Several publications picked up my pieces about chocolate and Passover recently — Huffington Post, Jewish Journal and Jewish Telegraphic Agency — and I share them here, along with A Haggadah for a Chocolate Seder and related rabbinic texts from responsa literature:

A Haggadah for a Chocolate Seder (cover)

A Haggadah for a Chocolate Seder (free download!)
This Haggadah provides an entry point to awareness about the issues of slavery, worker’s rights, poverty, economic justice and fair trade in the chocolate business. In it, chocolate becomes the medium for uncovering themes of ethical kashrut, worker equity and food justice, while spotlighting Passover’s underlying messages of freedom, dignity and fairness. Use the entire text or a segment at some point during the Passover festival.

Passover: The Season of Freedom and Chocolate (Jewish Journal)
Passover’s causes have always included freedom, peoplehood and monotheism, and Passover’s chocolate layers new concerns onto these age-old themes. From the mid-century Orthodox owned Barton’s to Rescue Chocolate in Brooklyn which supports animal rescue, chocolate has been bundled with teachings and crusades. Now, finally, your chocolate for Passover may be both Fair Trade and Kosher for Passover.

Finding the Afikoman May Be Easier: The Best Chocolate for Passover (Ten Minutes of Torah)
When I cover some of my matzah with ethical/Fair Trade and kosher chocolate this Passover, I will recall that I am descended from Hebrew slaves in Egypt, and that, unfortunately, slavery still exists today. I will seek to advance freedom through my chocolate choices, making these Passover days different from all others.

Old Questions for Rabbis about Passover Chocolate: Responsa Literature (Free download!)
Study these ritual questions and answers about chocolate for deeper insights into Jewish chocolate issues. These selections remind us of how Judaism sees sanctity in every act, including our chocolate eating. Use them for text study during Pesach.

Chocolate Recipes for Each Day of Passover–Enjoy! (Huffington Post and JTA)

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Chocolate Love Lessons for Valentine’s Day

by D. Prinz on February 5, 2014

Love lessons pulsate through Denise Acabo’s chocolate shop, A l’Etoile d’Or, Montmartre, Paris. Baby-faced Denise, who may be in her 80’s, has tended to customers and chocolate for the last 40 years costumed in her braided hair and school-uniform kilt skirt. Against the backdrop of her carefully curated chocolate offerings, she preens for the camera:

I take one … mmmm, when you eat a palet d’or (chocolate ganache topped with gold dust) like this, made by my friend Bernachon in Lyons, of the best of the cocoa beans, chuao, the best there is, like a grand cru, the best champagne. Don’t eat it fast. Feel it at the top of the mouth, at the back of the mouth and at the sides of the mouth. Incredible. Don’t eat anything else for a while. When you have something so good, it gives the impression of an embrace. I have a chocolate here. When I eat it, it is like an orgasm — the best in life — because when I taste something so good, it is like being embraced by my mother …

Acabo’s ardor for chocolate reminds me that it was Valentine’s Day that had led us to Denise. It was on Valentine’s Day that I chanced upon a National Public Radio report about Parisian chocolate shops by food author, David Lebovitz. When we learned about it, Mark and I rerouted our upcoming European tour to include Paris. I located Montmartre and Denise’s shop, L’ Etoile d’Or, on my map so we could feel the love of that chocolate. We loaded up on the highly rated Bernachon especially since it cannot be found anywhere outside of Lyon. We have secured the Bernachon cocoa powder in our home pantry where it awaits these Chocolate Red Chile Bizcochito Cookies for Valentine’s Day.

 

A l’Etoile d’Or

30, rue Fontaine (9th)

Métro: Blanche

Tel: 01 48 74 59 55

Open daily, except Sunday, and occasionally closed Monday)

(Call before coming on Monday, as hours may vary)

 

Red Chile Bizcochitos (Little Cookies)

Use a heart shaped cookie cutter for these red-hot butter cookies.

