Articles in July 2010

July's Last Top 5!

Author: Kim | July 30, 2010 | Top-Bar-Names

Can you believe that July's pretty much already over, and it's already almost August? Summer's been ticking along busily here at chocri, but we've got another list of the Top 5 chocri bars this week:

top 5 chocri bars
  • Badass Bar (Milk Chocolate with Banana Chips, Honey Chocolate Drops, Goji Berries and Coconut Shavings) I admire the lack of Volcano Cashews...

  • Baby boy's first candy bar (Milk Chocolate with Star Decoration and Sprinkles) That is totally AWWWW!

  • For MamaDukes (Milk Chocolate with Strawberry, Blueberries, Roasted Almonds, Caramel Chocolate Drops and Writing: "Happy Birthday!") Biggie Smalls, is that you?

  • Texas bbq (Dark Chocolate with Cayenne Pepper and Soy Bacon) Chocolate and barbeque, why didn't we think of that?

  • Sparkles and Antioxidants (Dark Chocolate with Cranberries, Cashews and Real Gold Flakes) I think someone just unwittingly discovered the key to a long, healthy life. P.s. Check out our post on Chocolate and Antioxidants!

Want to duplicate them all for your diverse chocification? Remember, if you order five chocris, you get a sixth surprise bar on us!

On our Twitter feed, we've been asking our followers to tweet us a question about chocolate and we've promised to answer as many as possible. Today's "Ask chocri" question comes to us via our Twitter friend, the appropriately named @yourdevioushalf. The question asked is a perennial one, and we thought we'd tackle it on our blog: is chocolate really an aphrodisiac?

chocolate aphrodisiacThis particular chocolate side effect has been kicking around for a loooong time. No, really. The first recorded instance of the "chocolate puts you in the mood" theory comes from the Aztecs, who we all know loved them some chocolate. In the 20th century, the rumor became closely associated with a particular green candy-shelled chocolate, one with a rather sexy anthropomorphic cartoon counterpart. (One version of the rumor says US troops saved "the green ones" to throw in the grass and occupy the kids in a candy search so they could have "alone time" with their wives!)

We tracked down a New York Times article that explains the chemical reasons chocolate can lead to sexy-time:

"Nowadays, scientists ascribe the aphrodisiac qualities of chocolate, if any, to two chemicals it contains. One, tryptophan, is a building block of serotonin, a brain chemical involved in sexual arousal. The other, phenylethylamine, a stimulant related to amphetamine, is released in the brain when people fall in love."

We can relate- we kind of feel that feeling all over every time we bite into a chocri bar. Of course, not too long ago we created a chocri bar dedicated to seduction. It's called "Pure Sex," and you can find it here!

The Big Chocri Facebook Move

Author: Kim | July 28, 2010 | InformationSpecial-Offers

If you're reading this post, you're probably already friends with us on Facebook. If you're not, and you love talking about awesome chocolate and mass customization, what are you waiting for?

If you are, we've got some big Facebook news to share. We're moving! To a new Facebook page! In order to make Facebooking your favorite customized chocolate maker easier, we're branching off from the original German Facebook fanpage. (Though we promise to write.) If you haven't become a fan of our new Facebook page, we have five reasons you should join!

• As soon as we get to 2,000 fans, all our Facebook friends will get an exclusive chocri coupon as a thank you

• You'll get the inside scoop of all the fascinating, inner workings at chocri headquarters and be privy to the latest news in chocolate

• You can view videos that are chocri-related, including a new one we're putting up this week- stay tuned!

• If you don't speak German, it will be a bit easier for you to chat, learn about and discuss chocri

• Starting in mid-August, we're going to post updates exclusively to the chocri USA page- we don't want you to miss out!

The new Facebook page is up and running. Come on over and say hi!

chocri on Facebook

My Favorite Customized Chocolate Bar

Author: Carmen | July 27, 2010 | ChocolateInformation

Hi there, Carmen here again, the CEO of chocri, the heaven for your customized chocolate.

