It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

The holidays are a really fun time for CHOCOLATE.

We're making all kinds of seasonal goodies in our brand new atelier. Most museums won't let you even touch the art. Here, we encourage you to touch, smell, and make the art. And to eat the art.

Check out these handmade Christmas ornaments:

These were freshly made today. Each piece consists of a carefully crafted ornament ball shell, painted with either delicate snowflakes & Santa's reindeer team, or a colorful Joyeux Noël & letters-to-Santa theme. Then each piece is balanced on a pedestal of separately molded round and square solid chocolate pieces. And finally, it's topped with a tiny ornament finial, just like the gold and silver ones on the ornaments on your tree.

We've nestled each one in a clear cylindrical display package and adorned it with a red raffia bow. They'll only be here for 5 more days, so come visit us to take home one of these unique creations for your family's holiday.

When you stop by, you'll also find our hand-molded chocolate snowmen, holiday-patterned dark and milk-chocolate bark (including a beautiful blue & white Star-of-David pattern), and 5"-tall 3-D chocolate evergreen trees.

Join us in our winter chocolate wonderland, where the art is edible!

Take us home...

Take us home...

Voilà Chocolat is OPEN!

We have very exciting news. The news we've all been waiting for...

WE'RE OPEN!

Just in time for holiday activities and gifts, Voilà Chocolat is opening our shiny, brand new door to the world.  It already feels like home.

Please stop by and say hello.  Take a look around.  Warm up with our mind-blowing house-made hot chocolate (blog readers: ask us for a sample and ye shall receive).  Buy some hand-made chocolate gifts for your loved ones for the holidays (or for you to gobble yourself while watching It's a Wonderful Life).  And most importantly, make some chocolates with us!

See our chocolatiering experiences and pricing here.

You can reserve a time for chocolatiering directly, here.

MAKE YOUR OWN indeed.

MAKE YOUR OWN indeed.

One customer's beautiful (and sparkly) creations.

One customer's beautiful (and sparkly) creations.

It's gettin' HOT in here...

It's gettin' HOT in here...

And Voilà! We're here.

And Voilà! We're here.

All that's missing is YOU!

All that's missing is YOU!


Nice to see you!

As our store enters the final stages of construction before we finally get to invite you over to our place, we've had to hit the town in order to see you and make chocolates with you. Fortunately, NYC offers many such wonderful opportunities.

Last week we returned to City Harvest for the second time in 2014, this time for the gala Bid Against Hunger on October 29. The sound system was cranked, the live auction was hot, and we taught several hundred New Yorkers how to enrobe and decorate their first chocolate truffle ever.

Another happy chocolatier-for-the-evening...

Another happy chocolatier-for-the-evening...

We debuted three new flavors of truffle centers at this event: milk chocolate champagne ganache, dark chocolate lemon curd, and white chocolate pumpkin pie spice - very appropriate to the fall season.

Our favorite quote of the evening: when we explained to one man what he could do at our station, he exclaimed, "It's like a dream come true!"

A week later, on November 6, we made our debut at Taste of T, a beautiful and engaging annual event by the New York Times style magazine, where chefs serve fine foods in glittering designer showrooms in the Architects and Designers Building. Voilà Chocolat was assigned to set up our camp in a luxury bath fixtures showroom, and we resisted the urge to hop into the huge bathtubs and take goofy photos. 

How much chocolate would this Lefroy Brooks bathtub hold?

How much chocolate would this Lefroy Brooks bathtub hold?

We were delighted and overwhelmed to have a long line of eager guests waiting to make chocolates with us all night. Everyone seemed to be having such a fantastic time making their own beautiful dessert with their own two hands. By the time 9pm rolled around, we'd probably met and taught over 600 people, and we were thrilled and exhausted. We hope to return to Taste of T in 2015 - it was unique, high-quality, and great fun, and it raised funds for God's Love We Deliver.

We taught guests how to enrobe truffles, and then also expounded on the ontological dichotomy of chocolate.

We taught guests how to enrobe truffles, and then also expounded on the ontological dichotomy of chocolate.

