Frequently Asked Questions
What’s up with the names of your chocolates? What do they mean?
I like choosing names that immediately transport you to the whole experience of eating a particular chocolate, so each name evokes the flavor and feel of the filling as well as the shape of the ‘praline’ as we call our individual chocolates in Belgium. Belgian chocolates are famous all over the world and I wanted to highlight the connection of my chocolates with the places I grew up in and around, so while the French terms may sound more familiar, the Flemish names are reminiscent of my native Flanders, the northern part of Belgium, immortalized by Jacques Brel in his nostalgic song: 'Mijn Platte Land' (my flat countryside).
Here is the list of our Delights:
Amandine: refers to the almond paste filling: amande (French)/amandel (Flemish). It is also a woman's name. 'Almond cream' refresh to the smooth combo of almond paste and dark chocolate. It is absolutely DAIRY FREE!
De Zoute: Flemish for 'The Salty' is how we call our beautiful Flemish beach city "Knokke, de Zoute", but the way it is pronounced in the local coastal dialect it sounds like Flemish for 'sweet'. Our salty caramel captured in the shape of a wave transports me back to my beloved "De Zoute" with each bite I take. I hope you will get to visit "De Zoute" soon. Until then: dream on with every bite you take out of our 'Blonde' and 'Noire' versions ('blonde' and 'black' or milk and dark chocolate).
De Sablon: the French word 'sablon' (zavel in Flemish) means a fine-grained sand, halfway between silt and sand. The 'Sablon' was originally a sandy hill in Brussels. Now it indicates the 2 squares of 'Le Grand Sablon' (De Grote Zavel) and the 'Petit Sablon' (De Kleine Zavel), the big and the small squares. To me 'sablon' evokes the caramelized nut paste mixed in with our salty caramel.
Amber Waltz: Amber, color of the salty caramel that is blending together beautifully with the chocolate ganache, like a smooth elegant waltz.
Gianduja: our classic name for a mixture of hazelnut paste and chocolate. Ours is 50% nut pate, 50% dark chocolate; no glucose or other sugars added.
Red Tango: a Spanish fan-shaped 'praline' is filled with orange-red spicy mango paste, conjuring up the image of a fiery tango or 'Red Tango".
Coeur Sablé: 'Coeur' means 'heart'; our classic heart-shaped chocolate is filled with our gianduja praliné (praliné paste and milk chocolate). Sablé again refers to the caramelized nut paste.
Amour: we called our carved heart 'love' because of the perfect marriage between the dark ganache and praliné filling.
Rendez-Vous: where chocolate and crispy little pieces of toffee and feuilletine meet in a dipped heart, topped with a chocolate curl and feuilletine pieces.
Carré Croquant: or 'crispy square' for he crispy little pieces of toffee and feuilletine in the filling. Feuilletine is made from an extremely thin crisp type of crêpe.
Cajoulet: named for the cashew (cajou in French) nut paste and milk chocolate filling.
Which couverture chocolate do you use?
We use Callebaut Belgian chocolate for our couverture AND all our fillings that are made with chocolate, e.g., ganaches and our nut 'creams' (dairy free!). Callebaut Belgian chocolate is arguably one of the finest chocolates in the world because of the very strict guidelines they use to make their chocolate from cacao bean to couverture: from sourcing the beans, fermentation and drying, to blending different varieties of beans, roasting and extremely finely grinding the beans (with sugar) into cocoa mass, which is then ready for the 'conching' process (careful kneading of chocolate dough for hours at high temperature). Careful conching is critical to get rid of any undesired acidic flavors and to blend all the remaining flavors together. That is why some high percentage chocolates taste extremely acidic which some people confuse with a 'typical' dark chocolate taste while it is just the result of a very bad coaching process. Finally, the chocolate is finished with pure cocoa butter and natural vanilla for a balanced taste. Callebaut only uses 100% pure cocoa butter and a dash of natural Bourbon vanilla.
What is so typical about Belgian chocolates? And what is the CA flair for innovation about?
The typical Belgian chocolates or 'pralines' as we call them are made with molds because one of the characteristics of Belgian chocolates is the fresh cream as base of a lot of fillings and you cannot use the dipping or enrobing method for that. My CA flair for innovation comes in where I do use the classic molding technique but fill most of them with, let's say, a 'healthier' filling like nut creams that are completely dairy free and often also sugar free, unless I use a praliné paste (a caramelized nut paste).