As you know, we've been revamping our "Recommended Creations" lately, and the chocolate bar I would like to introduce you to today is my personal favorite:

The Strawberry Basil Martini Chocolate Bar

Strawberry Basil Chocolate Bar

It's a surprising combination of a herb - basil - with a fruit - strawberry. And it works oh so well. But you knew that, from the Strawberry Basil Martinis, am I right? You can add basil and strawberry to any base chocolate, but I personally think it works best with dark chocolate, which is my favorite anyways. I have yet to meet someone who didn't love this chocolate bar!

Enjoy your customized chocolate!

Most people have, at some point in their lives, tried to amend or improve the way they eat. And if you've been there, you know it's really hard. While good quality indulgences like chocolate (or brie or steak or even wine and beer) can wreak havoc on a diet, most experts agree a plan of total abstinence from treats isn't very realistic.

chocolate and dietsThe LA Times is quick to point out that the study was underwritten by massive US chocolate maker Hershey's, but the results are still pretty interesting. In addition to the nearly 90% of respondants saying that dieters can still enjoy chocolate and lose weight, the study (opens to PDF) also said:

"• 70% noted that people can consume up to 100 calories of chocolate daily while maintaining a balanced lifestyle

• Nearly 70% agreed that people may consume 50- 100 calories of chocolate daily while on a weight loss diet

• Nearly 80% of RDs (79.1%) believe that Hershey’s chocolate can be part of a healthy diet

• More than half of RDs(52.6%) surveyed agree that eating one small piece of Hershey’s chocolate every day can help maintain a balanced lifestyle

• Nearly three quarters of RDs (72.9%) agree that milk chocolate can be part of a healthy diet"

Of course, the study isn't a big surprise if you've been following all the recent links we've posted about the health benefits of chocolate. While we can't expect to eat chocolate for every meal and remain healthy or lose weight, it seems that the relatively reasonable caloric cost of chocolate treats coupled with the many health bonuses makes it an excellent choice for people looking to eat more healthily.

Dieters, have you worked chocolate into your healthy eating plan? Do you find that looking forward to chocolate helps you stay focused on your goals?

Image, Flickr: The Other Tiger

This Week's Top 5 Bars

Author: Kim | July 23, 2010 | Top-Bar-Names

We're still basking in the relative cool after the early July heat wave in New York, how was your week, chocri fans? Another busy week here, and another list of awesome bar names- here are five of the many fantastic chocri creations we saw:

top 5 chocri barsI have to say, I think the first one is my favorite bar name ever.

  • No, no, no. I said DART gun. (Milk and White Chocolate with Roasted Almonds and Mini Cookies) Bwahahahahaha...

  • Dark Knight (Milk Chocolate with Caramel Chocolate Drops and Coffee) Batman fan or medieval romantic?

  • Oh Noghl You Didn't (Milk Chocolate with Coffee, Real Gold Flakes, Rice Crispies, Bourbon Vanilla and Noghl Almonds) Oooh, girl, I think she did.

  • ORANGEya Happy You Met Me??? (Dark Chocolate with Roasted Almonds, Orange Pepper and Orange) I will be if you make me a chocolate bar!

  • Presto Pesto (Milk and White Chocolate with Basil, Fleur de Sel, Pine Nuts and Mini Cookies) Gourmet subversion. I like it.

Feeling like a fancy chocolate bar but don't know exactly what to put on it? Check out this week's new and featured chocri creation, the Pure Sex bar. It's dark and hot and full of sizzle- the good kind, not like the pavement in New York most days this month. :)

does chocolate cause acneAt chocri, we get a large assortment of chocolate-related questions. And we happen to love getting them because we really love talking about chocolate. So yesterday, we asked our Twitter friends to ask us anything about chocolate, because we figured we'd hear some interesting questions.