As of now, the next event at which Voilà Chocolat is scheduled to appear is our opening, in early December in our very own store! Stay tuned for details...

God Save the Chocolate

October 13 marks the beginning of National Chocolate Week in the UK, and we're chuffed to bits about it. They're having demonstrations, workshops, and of course, tastings. We'd bite our arm off to be there, but we're 3,459 miles away.

Speaking of a long way, the English have jolly well come a long way since 1579. In that year, some English pirates burned a Spanish ship in which they had mistaken the precious cacao bean cargo for sheep droppings. Bit of a cock up, that.

Are you smarter than an English buccaneer?

Are you smarter than an English buccaneer?

But by 1660, the Brits had sussed out chocolate a bit better, as evidenced by Samuel Pepys' entry in his diary, "When I came home I found a Quantity of Chocolate left for me, but I know not from whom."

The English have been enjoying a spot of chocolate now for over 350 years. And in 2012, a casual royal comment all but assured that British chocolate will be safe for years to come: during her visit to Fortnum and Mason, the Duchess of Cambridge (once Kate Middleton, future Queen) declared "I love chocolate. I think all girls like chocolate!" Quite!

Kate Middleton with a precious gem in her hand... and we're not talking about Princess Diana's sapphire engagement ring.

Kate Middleton with a precious gem in her hand... and we're not talking about Princess Diana's sapphire engagement ring.

So, while they're having a smashing do this week in the UK to celebrate the confection that everyone fancies, we're here to help you get the gen on chocolates in the scepter'd isle:

First, we must mention Prestat -- chocolatiers to Her Majesty the Queen.

Not enough color in here. (By the way, that was irony. We're trying to be British today. Cheerio!)

Not enough color in here. (By the way, that was irony. We're trying to be British today. Cheerio!)

Established in 1902, and one of the oldest chocolate shops in London, Prestat were enshrined in literary history in Roald Dahl's racy novel "My Uncle Oswald":

'And where pray do we get delicious little chocolates these days?' she asked. 'You forget there's been a war on.'

'That's the whole point,' I said. 'A.R. Woresley won't have had a decent bit of chocolate since 1914. He'll gobble it up.'

'But do you have any?'

'Right here,' I said. 'Money can buy anything.' I opened a drawer and produced a box of chocolate truffles. Each was identical. Each was the size of a small marble. They were supplied to me by Prestat, the great chocolateers of Oxford Street, London.'

Pukka writing, that.

Another simply smashing shop (apparently) is Demarquette. At the 2012 Salon du Chocolat in Paris, Marc Demarquette was one of 12 chocolatiers awarded the honorary title of 'Ambassadeur du Salon du Chocolat' for dedication to the chocolate industry.

English Garden Floral Creams and little chocolate teacups. Seems really bloody British. 

English Garden Floral Creams and little chocolate teacups. Seems really bloody British. 

Brill. So if you plan to pop by London, splash out on some of these lovely chocolates. But indulge in moderation, so you don't go squidgy about the middle.

Of course, a little chocolate is good for you, provided you don't tuck into a pound at a time. Particularly well-made, artisanal dark chocolate. Over 340 years ago, the English already knew what modern science has since proven. Or at least one who knew was Dr. Henry Stubbes, a friend of philosopher Thomas Hobbes and well-known English authority on chocolate at the time. He said that the cacao bean by itself was harmless, while many of the ingredients added to chocolate at that time, such as sugar and eggs, were not. The same could be said of mass produced chocolate all these centuries later.

Well, anyway, you now have a taste of what they're on about in the UK this week. We're going to end it there because we're knackered from all this British chocolate research. If you are celebrating National Chocolate Week in the UK, give us a bell and tell us how it is.

Pip pip!

 

Source: The True History of Chocolate, Coe & Coe, 2013.

BOW TIES AND BASKETBALLS

Voilà Chocolat was proud to support City Harvest at their gala benefit event, "Bow Ties & Burgers," on September 18th. The event raised over $100k (!) to help feed hungry New Yorkers. We'll be back with City Harvest again on October 29th at the annual Bid Against Hunger, so we hope to see you there. 

