CHOCOLATE, CHOCOLATE! HOW DO I CHOOSE? When Sephra started in business about 16 years ago, their goal was to make the best chocolate fountain in the world. Yep! They did! They also knew they needed to create the world’s best chocolate to flow through that amazing chocolate fountain. Chocolate fondue which would flow flawlessly, fill the room with a heavenly aroma and taste phenomenal. As the company grew and new products were introduced, they realized their chocolate products needed to serve other purposes, as well. Versatile additional chocolate products were created to enhance baking, candy making and make a cup of Hot Chocolate that would please even the Aztec warriors of old, who were responsible for creating the very first drinking chocolate, (bitter as it was).
How Sephra Fondue Chocolate was Created
Working with a world famous chocolatier, Sephra created their own chocolate recipes. The chocolate needed to melt easily and cascade over the chocolate fountain tiers effortlessly and taste superb! Of course without the addition of oil, which at the time, was the only type available. As a bonus, Sephra chocolate was created with a perfect texture to bake into scrumptious chocolate chip cookies or make lush chocolate truffles to please the most particular chocolate connoisseur. Sephra Belgian Chocolate was the first amazing chocolate recipe created by Sephra. Available in rich dark chocolate, smooth milk chocolate and creamy white chocolate this fondue chocolate was a hit for chocolate fountains and as baking chocolate.
Chocolate Fills our Senses
Basically, when it comes right down to it, there are many things that make good chocolate. But, in the long run, what is the most important thing when you dip into that chocolate fountain, grab a cookie or enjoy a piece of candy? TERRIFIC TASTE! Yes, it IS true, we eat with our senses. Our eyes, (oh, how beautiful) our nose (it smells soooo good) and yes, even our ears, as we listen to a sizzling steak. As we look at the chocolate fountain, and then smell the wonderful chocolate aroma that fills the entire room, our brain kicks in and says “Wow! This is going to be awesome”! And, AWESOME it is! Did you know just the smell of chocolate actually impacts your theta brain waves, causing you to relax? That’s another of the many reasons’ chocolate is such a relaxing and calming treat!
The Dark Chocolate Craze
Here are a couple of things you may find of interest regarding chocolate and dark chocolate, especially. According to ACNielsen reports, dark chocolate sales have risen 42% over the last five years. Why are consumers clamoring for more dark chocolate? “The nations’ chocolate palate is growing more sophisticated and people are beginning to crave a more intense-tasting chocolate experience,” said Tinka Gordon, vice president of marketing for the Ghirardelli Chocolate Company. The Philadelphia Inquirer states “While tastes do change and become more refined with exposure to premium products, experts believe dark chocolates’ appeal for many adults is also based on a number of studies at first-rate universities suggesting that the darker chocolate, with higher cacao content, promotes cardiovascular health.” That being said, we’d like to share some tips on the do’s and don’ts of correct chocolate storage and usage. We hope you’ll find these hints useful.
How to Store Chocolate
Proper storage is very important regarding chocolate. You can store white chocolate for up to 12 months; milk chocolate for 18 months and dark chocolate for 24 months. The ideal storage temperature is between 55-65 degrees F. Temperature variations may cause the chocolate to ‘bloom’. For example, if the chocolate is stored in a very warm place during summer months, it will ‘bloom’. No, flowers won’t pop out, but the chocolate will develop a soft white/gray colored layer, which is known as “chocolate bloom”. This is normal and does not affect the taste of the chocolate and it is not a sign of mold. Just melt the chocolate as you normally would and go about your business. No harm; no foul.
Keeping your chocolate away from strong odors is imperative. Make sure you have good ventilation in your storage areas and don’t store chocolate next to anything that may have a strong odor. It goes without saying that smoking should not be allowed near chocolate products. Chocolate must also be protected against humidity. Storage of chocolate products on floors or against walls should be strictly prohibited because this greatly increases the risk of absorption of humidity.
Chocolate Choices – What to Use When
So let’s dive into specific chocolate varieties Sephra has to offer and ideas on how to best use them. In the beginning, Sephra produced only imported Belgian chocolate. It is absolutely scrumptious, 2nd to none and still is one of our biggest sellers today. Sephra’s Belgian Semi-sweet (or dark) Chocolate Fondue is the most delicious dark chocolate you’ll ever have the pleasure to ‘dip’! It does not harbor the bitter aftertaste of many popular dark chocolate products. Its’ creamy, smooth, delectable texture lets you savor the full chocolate experience, without that lingering bitter flavor. You’ll dip into this flowing river of deliciousness over and over again. Believe me, it becomes addictive, in a good way!