Luckily for me, the first one we got was one I've been itching to debunk. Back when I began working with chocri, Carmen mentioned on the blog that my background is in skincare. And for this question, I get to put my esthetician's hat back on for a minute, because @visudreams asked us:

@chocridotcom Is chocolate really bad for skin, and worsens acne? Some say myth, some say it's true. Awesome business concept btw ;]

Thank you, BTW! :) Back when I worked in spas, I'd get this question all the time. And as a chocolate lover, it made me so sad to see my beloved clients depriving themselves of chocolate unnecessarily. (In fact, we used chocolate topically in several treatments to no ill effect.) Clients would constantly tell me chocolate made them break out so they abstained, or worse, they'd turn down delicious, complimentary dark chocolate while they waited for their appointments. "This tenuous acne/chocolate connection needs to stop!" I would say between mouthfuls of tasty, abstained-from chocolate.

The short answer is NO! Chocolate will not cause you to break out, no matter what your mama told you. (Our theory: the rumor started to keep sugar-craving teens out of the chocolate stash.) As Carmen tweeted yesterday, chocolate is known to be beneficial to skin- eating it regularly can keep skin healthy! A very small number of people could experience a reaction that manifests topically due to sensitivity or allergy to chocolate- but allergies and sensitivities to all types of foods are common. If you're not allergic to chocolate, there's no indication that chocolate causes or worsens acne or breakouts.

So @visudreams and other skincare enthusiasts, don't let a quest for glowing skin keep you from your favorite chocolate treats. In fact, we've got a chocri creation on our chocri creations page that's formulated specifically for beautiful skin.

Also, we're always looking for chocolate-related questions for our "ask chocri" pages- what have you always wanted to know about chocolate? Tweet us at @chocridotcom, or comment on the blog or our Facebook page. We'd be happy to answer!

How to Make Chocolate

Author: Kim | July 21, 2010 | Chocolate

Like many start-ups, chocri began with an interesting situation and solution that eventually begat a company. If you have ever struggled to find a gift that's really personalized, you what it's like to fret about finding something just right to fit the occasion. A gift card might not do, and there's nothing in the shop that fits the function you're seeking. It's frustrating. Despair sets in. Where can you find the perfect gift?

how to make chocolateBack in 2008, there wasn't a website where you could create a custom chocolate bar to present to your nearest and dearest for a birthday, anniversary or holiday. (So sad!) One of our founders, Franz, was looking for a really special gift for his girlfriend's birthday, and after fruitless (chocless?) searching, he came up with the idea of customizing a chocolate bar for her present.

He crafted a white chocolate bar with gummi bears, fruit and nuts, and clearly, the effort paid off. Not only was his girlfriend really happy with her first-ever chocri creation, but the concept eventually turned into a company that allows everyone to find their perfect chocolate match.

As you know, we have a gigantic selection of millions of chocri creation options that allow you to customize your chocolate to your exact specifications. If you don't dig on nuts, leave them off. If you want a bar with fruit and candy, we've got 'em. Bacon bits? Also a possibility. But perhaps, like Franz, you'd like to experiment with chocolate a bit in the kitchen.

If your inner chocolatier is feeling creative, here are some tips for getting the best possible results when figuring out how to make chocolate at home:

  • Chocolate hates direct heat Yes, a double boiler means more dishes to do, but you should always use a microwave or bain marie to melt chocolate. Otherwise the texture becomes gritty.

  • Stir, baby, stir Chocolate is fussy. It needs constant attention or it can heat unevenly and scorch!

  • Like gremlins, never get chocolate wet It can seize and settle into a lumpy mess. Dislike!

  • Slow and steady is the best way to handle chocolate- in addition to stirring, using low heat settings ensures your chocolate will turn out smooth and heat evenly.

You can probably tell good chocolate is a bit of a passion for us. If you ever have a chocolate related question, we encourage you to hit us up on Twitter* and we'll tackle the most common chocolate questions on our blog. So ask away! What have you always wanted to know about chocolate but were afraid to ask?

The Pure Sex Chocolate Bar

Author: Carmen | July 20, 2010 | ChocolateToppings

We have a new star in the Recommended Chocolate Bars by chocri! The Pure Sex Chocolate Bar.

Yes, you heard correctly. This chocolate bar is pure sex. For one, because of its hot, hot toppings: sizzling pop rocks, spicy chili and aphrodisiac cocoa nibs. But it's also a very sexy chocolate bar because it tastes oooh so good!