We could have made this out of chocolate.

We could have made this out of chocolate.

City Harvest specifically requested that we do something s'mores-related. Since we're all about creativity and making things your own special way at Voilà Chocolat, we couldn't do simple, straightforward s'mores. No way. Instead, our Master Chocolatier came up with a reimagined s'more as a chocolate truffle, filled with marshmallow and a graham cracker reduction, paired with a graham cracker crumb-dusted chocolate wafer. Oh my...

Objects in mouth may be tastier than they appear.

Objects in mouth may be tastier than they appear.

A highlight of the evening was when former NBA player Felipe López joined our station as a guest chocolatier. Not only did he produce some lovely creations with our guests, but he was the life of the party! Mr. López was enthusiastic, friendly, and very very funny. And he had the most stylish hat at the whole event. We'd be delighted to have him back with us at any time.

Our new chefs' uniforms, as modeled by Mr. Lopez.

Our new chefs' uniforms, as modeled by Mr. Lopez.

When you make chocolates, what does chocolate make you...?

When you make chocolates, what does chocolate make you...?

And then we were happy to see we got a shout out in the Wall Street Journal!

Of course, we were working with fine tempered chocolate, as always. Not "fondue," as some mistakenly assumed.

Fondon't.

Fondon't.

That's ok! This just supports why it's important for Voilà Chocolat to be out there educating about chocolatiering. Until now, dipping tasty things in what appears to be melted chocolate most likely would look like a "fondue" to the average chocolate lover. Just wait until we've had a chance to teach everyone about making beautiful confections with tempered chocolate...

When a wall closes, a window opens

Exciting construction progress continues at our first location.

We have discovered and revealed some old secrets. And we have hidden some new secrets in the walls to await future generations...

Daylight!

Daylight!

These two original windows, boarded up for perhaps 20 years, have been revealed and opened up again. They will allow natural light into the store. We also put a nice big new "Coming Soon" sign in the front windows. Hello to everyone on the M79 bus!

Front windows during construction.

Front windows during construction.

Walls arriving.

Walls arriving.

Our new walls have arrived and are going up. Before we put up the walls, we sealed in a time capsule bearing our warm wishes for the future. What irreplaceable memories will be made between these walls, we wonder?

In our time capsule: today's papers, some of our business cards, a 2014 penny, an email with an update about the construction of the store, postcards, and a note to the future from our team (text intentionally obscured here). "Our wish for all who visit or work here: health & happiness. -- The founding team of Voilà Chocolat"

In our time capsule: today's papers, some of our business cards, a 2014 penny, an email with an update about the construction of the store, postcards, and a note to the future from our team (text intentionally obscured here). "Our wish for all who visit or work here: health & happiness. -- The founding team of Voilà Chocolat"

Our best wishes, sealed in one of our original chocolate packages, being installed into the wall of the store.

Our best wishes, sealed in one of our original chocolate packages, being installed into the wall of the store.

In maybe 25 years, who will discover this?

In maybe 25 years, who will discover this?

Gimme s'more of the good stuff...

Voilà Chocolat is heading to Bow Ties & Burgers 2014 to benefit City Harvest!

To say farewell to the remaining moments of summer on September 18, we will be doing a very creative take on the idea of "s'mores."  

Do not expect a charred marshmallow and some not-really-melted, mass-produced chocolate between two broken graham crackers. THIS will be one excellent "s'more."

Buy a ticket, satisfy your own hunger while helping City Harvest rescue food for New York's hungry, and make chocolates with us. Then dance the night away on the rooftop.

Labor (Day) of Love

As we get ready to celebrate Labor Day weekend 2014, we also celebrate another exciting milestone: construction has begun at 221 West 79th Street, NYC!

After two years of dreaming and working and planning, this week we finally had all the requisite permits in hand, and we began to build out our physical space. Soon... there will be a physical location where you will be able to go to learn about chocolatiering and to make beautiful, delicious, personalized things with your own hands. 