Experience Flowing Belgian Dark Chocolate Fondue
The chocolate aroma will envelop the entire room. The very presence of the chocolate fountain flowing with dark Belgian chocolate fondue is majestic. It is a beautiful sight to behold. You and your guests literally will “ohh” and “ahh” over how gorgeous it is. The chocolate fountain, also, actually becomes the center of attention. It becomes the gathering place for friends and family to dip and indulge, all the while interacting with each other. You will never find a stranger around a chocolate fountain. Each person has fun and such a personal experience, they’ve just GOT to share it with somebody. You’ll hear something like this: “Did you try the fresh pineapple dipped in the chocolate?” “No. Is it good?”. “Try it! It’s absolutely wonderful! You’ll love it”! This is the type of conversation coming from both young and old alike, gathered around the delicious Sephra Chocolate Fountain. They try new and yet familiar goodies and everything becomes unique because it’s dipped in warm, fragrant, shimmering chocolate. “Hey, try this bacon dipped in chocolate, it is totally awesome!!” So goes the dialog and the conversation.
Belgian Milk – Always a Favorite
Our Belgian Milk Chocolate Fondue is probably the most popular choice at chocolate fountain events. Can’t beat good ‘ol milk chocolate! It’s everybody’s favorite! Again, imported from Belgian, the milk chocolate fondue is so delicious it’s hard to describe how much you’re going to love it! It compliments everything you dip and adds just the right touch of sweetness. It’s smooth, satisfying and leaves you wanting, no actually, needing more chocolate!!
Coloring White Belgian Chocolate Fondue
Sephra’s Belgian White chocolate is the “Jack of All Trades”. It is totally magnificent just melted and featured as White Chocolate Fondue. Dip sweet, juicy strawberries or buttery Madeleine cookies and you need nothing more. Pure palate pleasure! But, these days, colored foods attract a lot of attention and our Belgian White Chocolate is just the beginning of any rainbow of colors. **We add one BIG word of caution, here, though! Liquid food coloring, from the grocery store, will make chocolate “seize”; that is, clump together and become unusable!
Make sure you use only OIL BASED FOOD COLOR. Sephra has 7 oil-based colors from which to choose and you can find them on the Sephra website. Click on the “Chocolate” selection and in the lower left corner of that page, you’ll see “Chocolate Colorings”. That’s where you’ll be able to make your color selection. You can most certainly mix these oil-based chocolate colors to create any shade of the rainbow you desire and compliment your color scheme.
Whether you choose Sephra Milk, Dark or White Belgian chocolate, you’ve got a winner! It’s the best chocolate fondue you can buy and will flow perfectly through all of your Sephra chocolate fountains (and other brands, as well) without adding a drop of vegetable oil. You and your guests will be well rewarded with your choice and it’s worth the few extra dollars imported chocolate costs. That extra import cost of Belgian chocolate was something the folks at Sephra knew was unavoidable. That got them thinking that perhaps they could almost duplicate the chocolate and make it less costly right here in the United States.
Then Scrumptious Sephra Premium Chocolate was Created
Again, working with the same famous chocolatier, they created a domestic recipe, found a facility in the United States, and began producing our Sephra Premium Chocolate Fondue products. The Sephra Premium line of chocolate is as close to Belgian import as you can get… without the boat ride across the ocean! Again, with the Sephra Premium Dark Chocolate, there is no bitter aftertaste. Guests, who have said “I don’t care for dark chocolate”, raise a surprised eyebrow and say “Wow, that’s delicious”! We have converted many “nay-sayers” to dark chocolate fans… without trying. It’s beautiful, glossy appearance, heavenly aroma and rich, satisfying taste will delight even the most particular guest, at your party. Give Sephra Premium Dark chocolate a try, at your next event. We know you won’t be disappointed.
Sephra Premium Milk Chocolate wins the race, every time. It just seems people prefer the taste and texture of milk chocolate. Sephra’s Premium Milk chocolate is smooth, creamy and oh, so delicious. It’s right for every occasion and compliments any dipping item perfectly. Kids have been known to stand by the chocolate fountain, discreetly dipping (or so they thought 😊) for hours on end. Too funny, bless ‘em! They didn’t think anyone would notice!
By the way, the Sephra Premium or Belgian Dark or Milk chocolate chips make great additions to chocolate chip cookies. You’ll find the perfect recipe on our cookie blog. Creamy, chocolaty and terrific!
