Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder

Valentine's Day is less than a week away! Only a day or two left to order your MUCHOMAS Chocolates.

To celebrate love and beauty, MUCHOMAS Chocolate is a proud sponsor of the Rodin Museum's reopening on Valentine's Day this year. 

Be inspired by one of the "master's most beloved sculptures, The Kiss."

Rodin.jpg

Happy Valentine's Day!

Hopefully you will be enjoying some masterfully made MUCHOMAS Chocolates and inspired "besitos" this year!

- The Team at MUCHOMAS Chocolate

P.S. our 44% Milk Chocolate with Almonds are back in stock!

The Best Part of Waking Up . . .

Is MUCHOMAS Chocolate with your cup!

Chocolate and coffee are great companions. Just like you and your special Valentine.

This year, treat your Valentine right and make sure they start off their day with something special- MUCHOMAS Chocolate

Whether it's Chocolate Covered Pretzels . 

For every $50 order, we will ship a free bag of Bristol Coffee so you can enjoy some fantastic Nicaraguan coffee with your MUCHOMAS Chocolate every morning!

Start the Year off Right!

It's the New Year and time to load up on MUCHOMAS Chocolate for Valentine's Day for your special loved ones! Don't forget last year's best selling treat- MUCHOMAS ChocolateCovered Pretzels and our fantastic MUCHOMAS Gift Baskets!

But as importantly, show some love to some people you don't know. 

This Thursday, join our good friend James Muchmore, aka "Mucho," as he raises money and awareness for critically endangered frogs in the Ecuadorian Choco Forest. 

 

James is a fantastic photographer and designer. Jim's trips to Ecuador have helped him create fantastic relationships with the Ecuadorian people and he has captured some incredible photos of the Ecuadorian wildlife.

Check out some of his amazing shots on his Instagram account.

We hope to see you all there! 

Santa Has a Treat For You!

Good news and even better news!

First, you can order chocolates today and tomorrow and be guaranteed to receive them before Christmas! Whew, yes, a collective sigh of relief. Don't forget the SHIP45 discount code for free shipping!

But even better news for those of you who live in Philadelphia, you can get all our MUCHOMAS Chocolate Bars and MUCHOMAS Chocolate Covered Pretzels at several of the Capogiro locations! 

We are incredibly excited about this partnership and looking forward to more fun news shortly. 

Check us out in Midtown at 119 S. 13th Street, near Rittenhouse at 117 S. 20th Street, and in University city at 3925 Walnut Street!!

 

Also, we hope you can join us tonight at Founding Fathers for a great Holiday Party!

We will be there from 6 to 9 celebrating with the team from Manatawny Still Works. There will be great holiday cocktails and chocolate treats so see you tonight!

Tis the Season

It's December 1st! Holiday Season is in full swing.
Black Friday, Cyber Monday and more . . .
If you're getting anxious about gifts this season, let us help you!
The biggest MUCHOMAS sellers are our 44% Milk Chocolate with Almond Bars and . . . . . 

Last year we launched MUCHOMAS Gift baskets and they were a big hit! Check out the MUCHOMAS Grande! Great for sending to family, friends, clients, and coworkers!

And for those of you who haven't been paying attention . . . . we have MUCHOMAS Chocolate Covered Pretzels just for this holiday season!

We hope you're enjoying the holiday season and not stressing. Leave the stressing to us. By the way, STRESSED spelled backwards is DESSERTS. So order some personal MUCHOMAS desserts today and don't be stressed!
 

Thanks!

For being a part of Team MUCHOMAS!!

Hopefully you are getting ready to spend Thanksgiving with family and friends.

Thanksgiving is a great day shared with those you love.

For the holidays this year, consider sharing something else you love with family and friends- MUCHOMAS Chocolate.

Last year we launched MUCHOMAS Gift baskets and they were a big hit!

 

This year we are back with more goodies for the gift baskets. We are including our chocolate bars AND our newly added MUCHOMAS Chocolate Covered Pretzels.