We have to admit, it's actually a bit audacious to create a business dedicated to personal experiences that happen in a physical place. We've noticed that the most talked-about ventures these days tend to involve "an app for that," and so many entrepreneurs are trying to facilitate transactions via screens rather than encourage interactions in person. Of course, many digital innovations are cool and useful, but... they're mostly aimed at allowing us to get away with doing less. Interacting less. Going fewer places in the real world and spending less time connecting as a community. 

Voilà Chocolat aspires to offer an antidote to all that. Going to a physical place and making tangible things -- such as fine chocolate treasures that you can touch and smell and taste and admire and present to someone else who will be delighted by it -- is an incredibly fun, satisfying, even therapeutic endeavor. You can derive pride and happiness from crafting physical things, whether creating beautiful chocolates to give to a loved one or constructing a beautiful store to share with the community, that you can't feel from anything else.

So as we approach Labor Day, our physical labor is underway. We've hired contractors, they're laying floors and running electricity, and soon you will have an amazing and unique place in the neighborhood to come and make your own chocolates -- what a wild idea!

We wish everyone: Happy Labor (Day).

Consulting the plans for 221 West 79th Street.

Consulting the plans for 221 West 79th Street.

New kid on the block.

New kid on the block.

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

You could just scroll down to the fun part. But we hope you'll read this first, because this part is really what it's all about. 

ALS recently claimed a member of our family. Maud, sister-in-law of our Master Chocolatier Christophe, lived with ALS until June 26, 2014. Her loss was shocking and devastating, and it happened sooner than anyone was even expecting. She left behind a grieving husband, children, extended family, friends, and a profound absence.

ALS is a terrible neurological disease that robs otherwise healthy people of muscle strength and coordination, then mobility, then the ability to breathe unassisted, and finally, life itself. It strikes almost at random, with 90-95% of sufferers having no family history of the disease. There is no cure yet.

It's hard to "make your own happiness" (as we like to say at Voilà Chocolat) around anything involving ALS. But then came along...the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge! Our Creative Director Brandon issued us the challenge, and we took it!

We are proud to support our colleague and perversely delighted to soak ourselves in ice water, while also helping to find treatments and a cure for ALS. Along with our chilling and thrilling video, we are contributing $150 to the ALS Therapy Development Institute, a non-profit biotechnology research organization dedicated to developing effective treatments for ALS.

In so doing, we also issued a challenge to all the other chocolatiers of NYC.

So enjoy this video. This is the one time you will see us mix water with chocolate!

p.s. We have heard some complaints about the fact that our resident competitive surfer, Florian, wore his wetsuit during this challenge. We agree that was totally cheating. That is why we did shove a massive ice cube down the back of that wetsuit shortly after this video was taken. Injustice resolved.

You're still reading? Ok, you deserve some outtakes:

But, our Founder and Chief Cacao Nut is usually so suave...

TMI

A Landmark Occasion!

So, Monday happens to be National Milk Chocolate Day, which is wonderful and fun! But we hope you'll understand why we're more excited about something else:

The NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission just approved Voilà Chocolat's application to construct our store at 221 West 79th Street.

After many months of mutual effort and collaboration, this is a significant milestone -- oops, we mean "landmark occasion" -- that brings us closer to throwing open our doors and sharing the joy of chocolatiering with the world.

Winning LPC approval is all part of the privilege and responsibility of getting to have a store in a New York City LPC-designated historic district. Soon, we will begin building in a way that helps preserve NYC's architectural history. As chocolatiers, we appreciate creative expression and authenticity, whether it's made of bricks or cacao. 

Now, we shift to securing construction permits from the NYC Department of Buildings. Which makes this "landmark occasion" kind of like milk chocolate: it's delicious, and we're happy to share it with our friends and fans, but there is more to come that will be even better...

We hope you will indulge in a square or two of fine milk chocolate -- especially on its official date of July 28 -- as we celebrate our small, sweet victory!