Pure Sex Chocolate Bar

Enjoy! :)

p.s. This chocolate bar was inspired by Matt Mireles, and no, it's not how it sounds.

A British financier made a sweet investment last week that has created a lot of speculation about the imminent future of the cocoa trade, purchasing 241,000 tons of cocoa beans from a London futures exchange on Friday.

50-year-old Anthony Ward nabbed enough chocolate in the deal to fill five Titanics- a sufficient supply to manufacture 5.3 billion bars of chocolate. The move places a lot of the future of cocoa prices in Ward's sticky hands, and the big buy isn't his first:

"The paper also said that Ward has a net worth of £36 million ($49 million) and in the last decade has owned up to 15% of the world's cocoa supply.

This isn't the first time Ward has done something like this. Ward made £40 million ($55 million) in 2002 after buying 204,000 tonnes of beans when West Africa going through political instability and poor harvests. As the price of cocoa increased, so did his profits."

Rising cocoa prices aren't a new thing either- they've more than doubled since 2007 based on fluctuating markets. Chocolate prices rose .7% on Friday in response to the massive trade.

chocolate trading

While scanning chocolate news, discovering this story was a bit of a "wait, what?" moment, Whenever we see a story about the many health benefits of regular consumption of high quality chocolate, we generally post about it. This one was a bit different though- a company has invented a pill you can take so you can have reap all the health rewards of chocolate without that pesky, addictive and delicious chocolate taste.

chocolate pillsSo we know chocolate can positively impact pregnancy health, reduce high blood pressure and cholesterol, improve concentration, boost liver function and help foster a glowy, fabulous complexion. However, one of the greatest things about chocolate's many health boons is that you get to eat chocolate in order to access them. Not entirely anymore, it seems. From the Sydney Morning Herald:

"Finally, all the health benefits of chocolate without that unpleasant chocolate taste... Spanish maker Pancracio claims it provides protection from free radicals, the reactive oxygen molecules thought to have a link to cancer.

"The 90 per cent cocoa pills also promise better blood circulation and slower cell ageing, according to global market research firm Datamonitor."

Hmmm... I don't know about you, but I'd much prefer my daily chocolate intake to come from- you know- chocolate. If you're looking to incorporate chocolate for health reasons, check out our chocri creations. Our new "Beautiful Skin" bar was created with skin benefits in mind, and our "Pure Relaxation" bar has natural calming ingredients. Also, they taste much better* than chocolate in pill form.

Remember last month when we discussed using chocolate for good, not evil?

chocolate bombChocolate is such an enticing thing, and it seems some criminals rely on the lure of chocolate to trick the unsuspecting. If someone left you a box of chocolates, would you open it or be wary? A Houston woman got a terrible surprise last week when a box of chocolates delivered to her house concealed a very unpleasant surprise- the package was a bomb:

'Investigators say she was opening the package when it exploded, shooting nails and tacks into her face and hands. Neighbors say the only clue the package was a fake was the victim's name was spelled wrong, something investigators say is enough to at least be leery... Neighbors who had seen the package say it was disguised to look like a box of chocolates. It was left inside a gift bag with a card attached saying "Thank You."'

Luckily, the woman- who remains unidentified- survived, although with some injuries. She is reported to be in stable condition after surgery this weekend. Hopefully her recovery will be swift, and the incident won't put her off chocolate for good.

Two more chocri creations debut!

Author: Kim | July 13, 2010 | Chocolate

Last week, we unveiled two more new additions to our chocri creations. "Pure Happiness" and "Pure Relaxation" joined "Instant Wealth" and "Friendship Forever" on our chocri creations page. Just like those four, the two bars debuting today don't just taste amazing, they're good for you, too.

chocri beautiful skin anti hangoverFirst up in our new additions is the "Anti Hangover Chocolate Bar," a bar we have personally tested to ensure effectiveness. This soothing bar combines creamy milk chocolate with a selection of ingredients to help you perk up and snap back to peak performance. Quell nausea with ginger, restore hydration with fleur de sel, boost potassium levels with banana chips, and enjoy the restorative benefits of ground coffee beans. The only hangover remedy this bar lacks is a big pair of sunglasses.