And to share even more, we are introducing our good friends at Bristol Coffee! They love beans too, coffee beans!

Bristol coffee beans are born, bred, and brewed on a family farm, Santa Francisca Romana, in Nicaragua. The Vaughan Brothers started their coffee venture over 100 years ago and their family is continuing the craft, focusing on quality coffee beans.

Their fantastic Nicaraguan coffee will be in our MUCHOMAS gift baskets as well. Check out their website and this great picture from the coffee bean harvest! If you just want the coffee, you can easily order from Amazon.

Have a great Thanksgiving and hopefully you share MUCHOMAS with the friends and family this holiday season!

-the Team at MUCHOMAS Chocolate

Trade Secrets . . .

Everybody is raving about the Chocolate Covered Pretzels!

Adam S. says, "I ate 6 before I even stopped to think . . . do I like these? MMMMM, yes!"

Steve M. asked, "How do you get so much chocolate on them? They're the best I've ever had!"

Cora M. cried, "Mas! Mas! MUCHOMAS!"

We are about to let you peak into the secret world of MUCHOMAS Chocolate and reveal some trade secrets. 

Everyone is asking . . .  how do you make these Chocolate Covered Pretzels soooo good?

Well, first, you need to source incredible cacao. Fortunately we have that step covered. For our pretzels we are using our MUCHOMAS 70% dark chocolate. The chocolate is made from Nicaraguan Trinitario cacao we source from the Northern mountainous regions of Nicaragua. Hopefully you have tried some already!

Second, we head to the laboratory.
 

Then we locate a specialized piece of confectionery equipment called an enrober. You might be thinking, what does that do? Well, it "enrobes" stuff. In our case, we are enrobing pretzels with chocolate. Our big white machine is a Hogarth, made in the early 1900's in Ohio of all places! Although it's a white box, it is also like a black box. Pretzels go in . . . .
 

and chocolate covered pretzels come out!

Third we taste test and quality control. How well is the chocolate enrobed onto the pretzels. What temperature is the chocolate drying at? And what's the consistency and temper of the chocolate on the pretzels. That work can't be done by a machine. We do it ourselves. You can be a quality control taste tester as well. Check out the website and make sure to get your pretzels ordered ASAP!

-The Team at MUCHOMAS Chocolate

National Chocolate Day!

If not, it's a great time to order some. And any orders you make this weekend will come with an extra MUCHOMAS surprise because it's National Chocolate Day and almost Halloween!

The chocolate covered pretzels are going fast and we have to limit order sizes, ahhhh! No more than 5 orders per person, unless you are sending them as a gift. 

We have several fun events lined up next week. In honor of Philly Craft Spirits week, we are teaming up with Manatawny Still Works and Sidecar Bar & Grille next Wednesday, November 2nd. Chef Brian Lofink is making some special Mole Wings using our chocolate and Manatawny's whiskey. Come and join us, we will be there till all the wings, whiskey, and chocolate are gone!

Friday, November 4th we are joining Manatawny at Alla Spina for a craft cocktail happy hour. The pastry chefs at Alla Spina are making some tasty treats to pair with the cocktails using MUCHOMAS Chocolate! Craft cocktails and chocolates, deliciousness! 

O, and of course, Happy Halloween to everyone!

- the Team at MUCHOMAS Chocolate

Our Favorite Post of the Year

Is the one you are reading right now!

When we started MUCHOMAS Chocolate, we focused on highlighting the incredible flavors of Nicaraguan cacao. The best way to do that is to make chocolate that is as pure as possible. MUCHOMAS Chocolate bars have two
ingredients, cacao and sugar!

After the initial launch, we decided to search out complementary flavors that would pair well with Nicaraguan chocolate. Now some of our bestselling bars contain inclusions like coffee beans, salt, and almonds.

At the end of last year's chocolate season, we asked our customers and friends for ideas. We asked to borrow their imagination. What else could they dream of eating with our chocolate? The answers varied, but almost everyone begged for, "chocolate covered pretzels!" 

