Cacao Crackdown: The New York Chocolate Show

MHowardcouture PourCroquer

My recent trip to Belgium unleashed my inner chocoholic, so when I got tipped off about the 13th Annual New York Chocolate Show, you can be sure that I was first in line to storm the barricades in search of what would melt my heart. Here were my favorites:

Heather Kenzie and Jennifer Love met while taking classes at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. Possessing a drive-off-the-cliff spirit in line with Thelma and Louise (without the actual cliff), the two developed and launched a line of all-natural organic chocolate bars. There were lots of vendors touting the whole “organic, raw, eat-me-I’m-good-for-you” thing, but in my book, theirs took top honors for that perfect combination of bittersweet and mouthfeel. Or maybe that was my last relationship.


Amazon organic cacao producers and artists combined forces to form the Kallari Association, a self-governed coalition created to support sustainable income for the Kichwa people. The 850-plus families now produce, market and sell fair-trade chocolate from one of the most stunning locales on earth while preserving their rain forests and land. The community retains 100 percent of wholesale profits to support education, health, and community viability initiatives.

Read More

The Great Bagel Debate: Montreal v. NYC


A little over a month ago I ventured to the FAR NORTH with my new hubbie (Romeo).  That’s right folks, I’m talking about Canada.  We spent a little under a week in Montreal, an exceedingly charming city full of appealing, beautiful, smiling, amiable people who seemed to do almost everything better than their southern neighbors.

Our luggage arrived at baggage claim within mere seconds of us exiting the secure area and public transportation was far-advanced and gloriously easy to understand. The city was thoroughly walkable and every neighborhood left us gasping at its beauty. Nearly everyone was bilingual yet didn’t look down on us for our inability to speak French. The food courts were full of healthy food: fresh and delicious and diverse. The more upscale dining joints were completely comfortable with my food limitations and whipped up thoroughly decadent dishes.

Everything was beautiful, perfect and French Canadian.  I was in love.

I was eager to try one particular morsel of Montreal cuisine that I had heard about from all the Canucks I’ve ever known:  The Montreal bagel.

Every Canuck I’ve come across has sung the praises of the Montreal bagel, asserting its clear superiority over the New York bagel.  As it was hard for me, the daughter of a New York Jew, to imagine any way of improving on a genuine New York bagel (far easier to improve on the piss-poor excuse for bagels we tend to encounter in DC), I couldn’t wait to try this mythic culinary invention.

Would the Montreal bagel stand up to my expectations? And what’s the difference between a Montreal bagel and a NYC bagel anyway? Answers after the jump….

Read More