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My trip to the 2005 Chocolate Show


Megan Blocker
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So, I have lived in NYC for more than four years now, but this is the first time I've gotten my butt to the Chocolate Show - and I am so glad that I did! Yes, it was crowded (I went this morning, right at 10:00 AM), yes, people were ridiculous about the samples (one lady in a red barn jacket mowed me down multiple times to get to the truffles on offer), but it's worth it.

Thanks to my friend Lisa, who is new to the city this year and is a bonafide chocolate addict, I bought my ticket way in advance, which meant I got to walk right in. (Though I should note that when Lisa and I left around 12:30, even the ticketholders were having to wait to enter.) We decided to hightail it for the far end of the room, reasoning that we might beat the crowds for at least a few minutes. Our first stop was the fashion show display.

A blue silk and chocolate number...

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A chocolate vampire lady? Note her fabulous shoes..

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A white chocolate wedding gown:

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And, finally, an Egyptian thing.

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From there, we went to the Trois Crepes booth. Trois Crepes is a French patisserie that works primarily through mail order on this side of the pond. Lisa and I both bought sets of three Weiss bars tied together with a vintage postcard on top, and I bought a large bag of dark chocolate granules - good for eating or as chocolate chip substitutes. They should be good for snacking - just one or two are needed to satisfy that choco-craving - they melt and cover your whole tongue. Yummmm...

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After Trois Crepes, we meandered around a bit, passing numerous chocolate fountains (hmmmm...). We also checked out Dagoba, who specialize in organic chocolate - they had a small booth near Trois Crepes. Lisa and I agreed that the name made us think immediately (NERD ALERT!) of Star Wars. The chocolate was pretty good, though.

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We needed something to cleanse our palates at this point, so we decided to check out the samples from the Serendipitea booth. They were dishing out their "Buccaneer" tea, which had strong vanilla notes. It tasted smooth and round, and definitely did the trick - we were ready for more chocolate...

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We passed by Neuhaus and Payard, sampling at both (the almond cookies dipped in milk chocolate at Payard were particularly good), and I also tried some organic jams along the way at Lillie Bell Farms' booth, where Lisa tried a truffle and some cocoa nib toffee - which she LOVED.

Next up was some chocolate frosting at Bressinger. I don't normally buy frosting (I prefer to make my own), but this stuff was wicked good.

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We had decided to sit in on the 11:00 AM demo (more on that below), but first we stopped to watch a demo by a pastry chef from the Institute of Culinary Education. We missed the beginning, so I'm not sure exactly what she was making, but it looked like some filled dark chocolates. She demonstrated tempering, among other things, and then shared the final product with the crowd, along with some decadent brownies

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After whetting our appetite for the ineractive with ICE, we sat down in the "Viking Theatre" for a demo - Sue Torres of Suenos making chocolate atole. She made an all-water version, but the one we were eventually served was half milk, half water. Essentially, it's a corn flour slurry mixed into boiling milk (with cassia cinnamon in it - stick form) with shaved Mexican chocolate mixed in at the end. Yummy - a lot more body than your average European or American hot chocolate, and a unique savory/sweet flavor from the corn, the very sugary chocolate and the cinammon.

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From the demo we made our way to a booth for a winemaker from outside of Fresno, CA (Where my mom lives!) called Quady. They specialize in dessert wines, and we tasted two - the first was an orange muscat called Essensia. I liked it quite a bit - very sweet, though without the musky background of a Sauternes. It would be a good replacement for dessert, though I don't know what you could pair it with! The second was a lighter wine, and it resembled a moscato d'asti - it was fresher, and slightly carbonated. This one was called Electra. I ended up buying two bottles of the latter at the Gotham Wines booth, and they gave me this nifty wine tote!

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On the way to the Gotham booth, we signed up to win this truffle tree from a Chicago-based chocolatier (I can't remember the name!) - the winner will receive the same kind of tree, though minus the gold dust (which is not edible, apparently?).

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After Gotham, we looked briefly (it was one of the most crowded moments of the day) at the Mary's Chocolate booth. These were Japanese chocolates, and Lisa and I both sampled what I think were green tea white chocolate truffles. I did not like these very much...the seasonal flower flavored truffles looked neat, but I really couldn't even get near the counter (I took the pic between two people's legs!). Around the corner of their booth, we saw some folks piping the decoration on to the tops of some filled chocolates...

