amano chocolate: guess the country of origin

My absolute favorite chocolate maker in the world (and I mean that literally) is getting a new bar ready for production.  To celebrate, they’re offering up a year’s supply of chocolate for someone who can guess the country of origin.  Amano does amazing things with single-origin chocolate that really bring out the flavor of the region — just having a new chocolate is exciting enough, but trying to guess makes it even more fun.  To make things interesting (or less interesting, depending on your perspective), they’ve provided a picture of the beans — if you can recognize where the beans are from, you might have an edge in the contest.

Amano Chocolate — Guess the Country of Origin Contest

Dear Santa: Here’s my wishlist for 2010

Dear Santa —

WTF, dude?  I mean, I know we haven’t talked in like 25 years or something, but really?  Cancelling the best show on TV (Dollhouse, duh), and what do we get instead in 2010?  Freaking Caprica?  Are you on drugs?  And don’t even get me started on Stargate: Universe…or, rather Stargate: Who’s Driving this Bus? No one, the same person writing the fecking script.

Just so there’s no misunderstandings next year, here’s my wishlist for next winter holiday.  You have plenty of time, Santa.  Don’t.  Screw.  It.  Up.

  1. A standalone Google Wave client.  Google Wave is cool, right, and with Chrome I can make an application shortcut and have it behave like its own app.  So this should be pretty easy, since the platform has its’ own set of built-in gadgets.  All I want is the freaking menu bar to blink when I have a new message/wave.  Seriously, is that so hard?
  2. Joss Whedon show that doesn’t get cancelled after 2 seasons.
  3. For that matter, a Dollhouse movie would be nice.
  4. HBO and Showtime to join Starz in signing lasting contracts with Netflix to stream movies and TV shows, thereby adding, like, every movie ever into Netflix’s Instant Viewing database.
  5. Netflix, Hulu, or someone to make some sort of deal to offer pay-per-view, online screenings of movies that are in theaters right now.
  6. Universally accepted CSS/HTML standards that eliminate browser compatibility issues.  Dammit.
  7. Heroes to either be put to death, or else to not suck, whichever is less impossible.
  8. SteamnVidia, or OnLive to launch a cloud computing video game streaming service so I don’t need to upgrade my graphics card every time I want to play a new game.
    8-a.  Steam, nVidia, and/or OnLive to not be competitors in the cloug computing video game streaming industry.  It would be ridiculous to have to have 3 different monthly subscriptions or some such bullshit.
  9. Frickin’ Flying Cars.  Seriously, it’s 2010, and the best we can do is a single company running space tourism jaunts into low orbit for rich folk?! If you can’t give me flying cars, the least you could do is those hoverboards from Back to the Future II so I can fall on my face and break my nose.
  10. A fat wad of cash that falls from the sky and is completely tax-free so we can finish fixing up the house and spend all day making WordPress themes.

also, a lifetime supply of chocolate from any of these companies would also be appreciated:

Oh, and Santa, if you could arrange to not have the Christmas season (by which I mean when Christmas music and decorations start appearing in malls and stores) start the day after Halloween and put it back to the day after Thanksgiving the way it used to be, that would be great.

thanks.  your pal,

p.s. all the usual items on my wishlist (world peace, an end to global hunger and poverty, universal health care, an environmentally stable future, a MacBook Pro) are still implied.  thx.

spicy aztec coffee

we’ve been out of (flavored) creamer, so i invented this.  i’ve decided it’s awesome.

