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Fine Chocolate Available in Boquete

Written on August 7th, 2010 by no shouts

Boquete’s Sugar & Spice Bakery Pastry Chef, Richard Meyer has presented two very successful cooking classes for Boquete Gourmet during these last few weeks. Richard’s dishes were decadent and many students enjoyed the class so much chocolate, they became real aficionados of this fine delicacy.

The question asked in each class was where to buy fine, gourmet-style chocolate, the type found in France, Belgium, Holland or Germany. Many new residents in Boquete are yearning for the day when they can make chocolate delicacies from fine, imported chocolate here in Panama. And, now is the time.

The finest Belcolade Chocolate, imported from Belgium, is now available at the Boquete Tuesday Morning Market, beginning this Tuesday. The market is held in the Event Center, just over the bridge in the town center of Boquete, and it opens at 9:00am every Tuesday.

This fine, 70% cacao chocolate is bagged in pieces as they break from the huge, original bar. Pieces vary from 2 ounces to about one pound in weight. It is priced at 60 cents per ounce and comes with a recipe for Boquete Gourmet Chocolate Truffles, a very easy to make chocolate candy that requires no special skills to make. The truffle recipe is also included in Boquete Gourmet Community Cookbook, available at locations listed on the right of this article.

There are many, many sweet treats that can be made from this fine chocolate, including some pictured here.

But, if you’d like to make something different with your chocolate, try this chicken recipe made with chocolate. Chocolate and chicken might not sound like the tastiest combination, but chicken mole marries these two unlikely foods together and the result is culinary heaven. This dish mixes common spices with chocolate before cooking it with chicken. If you’d like to make something unusual with your fine chocolate, try this dish.

6 chicken breasts, skinless and boneless
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 cups broth
¼ cup almonds, slivered
1/4 cup raisins
1/2 teaspoon. cumin
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
2 oz. unsweetened Belcolade chocolate, chopped

In a large, ovenproof skillet, heat the oil and cook the garlic until just soft, not brown, then add the chicken and brown. Remove the chicken and add the chili powder, blending it in well. Use less chili powder or omit if you don’t like spicy foods. Add the broth, almonds, raisins, and seasonings. Simmer this, covered, for about 30 minutes. Add the chocolate to the mixture, stirring until melted and return the chicken to the skillet, spooning sauce over the chicken. Cover and bake at 350F degrees for 1 hour, or until the chicken is tender. Serve with some chopped cilantro and buttered egg noodles on the side

Pick up some fresh Belgian chocolate at this Tuesday’s Boquete Market, you’ll love cooking with it!

Boquete’s Crazy for Chocolate Pie!

Written on April 14th, 2010 by no shouts

“Crazy for Chocolate” cooking class filled quickly, and Pastry Chef, Richard Meyer, came to his bakery early that morning to prepare for the group of eager chocolate lovers. The class would be held right in the prep area of Sugar & Spice Bakery, located on the main street of downtown Boquete, Panama.

High tables and chairs were moved in so that each student had a “bird’s-eye view” of Richard at work on his own turf. Richard, being a very experienced baker, set to work on three of his special chocolate desserts, including his very decadent, Chocolate Cream Pie.

His workspace includes all ingredients necessary to make each dish to be presented in the class, including a quart of whipping cream, a huge bar of dark Belgian chocolate, milk chocolate chips and a container of unsweetened cocoa powder. Using these chocolates, Richard set to work. This is his recipe for his first dessert.

Chocolate Cream Pie

8 ounces cream cheese
¾ cup brown sugar
2 eggs
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate (melted)
2 cups heavy cream (whipped to soft peak)

In a KitchenAid mixer, cream the cream cheese until very soft. Over a double boiler combine the brown sugar, eggs and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl. Whisk constantly until the mixture reaches at least 145F degrees. Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Add the melted chocolate to the cream cheese and mix to combine. Next add the sugar mixture and continue to mix to combine. Last fold in the whipped heavy cream just to incorporate. Do not over mix the heavy cream or it may break. Spoon the chocolate cream mixture into a 10-inch Oreo or graham cracker pie crust and allow to chill over night.

Richard had made the chocolate cream pies the night before the class, so they could chill completely. So, as if by magic, the pies he made in front of the class went into the refrigerator and out came the chilled pies, ready to eat, Emeril-style!

And, eat we did - - not only the rich, luscious chocolate cream pie, but David paired the dessert with FONSECA PORTO Ruby Port wine from Portugal, making just the right combination for a never-to-forget taste sensation.

The Black Swan and Pinot Noir wines were paired with Richard’s chocolate pudding cake and chocolate chip scones, the other two desserts we enjoyed during the class. Watch for my new “Boquete Gourmet Community Cookbook” coming out in June. Both of those chocolate dessert recipes will be included in the book.

By popular demand, Richard will present a second “Crazy for Chocolate” cooking class on Wednesday, June 30. The desserts may vary, depending on the chocolate available, requests Richard has had these past few weeks and how much our Boquete chocolate lovers can endure.

Thanks, Richard, it was really a great afternoon!

Stop by Sugar & Spice Bakery for some of Richard’s daily chocolate favorites and pick up your ticket for his next chocolate class, you’ll love it.
Keep up your endorphins!

Are You “Crazy for Chocolate”?

Written on March 5th, 2010 by no shouts

Several years ago, David and I went to Sarasota, Florida to a “Chocolate Convention” and I’ll never forget it. We each had a card with 20 numbers on it and each numbered station offered servings of a different chocolate treat. We stayed at the convention until all 20 numbers were punched on our cards! It was an incredible experience and we’ve been “crazy for chocolate” ever since.

In Boquete, there is a “new” pastry chef in town, Richard Meyer. He opened Sugar & Spice Bakery in a new location on the main street, on the right side coming near the town center. Richard specializes in making delicious chocolate pastries using several varieties of chocolate. He also makes country breads, rolls, pies and almost every form of baked goods you’d expect to find anywhere in the world.

From the Sugar & Spice sign above the bakery door, you can tell from the loaf of bread and star-studded chef’s hat, that fine bread and a fine chef can be found there. Look carefully at Richard’s sign, it’s handmade and full of information.

I am very happy to announce that Richard will be the next Boquete Gourmet’s guest chef for April’s cooking class. He’ll make three very special chocolate desserts using 3 different chocolates and 3 different techniques to use with chocolate. His class will be held on Wednesday, April 7, 2010, beginning at 1:00pm at the Sugar & Spice Bakery.

The registration fee of $25 includes not only the class instruction, a serving of each of 3 desserts and unlimited “Boquete Gourmet” coffee, but a recipe book, paired wine tasting and “goodie bag” to take home.

If you love chocolate, or are actually “crazy for chocolate”, you won’t want to miss Richard’s very special “Chocolate Class” coming up April 7.

There are only 12 seats available, so email, call 6614-9514 or pick up your ticket today at Sugar & Spice. First come, first served.
Chocolate lover,

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