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After Mary's, we found ourselves at a small booth for Knipschildt Chocolatier, where we bought filled chocolates in the following flavors: tangerine-chili, lemon-strawberry-thyme, caramel-sea salt (I'm most excited about that one!) and apricot basil. I just tried the apricot one, and the basil comes through with its most licorice-y notes, which I did not like. The filling is delectable texture-wise, though.

I bought a raspberry jam filled dark chocolate bar at Chocolate Bar, and tried a raspberry creme (below) at Ethel M., where there were also some delicious-looking caramel apples on display.

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Finally, we circled back around and hit the Jacques Torres booth. Jacques himself was absent, but we did like the looks of his Big Daddy bars and of the chocolate bark!

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On our way out, we hit the few booths in the annex, which included a display put together by chefs and students from the French Culinary institute. I was very impressed, as I always am when I see what people can do with chocolate!

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Heading for the door, we saw the following...

Chocolate sardines at Michel Cluizel...

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A huge pyramid of chocolate from all over the world at Pralus...

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And a chef making molds at Weiss...

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All in all, an amazing day. After all that chocolate, though, we really needed food. So, we walked a few blocks north and east and hit the Shake Shack! For Lisa, a 'Shroom Burger. For me, a Shack Burger (no cheese) and fries.

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Perfection on a gorgeous fall day. :biggrin:

"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

Queenie Takes Manhattan

eG Foodblogs: 2006 - 2007

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Awesome post, but chocolate sardines just do not do it for me. :wink:

I think they're just chocolates shaped like sardines - not sardines coated in chocolate!!!!

How gross would that be, though? :blink:

I don't know, though - I tried to talk to the guy manning the booth about them (en francais, oui!), but he was distracted talking to someone else for ages... :angry::laugh:

Edited by Megan Blocker (log)

"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

Queenie Takes Manhattan

eG Foodblogs: 2006 - 2007

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Yeh, I figured that much. Maybe Adrian or Wylie will toss them on the menu. :laugh:

Well...there is something to be said for salty and sweet! :raz:

BTW, just tried one of the strawberry-thyme creations, and it was excellent. I'm going to a friend's house for dinner tonight...I have to stop...oy.

"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

Queenie Takes Manhattan

eG Foodblogs: 2006 - 2007

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Wow those chocolate dresses are amazing.. Are they really made out of chocolate? And what happens to them after the Chocolate Show? I would hate to see so much chocolate go to waste! Oh perhaps they just melt them into bonbons?? :smile:

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ick! dust flavored bonbons!!

Megan you rock. Thanks for this post. I have been wanting to go for a few years now and have put it on my goal list for next year.

I had no idea that so much was for sale. What else can one spend more money on?

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ick!  dust flavored bonbons!!

Megan you rock.  Thanks for this post.  I have been wanting to go for a few years now and have put it on my goal list for next year.

I had no idea that so much was for sale.  What else can one spend more money on?

Thanks, Trishiad! :blush: You HAVE to go - it was so much fun!

There is TONS for sale. Lisa and I were very conservative (the wine was $11/bottle :shock:), but we could have gone a lot crazier. There were tons of different confections for sale at Trois Crepes (would have spent all day there - the ladies were lovely, and full of tips in a very "French Women Don't Get Fat" kind of way), including caramels and some really delectable-looking confitures (one I almost bought was watermelon, quince and...oh, crap, something else - it sounded really yummy). Pretty much every booth was selling something - I got the feeling that these are places that might normally be wholesale (selling to retail, for instance, or doing weddings only), but were taking the opportunity of the chocolate show to get their wares directly to the public.

There were some exquisite chocolates for sale by a place called Anna Shea - Lisa said they were the chocolate equivalent of Tiffany's jewelry :laugh:, though I might place them more in an H. Stern category - classic, but certainly not dull. They were beautifully packaged and actually lookd bejeweled.

Sandeman Port had a booth right next to Gotham, but I don't think they opened till later in the afternoon (They had a "Happy Hour" scheduled for 4-6 - odd to think of starting the evening with port!), and Gotham was selling lots more than just the Quady wines. You could actually sit down and order online right there in the booth, which is what I did - free delivery.

I should mention that all the places I bought from had websites...I'm headed out for the evening (have to run off and make myself purty), but will try and post some links later tonight or tomorrow!

Wow those chocolate dresses are amazing.. Are they really made out of chocolate? And what happens to them after the Chocolate Show? I would hate to see so much chocolate go to waste! Oh perhaps they just melt them into bonbons??

