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TCHO New American Chocolate

Savory TCHOcolate Experiment 3

Our delectable savory experiments are growing increasingly complex and intriguing!

For this latest “session” we created a smorgasbord of yummy sandwich fixings—with everything from various Cowgirl Creamery cheeses, Acme breads, salumi, jams, figs, walnuts, almonds, avocados, apples and more.

And we invited a whole bunch of co-workers to come and make their own combinations—then cut them up so we could all share in the tasting. It was a great festive experience! Tons of shockingly appealing combinations that we never could have imagined might work well with chocolate. Lots of delight and joy.

First, we set up the smorgasbord of sandwich fixings:  almonds, walnuts, figs, cheeses, peppers, spreads, nut butters, fruits, various breads; 4 bowls of molten dark TCHOcolate

We invited co-workers to join in the festivities. Turns out this is a cool way to socialize around a table. It’s somewhere between collaborative art, foodie lunch party, and science experiment.

Chief Chocolate Officer Brad Kintzer creating a masterpiece:  TCHO Fruity, Blue Cheese, Fig, Sopresseta (salumi) on Acme rustic bread

Store & Tour Manager Tyler Barkley proudly displays his creation:  Blue cheese, pear jam, TCHO Nutty, and walnuts on Acme Sourdough.

A few personal favorites? First, TCHO Nutty, Aged Gruyere, walnuts on Acme walnut bread—a pleasing balance of sweet, crunchy, salt, and creamy.

TCHO Citrus, Sharp Cheddar, yellow pepper, on Acme olive bread; sprinkled with TCHO nibs— created a complex blend of flavors and textures; the yellow pepper added a flavorful bite and nibs were a good slightly sharp nutty crunch that balanced out the sweetness of the chocolate.

Citrus chocolate draped over Acme rustic bread, topped with Cowgirl Creamery Aged Gruyere and slices of fresh farmer’s market figs. Sweet n’ savory heaven.

Keep dreaming up your creations, then share with us on Facebook. And we’ll continue posting ours!


Savory TCHOcolate Experiment 2

Goat cheese is heaven. Scratch that. Gobs of goat cheese are the delicious, fluffy nimbus clouds on which heaven rests. That’s right. Goat cheese is wondrous enough to hold up the entirety of whatever heavenly realm you choose to believe in (even if you don’t believe, just go with the metaphor anyhow—goat cheese is insanely delectable).

So, we asked, what could make the most delightful cheese substance known to mankind even more divine?

The answer was all too obvious: TCHO.

For our Savory TCHOcolate Experiment numero dos, we decided to plan with that ambrosial combo.

Trial #1 (above): Citrus TCHO, grandma’s homemade plum jam, and goat cheese. Simple. Sweet. A little savory. A lot of mouth-watering taste. Highly suggested.

Directions: Toast sourdough bread with citrus chocolate in toaster oven until chocolate just melts. (Alternative: toast sourdough, melt citrus in microwave, stirring every 30 seconds).  Add generous amount of plum jam. Sprinkle or spread goat cheese overtop. Nom!

Trial #2: Added avocado and pepper to the sandwich above. The added fats and spices made the simple more complex and upped the amount of savory. Our tastebuds approved.

Let’s leave the land of the ethereal for a little while and head back on down to earth. Imagine that, on the way, our satchel of assorted cheeses—who doesn’t carry a satchel of assorted cheeses everywhere?—gets nipped by the brightly burning center of our universe. What have we just created? Beautiful smoked cheeses.

Okay. Perhaps that’s not exactly how smoked cheeses come to be, but the point of the story is we next decided to explore the land of Smoked Cheddar and TCHO. Results?

Trial #3: Nutty TCHO, smoked cheddar and arugula. The mellowness of the nutty helps balance out the strong flavor of smoked cheddar and zing of arugula.

Directions: Toast sourdough bread with nutty chocolate, arugula and smoked cheddar stacked on top until cheese just melts. Sprinkle with pepper.

