facial masque… but why not pamper your baby too? They also do a line of baby lotion, balm, massage oil, and cleansers. Perfect for bridal and baby shower gifts!
Meagan Mullen & Julie Anne Rhodes
I may have to double up on my cardio this week, but it was well worth every calorie. Special thanks to my friend Cheryl for the tickets, and to Meagan for helping me navigate my way to Pasadena as well as being a far more reliable photographer than I am. I’ll leave you with one of my favorite chocolate dessert recipes my grandmother served when I was little.
Chocolate Waffles


Servings: 6

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt, scant
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla (or coffee extract)
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
  • cooking spray for waffle iron
  • powdered sugar for dusting
Directions:

1). Heat waffle iron.

2). Mix dry ingredients, flour through baking soda, in a large bowl.

3). Mix eggs, canola oil, and vanilla in a small bowl, then add to dry ingredients. Add buttermilk, and mix until just incorporated. Stir in chocolate chips.

4). Ladle about 1/2 cup into center of waffle iron, close, and cook until crisp on both sides. Dust with powdered sugar and serve immediately.

Serving Suggestions: Grandma served this topped with banana ice cream and chocolate fudge sauce, but I think it would be sensational with my salted caramel ice cream and homemade chocolate fudge sauce, or berries with fresh whipped cream.

PS. I think the LA Luxury Chocolate Show needs to add a chocolate fashion show next year. Check this groovy cool fashion show out!
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  • October 15, 2009
    11:31 am

    I so loved the Cocoa Chanel Shoes!!!! Amazing!!

  • October 15, 2009
    6:20 pm

    I'm drooling! I mean, of course I can get excellent chocolate here in Switzerland. I just polished off some dark chocolate bark that had dried cranberries in it. But I love creative chocolate bars like that. And it is hard to find chili chocolate here (too spicy for the locals, probably).

  • October 15, 2009
    6:51 pm

    I so loved Cocoa Chanel Shoes.. Very very good..

  • October 15, 2009
    9:47 pm

    Hi Julie Anne,I grew up on Lindt and Godiva chocolates, however over the last few years I have been a huge fan of the tea infused chocolates. Earl Grey is my favorite. I also love the lavender infused chocolate as well. Here in Oz we have an abundance of speciality chocolate stores around the city I live in (Melbourne) and by far the best stores are out in the country towns. You can usually find the most strange yet delicious choc creations there. Speaking of chilli chocolate, my friend once made a rich chocolate cake with fresh red chilli through it. As strange as it sounds, it was very delicious with a hint of kick! Aussie Mum

  • October 15, 2009
    9:54 pm

    Oooooh chocolate cake with real chilis running through it? I feelin it! Mmmmmmmmmmmmm, definitely need to experiment with that one Aussie Mom.Krys you are LIVING in a chocolate show! How is the baby???Glad you appreciate the Chanel shoes too Boncuk Mutfakta… those girls would be so honored if they knew where that compliment is coming from!

  • October 17, 2009
    6:37 pm

    Love Julie Anne !!Zuleika Ponsen

  • October 17, 2009
    6:39 pm

    Yum…i am such a chocolate addict. Before, during and after sex. I just can't get enough. xJade Calliva

  • October 17, 2009
    11:02 pm

    "dear Js my friends over at John Kellys, open M-F behind Ceboo's on sunset have the best fudge in the world…it is to die for yummy you may want try the one with a bit of sea salt on top…tell them I sent you….that is if you have not been there already!"Maryalena Salman