Aren't they amazing? They're not entirely made of chocolate, but there's a lot of chocolate involved, and more in some (the vampire, the Aztec) than in others (the blue dress). The shoes looked like regular shoes coated in chocolate...Lisa and I were thinking they must get dressed in an insanely cold room and stay there until the runway walk, and then de-robe immediately. Refrigerated models! :laugh:

"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

Queenie Takes Manhattan

eG Foodblogs: 2006 - 2007

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megan

did you happen to visit the the peanut butter stand? we tried the chocolate peanut butter and the spicy peanut butter. Also bought a couple of the pyramid chocolates to give as gifts and oh yes some of the fine chocolate from dagoba and jaques torres tables

tom

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Great stuff, Megan! What was the temperature in there?

Good question! Pretty cool - especially for the size of the crowd. I definitely didn't feel overly warm at any point, so I'm thinking it was kept somewhere in the low 60's (Fahrenheit).

I will add that I have spent many furious, overheated sample sale hours in the same space, and it was nice to finally be in the Metropolitan Pavilion and not have to slug someone for the last Marc Jacobs bag.

"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

Queenie Takes Manhattan

eG Foodblogs: 2006 - 2007

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Thanks for the photos!

Quady Winery hosts a pastry competition every year, I believe. A top local restaurant (Lumiere) won it a few years ago...I can't find my Lumiere cookbook at the moment, so I can't tell you the winning recipe. Sorry!

Gold leaf is edible. :smile:

I'd eat the sardines from Michel Cluizel. I love that brand of chocolate. :wub:

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Going Thurs 10-2 FOR TRADE ONLY was the way to go. No crowds, free coat check, free breakfast(bagels, cream cheese, lox, oj, etc)

One of my favorite vendors was J. Emanuel Chocolatiers.....He made all types of wine filled chocolates. If any one remembers Van Leer Chocolate manufactures..That is who he is Theodore Van Leer

There also was a nice selection of book for sale, mostly chocolate of course.,from Barnes and Noble.

I even purchased a real cocoa pod from one of the vendors.

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Great report, Megan--'tho I think I may have gotten a few cavities while reading it... :raz:

Quady Essencia is a favorite of mine, and it's not something you see too often, so I was thrilled to see that you enjoyed it. I first drank it after a wonderful dinner at The Food Studio in Atlanta, and ran right out to buy it as soon as I got back from that trip. To me, it's sunshine in a glass--and it IS dessert, in my book. Enjoy! :smile:

"I'm not eating it...my tongue is just looking at it!" --My then-3.5 year-old niece, who was NOT eating a piece of gum

"Wow--this is a fancy restaurant! They keep bringing us more water and we didn't even ask for it!" --My 5.75 year-old niece, about Bread Bar

"He's jumped the flounder, as you might say."

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megan

did you happen to visit the the peanut butter stand? we tried the chocolate peanut butter and the spicy peanut butter. Also bought a couple of the pyramid chocolates to give as gifts and oh yes some of the fine chocolate from dagoba and jaques torres tables

tom

Tom, I didn't make it to the Peanut Butter & Co. stand, but only because I usually end up visiting them every few months. I tried to make an effort to visit booths of chocolatiers I was unfamiliar with (Weiss, Cluizel and Torres being exceptions to this rule!). However, I have had many of their peanut butters, and all have been good.

As promised, here are some links to the spots mentioned above!

Trois Crepes

Serendipitea

Dagoba Chocolate

Lillie Bell Farms

Jaques Torres Chocolate Haven

Institute of Culinary Education

Gotham Wines and Liquors

Quady Winery

Mary's Chocolate Japan

Michel Cluizel

Pralus (In French)

And, to the Chocolate Show itself: Click!

Edited by Megan Blocker (log)

"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

Queenie Takes Manhattan

eG Foodblogs: 2006 - 2007

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Great report, Megan--'tho I think I may have gotten a few cavities while reading it...   :raz:

Quady Essencia is a favorite of mine, and it's not something you see too often, so I was thrilled to see that you enjoyed it.  I first drank it after a wonderful dinner at The Food Studio in Atlanta, and ran right out to buy it as soon as I got back from that trip.   To me, it's sunshine in a glass--and it IS dessert, in my book.  Enjoy!   :smile:

Thanks, Curlz!

It really was a lovely wine...I'm going to buy some more of it when I can actually lug it home. And I am going to try and visit them in Madera in December, when I have to make one of my bi-annual pilgrimages to Fresno, land of the raisin. :wink:

There also was a nice selection of book for sale, mostly chocolate of course.,from Barnes and Noble.