Ingredients:

1⁄4 cup unsweetened quality cocoa powder

3 cups flour
11⁄2 teaspoons baking powder
1⁄2 teaspoon salt

3⁄4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
11⁄4 cups butter
1⁄4–1⁄2 teaspoon ground dried red chipotle chile, to taste

1⁄4 teaspoon vanilla extract
11⁄4 teaspoons aniseed
1 large egg
6 ounces dark chocolate, broken into pieces

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Sift together the cocoa powder, flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl and set aside. Combine 1⁄4 cup of the sugar with the cinnamon in a small bowl and set aside. Put the butter, ground chile, and the remaining 1⁄2 cup sugar into the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, and beat on medium speed until fluffy, about 1 minute. Add the vanilla, aniseed, and egg and beat, stopping the mixer once or twice to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, until well mixed, about 1 minute. Reduce the speed to low, then gradually add the flour mixture, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed, and beat until the dough begins to gather into a ball and comes cleanly away from the sides of the bowl, about 2 minutes. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and divide in half. Shape each half into a smooth ball. Cover with a clean dishtowel and set aside to rest for 15–20 minutes.

Roll out half of the dough on a lightly floured surface or between sheets of parchment paper to a thickness of about 1⁄8 inch. Form with a cookie cutter and arrange 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake until golden, about 10 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack and sprinkle lightly with the reserved cinnamon-sugar mixture while still warm. Repeat the process with the remaining half of dough. Cool completely.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or waxed paper. Melt the chocolate in a large heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, stirring until smooth. Dip the cookies halfway into the melted chocolate and place on the prepared baking sheet to cool, or place the cookies on the prepared baking sheet and drizzle the chocolate on top of the cookies with a fork. The chocolate will harden as it cools.

Quantity: 3–5 dozen, depending on the size of the cookie cutter

 

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Chocolate Coated Mallomars Turns 100

November 13, 2013

Do you want to eat a 100 year old chocolate covered, cookie framed marshmallow? The iconic Mallomars turned 100 today. That calls to mind its sibling concoctions from other countries and times, such as the Krembo in Israel. Other similar classic chocolate-covered marshmallows recall the colonial empire roots of some European chocolate traditions. Chocolate makers [...]

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From Prins to Prinz: The Mysteries of the Chocolate Trail

September 19, 2013

Little did I realize when writing On the Chocolate Trail, how eerie the connections between Jews and chocolate might become.  My choco-dar (internal radar for chocolate experiences) led me to a hauntingly personal story. In 2009, a very kind scholar, learning of my chocolate interests, mentioned a Dutch archival collection of a Jewish scholar who [...]

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Jews Make Chocolate a Revolutionary Option: Happy July 4

July 4, 2013

Sephardi Jews contributed to the availability of drinking chocolate when that became a very popular substitute for politicized tea in North America around the time of the 1773 Boston Tea Party. The Gomez family members (NYC) and Aaron Lopez (Newport) were among the several North American Jews who engaged in the manufacture, retail, and consumption [...]

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Louis Kwechansky and his Chocolate Factory: A Father’s Day Tribute from Alex Kwechansky

June 8, 2013

In 1939, well before I was born, my father, Louis Kwechansky was already into chocolate production in Montreal. He had patented a machine to make a product that would seal his fame. He invented a chocolate lollypop on a stick, called a “Chocolate Pop.” He hired the best known intellectual property firm in town to [...]

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Prayers for Chocolate Work

June 2, 2013

Yes, they do, according to a story told by our colleague and friend, Rabbi Mo Salth, first recounted by radio commentator, Paul Harvey. A mother decided that her family should eat more healthfully and alerted her children that she would no longer be purchasing sugary snacks. She took her 3-year-old son to the grocery store [...]

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“Did Jews ‘Invent’ Chocolate” Hits YouTube

May 27, 2013

“Did Jews ‘Invent’ Chocolate?” An Exclusive Interview with Deborah Prinz by Walter Bingam for his radio program “Walter’s World” at Israel National Radio about my book On the Chocolate Trail: A Delicious Adventure Connecting Jews, Religions, History, Travel, Rituals and Recipes to the Magic of Cacao, published by Jewish Lights and now in its second [...]

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Mothering with Chocolate

May 12, 2013

In 2012 consumers in the United States spent an average of $152 dollars for Mother’s Day gifts. A good portion of that was spent on slathering our mammas with chocolate treats. Earlier generations of women, some of the them childless due to their religious callings, have concocted and savored chocolate; they have contributed to the [...]

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A Jewish Matriarch of American Chocolate Making

May 5, 2013

If, as one of my friends has taught me, food is love, then chocolate manifests the densest, deepest and sweetest of loves. When we slather our mothers with chocolatey tributes in a few days, we will be stepping onto a chocolate trail pioneered by Jewish mothers before us, notably Rebecca Gomez of the 18th century. [...]

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