Our future place in the world

Tonight's special Coucher du Soleil

Tonight is Manhattanhenge! (aka "Manhattan Solstice")

What is Manhattanhenge? According to Neil deGrasse Tyson, famed astrophysicist and also our neighbor who works at 79th Street's American Museum of Natural History, and also the man who invented the term Manhattanhenge, tonight's phenomenon is: 

"when the setting sun aligns precisely with the Manhattan street grid, creating a radiant glow of light across Manhattan's brick and steel canyons, simultaneously illuminating both the north and south sides of every cross street of the borough's grid. A rare and beautiful sight."

We at Voilà Chocolat do enjoy a beautiful coucher du soleil, as the French call it. As luck would have it, our first store will open on 79th Street, one of those major east-west Manhattan streets that are so glowingly illuminated twice each summer.

So, run outside at around 8:15pm tonight and start looking to the west. One good viewing spot is at the end of our own street and in Mr. Tyson's backyard at 79th Street and Columbus Avenue, because the park that surrounds the museum allows you to stand mid-street without standing in traffic.

Here Mr. Tyson spoke engagingly about Manhattanhenge 2013:

See you in a couple of hours, and bring your camera!

Happy Chocolate Day!

Happy Chocolate Day! Today is one of two-dozen “national chocolate holidays” that have sprung up on marketing and publicity calendars in the US. Here is the most complete list we’ve uncovered so far.

A few years ago, WIRED magazine – whose founders had a taste for fine chocolate and went on to run the San Francisco-based craft chocolate-maker TCHO – wrote a fun article on today’s occasion. Why today? Because popular belief holds that on July 7, 1550 (a very precise date indeed) chocolate was brought to Europe from the Spanish colonies in the New World.

Fun, but not necessarily fact. According to the most respected scholars of cacao’s pre-Columbian history, Michael and Sophie Coe, no one really knows when cacao first entered Spain. In their seminal book, The True History of Chocolate, the Coes lay down the facts. The first documented appearance of cacao in the Old World happened in 1544, when Dominican friars took a delegation of Kekchi Maya nobles from the Verapaz region in today’s Guatemala to visit Prince Philip in Spain. Among the many luxurious gifts they brought were ceremonial jars of beaten cacao drink, a traditional Maya delicacy reserved for their rulers and high priests. That was the historical debut of chocolate on the European stage.

We like facts at Voilà Chocolat. And we like to pass them on to our customers – both for fun, and because we believe that the single most powerful force for sustainable positive change in the world is having better informed consumers.

So, today we encourage our friends, followers and future customers to indulge and enjoy some fine chocolate – and explore its origins.

Pursuit of Happiness

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

What an amazing country America is. The founders prioritized the "pursuit of happiness" at its very start. How many other nations can say that happiness was a core motivation for its founding?

Happiness is a core motivation for us, too.  We founded Voilà Chocolat so that people could find happiness turning chocolate into confections with their own two hands, spend time with family and friends, and share beautiful and delicious handmade gifts.

Since the founders designed our country so that we could make our own happiness ...let's make chocolates together!

Happy 4th!

Good news from Fancy Foods

Earlier this week, we attended the Summer Fancy Food show. It's an enormous annual exhibition of passion, ingenuity and sheer sensory-overload. It filled the entire Javits Center. Any new food that we might see on store shelves or taste in restaurants in the coming months was probably on display first at the show.

Now that we've had a chance to reflect on all the products and ideas we saw as we walked the miles of aisles, and on our many conversations with chefs and manufacturers, we'd like to share our observations. In our opinion, it all added up to a lot of good news.

Good news for Voilà Chocolat, good news for you, and good news for the planet. Here are the top 3 themes we've gleaned from the show:

1. Life is going to be sweet, varied and beautiful

Honey appeared everywhere, both as a natural alternative to processed sweeteners and as beautifully bottled varietals to be savored each for their own unique taste.

Just as consumers continue to gain new appreciation for the diverse varieties and sources of foods such as wine, coffee, and cheese, they are about to be treated to new horizons in honey. We are happy to see consumer interest and manufacturer-driven education that foods such as honey can reflect all the uniqueness and variety of their geographic origin and of the people who produce them. This is something we love about chocolate, too.

