Sunday, March 13, 2011

Chocolate, the Soothing Universal E.R. Must-Have

By Cal Orey
The Writing Gourmet

Heartbreak or natural disaster, either event can take a toll on you physically, mentally, and spiritually. Earthquakes, tsunamis, flooding, fires, and even nuke disasters and losing loved ones are part of life around the globe.
This latest super catastrophe at Japan has affected countless countries and the world. It is surreal. As an author-intuitive, and one who predicts earthquakes, my quake prediction(s) were correct but never did I sense it would have such an aftermath of consequences.
Late December, I was invited to be a guest on The Mancow Show, January 3. My job was to dish out quake predictions. I sent the producer my forecasts for 2011--it included 8.0+s and tsunamis in the Pacific Ring of Fire (Japan is in this active seismic zone)--and on the early morning show I noted my predictions. Flash forward to February 27. I also predicted the quake with more precise details on my quake site Predictions Forum thread Japan Quake on Earthquake Epicenter and included the region, 7.0+ by March 12, Eastern Honshu region, nearby Tokyo. I based my forecast on the swarm in the area, left ear tones, and it was overdue.
Then, it happened. And, on the day of the 8.9 great quake, I received an early morning call from The Mancow Show producer. Once again, I was on air. But this time around, I was anticipating tsunami warnings for the entire West Coast, my home. And yes, I was asked for the next forecast. Our Golden State, I said.
Today, like millions of people, I watch the destruction from the quake, big waves, fires, and nuke crisis building. As a boomer, I've seen fire and I've seen rain, with respect to James Taylor. I have seen the destruction of the Great Alaska 1964 quake in March to the major 7.1 earthquake that rumbled through the San Francisco Bay Area. I have been in a major wildfire at Lake Tahoe (two, actually) to a blizzard in Wyoming. But this natural disaster in Japan surpasses anything I've seen or experienced.

SOOTHING CHOCOLATE In my book The Healing Powers of Chocolate, I cover chocolate as a universal emergency cure. And yes, it can help humans in crisis mode. So, if you do not have it in your own E.R. stash (dry foods that have a long shelf life, water, first aid kit, coffee, tea, etc.) , now is the time to prepare and add the "food of the gods"...

What Chocolate Rx to Use: Put chocolate bars, cocoa powder, and chocolates of any form (except fresh truffles) in an airtight container and store with other emergency products.

Why You'll Like It: If you are dealing with a disaster, such as quake aftershocks (yes, these can be anxiety-provoking as I have gone through in 2008 during our quake swarm at Reno to after the 1989 Loma Prieta aka World Series quake) chocolate can help calm your nerves, uplift your spirits, and provide mental alertness. If you are trapped at home or elsewhere like at an office or car, and have chocolate on hand, rationing the nutrient-rich superfood just may save your life, as it has for others who have endured a natural disaster.

The bottom line: No, chocolate sea salt caramels or a cup of cocoa will not fix or undo the ill effects of a mega disaster (or radiation levels soaring) or make it go away. But it may help you or if you're affected feel better like chicken soup, a cup of tea. Yeah, chocolate can nourish your body and soul, whether you're a survivor or watching other people endure catastrophic events.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Love for Artisanal Chocolate Soars in Asia

By Cal Orey,
The Writing Gourmet
For more than a decade, New York-based Christopher Norman Chocolates has developed a sweet chocolate connection with Japan. Evidently, Japanese clients love the gourmet chocolates that show craftsmanship and attention to detail, according to the company's president, Joe Guiliano. Any creative, gourmet chocolate treat that boasts a distintive shape (like the hand-painted tiles) attracts chocolate lovers in Japan--or so it seems.
A few years ago, the Christopher Norman chocolatiers were invited to show at the Salon du Chocolat in Tokyo. "The Japanese like our chocolates," points out Guiliano, who adds that he was currently working on an order of 1,000 of their chocolate Cappuccino Cups for them. These gems are described as follow: "Espresso and Grand Marnier are the flavors for this little latte. A soft, creamy ganache fills the chocolate cups, the boldness of the beans is cut with the sweetness of orange. All topped off by a buttercream."
It's no surprise that that these special artisan chocolates made an impression in Japan--and that they wowed me when I received a batch of the awesome goods. I still recall the taste to this day--about a month away from Easter, a big period for chocolate companies and chocolate lovers who like eggs and bunnies and adore these Cappuccino Cups.
And White Day--January through the end of April--in Japan is a popular period for chocolate with an artists' twist.