That's right - I didn't mention those! Oops. :sad: I avoided the books because, a) books of any kind are my biggest weakness, and I could easily have dropped hundreds of dollars on things I don't need, b) it's cheaper online and c) my company has a 10% off program with B&N if you buy from the website. Plus, I do love to buy on Amazon through eGullet! :wink:

But, yes, the books were lovely, and smack in the middle, right in front of the fashion stuff.

And how could I forget? Here's a pic I shot of a real cacao pod.

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This was part of the Felchlin Switzerland display of all things historically chocolate.

Edited by Megan Blocker (log)

"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

Queenie Takes Manhattan

eG Foodblogs: 2006 - 2007

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Thanks for the photos!

Quady Winery hosts a pastry competition every year, I believe. A top local restaurant (Lumiere) won it a few years ago...I can't find my Lumiere cookbook at the moment, so I can't tell you the winning recipe. Sorry!

Gold leaf is edible.  :smile:

What good are you, Ling? :wink: Just kidding! If you do find the recipe, that would be great. Especially, if they're pairing it with the wines - it would be fun to do a dessert pairing at Christmas for my mom (she shares my love of all things...wine-y.)

Thanks for the info on Quady...and gold leaf! I wonder why the lady said it wasn't edible...I was very confused, having definitely ingested truffles dusted in gold before...maybe she uses special poisonous gold to keep greedy chocolate show hands off of her truffle tree!

Seriously - Lisa and I overheard a few exchanges about how "we shouldn't go to this booth or that booth" - because the samples weren't big enough. :shock: I can't imagine waiting in those kinds of crowds only to get chocolate samples, rather than to experience the whole thing and learn a bit. Seems very odd to me...

Edited by Megan Blocker (log)

"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

Queenie Takes Manhattan

eG Foodblogs: 2006 - 2007

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in case anyone is wondering about the designers and pastry chefs who actually collaborated on those dresses pictured above, the first was by Austin Scarlett and Robert Twardzik, the vampire M&M number was by Diana Kane and Heather Carlucci-Rodriguez, the wedding dress with white chocolate (I believe) was Celestina Agostino for La Châtelaine & François Pralus, the Egyptian themed one was by Martin Howard, of course, and worn by Martin during the runway show, who was accompanied by a quartet of servants, fanning him with chocolate palm fronds.

I can't imagine waiting in those kinds of crowds only to get chocolate samples, rather than to experience the whole thing and learn a bit. Seems very odd to me

Some savvy veterans I know time their visit around pastry chef demos in the theaters--keep their seats for two or three in a row--that's a great way to get dessert. Pop out for a bite to eat--like to that great little Japanese chicken wing place on 19th or walk down to 10th to Cookshop--which Andrea Strong is 100% correct about--then come back for more chocolate. Also, Friday early evening, if you can get there, is much nicer than anytime Saturday or Sunday.

That picture of the cocoa pod is too dry and dessicated to appreciate, it's probably been schlepped around for years. A real fresh one is white, vibrant, juicy and slimy. If you bought a fresh one, you're really lucky, because they can't easily be imported. Wholesale florists, that's it, I've heard.

Steve Klc

Pastry chef-Restaurant Consultant

Oyamel : Zaytinya : Cafe Atlantico : Jaleo

chef@pastryarts.com

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Great Job Megan.. I was in the area yesterday looking for a book shelf when I saw the massive line outside.. I was thankful I was not one of the people standing in line.. Thanks to your report I felt like I went.. Sans the chocolate fix..

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Thanks, Steve, for making up for the fact that I completely forgot to bring pen or paper with me on Saturday. Next time I go, I definitely want to spend more time at the demos, pace myself, and so on. It was just so insane - I'm not big on crowds, so I was pretty ready to go about 2 1/2 hours or so...

Also, I did a bit of poking around, and found this shot of a fresh cacao pod (in the middle!):

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I will also report that I have now tried the caramel and sea salt chocolate from Knipschildt - and it was too-licious. My friend Aimee, who had come over for a baking lesson, concurred. Next up, tangerine chili.

Edited by Megan Blocker (log)

"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

Queenie Takes Manhattan

eG Foodblogs: 2006 - 2007

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What good are you, Ling?  :wink:  Just kidding!  If you do find the recipe, that would be great.  Especially, if they're pairing it with the wines - it would be fun to do a dessert pairing at Christmas for my mom (she shares my love of all things...wine-y.)