Also added to our selection today is the "Beautiful Skin" bar. Chocolate has been proven to protect skin, but we've taken that a step further with this new chocri creation. Also based in smooth milk chocolate, the "Beautiful Skin" bar has antioxidant packed blueberries, skin balancing flax seeds, and Vitamin E and linoleic acid rich walnuts to give skin a healthy glow.

Piqued by our new, multi-tasking chocri creations? Don't forget- for every five chocri bars you order, we include a complimentary surprise bar, so stock up!

Moms-to-be are often characterized as having strong cravings, and among the most commonly craved pregnancy snacks seems to be chocolate. While a lot of stress is placed on eating healthily while pregnant, you can indulge a desire for chocolate with impunity while you're expecting, as researchers have found regular consumption of chocolate can contribute to a healthier pregnancy.

chocolate and pregnancyResearchers at Yale studied more than 2,500 women about their eating habits during pregnancy, and findings about regular consumption of chocolate were interesting. It seems that consuming chocolate more than three times a week correlated with a reduced rate of pre-eclampsia- significantly so:

"In a report on their findings researchers said: 'Women who reported regular chocolate consumption of more than three servings a week had a 50 per cent or greater reduced risk of pre-eclampsia.

'Regular chocolate intake during the first or third trimester was equally protective."

Do you know an expectant mom who loves chocolate? A chocri gift certificate is the perfect gift for a mom-to-be, as she can easily add things she's been craving (organic salt pretzels for a sweet/salty craving, a mix of berries for some healthy antioxidant action) and create a custom chocri bar that suits her tastes perfectly.

This Week's Top 5 Bars!

Author: Kim | July 9, 2010 | Top-Bar-Names

What a week. The chocolate was fine, but I think here in New York we melted. It was crazy hot and humid up in here, which kind of makes you want to sit in the air conditioning with a nice cool chocolate bar, doesn't it?

top 5 chocri barsJudging from this week's batch of interesting and as always, tasty looking bars, pretty much everyone agrees. So without further adieu, here's our top five bars for this week:

  • Who doesn't love Sprinkles !? (Milk Chocolate with Sprinkles, Rice Crispies and Peanut Butter Drops) No, really. Find me one person who doesn't like sprinkles...

  • a prayer for rain (Milk Chocolate with Lemon Chocolate Drops and Lavender) Was anyone not praying for rain this week?

  • Hands Off Rob:) (Dark Chocolate with Fleur de Sel and Pistachios) Yeah, Rob! Get your own.

  • The Sex (Milk Chocolate with Roasted Almonds, Raisins, Coconut Shavings and Toffee) We also would have accepted "the hotness" as an answer.

  • Zen and the Art of Sanity Maintenance (Dark Chocolate with Cappuccino Chocolate Drops, Cinnamon, Real Gold Flakes, Candied Lilac and Bourbon Vanilla) Clever and excellent taste in chocolate. My type of guy/gal.

Besides a cool bit of heaven in your chocolate bar, what were your strategies for not-overheating this week? Let us know in the comments!

chocri newsIf you're reading this post, you might already be a dedicated chocri fan. Maybe you came here from Google, or maybe you were creating your very own bespoke chocri bar and wanted to read some more about our latest toppings, sales and specials or breaking news in chocolate.

Our blog is one way you can chill with chocri on the web. But you can reach out to us in other ways on a few social networks to find out what's going on here, review your custom chocri creation, or share pictures.

For the photographically inclined, you can hook up with us on Flickr. Share your work with us, or upload your pics to one of chocri's pools so we can see you with your bars!

Pretty much everyone is on Facebook nowadays, so what are you waiting for? Hit us up with a friend request and say hi!

Are you a Twitterer? We always tweet back, so you can reach out to us in 140 characters or less by clicking here.

If videos are your thing, you can watch chocri-related content on our YouTube channel. Feel free to send us chocri unboxing clips or video reviews, because we're always looking for new videos to add.

