Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Let's Have a Chocolate Fest!

By Cal Orey, The Writing Gourmet

Yesterday, I was a radio guest on the Donna Seebo Program. This charming host read a poem I used in my new book The Healing Powers of Chocolate. The poem is moving and she read it with conviction. It was a good moment and it touched me...
The author of the chocolate poem is geologist Jim Berkland. Thus, I called him this morning and shared the news. After all, I am his biographer for the book The Man Who Predicts Earthquakes. And, he has been a dear friend and mentor to me (a surrogate father type of figure in my life) who I've known for more than 20 years. Our bond is dogs (this was a great link between my late dad and me), cats, quake predictions, earth changes--and more--including chocolate.
I recall during a past book tour, we were en route back to Lake Tahoe from Reno's Barnes and Noble bookstore, and we both wanted to stop at The Chocolate Factory. They closed their doors one minute before we got there and did not open them to us--two devout chocolate lovers. It was their loss--we would have spent a more than less. So, I want to share his timeless chocolate-related poem with you.

Chocolate Sampler

Dark chocolate I like a lot;
Milk chocolate's too tame.
It's not like when I was a tot
And ate sweets with no shame.

Then chocolate chips could pass my lips
As fondly as a kiss;
Hot cups of cocoa in sweet sips
Produced a state of bliss.

A scuffle for a truffle would
Endanger a loss of a friend.
I ncer could eschew a chew
Or carmelic blend.

They say The Olmecs harvested the bean
And treasured it to no end.
Columbus brought it to the Queen
To start a royal trend.

The nectar would be taxed so high
The peasants could not pay
Nobility would shut their tea
For cocoa every day.

Now Single-Origin's the prize
For devotees I've heard;
The Swiss and Swedes would say likewise
Since they have gotten word.

There's Baker, Hershey, Lindt and all
Competing with the best;
I savor competition's call...
Let's have a chocolate fest!

In The Healing Powers of Chocolate, accepted by The Good Cook Book Club (I include more than 50 recipes from well-known chocolatiers, chefs, cookbook authors, and Hershey's.) Today, I made homemade fudge and used Ghirardelli chocolate chips (60% cocoa content). Instead of walnuts I chose almonds, almond extract, and European style butter, and fresh half and half organic milk. It is a spin-off of the French Silk Fudge created by the National Confectioners Association. Yes, I am happy with the different taste with fresh changes. It's made my day complete.
Today, after a to die for swim (the pool was empty) and a rejuvenating private hot tub (again), I sold a chocolate book to a chocolate lover. And, I found the complete Healing Powers series in the gift shop at the resort hotel. (It sold out before Valentine's Day.) All in all, it is a good day for a dedicated chocolatarian at heart.

1 comment:

  1. I find it fascinating, Cal, that you should write about Jim Berkland and your book 'The Man Who Predicts Earthquakes' within a 24-hour time frame of the 8.8 Chilean quake! If chocolate consumption could be monitored as a potential pre-cursor to a shaker, the world would most likely be in big trouble. The poetic whimsy carried me away to a simpler time and, of course, made me salivate!