Throughout our journeys in the chocolate world, we have met incredible people with lots of unique and fun personalities. And yet none compares to the inspiration for our project, Willy Wonka. Gene Wilder passed away this August. Gene was an incredible actor and his portrayal of Willy Wonka in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is the stuff that dreams are made of. 

We are thrilled to make your dreams come true this fall! Our team of Oompa Loompas worked hard, experimenting and perfecting the right mix of chocolate and pretzel for our MUCHOMAS Chocolate covered pretzels

We did a limited production run of these pretzels. So head to the website and order them now! Oh and orders over $45 include free shipping!

Here's to you Gene.

-Philly's Wonkas

 

 

Some People Go On Vacations

Others go on expeditions . . .

Our good friend, James Muchmore, aka Muchomas, is a not only the designer behind our branding, but a huge lover of nature. 

Mucho, as we call James, is an avid ornithographer- bird-watcher. Check out his Instagram here. In fact, Mucho is such a fan, he's traveled to a hotbed of ecological activity, the Ecuadorian Amazon several times. Each trip, Mucho explores and documents the unique flora and fauna of the rainforest. 
We want to share a project near to his heart with you- Save the Chocó , El Chocó is a project that Mucho's friends are spearheading.
 

Recently, Mucho sent us a phenomenal documentary that we are sharing with you. If a picture is worth a thousand words, this video of cacao and cacao farmers in El Chocó is as priceless as the rainforest itself. We hope you enjoy!

Please check it out!

-the Team at MUCHOMAS

Fancy Food and Fine Chocolate

What a month! A great shout out in Philadelphia Magazine and a wonderful MUCHOMAS Happy Hour at the Bainbridge Club kicked it off. In big news- we called all our best chocolatier and pastry chef friends to get some advice. Advice on how to make MUCHOMAS Whiskey Truffles! We used young-aged whiskey from Manatawny Still Works and of course, MUCHOMAS 80% Dark Chocolate. The truffles debuted at the Bainbridge Club and were an epic success thanks to the great guidance we got.

Even more fun for Team MUCHOMAS, we were presenters at the Fine Chocolate Industry Association semi-annual event in New York City. Our presentation, "Using Technology to Reach and Understand Your Customers" was a hit. We were even lucky enough to taste chocolate made with several new heirloom designations. For those who don't know, the Heirloom Cacao Project is fighting against deforestation, disease, and the invasive species that threaten fine cacao. The HCP is hard at work identifying highly flavorful cacao and connecting it to genetics. We tasted some fantastic Heirloom cacao at the FCIA event, thanks to HCP!

Our trip was filled with more tastings at Fancy Food. For those who haven't been, it's an industry only event held twice yearly to bring specialty foods from around the world to buyers in the U.S. The conference is filled with thousands of specialty food producers and purveyors like MUCHOMAS! It's an amazing place to meet great people, eat great chocolate, and of course taste mucho mas other goodies! Hehehe. 

Getting back to technology, Team MUCHOMAS met with our Tech Intern in NYC to get a full breakdown on the progress of our latest venture. Things are moving quickly so be ready for a roll out of some great new tools for chocolate lovers worldwide!

For chocolate lovers in Philadelphia, join us this Thursday at Lo Spiedo from 5-8PM! We are teaming up with Summer of Brosé and the wonderful pastry chefs at the Vetri Group to throw a party with Rosé and Chocolate. The pastry chefs will be making some fantastic chocolate creations using our couverture and proceeds from all sales will go to the Vetri Community Partnership. Come out and enjoy some chocolate for charity!

MUCHOMAS, the Other European Tour

Last spring, we toured Europe's great chocolate houses to taste Europe's best truffles, bon bons, and craft chocolates. For education and inspiration of course! 

This year, we returned to Europe with MUCHOMAS Chocolate for some amazing Weddings! That's right. Our MUCHOMAS bars were featured in a beautiful Mediterranean wedding on the Greek Island of Santorini. In Vienna, our couverture was paired with Bristol Coffee for wedding favors. And more deliciously, it was the main ingredient in several cakes made for a Viennese Palace Wedding. 

