Ties or chocolate cigars for Father’s Day?

three cigars

Personally, I’d go for the chocolate cigars, especially the ones Rebecca’s working on right now for Fathers Day.

She’s making three this year—our classic bourbon caramel in 70% bittersweet chocolate, plus two new ones: creamy espresso ganache in milk chocolate and peanut butter ganache in 70% bittersweet. The bourbon caramel cigar is vegan, both dark chocolate cigars are soy-free, and of course all three are fair trade, organic and delicious.

And this year, we’ve got vintage cigar bands for them. We’re having a great time choosing which of the dozens of different bands to put on each cigar. What Dad could resist?il_570xN.265025152

Cigars are $6.95 a piece, or three for $19.95. Look for them in our online store or stop by the shop.

Rocky Road bark

IMG_2028

Thanks to Kathy Marcks Hardesty, who asked for it in a Facebook comment at just the right moment, Mama Ganache now has some amazing Rocky Road bark in the shop. Easter’s over, so Allison had time to make it yesterday. She used freshly-made marshmallow, local organic walnuts, and 70% bittersweet chocolate. Delaney and I tasted it this morning right after I’d reread  the directions for tasting chocolate on London-based’s Chocolate and Love‘s website. All the senses are involved, not just taste.

first bites

See the nice shine on the dark chocolate? The color of the  70% bittersweet is lovely, too, a deep, rich, dark brown.  Our bites had plenty of marshmallow and nuts and up close, you can see the tiny bubbles in the marshmallow.

Hear the snap as the pieces are broken off?

Catch the chocolatey and citrus notes in the aroma of our 70% dark chocolate? The butteriness of the walnuts?

The chocolate looked, sounded and smelled so good that it was hard for us to hold our pieces on our tongues until the chocolate melted, to feel it in our mouths. The marshmallow wasn’t going to wait either— it melted into the softest cream with just the right resistance; pillowy, spreading slowly over the tongue. The fresh walnuts crunch gently between your teeth and release a fragrant burst of walnut essence into your mouth.

Then you get all those tastes: the bright and aromatic chocolate, the fresh and nutty walnuts, and the soft and sweet marshmallow, together. Oh my goodness, what a perfect combination. I think I like it as much as I like the vegan SLOChews. If  it’s popular, we could do all kind of different rocky roads: roasted slivered almonds and marshmallow, English and Australian recipes. Yum. Why not.

I wish I could tell you this batch of bark is vegan but we haven’t worked out a recipe for vegan marshmallow that we love as much as we do our vegan ganaches and caramels. But this is only the beginning. Next time we’ll tweak the recipe for the marshmallow to get it even creamier and maybe Tom will experiment with alternatives to gelatin again.

But for now, I’m happy with what we’ve got.Mama Ganache Rocky Road bark

Truffle mice and more

Since we’ve got Mama truffle mice with babies for the first time – they just keep multiplying! – it occurred to me that it would be fun to put together an album of all the truffle pets Rebecca has created for us over the years. They’re all filled with the most delectable Fair Trade, organic ganache, made with fresh cream and butter.

Available in the shop or emailing joanne@mama-ganache.com or phoning Talina at (805) 544-7759.

Here are the truffle mice we’ve got right now:

photo copy

Going back in time, here are some truffle ghosts:

IMG_2371

And from Easter, a bunny:

IMG_2718

And some lambs:

IMG_2131

Who can resist this guy?

IMG_2719

Or this St Patrick’s mouse? Filled with Irish Cream ganache!

IMG_2689

Then there are the Valentine’s mice:Image

And the very first chocolate truffle bunnies:

IMG_0687

Altogether irresistible. Not to mention unbearably delicious.

Vegan Delights at Mama Ganache

truffles on the table

Some of our vegan truffles are enjoying the holiday decorations on our coffee table – with a cocoa pod, some cocoa nibs and beans, and a beautiful chocolate soy candle from the Chocolate Flower Farm. It’s been raining for days, but late the other afternoon the sun started to break through the clouds and the shop filled with a soft glow.

coconut vegan truffle

Here’s the coconut vegan truffle. The rich, dark chocolate ganache is softened with coconut milk instead of cream, and in place of butter, a touch of olive oil, and then rolled in coconut, all organic.

IMG_3079

On the left, a vegan SLOChew and on the right a vegan salt caramel. The SLOChew, probably our most popular chocolate, is the ultimate turtle: a vegan caramel and cashew center dipped in dark chocolate with a little peanut butter and some brown rice crispies. All organic, of course. The vegan salt caramel has a dollop of incredibly creamy caramel coated in 70% dark chocolate with a generous sprinkle of sea salt on top.

Mama Ganache’s vegan caramel is made with coconut milk and hand-pressed palm oil from South America, not from Indonesia, where the palm oil industry is devastating the habitat of the orangutans by aggressively cutting down the rainforest. Palm oil itself is an excellent oil,  trans-fat-free, rich in antioxidants, tasteless and light, quite possibly inhibiting cancer, stroke and heart disease. It’s an unspeakable tragedy that almost all of it is produced in such an unconscionable way – we’re glad Spectrum carries an organic hand-pressed oil.

photo

We’ve got lots of pretty packaged sets of vegan caramels and truffles out on the floor now.

vegan basket

Enough for a whole basket!

