Oh. My. Gosh.
Liquid cacao. You have to try this.
This stuff is like liquid happiness. Which, actually, it is, since it boosts seratonin levels, and that's the stuff that makes you happy. Plus, it has theobromine, which boosts energy. After sampling way more Cholaca products than a normal person would consume on a normal day (except maybe for Ira, who runs the company) I was feeling energized and happy. In a good way.
And without the jitters that I sometimes get with coffee. Which is awesome.
The first thing I sampled was a special concoction that Ira had discovered when he went into the kitchen for an afternoon pick-me-up of Cholaca, while a co-worked was grabbing a can of Coke. Ira had the bright idea to pour a little Cholaca into some Coke. He was telling a few of us about this, and when we expressed curiosity (horror? amazement?) he skedaddled off and came back with a can of coke and some Cholaca. So of course we had to try that. It was different, but good.
And that's where the epic chocolate journey started.
|This is where it ended. Mmm. Ice cream.|
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If you've read this blog more than once, you probably know that I don't like coconut. However (mysteriously) coconut sugar is fine. Probably because it's made from the sap and not the fruit. Just like maple syrup is made from maple sap and not ... uh ... some other part of the tree.
So anyway, the next thing we tried was a straight-up shot of Cholaca that was served in a cute little jar. I polished that off in no time. And then we moved on to hot chocolate. Oh heck yeah. The hot chocolate was freaking amazing. And not overly sugary.
And then the chocolate wafers appeared. Wafers! These are intended as baking chocolate and are totally unsweetened. Right now, there are two different types available based on the country of origin, so you can choose Cholaca wafers from Ecuador or from Peru.
Have you ever tasted unsweetened chocolate? It's pretty ... not so good. But I ate a couple wafers while we decorated gingerbread cookies. The wafers were actually very nice, thanks to the high level of cocoa butter that's in them (this is what Ira told me).
By that time I was super-happy and made a demented gingerbread dude with part of his arm eaten by a shark. He got a little smudged during the trip home, but I think it only adds to the appeal.
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And then we made a sugar scrub using white sugar, coconut sugar, cholaca, olive oil, and coconut oil. At that point, I wanted to just dive in and eat the scrub, coconut and all, but I decided I should behave myself.
And then there were the parting gifts from Cholaca. We each got a bottle of Cholaca (we got to choose between original and sweet) and some of those wafers. And a cute mug. And the jar of sugar scrub (I put mine in a different container when I got it home) and of course we brought home the cookies, too. No, they didn't give us ice cream to take home.
Oh, and if you're wondering how I made ice cream when that bottle of Cholaca seems to be full, it's because I immediately bought MORE of it.
Oh! Those wafers! I've set mine aside to bake with. I have ideas. Ira popped in during the cookie decorating to mention that the wafers might not be a perfect substitute for regular baking chocolate in a recipe because of the high cocoa butter content.
No worries. I think I can handle that.
At some point during the evening, I mentioned that I wanted to put Ira in a bottle and take him home with me. I have no idea what that even means, but his enthusiasm was obvious. He loves his job. He loves chocolate. He wants everyone to get to know the best chocolate in the entire world!!! Yup, he really loves his product. But he talked about it in an engaging way, and not in a pushy way and he spent some time talking about where the cacao is grown and how he's helping the local farmers. It was really interesting, but I was itching use the Cholaca in a recipe.
I had the good sense not to start cooking when I got home (although I was tempted) but it wasn't long before I decided to use some of the liquid Cholaca to make ice cream. The wafers will have to wait a bit, but I already have sooooo many ideas.
Okay, many of the ideas involve me hoarding the wafers and popping them into my mouth on a regular basis. But I might have to make brownies. Or ... something.
But first, Cholaca ice cream.
This is a very creamy ice cream, and not crazy sweet. It's not a super-dark-chocolate ice cream, so if that's what you're looking for, you'll need to add more chocolate in some form. I liked it the way it was, though.
Cholaca Chocolate Ice Cream
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups half-and-half
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup Cholaca original
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
Mix everything together until the sugar and salt are completely dissolved. If the mixture isn't super-cold (most of the ingredients should be cold, except that sugar, right?) place it in the refrigerator to get a little chillier.
Churn in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instruction.
Transfer to a storage container and freeze until firm. There is likely to be a little bit that doesn't fit in your container. I suggest you eat that right away. Quality control is very important, you know.
Thanks to Sprouts for sponsoring the event, supplying additional non-Cholaca goodies, and of course thanks to Cholaca for hosting and supplying their products.