What is the percentage of your chocolate?
We use a 54% semi-sweet dark (a well-balanced bitter cocoa taste) for most of our dark 'pralines' and a 70% bitter-sweet couverture (extra bitter) for our dark bars and some of our dark 'pralines' and truffles; our milk chocolate with its very smooth, balanced milk, cocoa and caramel taste has a 33% cocoa mass.
Does dark chocolate contain any dairy? What about sugar?
Dark chocolate should NEVER contain any dairy products. If you buy dark chocolate that lists milk powder or butter as an ingredient STAY AWAY from it. If your dark chocolate lists sugar as the first ingredient RUN from it. This is BELOW dark chocolate standards. The first ingredient of dark chocolate should ALWAYS be chocolate liquor or cocoa mass (used interchangeably). Sugar can be the second or third ingredient before or after cacao butter, depending on cacao percentage. Lower quality products often replace the more expensive cacao butter, the natural by-product of conching with regular butter or even vegetable oils to produce a cheaper product that is of a far lesser quality. Those chocolates will also lack the 'snap' as you bite in them, one of the five 'Ss' that are so characteristic of well tempered chocolate (snap, shine, smoothness, .
Is it true that dark chocolate is good for your health?
Recently there have been quite a few scientific studies about the health benefits of dark chocolate and research focuses especially on the flavonols and polyphenols in cocoa. The flavonols have shown to increase antioxidants in the bloodstream and improve cardiovascular health. Polyphenols, the antioxidants in cocoa, improve insulin sensitivity. And of course, a good quality chocolate also makes you feel good. But as with all good things: eat it in moderation because even a high cacao, quality dark chocolate is still high in fat and contains some sugar. So go ahead, enjoy a good piece of chocolate; just make sure to buy a quality product and enjoy in moderation. You may spend a little more on a quality product, but it may end up costing you less in the long run. And remember: dark chocolate that lists sugar as its first ingredient is obviously NOT so good for your health (for more on benefits of dark chocolate read here)
Do you add glucose or any other form of sugar?
We do NOT add glucose in our chocolates --or health bars. We do not even add any other kind of sugar to our chocolates, with the exception of course of our organic salty caramel fillings which is caramelized organic sugar with organic butter, organic cream and pink Himalayan salt. The only other sugar you will find in our chocolates is sugar that is either already in the chocolate or fruit purees that we use for some of our ganaches, e.g., raspberry ganache and we do add a hint of organic honey to our spicy mango paste.
- Allergy Information: Do you have dairy free selections? Nut free?
Absolutely, we have both options and you can specify your needs on your order form. You can find the ingredients of our chocolates on our DELIGHTS/CHOCOLATES page, but as a general rule:
- ALL our dark chocolates with nut pastes (in our 'creams'), even the praliné pastes, are dairy free and we can replace the white chocolate pearl on our 'Red Tango' with a piece of cashew nut to make that dairy free too upon request. We custom make "just nuts and dark chocolate" assortments and all our chocolate dipped fruit and Nut Delights are dairy free unless your request to dip in mik chocolate. We also offer chocolate dipped health bar pieces. Our nut 'creams' do NOT contain any dairy; the word 'cream' just refers to the creamy texture of our nut paste/chocolate fillings
- Most of our ganaches are nut free, except those with a praliné paste; other nut free options include our chocolate dipped fruit and the chocolate dipped power seeds bar pieces.
Orders & Delivery
- We deliver to zip codes 95014, 95030, 95070, 95129 for a $5.00 flat fee or FREE for orders above $85.00.
- We ship orders up to $85.00 at a $6.50 flat rate for CA shipments; $12.25 flat rate for all 47 contiguous U.S. states outside of CA. FREE shipping for orders over $85.00. Chocolates and health bars can be combined into one order.
- All shipping is regular ground shipping by USPS. Next-day or overnight shipping is available and will be billed to customer.
- We advise to choose COLD PACK shipping ($17.00) for chocolates during the warm weather months to ensure your chocolates do not melt during transport. If you elect normal shipping, we cannot guarantee that your chocolates will arrive in good condition. Please also make sure someone is available to receive the package as we cannot be responsible for chocolates left out in warm temperatures. Shipping to an office is a good idea.