Tag Archives: chocolate

Lessons From Fancy Dark Chocolate

8th Annual LA Luxury Chocolate Salon #darkchocolate #lemoncello #pasadena

A post shared by Madeline Wright (@socalmad) on

Thanks to a wonderful experience at yesterday’s 8th Annual Luxury Chocolate Salon in Pasadena, I learned something new about myself. What I learned there has nothing to do with eating chocolate.

1. I’ve learned that genuinely complimenting people makes me feel happy.  This sounds like a no-brainer to do and yet I have to make a conscious effort to give compliments to people that I encounter most often, even when I find myself silently admiring something about them. I enjoy being around happy people– who doesn’t? People naturally tend to feel good about themselves after receiving a genuine compliment. I’ll try to do this more.

2. I’ve learned that I like Earl Grey. Never realized that before this week. I’m not a coffee person, and for the longest time I only drank tea that tended to be on the sweet side (before addition of any sweetener). I chose ones with herbal sounding names and fruity aromas. Earl Grey is supposedly citrus-based but it was never a dominant flavor in previous cups I’ve tried. At some point, I tried and enjoyed a cookie that was made with ground Earl Grey tea. Pretty tasty.

Later tried an Earl Grey infused muffins. Also delightful. Last year was my first taste of Earl Grey infused pie, which quickly became my favorite flavor of pie that I am not inclined to make myself. Yesterday I tasted Earl Grey infused chocolate and then it hit me. I am a fan of Earl Grey. And I suppose most tea-infused treats.

3. I’ve learned that I’m borderline mysophobic. I valiantly tried to disprove that in my efforts to be social yesterday. Now I’ve got a scratchy throat and I’m sitting here bemoaning my life choices over the last 24 hours and gnawing on my single luxury purchase of a deliciously smooth spicy chocolate bar. It’s all good. Tonight I’ll try to enjoy my fond memories of the weekend. There will be plenty of time tomorrow to regret that I don’t have any throat spray. And to eat more dark chocolate.

Have you learned something new about yourself in September? Let me know in a comment!


Insert chocolate here

If you are already following me on Tumblr it would probably be pretty easy to guess what was in the box. The answer to everything yesterday’s mystery gift is… chocolate!

Compared to other chocolate I’ve tried, this kind was more subtle in sweetness and overall lighter in flavoring. The individually wrapped pieces were shaped as different types of flowers. I shared them with a few people to rave reviews all around.

Tomorrow is Veteran’s Day where we commemorate those who have served in our country’s military during wartime and/or peacetime. A significant portion of my family and friends are veterans. If that describes you, I thank you for your service. If you don’t know me nor are you related to me and you’re a veteran, I thank you for your service too! If you are not a veteran and have the day off, I hope that you will take a moment of your day to thank someone who is.


Doing it right: LA Luxury Chocolate Salon

Raspberry truffle elements

After my fourth year attending the 6th Annual Los Angeles Luxury Chocolate Salon held this year in the Civic Auditorium in Santa Monica, CA, I’ve learned a few things to maximize the tasting experience. Read this and you’ll benefit too.

4 tips for maximum enjoyment at a chocolate tasting

1) Stay hydrated! (2009)
2) Take a break and eat something (else) for lunch. (2010)
3) Bring your own bottle of water and a reusable bag. (2011)
4) Be selective in your consumption. (2012)

I took the above photo in a chocolate maker’s workshop. The container shows most of the elements that make up a delicious raspberry truffle. By tasting each ingredient separately I, as the taster, learned to appreciate all the nuances in the truffle and can now enjoy this and other truffles on a deeper level. The complete truffle is the red item in the bottom row, center.

By following tip #4 I didn’t get as fatigued of eating chocolate by the end because with a container in hand from the aforementioned workshop I was able to consume the most interesting samples first, asking myself whether I would regret NOT trying a sample. If yes I’d eat it immediately and if no I’d save it in the box for later. That made a world of difference!

If you get the chance to sample fine chocolates with unique flavors (lavender chocolate!) and in various forms– including toffee, caramel and things that pair well with chocolate– take it! My fun day also included a short walk over to the Santa Monica Pier and Santa Monica Place (outdoor mall with food court). View the Flickr page from Oct. 6th for a few more photos and let me know how your next chocolate tasting experience goes.


LA Chocolate Salon: A Sublime Time

bacon bar

mmm… Chocolate. Last Sunday was the 3rd Annual LA Chocolate Salon in Pasadena. I’ve finally come out of the sugar shock enough to share my experience but my hands are still too shaky to type it all out, figuratively speaking. So I’m going to do the next best thing.

Here’s A Salon of Indulgence, Luxury and Chocolate, an article from the Occidental paper, Oxyweekly, which details the event in a way that was fairly close to my experience.

If you missed this event, the next Chocolate Salon is in San Francisco. Chocolate lovers planning to be in the Bay Area in March, don’t miss that one. There will be as many as 50 chocolatiers in attendance to LA’s 35– which had one more sample table than this chocolate fan could handle.

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