Trial #4: Added walnuts (on left) and plum jam (on right) to sandwich above. The extra plum jam we could have done without, but we loved the added crunch of walnuts and how the nuttiness of the arugula really came out!

Thus concludes Experiment #2. Stay tuned to discover what craveable concoctions we come up with next!

P.S. Be sure to share what you’ve come up with via Facebook or email!


Savory TCHOcolate Experiment 1

A few of us here believe chocolate’s true potential has been constrained by its marginalization in the sweet realm. For far too long, most people have considered chocolate merely as a sweet treat; only that, and nothing more.

But we believe good chocolate has the surprising potential to expand into the savory realm. And so, we bring you The Savory TCHOcolate Experiments—a series of tasty explorations that joyfully push the boundaries of chocolate.

Our dedicated little team (Kaileen Kelly, Greta Miersma, and me) are proud to present you with our first efforts —delectable TCHOcolate Sandwiches. (more…)


Whiskey, Bourbon, and Chocolate — Oh My!

Enjoy this whiskey, bourbon and chocolate pairing menu at your next get-together.

Four Roses Yellow Label” paired with TCHO’s Nutty chocolate.
The chickory roast profile creates a good balance with the subtle nutty flavor of this chocolate.

“Red Breast Irish Whiskey” paired with TCHO’s Chocolateychocolate. 
The rounded tobacco depth pairs well with the complex sweetness of chocolatey.

Santori Yamazaki” paired with TCHO’s Fruity chocolate. 
The whiskey has a plum and apricot nose. The taste varies greatly from the aroma as it has a distinct smoky peat flavor. The fruity will bring out an explosive sweet and soft flavor to the whiskey.

“W.L. Weller 12 Year” paired with TCHO’s 60.5%
This bourbon’s velvet smoky sweetness blends perfectly with the deep rich flavor of our 60.5% TCHO Pro

Bulliet Rye” paired with TCHO’s Cacao Dark Milk chocolate.
Bulliet’s sweet soft rounded center pairs well with this dark milk chocolates strong beginning and smooth finish.

Noah’s Mill” TCHO’s Classic Milk chocolate.
This is the strongest bourbon by far. It will light a fire in your mouth. Luckily this milk chocolates creamy smoothness will put that fire out in a most delicious way. The milk stops that fire then turns into a light floral note with a strong caramel finish.


Chocolate Beer

When most people think of pairings with chocolate, they think of wine. However some are starting to realize that chocolate doesn’t just pair with wine, it can be paired with all kinds of foods and beverages from cheese to tequila. Beer has become a really popular alternative to wine and a couple of breweries are even taking it to the next level: Chocolate Beer.

Chocolate Beer is a delicious concoction that melds the intense hop character of beer with the smoky, earthy complexity of chocolate. Rather than adding cocoa powders or artificial flavoring to the beers, nibs (roasted pieces of de-husked cacao beans) are incorporated into the beermaking process in the secondary fermentation phase. In secondary fermentation, beer is aged with nibs — a process called cold extraction. This also imparts complexities in both aroma and mouthfeel, infusing the beer with chewy, rich cocoa depth. TCHO has been supplying breweries such as Samuel Adams (Chocolate Bock) and The Bruery for a couple of years with nibs. Recently, we held a competition at TCHO in partnership with City Beer and Brew Supply Group for the best Chocolate Beers. TCHO Nibs + beer = perfection.


Citrus in the Summer

When we think of summer several things come to mind…..the kids on summer vacation, sandy beaches, lemonade or just a good old-fashioned barbecue. TCHO chocolates may not be at the top of your traditional summer list but it should be because of one mouth-watering word: Citrus.

Our Citrus chocolate bars and nibs are the perfect addition to any 4th of July bash or casual dinner. Sourced from the finest beans from Madagascar, our cacao with citrus notes allows you to bite into a creamy bar of chocolate or crunch into some nibs with that added sense of refreshment.