2 heaping tsp Lake Champlain Spicy Aztec Hot Chocolate (if you needed to, the Allegro Mayan Drinking Chocolate that you can get from Whole Foods would probably work)

Coffee (maybe slightly less than you’d usually pour into your cup)

Creamer/Milk/Half & Half (i think this works better than doing it black, but you can probably do that too)


scoop the chocolate mix into the cup first.  pour in the coffee.  pour in however much creamer makes you happy.  stir.  revel in awesomeness. 

food blog returns: halloween candy meltdown (literally)

so i was really aggravated last night.  we just had a major reset done in the cheese department, and i was focusing on the case, figuring out what i should cut.  there was some chocolate that i needed to deal with and my big, pretty display i built a couple months ago got pulled down and replaced by rolling racks.

 that was annoying, but because our regional analyst person talked to me about it, i was expecting that.  i was annoyed because i thought it looked good and i had it somewhat organized the way i wanted it, and the new set had stuff mixed together and the tags were all mixed up.  plus there was stuff everywhere.

more annoying, however was when our marketing guy — who was doing a demo in front of really big windows letting in the afternoon sun, came over and said “hey, chris, i thought you should know…your chocolate is melting.”

wtf?  i go over to see the halloween display had been moved in front of the big windows since i last worked, with all my specialty halloween chocolate and, in fact, the chocolate had been melting.  hi, chris, you need to do a chocolate reset.  so i did.  the result looks pretty good, but it was annoying to have to come in and deal with some scruffy-faced nerfherder’s brilliant idea to stick the halloween chocolate in front of the frickin’ window.  i mean, seriously.  whose brilliant idea was that?  so far i’ve had no answers (not that i think anyone would take credit for it to me, considering how pissed i was).  so here’s the new chocolate set, halloween candy included:

beyond the annoyance of having to do the reset, that’s $65 of lost chocolate now, that’s unsellable, and while that could have been a lot worse and we generally make a pretty big margin on most of the chocolate, it’s still lost sales and our department hasn’t been doing fabulous with the change in seasons, the economy, etc.  not to mention the fact that my whole day was spent on that instead of other things.

so i came home and made myself feel better with an herb-crusted fleur de france brie and yummy cambozola (a german cross between the italian blue, gorgonzola and the french camembert brie) on la panzanella croccatini which, in my opinion, is the best cracker for cheese.  they’re big flatbreads and kind of unruly, but they’re awesome and crunchy and not too thick like some other croccatinis.  the cambozola was a bit more -zola than cam- having sat in our fridge for a few days, but still tasty.  the evening was capped with some hornsby’s crisp apple hard cider which, i’ve decided, doesn’t suck.

food it is, then…

so, i just checked my wp analytics and the last post, new topic: cheese is my top post and most active.  so, um, i guess i should talk about food more.  ha.

which really makes the ubergeeky theme for the site somewhat unrelated.  so yeah, it’s on the list…

the big boss came (regional pres) today and arrived last night. so everyone’s running around like chickens with heads cut off freaking out about making the store look pretty.  I threw the cheese load as fast as humanly possible, faced up the tea, and then started cutting cheese to fill the holes and…by the time i left he still hadn’t shown up yet.  figures…

i’m excited because i got my login stuff set up so i can officially start talking to vendors and ordering chocolate.  i sent an email today to amano to set up a wholesale account for our team.  i’m excited to bring their product into the store and give it a push.  i’m also trying to set up a field trip to visit the factory.  i’ve never been into a factory, let alone a chocolate factory — even though i lived within walking distance from the see’s factory in south city.

my specialty team is also heading out to logan to visit caffe ibis next week.  that’s exciting, too, cuz, you know, coffee.  and they’re cool and their coffee is the best we sell in the store (though i’m still bummed that we can’t get salt lake roasting company coffee in to sell).  also, the awesome power of sampling was able to sell some of the cowgirl creamery MT TAM i blogged about the other day which we have at exorbitant cost due to not being able to get it from cali.  still, it’s probably the best triple cream we have (it’s my current favorite, anyway), so it’s kinda worth it.

in other news, my decision re: the mac is to keep it at Tiger.  it works, i can use the iSight, it actually opens Photoshop files now and so long as i don’t install any updates at all it should continue to do so, so it does everything i really need it to do.

(posted from a mac)