Check it out! 

 

If you want to try to replicate this royal treat, here's the recipe from famed Austrian baker, Valentina Metz!

Ingredients:


-          1 cup MUCHOMAS couverture
-          1/2 cup butter
-          1 cup brown sugar
-          4 eggs
-          9 tbsp milk
-          2 tbsp white rum
-          1 tsp baking powder
-          1 & 1/2 cups flour
-          3/4 cups walnuts

Preparation:


-          Preheat oven to 350°F
-          Separate eggs
-          Beat egg whites until foam peaks
-          Add sugar and beat until blended
-          Melt butter and chocolate over simmering water, stir until completely melted
-          Combine egg yolks, sugar, milk, rum, half of the flour and baking powder with electric mixer
-          Add parts of the beaten egg whites and flour     alternately carefully with a silicone spatula
-          Add walnuts
-          Pour batter in a round baking pan and bake until done (25-40 minutes, depending on pan size)

 

Also, in case you missed it, MUCHOMAS was featured in Philadelphia magazine as one of Philly's finest craft chocolate makers. Be sure to grab the June edition.

There is MUCHOMAS Chocolate Out There

Last week, we gave a presentation and delightful chocolate tasting at the offices of Greenberg Traurig LLP for Philly Tech Week.

Not only did we share our own MUCHOMAS Chocolate, but we sampled mucho mas chocolates for all the attendees. Tasting other companies' chocolates is fun, educational, and inspirational!

This week we want to share some of the fun content like- how to taste great chocolate!

So with that in mind, here is part one of our new MUCHOMAS Series: Tasting Great Chocolates!

In Part I, we will explain how to read a chocolate label.

When reading the label of any chocolate bar, there are three key details to look for:

First- Cacao Percentage.  This is fairly straightforward, but all the numbers can be intimidating for the uninitiated or number-phobic.  It is simple. The number on the bar is the percentage of cacao-based products that are in the bar.  That cacao might be in the form of cacao mass (always), cacao powder (rarely), or cacao butter (often).  The remaining percentage is the other ingredients such as sugar (always), milk powder (in milk chocolate, duh), and other flavors or additives.

Second – Ingredients.  This might be self-explanatory, but as with anything you eat, you should check out the ingredients in a chocolate bar!  Most dark chocolate will have at most 2-3 ingredients. All you need is cacao and sugar!  There is no “right” ingredient list, but when a dark chocolate bar is loaded up with things that are not cacao or sugar you might want to stop and think . . . . why?

 

Third – Origin.  Now, this is the fun part.  We will delve more into this in future posts, but these days many chocolate bars will list a country or region of origin of the cacao used in the bar.  Sometimes they will even tell you exactly what varietal of beans are used.  Think of this like buying a bottle of wine.  The information is similar and serves a similar purpose.  Different cacao beans can taste very differently.  And if the bar doesn’t say where the beans are from it is probably no place special!

 

Stay tuned for future posts where we will continue to explore the world of chocolate tasting!

A Case of the Fundays

Wow, team MUCHOMAS is busier than a bee this Spring.

Last Friday we joined a great group of Philly-based food and spirits startups at NOSHHH, a super secret speakeasy-style event for foodies.

This week, we re-launch the MUCHOMAS Happy Hour Series at the Little Lion. This year's happy hour series will feature our chocolates turned into fantastic desserts by local pastry chefs!

Next Tuesday, we head to the Philadelphia Free Library and team up with the Franklin Institute and Peter Scarola of R2L to give a class on chocolate and science!


Sunday, May 1st we'll be sampling goodies for Mother's Day shoppers at Workshop Underground on South St. Please join us from 1 to 3.

Then on Wednesday the 4th we head to Greenberg Traurig to join a panel and presentation for Philly Tech Week. Tech and Chocolate? That's right, we will be talking shop and enjoying great MUCHOMAS treats!

Hopefully you can join us for some of these fun-filled events!

And don't forget, it's almost Mother's Day! Check out our chocolates and specialty gift baskets.
 