Consider these table suggestions at your next get-together and your TCHO additions are sure to please even those finicky guests that view cacao as a dessert or winter holiday item.

Brie and Citrus Appetizer

1 block of brie
1-3 58 gram TCHO Citrus bars
1 package of water crackers (or any plainly flavored cracker with a nice crunch)

Allow brie to come to room temperature and smear a generous portion of cheese onto each cracker. Take a 58g bar of TCHO Citrus Chocolate and break into small chunks. Place a chunk of TCHO Citrus on top of the cheese and arrange on a serving platter. You can also set up a self-serve option by pre-breaking bars, then placing all of the ingredients on a tidy-looking butcher board. If you are wanting to cut down the carbs…no problem! I go for the gold and dip my Citrus chunks directly into a dollop of brie, but each to their own.

TCHO Drinking Chocolate

This decadent chocolate drink isn’t just for snowstorms anymore! Our TCHO Drinking Chocolate serves up perfectly hot or cold. 300 gram tins are available to either make a cool chocolate drink or to shake into your favorite plain or flavored vodka (I like vanilla and citrus infused vodkas to make a luscious choco-tini). Just make sure to shake thoroughly or better yet use a hand-blender to fully emulsify the chocolate into the vodka. Citrus Nibs can also be placed into bottles of vodka to self-infuse. Yummy!

Crunchy TCHO Nib Salad

The best thing about some summer meals are the salads but only if they pack the proper crunch. I am not always thrilled adding extra carbohydrates to my greens with croutons (although delicious) but I am always looking for tasty ways to add a little antioxidant punch to my day. You too can make a delicious salad by combining your favorite veggies, greens, a vinaigrette (I prefer using apple-cider and white vinegar mixed with a little grape seed oil but raspberry vinaigrette works too) and TCHO Citrus Nibs to your salad. Either toss nibs with the salad or place on top. Mmmmmm.

Nibs on Ice Cream

To add a delicious antioxidant-punch to your favorite summer dessert add Citrus Nibs to the top of your favorite ice cream, sorbet or frozen yogurt.

Citrus and Beer Pairing

Yes we’ve heard of pairing wine with chocolate, still one of my favorite Saturday nights, but what about fine refreshing beer and chocolate-pairings? I am a huge fan of having chocolate with beer but here are some of the best I’ve tried with summer’s favorite chocolate TCHO Citrus:

La Cuvée des Trolls (A well-balanced refreshing blonde with buttery notes).
Lindeman’s Cuvée René (Any brand will do but especially the non-fruity lambics for this pairing.. The non-fruity ones have a more sour flavor with overtures of fruits but without strong fruit-flavors).
Over-Hopulation by 21st Amendment, Hop Devil (or any other IPA or hoppy summer beer)

More interested in brewing your own beer with TCHO cacao nibs? Learn how in our blog entry, ”Chocolate Beer”.

Or, if you have your own creative summer uses of TCHO, send them to us! Facebook, Twitter or send us an email:!


TCHO May-nia

I recently (re)-watched Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure—and was instantly aware of the film’s similarities to May at TCHO.
At TCHO, we’re always off somewhere, constantly gather the best ingredients and bring them back home, encounter adventures, stumble into inevitable chaos and, of course, jam out to some pretty sweet tunes. (If you need a refresher, check this out for the original movie trailer.)

“Listen to this dude, Rufus, he knows what he’s talking about.”


(Photo credit: New York Times)

If you’re familiar with the flick, you know none of Bill and Ted’s shenanigans would have been possible without Rufus. Rufus is their guide. Think Rufus: Bill & Ted as Dumbledore : Harry Potter as Louis & Jane : TCHO.

Jane Metcalfe is President, Louis Rossetto is CEO. The two purposefully wander around Pier 17 giving input and guidance and click-clacking away at emails whilst ensuring the business stays running. Rufus may win on the coolness factor of the sunglasses, but Louis and Jane would never let us almost get beheaded in medieval England.