Here’s a list of most of the vegan goods Mama Ganache makes:

vanilla, chocolate, hazelnut, and salt caramels

SLOChews

apricot habanero diamonds

espresso, coconut, cardamom ginger, burnt almond and classic truffles

peppermint and coconut patties

peppermint, coconut, cranberry ginger, chili orange walnut, and roasted almond cups

dark chocolate peanut butter cups

dark chocolate, Aztec, spicy orange & coffee caramel nuggets

wine-pairing wafers

raspberry creme, coconut creme , peppermint creme, peanut butter, and salt caramel bars

Aztec, spicy orange, coffee, and 70% dark chocolate bars

chili orange walnut, almond, cherry almond, salted almond bark, cranberry ginger, spicy nib (84%), salted nib (70%), peppermint crunch and holiday fruit and nut bark

cocoa mixes in classic dark chocolate, Aztec, chai, peppermint and orange flavors

Undercover Cookies

And more that I’ve surely forgotten. So many delicious choices!

Mama Ganache!

A sample of some of the best Mama Ganache costumes:Image

Susan Lara in another of her extraordinary creations. The hat: out of a chocolatey brown band sprout cocoa leaves and cocoa pods surrounding a pair of winged doves made of wire. No one but Susan could come up with something as lovely. Image

In the elegant and fun category, Susan Pyburn.

Image

Where can we get enough hats like that for the whole staff?

And in the purely elegant category, Daya Sarai Chocron:

Image

Check out the headband:Image

And Papa Ganache came with his cake:

      

 

 

 

 

 

 

We all had a great time!

Cocoa tea, Cocoa Tea, candied pumpkin, and cattle

We’re deep in preparation for tomorrow’s Mama Ganache Halloween now. Tom made cocoa tea this morning.

Image

Last weekend at Central Coast Bioneers, we saw a delightful sequence about cocoa tea in Kum-Kum Bhavnani’s wonderful film Nothing Like Chocolate. Yesterday evening we researched it  and came upon this 2008 Obama song by Cocoa Tea:

It’s sad how much less enthusiastic we are this election.

Chocolate tea is a popular drink throughout the Caribbean, Central and South America, wherever cacao grows. What goes into it varies from place to place. It’s the drink made from those cocoa balls, sticks or lumps of roughly milled chocolate you can buy there. Sometimes there’s milk added, or condensed milk, sometimes not; usually it’s made cinnamon, bay leaves, and sugar, sometimes with nutmeg and allspice, in places it’s thickened with corn and served as breakfast, in others spiked with rum. Chocolate already induces happiness. Chocolate tea sounds absolutely enchanting.

So this afternoon Tom boiled cinnamon sticks and some bay leaves from our garden in a big pot. Then he threw in a pan of roasted nibs he’d made: Cameroonian beans chopped up in the food processor, hulls winnowed away by window fan set in a flower box on our deck. Finally he grated in some of a chocolate stick someone brought us from Cusco, in Peru. Since then it’s been simmering and filling the house with an astounding wonderful aroma.

In the morning we drove out to Gopher Glen the Prefumo Canyon way, high over the hills – from the top you look down on Cerro San Luis, down on Bishop’s Peak, Hollister, the whole line of the Morros. The peak of the hill is very treacherous, barely two cars wide with no turnouts or places to pull over, which is appropriate, given what a tumble anyone in the slightest accident could have. It’s a long, slow ride, 11 miles or so, quite a few dirt road – one of those little winding California roads that haven’t become part of the rest of the world for good reason.

A  little over the top, just into the See Canyon side, we did pull the car over and stop the best we could. Fortunately, that part of the road allowed for it, because coming toward us at a good pace was a herd of cattle being driven up the road by two cowboys on horses. No kidding. The cattle came right up to the hood of our car before they realized there was a way around. Then they all rushed by. They were huge. Lily Bear couldn’t believe it either. (Lost opportunity for a great picture, but my phone was at home.)

A few miles later, we tasted the apples being sampled at Gopher Glen and brought home 10 lbs of Fujis, a few gallons of apple cider for tomorrow, and a small pumpkin that Tom is candying as I write. It’s for the chocolate cake  he’s working on right now. I’ll post a picture of the cake – which will be spectacularly delicious and beautiful, a burst of Tom’s unique creativity – when I can.

He’s doing it in the chocolate kitchen while he oversees his current batch of chocolate being made in the new mill. I’m not sure if he’s using the Ecuadorian or Peruvian beans he has or if it’s the Cameroonian ones that went into the chocolate tea, but the plan is to have some bean to bar chocolate to sample tomorrow.

All very exciting. I can’t wait to see the cake!

A hint of a Mama Ganache Halloween

Just a little of my Mama Ganache costume

The costume’s ready except for the tassel on the hat, which looks a little big and black to me. Maybe another will show up between now and Sunday.

To those of you planning to help with the photography: please turn your flash off. It’ll be daylight and one of our guests is very sensitive to flashes. Thanks.
See you soon.