April Showers Bring May Flowers

Kind of!

In most of Nicaragua it is the dry season. But, in the more mountainous North, it's generally cooler and wetter. That's great for cacao! Cacao is delicate and needs lots of moisture. 

By April, cacao blossoms have already sprouted and we're looking to pod harvesting season. May is prime time and we're looking forward to this year's yield! Like fine wine, cacao is influenced by terroir and climate. It will be interesting to taste this year's harvest! Once the pods are picked and split, the cacao beans go to fermentation! That's where the process of making chocolate begins. 

We hope you're out planting your own crops. But if you're thinking about Mother's Day and flowers - think again. Think chocolate! 

We had so many raving reviews for our gift baskets, we're bringing them back for Mother's Day! Order soon because they're limited in supply and take time to craft like our fantastic chocolates.

Happy Spring!

MUCHOMAS March Madness & the Return of . . .

The MUCHOMAS Chocolate Challenge!

We are guessing you are busy at work filling out your NCAA Brackets and shopping for Easter Candy. Take two seconds and help yourself and our Nicaraguan friends.

In the spirit of competition, we are relaunching the MUCHOMAS Chocolate Challenge this week. 

Last year's competition was great for everyone. Who doesn't love free chocolate? And with Easter less than 3 weeks away, everyone is shopping for those specialist of treats. 

 

Here's the insider info so you can get started:

 
STEP 1:  Email info@muchomaschocolate.com and tell us you would like to participate.
 
STEP 2:  We will send you a unique code to share with your friends. 
 
STEP 3:  When your friends buy MUCHOMAS Chocolate, they will enter your code at checkout and receive a 10% discount on their purchase.
 
STEP 4:  Each time 5 of your friends use your code, we will send you a free 4-bar MUCHOMAS chocolate pack of your choice. 
 
Easy right?
 
If you don’t have five friends, then you should probably be giving people more chocolate to begin with!

-The Team at MUCHOMAS

P.S. If you're missing friends and family this Spring, send them something that shows how much you care- A MUCHOMAS Gift Basket!

What's Rare and Unique Like our Chocolate?

Leap Years!

Did you know that our friends Giff and Jose Enrique, the intrepid cacao hunters of Nicaragua, named their company "Cacao Leap Year!" Yes, that's the literal translation of their company's name Cacao Bisiesto. Congratulations are in order to Giff and Jose Enrique, they founded their company in 2012 and four years later we are enjoying the literal fruits of their labor- amazing chocolate from cacao fruits!!
 

 

Congrats to another person who made a huge Leap, our very own Sam Lehr!  His leap was honored on Anthropologie's Instagram last week. Sam is part of a special group of individuals that have made serious life changes by taking a leap of faith to start new endeavors!

 

A Cacao Tree Grows in Maryland

It was just announced by the Heirloom Cacao Preservation Initiative - a joint project of the Fine Chocolate Industry Association and the United States Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service- that Nicaragua has heirloom cacao! To find out exactly what that means, we went to the USDA's campus in Beltsville, Maryland to meet with Dr. Lyndel Meinhardt who heads the cacao genome mapping project.

Heirlooms are genetically distinct cacaos. For the HCP, heirloom cacaos have truly fine flavor!

Our world is increasingly filled with flavorless foods. We are losing preciously tasty plants to crops engineered for robustness and yield, but not flavor.  Whether this trade off is worth it is an interesting question for many foods - but not cacao.  We want our chocolate to taste good!

The USDA is working with other organizations to map out the cacao genome. As heirloom cacaos become extinct and man-made variants take their place, our hope is they maintain a database of the diverse genetics of heirlooms still with us today!

The HCP works to categorize which heirloom cacaos have exceptional and distinct flavor qualities to pair with their unique genetic composition.  Together, the USDA and taste-minded chocolate makers are working to ensure that great tasting cacao does not vanish from the earth.  I think we can all agree that is important! 