“Be Excellent to Each Other.”
The awe-inspiring words of advice Ted gave to the people of the future (2688). Bill and Ted were excellent through music, we do it through TCHOSource. TCHOSource means we know where our ingredients come from. We do mindful sourcing, striving to grow the (metaphorical) pie bigger for everyone involved. Our people like John Kehoe, Vice President, Sourcing and Development, go down to places, like his recent trip to Ecuador, to work directly with cacao farmers. Our suppliers get better wages, we get better ingredients, you get better chocolate. Perhaps with this rate of win-win-win we will be able to create something similar to the film’s 2688 utopia.

“No Slavery” is printed on every TCHO product. Photo byJustinsomnia

The Phone Booth Issue

Finding a phone booth in 2011 is not as easy as it was in 1989. So while we certainly go many places, the journeys are regretfully devoid of a time-traveling telephone booth. Nevertheless, a few California College of the Arts students gave us a flashy 2011 alternative, the vendOTCHO.


If we did have a snazzy, electric phone booth, it would have been working overtime around San Francisco this month. During the month of May, TCHO made appearances at Inspiration ChocolateBubbles and BivalvesSF BetaSF Fine Arts FairMaker FaireInternational Pow Wow Press Room18 Reasons’ Chocolate Deconstructed, and Nicole Daedone’s book launch party.


Flying Kites: A TCHO Story


Dark Chocolate/Blood Pressure Connection Now Better Understood

The article below from msnbc discusses new research findings from Sweden into the mechanism by which chocolate lowers blood pressure. Perhaps this explains why I, an incessant nibbler of chocolate, have crazy low blood pressure (often 80 over 60)…
Why dark chocolate boosts heart health: Eating the sweet treat inhibits the action of a particular enzyme, which in turn helps decrease blood pressure

Health recommendations from experts often include exercising more and eating more whole grains, but perhaps one of the more welcome advances in medical research has been the declaration that chocolate is good for us. Now, new research may help explain why indulging in the sweet treat helps our heart health.

Researchers from Linkoping University in Sweden have found that eating dark chocolate inhibits the action of an enzyme nicknamed ACE (formally known as the angiotensin-converting enzyme), which is involved the body’s fluid balance and helps regulate blood pressure.

The results are based on a study of 16 brave volunteers, ages 20 to 45, who ate 75 grams (about 2 1/2 ounces) of dark chocolate with a cocoa content of 72 percent. Researchers led by Ingrid Persson, a pharmacology professor at the university, measured the level of ACE activity in the volunteers’ blood before they ate the chocolate, and again 30 minutes, one hour and three hours afterward.

Three hours after eating the chocolate, the ACE activity in the volunteers’ blood was 18 percent lower than before they gobbled the goodies — a change comparable to that of blood-pressure lowering drugs designed to inhibit ACE. “I was surprised by the great effect,” Persson told MyHealthNewsDaily. Previous work had shown chocolate had positive effects on cardiovascular health, but scientists didn’t know the mechanisms behind these effects, she said.

ACE plays an important role in the hormone system that regulates the kidneys’ excretion of water, which helps to regulate blood pressure, she said. High levels of ACE activity have been associated with hardening of the arteries and other cardiovascular diseases.

In general, when the activity of the enzyme declines, blood pressure decreases, though the researchers did not conduct their study over a long enough time period to observe this effect, nor did they directly measure blood pressure, Persson said.

In 1996, studies in the journal Lancet showed that compounds in cocoa — called flavonoids — interacted with LDL cholesterol (the bad kind), which suggested chocolate could help prevent the hardening of arteries. Further work showed chocolate had anti-inflammatory properties, and some studies showed it lowered blood pressure, but none specifically demonstrated how it worked, the researchers wrote.

The study was published online in November in the Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology, and was funded by the university.


dark chocolate good for liver…..

