Sixteen Shades of Chocolate

Chocolate Ice Cream Cone My chocoholic streak has triumphed over all sense, I think, as we’ve decided to take all our other ice creams out of our shop‘s scooping cabinet for the Dingle food festival and serve up only chocolate ice cream. Sixteen flavours of chocolate! My brother is as excited as me (he shares a common chocolate gene). Here’s the line-up:

  1. Valrhona Tanariva (milk chocolate)
  2. Chocolate Hazelnut Praline
  3. Chocolate Sorbet with organic ingredients
  4. Chocolate with Baileys
  5. Chocolate Love (with raspberry and chocolate shavings)
  6. White Chocolate
  7. Valrhona Single Estate: Palmira
  8. Mixed Belgian and French Chocolate
  9. Black Chocolate Sorbet (using cocoa and 100% Lindt Chocolate)
  10. Chocolate Whiskey
  11. Skelligs (strawberry and champagne) truffle
  12. Stracciatella (for the faint at heart)
  13. Aztec Chocolate with chilli peppers and other spices
  14. Chocolate Crunch (with caramalised nuts)
  15. Chocolate and Honeycomb Swirl
  16. Mocha

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Irish Valrhona Suppliers

Valrhona squares I’ve written on Valrhona multiple times and mentioned them in the Irish Times article today, promising a list of Irish suppliers. The distributor is Odaios Foods, but following are a list of shops where anyone can go in and buy a bar. Do so. They are fantastic!


  • Baggot Newagents, Upper Baggot St
  • Bottleworks, Capal Street
  • Cavistons Deli, Glasthule
  • Creot Wine, Upper Leeson St.
  • Donnybrook Fair, D4
  • Ennis Butchers, Rialto Â
  • Foodgame, Stillorgan
  • Foodware Store, Malahide
  • Fresh at Smithfield
  • Fresh at Grand Canal
  • Fresh at Smithfield
  • Get Fresh, Rathfarnham
  • Gibneys, Malahide
  • Laralu, Georges Street Arcade, D2
  • Mitchell & Sons, Glasthule
  • Morton & Sons, Ranelagh
  • On the Grapevine, Dalkey
  • The Vintry, Rathgar

Elsewhere in Ireland

  • Brooklodge, Macreddin
  • Blue Olive, Boreenmanna, Cork
  • Blessings Off Licence, Cavan
  • Chocolate Shop, The English Market, Cork
  • Chocolat, Ennis
  • Choos and Chocs, Sligo
  • Deli on the Green, Dungannon
  • Donnelis Food Emporium, Market Square, Wicklow
  • French Flair, Kerry Handmade Wines & Food, Waterford
  • Greenacres of Wexford
  • Harringtons, Beara
  • Hollands, Bray
  • Ilia Gourmet, Mullingar
  • Jus de Vine, Portmarnock
  • Le Caveau, Kilkenny
  • McCambridges, Shop St, Galway
  • Molloys, Roscommon
  • Mortons of Galway, Salthill
  • Murphys Ice Cream, Dingle & Killarney
  • Patridge Lodge, Gorey
  • Taste, Castletownbere
  • Vanilla Grape, Kenmare

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Chocolaterie de l’Opera

Chocolaterie De L'Opera For those in the catering business, there is a new chocolate company out there, started by Olivier de Loisy, a son in the family that started Valrhona. Chocolaterie de l’Opera is priced slightly lower than Valrhona, and they have a range of single estate chocolates for catering only.

Cocoa Nibs

The chocolate is very good, although my brother and I both think that Valrhona still edges it in terms of clarity of flavour. It’s definitely worth a taste, though, if you’re looking for chocolate for your kitchen.

One of their most interesting offerings is toasted cocoa nibs (right). We could definitely find a use for those!

The distributor in Ireland is La Rousse Foods.

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Chocolate Squares

Packaging for Valrhona Chocolates We have long wanted to improve the chocolate squares we serve with coffees in our shops, and I’m sure our customers will be delighted to know that we’ve reached agreement with Valrhona to serve their little chocolates in our packaging.

We have a choice in terms of which chocolate we use, so feedback please!!!



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Extreme Cocoa

Extreme Cocoa I’ve posted various hot chocolate recipes, and this is what we’ve settled on for a hot chocolate with a huge cocoa hit and a drink that’s not too sweet. This cocoa is thick and luscious, and it’s going down a storm in the shops. It’s for real chocoholics only…

Murphys Extreme Cocoa

Extreme Cocoa glass125 g cocoa (unsweetened)
800 ml milk
225 gm sugar
1 teasp. natural vanilla essence

1. Mix the cocoa and sugar.
2. Add the milk in small parts, stirring to create a paste, then diluting the paste until the milk and cocoa mix are combined. Add the vanilla essence.
3. Pour into a saucepan and place the over medium heat, stirring all the time until it reaches 60-65C.
4. Garnish with grated chocolate and/or whipped cream and enjoy!

Six servings.


1. If you find it too strong, you can always dilute it with more milk, but then again if you do find it too strong, this is probably the wrong recipe for you!
2. The amount of sugar will vary depending on the chocolate. Obviously you can add more if you want it sweeter.

3. You can freeze any excess and thaw it later when you want to drink it…

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More Good News About Cocoa

Cocoa In case people still needed an excuse to eat good chocolate or drink cocoa, there is more out on the health benefits of cocoa. Professor Norman K. Hollenberg from Harvard Medical School spent years studying the Kuna people in Panama and found that cancer, diabetes, stroke and heart failure were reduced by 10% in people who drink up to 40 cups (!) of cocoa a week. It seems that there is a very beneficial chemical in cocoa called “epicatechin.” Chocoholics rejoice! Bottoms up!

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Easter Chocolates Come Early

Lorge Chocolate Easter Eggs I do love this business! Easter is still a ways away – we are not even into Lent, but this morning, when I went into our Killarney shop for a staff meeting, there was a full array of chocolate Easter products on display.

Lorge ChocolatesThese were Lorge chocolates, and Benoit Lorge himself was on hand to explain his line to us and to supervise tasting. Not a bad way to start the day!

His Easter eggs are huge, and he has them available filled with chocolate pralines and unfilled. The prices seem quite reasonable given the size and decoration (€10-30), and I’m sure they will be a success.

Lent might seem even longer this year!

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Max Brenner Chocolates

Max Brenner Chocolates Today I ventured into our closed Dingle shop to pilfer some coffee beans (it’s been a terrible shock to the system having the shop closed, since I became quite used to rolling out of bed in the morning and heading to the shop to warm up the espresso machine and make a latte to kickstart the day) when I found the Max Brenner chocolates still on the counter – a gift brought from New York by a customer.

Max BrennerMax Brenner is an Israeli company (the name is a composite of the two original owners), has branches in Australia and other parts of the globe as well, and I’m told they do a mean hot chocolate in their cafes. It would seem from the packaging that there is as much emphasis on marketing as on chocolate, but it seems to be working. There are photos of one of the NY shops and one of the original owners here.

I know I don’t get about often enough and that I’ve been away from New York City too long when it takes the great Lady K to bring back samples from the latest NY chocolate shops, and I haven’t even heard of them!

I guess it’s another excuse to go travelling again. New York? Then again, I’ve always wanted to go to Israel. Well, one can dream…

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