Along with Ecuador, Bolivia, and other countries, Nicaragua is now a country with heirloom cacao. Something which we and you, as great MUCHOMAS customers, can be very proud of. If you recall, last fall the International Cocoa Organization dubbed Nicaragua a 100% Fine Cacao country. With this new designation from the HCP, we know for a fact that the world can enjoy some exceptional and unique chocolates thanks to our Nicaraguan friends!

We were joined at the USDA, with well known chocolate critic and cacao savant Mark Christian from the C-Spot. Mark recently completed a project where chocolate was made from 7 distinct heirloom cacaos. Check it out.  We hope in the near future his next project will involve 8 distinct heirloom cacaos :) Obviously Nicaraguan cacao being the newest member of the 8!

The world's appreciation of Nicaragua's great cacao is growing rapidly! Here's to another year of MUCHOMAS discoveries with MUCHOMAS new friends! 

And don't forget to order more MUCHOMAS here!

-The Team at MUCHOMAS Chocolate

Juicer Cleanse

Chocolate Making Part 3 – Juicer Cleanse

When we left our intrepid chocolate makers (us), they had just finished winnowing with a hair dryer and were left with a pile of chocolate making gold in the form of nibs.  They looked like this:

In part three of our adventure these nibs are turned into cacao liquor (which is unfortunately not booze).

We do this using a juicer.  It’s really quite easy.  As the title of the post suggests, the difficult part is cleaning the juicer which has cacao in every nook and cranny.  More on that later . . .

First, we need to grind those nibs!  To do so, we warmed all the materials with our trusty hair dryer (as if hair dryers couldn’t get any more awesome) and began slowly feeding our nibs into the juicer.

After several handfuls, glorious brown gold started flowing out from the bottom of the juicer. It looks a lot like chocolate sauce!

After all the nibs are run through the juicer we are left with two things: a bright shiny bowl of cacao liquor (ground nibs) and a very very messy juicer.

For those of you that have never tried to clean something that is absolutely covered in chocolate, here are a few tips:

1)   Clean it right away before the chocolate hardens

2)   Toothbrushes work well (and then your teeth are chocolatey-fresh the next time you brush)

3)   Clean it right away before the chocolate hardens

4)   Use warm water so that the chocolate doesn’t harden

5)   Clean it right away before the chocolate hardens

Another clever cleaning technique, employed by some members of Team MUCHOMAS, is to simply leave the chocolate making area and go home before the cleaning even begins.

Stay tuned next time when we add sugar to the chocolate and do math!

Blowin' in the Hair Dryer Wind

When last we left our intrepid chocolate makers (us), we had just finished cracking the beans and were left with a bowl full of nibs and shells.

If you recall, it looked something like this:

Now, shell is not something that you want to eat.  It is not very clean and doesn’t taste very good.  So the obvious next step in the chocolate making process is to separate the nibs and the shell. 

In even the smallest chocolate making facilities this step, called “winnowing,” is normally achieved using some form of machinery to help accomplish the task.  Often winnowing “machines” are pieced together from vacuum cleaners and PVC piping but obviously the machines at larger facilities can be quite complex. 

The basic idea behind most of them, however, is the same.  Cacao nibs weigh far far more than cacao shells and can generally be separated by using that weight disparity.

Of course, the MUCHOMAS Chocolate Test Facility is not even quite as sophisticated as PVC piping and vacuums.  Instead, we used a hair dryer. It works remarkably well.  The only problem is that, being located in downtown Philadelphia; the Test Facility did not have any convenient outdoor area in which to conduct the winnowing.  Remember those old game shows where the contestant would try to grab as many dollar bills as possible while inside a wind tornado?  Imagine that but with no walls and tiny flakes of cacao shell instead of money.

Obviously just letting the cacao shell tornado ravage the Test Facility would be problematic.  And with no outdoor space readily available, Team MUCHOMAS had to get creative with the use of trash-bag tenting.

It took a while, and we probably inhaled more cacao shell than we should have, but it worked pretty well and we were left with a nice heaping bowl of mostly nibs!

Stay tuned next week as we spend an entire afternoon cleaning cacao mass out of a juicer!