This article discusses new research concluding that dark chocolate may help Cirrhosis patients……

Study Says Dark Chocolate May Help Reduce Dangers For Cirrhosis Patients

by FEEDME on NOVEMBER 2, 2010
Dark chocolate has heart health benefits for those with cirrhosis and a related condition known as portal hypertension, according to a recent research project. This article explains the science behind this sweet news.|Dark chocolate is not only good for the heart. It can also be good for the liver, especially in anyone who has cirrhosis of the liver and a related condition known as portal hypertension. This article provides details.

Cirrhosis of the liver kills more between 10 and 15 thousand people each year in the United States alone. Recent statistics show it to be the 12th leading cause of disease-related death in the country.

Needless to say, any discoveries that offer the prospect of a longer, happier and healthier life to cirrhosis patients will come as welcome news. But recent research has discovered some especially happy – and somewhat surprising – findings: eating certain kinds of chocolate may actually prolong the lives of people with cirrhosis and other forms of advanced liver disease.

The announcement was made at the Annual Meeting of the European Association for the Study of the Liver in Vienna, Austria, in April 2010. The report described data revealing that dark chocolate reduced portal hypertension in patients with cirrhosis.

Knowing some basic information about portal hypertension and the nature of cirrhosis will help you understand the findings.

When normal liver tissue is sufficiently damaged, it is replaced by fibrous scar tissue. When a sufficient amount of scar tissue replaces healthy tissue in the liver, the condition is called cirrhosis. Normally, your liver can actually generate new cells, which it can use to replace cells that have suffered damage. However, once a certain amount of scar tissue has built up, the damage becomes irreversible. Cirrhosis blocks the flow of blood through the liver, and can eventually lead to liver failure – the liver’s complete inability to function.

The two most common causes of cirrhosis of the liver are alcohol abuse and hepatitis. Either of these causes can lead to several dangerous complications.

One such complication is known as portal hypertension. Portal hypertension is a form of high blood pressure that occurs in the portal vein, which brings blood to the liver from the digestive organs. This rise in blood pressure in the portal vein often causes veins known as varices to develop across the stomach and esophagus to bypass any blockages. Due to the fact that these blood vessels are fragile in the first place, and because they’re under an abnormal amount of pressure, ruptures are more likely to occur. These cirrhosis-related ruptures, which doctors call bleeding varices, are extremely dangerous.

But a group of medical researchers working in Spain discovered that cirrhosis patients could lower their risk of bleeding varices by eating dark chocolate.

After you eat a meal, blood pressure in your abdominal area usually rises as more blood flows to the liver. This is a dangerous situation for individuals with portal hypertension from cirrhosis. The increased abdominal blood pressure is more likely to cause damage or rupture.

Dark chocolate contains a lot of flavenoids, which are chemicals that have been proven to be beneficial for the body – especially the heart. It’s been demonstrated that they also reduce hypertension by relaxing veins and arteries and facilitating blood flow. Many kinds of chocolate do not contain flavenoids, but they are certainly present in dark chocolate. In fact, the darker the chocolate, the more flavenoid content is present.

During the study in Spain, subjects received either a meal of white chocolate to eat, or a meal containing 85 percent cocoa dark chocolate. Researchers said those who ate white chocolate had an increase in blood pressure that was greater than those who ate dark chocolate. This prompted researchers to conclude that eating dark chocolate could ultimately lower the odds of blood vessels rupturing in cirrhosis patients.

Nutritional research now shows that dark chocolate doesn’t belong in the same class as other chocolates. It’s actually more of a health food.

Because chocolate contains flavonoids, it offers many of the same health benefits as darkly colored vegetables. In fact, dark chocolate offers nearly eight times the amount of flavenoids found in strawberries.

Anyone with cirrhosis should actively search for strategies to prevent portal hypertension and bleeding varices. The research reported in Spain makes it clear that eating some dark chocolate after a meal could be a good idea for people with cirrhosis.

Click on |what is cirrhosis and causes of liver failure for more. Neal Kennedy is a retired TV news anchor, medical reporter and radio talk show host. He is a frequent contributor to Keeping Your Liver Healthy, a resource website about liver health and digestive wellness.


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