Have we missed anything? Do you have a favorite up and coming social network we're not on yet that's totally awesome? Tell us in the comments!

Topping of the Month: Lavender!

Author: Kim | July 6, 2010 | Toppings

At chocri, we have lots of toppings that taste really good. In fact, we'd be inclined to say they're all selected for superior taste and quality, but every month, we introduce you to a novel, unusual topping, which (while stocks last) you can use for your chocri creation. For this month's topping, deliciousness isn't its only draw.

chocri lavender

Lavender... It's described often as having a "floral, citrusy" taste, and it adds a lovely color to chocri creations for personal consumption or as a gift. But aside from its bright flavor and pretty hue, lavender has been used for centuries medicinally and is heavily associated with relaxation and stress relief.

So whether you're seeking a unique culinary experience or just want some calming effects with your chocri, you can find lavender in our Grains category.

[Image source]

Top 5 Bar Names!

Author: Kim | July 2, 2010 | Top-Bar-Names

top 5 chocri bars So, another holiday weekend is upon us and it's time for our weekly top 5 bar names.

We had another busy week here, and there were a ton of really creative bars, as always. (One of the coolest things about custom chocolate creations is that each week we discover new, uncharted chocri creations we'd have never thought of without your inspiration. Here's this week's list:

  • Pistachio Mustacheo (Milk Chocolate with Pistachios and Raspberry) So simple, so tasty-sounding.

  • Nuts and Jolts (Milk and White Chocolate with Coffee, Macadamia Nuts, Bourbon Vanilla, Cocoa Nibs and Roasted Cashews) I'd like to think this went to a mechanic.

  • ChocoMonkieee Baby (Milk and White Chocolate with Hazelnut Brittle, Mini Bananas and Bourbon Vanilla) Anyone notice the preponderance of monkey-related names?

  • [Name]'s Specialty PMS Bar (Milk Chocolate with Blueberries, Sour Cherries, Cornflakes and Toasted Hazelnuts) Beats the heck out of a hot water bottle.

  • Slice of Paradise (White Chocolate with Real Gold Flakes, Macadamia Nuts, Coconut Shavings and Pineapples) Slice? I'll take the whole bar, thank you.

Got a chocolate jones after reading this week's list? Check out our limited edition 4th of July special- our two Independence Day bars in a gift box, priced at only $17.76. (Click the link to add the two bars to your cart.) Happy Birthday, America!

For a while, we've been hearing from Canadian friends on Twitter and Facebook who have been keen on creating their very own chocolate bars. So we're very pleased to announce this week that your requests have been heard, and just in time for Canada Day, we're officially open for business in Canada!

chocri canadaIn a press release, Carmen discusses our Canadian opening:

"After receiving hundreds of requests to bring customized chocolate bars to Canada, chocri makes those wishes possible with the launch of "People emailed me and told me that they love the concept and can't wait to order!" says chocri USA CEO and chocolate enthusiast Carmen Magar. "Many websites have sprung up in the last 10 months that let consumers co-create everything from dress shirts to jewelry," Ms. Magar says in between mouthfuls of a custom Chocrilicious bar. "Why not chocolate? Our friends in Canada are certainly ready."

Perhaps you're Canadian and new to the chocri concept. The press release also explains how chocri works:

"What is chocri? It's Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans in a chocolate bar, minus the less popular earwax and rotten egg varieties. First, you choose a chocolate base (dark, milk, or white) for your bar. Next, select from over 100 toppings ranging from traditional favorites (Nuts! Dried fruit!) to exotic flavors (Chives! Jalapenos! Bacon!) to bold embellishments (Gold flakes! Silver pearls!). Finally, sign your creation with a personalized name printed on the package. Make your own "Happy Birthday" bar, celebrate by giving a "50th Anniversary" bar, or kick back with an "It's 3PM on a Friday, and I Just Don't Care Anymore" bar."

To mark our official Canadian opening, we have 50% off shipping for all Canadian orders placed before the end of the day July 9th. And for newbie customers for up north, you should also know that for every five chocri bars you order, forever and always, we include a sixth surprise bar on us.

Happy birthday, Canada!