Ahaha..after a post like that, I had to turn my room upside-down to find that cookbook! And here's the winning recipe (from the 1999 Quandy Dessert Competition)

Chocolate tango cake with bittersweet chocolate sorbet

Chocolate sorbet:

1 cup sugar

3.5 cup water

2 oz Valrhona, bittersweet, chopped

1 cup cocoa powder

Almond Praline:

1 cup sugar

1 cup sliced almonds

5 tbsp unsalted butter

Tangerine cake:

1/2 cup butter

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 vanilla bean

zest and juice of 1 tangerine

2 yolks

1/4 cup ground almonds

1/4 cup AP flour

3 tbsp Essensia

Chocolate cake:

1/2 cup butter

4 oz bittersweet Valrhona

2 eggs

2 yolks

1/4 cup sugar

2 tsp flour

Tangerine syrup:

juice of 2 tangerines

juice of 1/2 lemon

3 tbps Essensia

2 tsp sugar

Tangerine jus:

zest of 1 tangerine

juice of 4 tangerines

juice of 1 lemon

1/2 vanilla bean

2 tbsp sugar

1 tsp cornstarch

Sorbet:

Boil sugar and water, put chocolate in bowl, pour simple syrup over, whisk.

Whisk in cocoa powder. Cool to room temp. Freeze in ice-cream machine.

Almond Praline:

Melt sugar over med. low, increase to medium and boil under caramelized. Add almonds and butter. Spread mixture on lined baking sheet. Cover with more parchment, cool.

Tangerine cake:

Cream butter, sugar, vanilla, zest. Beat in yolks one at a time. In another bowl, add almonds, flour, baking powder, Add to wet ingredients with juice and Essensia.

Chocolate cake:

Melt butter and chocolate together. In another bowl, beat eggs and yolks and sugar. Temper egg mixture, then fold in egg mixture with chocolate. Add flour. Cover and put in fridge 10 min.

Preheat oven to 325 F. Butter and flour 12 three-inch ramekins and put on baking sheet. Fill halfway with tangerine batter, then pipe chocolate batter into middle of each ramekin until 3/4 full. Bake 10 min. Unmold. Soak in hot tangerine syrup.

Syrup:

When cakes bake, combine everything and bring to boil.

Tangerine Jus:

Boil over med-high heat until thickened.

Plating:

Drizzle jus around plate. Crush 1/4 cup praline and put in a small mound beside each cake. Add a scoop of sorbet to plate. Top sorbet with bigger piece of praline.

(Directions paraphrased by yours truly. :smile: )

Edited by Ling (log)
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Woo-hoo! Rock on, Ling. Thank you so much! I will definitely be making this in Fresno. I love making things in my mother's gigantic kitchen, where I don't need to point a fan at the smoke detector every time I use the oven. :laugh: Seriously, that thing is so sensitive to temperature change...

I knew I could call you out. :laugh::laugh:

And, Daniel, thanks! The line was truly insane when we left on Saturday. The two of us were so glad that we made an effort to get there early. Personally, I think I'm most glad that I had the fitting for my latest bridesmaid's dress in the morning before going - because going afterward with my choco-foodbaby would have been a baaaaad idea. :wink:

"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

Queenie Takes Manhattan

eG Foodblogs: 2006 - 2007

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^Before you make this, don't you think the proportion of butter in both the tangerine cake and the chocolate cake (which is almost like a flourless chocolate cake) seem unnaturally high? It seems like 1/4 cup of butter is more than sufficient for the tangerine cake and the chocolate cake...I do caution that I've made a cake from the Lumiere book that didn't turn out at all--it was waaaaay too greasy (it looked like it contained too much butter when I read it, but I followed the directions anyway, and it was inedible).

Anyway, I think the cake would turn out if you cut the butter down to 1/4 cup in the tangerine cake (and even then it would be very dense with the almond meal) and 1/4 cup of butter in the chocolate cake (so it's more in line with other flourless chocolate cake recipes.)

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Honestly, I hadn't looked too closely at the details of the recipe yet, beyond "yeah I can make that!." :blush:

However, yes, it does look like there's a lot of butter in there...maybe I will do a test run of just the cake with less butter to see what happens. I'll have plenty of time... :biggrin:

Edited by Megan Blocker (log)

"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

Queenie Takes Manhattan

eG Foodblogs: 2006 - 2007

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