Ideal for Candy Making – Sephra Chocolate Melts
We move on to a different chocolate product now… our Sephra Chocolate Melts. This product will flow through the chocolate fountain easily, as well, but the Melts will set up more quickly. The Sephra Melts are made to use as a fondue in the chocolate fountain, and also make great candy and baked goods, with no waxy texture and will harden faster. Sephra Melts are perfect for making chocolate covered strawberries, pretzels and marshmallows. Salted Caramel Apples are fabulous! We love making Candy Bark, using all four flavors of Sephra Chocolate Melts, for gift-giving around the holidays or just for the fun of it! Sephra Chocolate Melts come in Dark, Milk, and White chocolate flavors, as well as the newly added Salted Caramel Melts. Crushed Peppermint candies mixed into Dark Chocolate Melts is such a crunchy, creamy treat. The minty flavor and red color of the peppermint candy compliments the smooth texture of the dark chocolaty melts. The Dark Chocolate Melts also are fabulous flowing through your chocolate fountain and the guests will enjoy the fact that the chocolate will harden fairly quickly on their dipping items. These Dark chocolate melts can also be used in your candy molds and decorated with Sephra Decorettes Candy Sprinkles, to really knock it out of the park when it comes to candy making.
Milk Chocolate Melts – Baking, Candy Making or Fondue
Another big favorite is the Milk Chocolate Melts. Again, use at any event, with your Sephra commercial or home chocolate fountain, for a delicious dipping fondue. But, as a special treat for gift-giving, toss some pretzels in a plastic bag, seal well and smash into coarse pieces; mix the pretzel bits into the melted milk chocolate melts and drop into mini cupcake liners or a mini muffin tin and let harden. In a flash, you can bag them up and give, with pride, to that person who has done something special or is just someone special. What a quick and thoughtful homemade treat!
Sephra’s White chocolate melts have all the versatility of the dark and milk chocolate melts, but again, you can use the oil-based coloring to make any color of the rainbow to create a fabulous eye-popping chocolate fountain at any event. How about bright orange for Halloween? Green for St. Patrick’s Day? There isn’t a ‘sweeter’ way to celebrate a gender reveal baby shower…pink for a baby girl or blue for a little guy on the way. There are so many wonderful occasions to celebrate and a chocolate fountain flowing with our white chocolate melts, tinted to match the appropriate theme will help kick off any party! Check out our White Chocolate Board on Pinterest for so may sweet ideas using white chocolate.
We also love to toast pecan bits to a nice medium dark shade (careful, they burn in a flash) and then fold them into a pool of white chocolate melts, break them into bite size pieces, or use the candy papers or mini muffin tins to create a heavenly textured and delicious gift for holiday giving. I’ve always considered giving myself a few pieces, as well, after all, I made these luscious creations. You can check out our blog pages for the proper toasting of pecans and Candy Bark ideas.
Salted Caramel Melts – Oh, My!
That brings us to our newest Sephra Melts flavor…Salted caramel. Wow! Talk about delicious and versatile. There are many things you can do with these little yummy chips. First, of course, just melt and let them flow through the chocolate fountain. Apple slices are so appropriate in the fall; marshmallows are fabulous, anytime, and you’ll love any kind of cookies lavishly dipped in the warm, melted salted caramel. Make salted caramel apples merely by dipping an eating apple, such as a “Fuji apple” into the salted caramel melts and allow to set-up on parchment paper or waxed paper squares. Try stirring in some crushed Rice Krispies or Frosted Corn Flakes for a crunchy version of a salted caramel bark—they’re great and a bit different. Crushed candy bars are another option. You can also layer your Sephra Melts flavors to mix and match as you like. Please refer to our blog on Salted Caramel and you’ll see mixing our White Melts and our Salted Caramel Melts, with toasted pecans to make a delicious combo of candy bark. Again, the salted caramel melts, set up quickly, so drop them into mini muffin tins, let them harden and pass the platter. You’ll have lots of happy guests. We’ve also made rich, decadent Salted Caramel Shortbread bars that are absolutely out of this world! There is a blog available with the full recipe -try them! Talk about delicious!!!!!
Chocolate Chips – Put ‘Em in Everything!
All of our Melts, and regular chocolate products make great additional “add-ins”. Grab a handful of chocolate chips and toss into your banana bread batter before baking (a quick side bar here; be sure to mix the chips with a teaspoon or two of flour to keep them from settling to the bottom of the dough). The kids will love Saturday morning pancakes, even more than usual, with an added handful of Sephra chocolate chips. Waffle batter, muffin batter, scones, chocolate, yellow or even spice cake batter all welcome the addition of Sephra chocolate chips or Sephra chocolate melts. The options are endless. Let your imagination run wild. We all know most everything is better with chocolate, so use the finest chocolate out there… SEPHRA CHOCOLATE!