World of Chocolate

On our recent visit to Orlando, we stopped by the World of Chocolate Museum and Café on International Drive. While waiting for our tour to begin, we studied the exotic chocolates offered for sale from around the world and the artistic creations inside display cases.

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We couldn’t resist tasting some of the baked treats. This is our daughter’s portion of chocolate lava cake.

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My husband and I ate our chocolate bombe filled with mousse so fast that I forgot to take a picture. It was heavenly! The café serves desserts along with coffee, tea and hot chocolate. It’s not for calorie watchers by any means. Put on your sweet tooth for this visit.

The guide began his tour amid rumblings of thunder and the pounding of rain from outside. This was appropriate as he led us into a faux rainforest to explain the origins of the cacao plant. Discovered by natives in South and Central America years ago, the plant was made into a drink that was bitter and spicy. Conquerors brought the plants to Spain where the resultant hot chocolate drink was consumed by royalty, and from there it made its way to France.

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At some point, sugar was added to the mix. Cacao eventually made its way to the U.S. where Hershey grabbed onto it. Theobromine is an alkaloid found in cacao that is similar to caffeine. It is usually not present in white chocolate. Dark baking chocolate has the most content.

We saw sculptures made in Europe by artisans and crated to the U.S. for the museum. The intricacy of detail was amazing. You can smell the chocolate as you walk along.

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Next the guide explained the chocolate making process while pointing out various pieces of machinery. They do not make the chocolate in front of you here so don’t expect a demo.

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Finally, we were taken to a room full of display cases showing chocolate bar wrappers from around the world. Then we sampled various bits of chocolate that ranged from bitter to quite sweet.

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Of course, we ended up buying a few bars each in the gift shop. Who could resist?

What is your secret chocolate vice?

 

Easy Recipes

In case you’ve wondered, I don’t spend all my time writing. I still like to experiment in the kitchen with new dishes. Here are two recipes I’ve made recently that have fairly quick preparation. Enjoy! (And next time, I’ll have to remember to take photos!)

QUICK TURKEY CURRY

1 cup diced green pepper
½ cup diced celery
½ large sweet onion, diced
4 green onions, sliced
2 Tbsp canola oil
1-2 package(s) Perdue short cuts cooked turkey breast or 1-2 cup(s) cubed leftover turkey
1 can sliced water chestnuts, drained
2 oz package slivered almonds
4 Tbsp all-purpose flour
½ tsp curry powder
½ tsp paprika
¼ tsp dried basil
16 oz low sodium chicken broth
1 small jar pimentos, drained
Cooked rice, 4 servings.

In a large skillet, sauté the green pepper, celery, and onions in oil until wilted. Stir in the turkey, water chestnuts, and almonds. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk the flour, curry powder, paprika and basil into the broth until blended. Stir into the skillet mixture and add pimentos. Cover and simmer until heated through. Serve over rice. Yields 4-6 servings. Tip: You can buy two 8 oz packages of pre-chopped green peppers, celery, and onions at the grocery store as a substitute for the green pepper and celery if you want a faster prep time.

EASY CHOCOLATE CAKE

1 package (18-1/4 oz) Devil’s Food cake mix
½ cup baking cocoa
2 egg whites
1 egg
1-1/3 cup water
8 oz low fat plain yogurt
2 tsp powdered 10X sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine egg whites, egg, water, and yogurt. In a large mixing bowl, blend cake mix and cocoa. Beating at low speed, add liquid mixture to dry ingredients. Blend well. Pour into a 10 cup fluted tube baking pan coated with cooking spray. Bake for 35 minutes and test for doneness with toothpick. Cool on wire rack before turning cake out onto a plate. Dust with powdered sugar and serve.

For more great recipes, check out the Recipes Page on my website!