Also, the more consumers know and love about honey, the more aware they may become about bees. While bees don’t pollinate the cacao trees from which chocolate is made (fun fact), bees do pollinate over 70% of the crop species that provide 90% of the global food supply. More people knowing and caring about the state of the world’s bee population can only mean good news for everyone.

2. Manufacturers and consumers care about health

 

Not only did we see less high fructose corn syrup and much more honey, we also saw agave and palm sugar. We saw foods that swapped out generally less healthy ingredients for more natural, novel ones. (Have you tried cactus yet?) We tasted snacks that snuck plant-based proteins where you wouldn’t usually expect to find protein. We spotted “all-natural,” “clean,” and “no artificial ___” on so many packages. In every category, including chocolate, we saw health concerns and benefits being addressed with thoughtfulness and transparency.

We’re delighted that producers across all food industry categories are emphasizing the nutritional value of foods and using healthier ingredients. Producing and indulging in delicious food does not need to be at odds with preserving health. We believe this ourselves, of course: we seek out and enjoy the health and nutritional benefits of a little cacao every day.

3. Companies are taking more responsibility

Alongside all the labeling and discussion of health, we also saw a lot more “non-GMO” and “Fair Trade” symbols than before. Many exhibitors spoke to the broader impact of their products and their business practices. There was a lot of new packaging designed to produce less waste, to be more efficient to ship, and to be recyclable. Several companies even handed out their samples on VerTerra natural palm leaf plates, which Voilà Chocolat already uses and likes a lot. We were intrigued and inspired by the number of businesses now taking the significant time and investment to really get to know their suppliers, such as by regularly visiting the farms where their ingredients are grown, sharing tools and tips with growers, and observing first-hand the practices being implemented.

An increasing percentage of food manufacturers seem to be prioritizing social and environmental sustainability. They seem to believe, as we do, that sustainable and responsible practices are not just a feel-good endeavor or a marketing tactic but a smart, long-term strategy aimed at preserving the very systems on which our food supply and our businesses depend.

Good news, all around.

New dimensions in chocolate

Today is the last day of the Summer Fancy Food show, where we have seen and tasted so many special food ideas and creations and have had the privilege to speak with passionate, talented chefs and visionaries.

One especially exciting and fun innovation at the show is the ChefJet from 3D Systems – a 3D printer for chocolate, fondant and other confections. We finally got to see it in person, in action.

As we spoke with William Hu, Food Designer (what a fun job!), nearby the ChefJet's arm glided back and forth across a slowly descending surface on which a complex abstract chocolate sculpture took shape. We could smell the chocolate as digital became physical, plain by plain.

Soon chefs and other professionals will be able to own this machine for turning their 3D imaginations into edible (and incredible) reality. One of our favorites was the nearly life-sized, impossibly intricate Day-of-the-Dead sugar skull, resting ominously but beautifully under a glass bell jar.

For now, at Voilà Chocolat we continue to mold and build chocolate shapes (such as giant fire hydrants!) the traditional way. But we have seen a new future and it is inspiring...

3d Printed Sugar Skull

3d Printed Sugar Skull

Intricate shapes and color patterns

Intricate shapes and color patterns

3D Printed

3D Printed

Vote for Voilà!

At the 11th hour, our entry was accepted into the Wells Fargo Works small business contest.

We would love it if you could vote for our entry before 11:59pm EST, here.

(Direct link: https://wellsfargoworks.com/project?x=us-en_viewentriesandvote_3021)

The contest is judged, but votes can nudge entries up in the rankings, so we thank you for your support.

Also, we think you may enjoy our short entry essay. It speaks to a lot of things that we believe, very sincerely, so we hope you give it a read while you're there.

[Edit, July 1:  Thank you for your support. In only 4 hours last night, our entry was viewed over 700 times. If our entry is chosen, we will let everyone know!]

We're so Fancy

Today, we're headed to the Fancy Food Show!

The Fancy Food Show, hosted twice a year by the Specialty Food Association, is the largest specialty food marketplace in North America, where professionals display and evaluate innovative specialty food products, including confections, cheese, coffee, snacks, spices, and every kind of food invention you can imagine. And some you can't. (See video in our previous blog post to get just a tiny example).

We are excited to spend time with old friends and colleagues, and to see (and taste!) the most ingenious, most delicious, most imaginative new foods of 2014.  

Maybe our own imaginations will be sparked today for something new we can create for our store...

One Lucky Fan...

Voilà Chocolat's earliest, best fans and supporters (i.e. YOU) are like us: very passionate about fun experiences that involve education and innovation in chocolate and other foods.

Tomorrow, Voilà Chocolat will attend the 2014 Fancy Food Show at the Javits Center, 655 West 34th St.  Perhaps you would like to attend this not-open-to-the-public event as our guest?

To join the Voilà Chocolat family for a day and attend with us, let us know you're interested (email, Facebook, Twitter...), and later tonight we will randomly choose "one lucky fan."

Please note the show policies and be prepared to abide by them:

Removal of samples from the exhibit halls is prohibited. Fancy Food Show is a trade only event; only businesses related to the specialty food industry may attend. Show is not open to the general public. Persons under 18 (including infants) cannot attend. Soliciting by attendees is prohibited. Use of wheeled carts or wheeled bags is not allowed on exhibit floor. Taking photos or videos of exhibitor booths is prohibited.

It's going to be a great show:

Eat this, live forever

We noted with glee today, a post from our friends at Raaka Chocolate revealing that serious chocolate consumption might help you live to be 122. (Read their delicious revelation here: "Jeanne Calment: 122 Years of Chocolate.")

Stop and appreciate this fantastic news: a food that extends your lifespan and that is actually something you'd enjoy eating in great quantities for 122 years, no offense to kale and kombucha.

There is one other thing, almost as good as dark chocolate (although we won't claim it's just as good), that you could eat to extend your life...

Unofficially, Jeanne Calment might have been out-lived a century ago by Baba Vasilka, a Bulgarian woman who claimed to have been 126 years old. A study about her and thousands of other Bulgarian centenarians was reported in the New York Times in 1912, revealing that they all ate a lot of Bulgarian yogurt, with its unique and healthy bacteria, L. bulgaricus. It was concluded then - and it's still held today - that eating this incredible yogurt might help you achieve a 100+ year lifespan.

Some of us at Voilà Chocolat make amazing Bulgarian yogurt at home.  Between that and our daily chocolate consumption, we are legitimately planning to live forever.

But until we invite you over to try some yogurt, (or until you manage to befriend your own personal Bulgarian expat) you'll have to source your L. bulgaricus some other way. We notice there is one efficient (and vegan!) source called ProViotic, which recently became available at Juice Press locations around NYC.

Maybe we should also add dark-chocolate Bulgarian yogurt to our list for R&D projects?

US Favored over Portugal in Chocolate World Cup

With all due respect to our worthy opponents in tonight’s futebol match, the US definitely has the edge over Portugal – if we go by chocolate.   And at Voilà Chocolat, we always go by chocolate.

Here are the facts behind our sweet assertion: Americans buy $20bn of chocolate annually, while the Portuguese buy perhaps 1-2% as much. 

May tonight’s score come out as lopsided.

Worse, back in 1502, Portuguese-born explorer Christopher Columbus received some cacao beans from a chief in the new world, but he did not understand what the beans were and thought the gift was worthless.  It would take another 80 years before other Europeans finally began to ship cacao back home for their countrymen to enjoy. 

Despite that poor start, we must give credit that Portugal does bring something special to the world of chocolate nowadays: the annual Óbidos Chocolate Festival.

For 12 days every year, more than 200,000 visitors beseige the small village of Óbidos in central Portugal to taste all kinds of chocolates and desserts, take chocolatiering courses, and cheer professionals competing for glory on the international chocolate stage. So Portugal does have that going for them.

But more importantly tonight, there’s glory to be won on the international stage of SOCCER.  Yes, Europe, Africa and South America, we said “SOCCER."

USA! USA!

[cake/photo credit: Doce Fentação bakery]