chocolate

The sight of traffic stacking up on a weekday had to be a familiar one for the commuters and road-trippers plying Poland's major A2 highway on Wednesday. But as the minutes whipped by while the cars sat still, it had to dawn on them that something was different this time: This was no vanilla traffic jam.

And they were right. It was a chocolate one.

When I meet Ghanaian chocolatier Selassie Atadika, the first thing she does is pull a box of chocolates out of her bag. Then, introductions aside, she launches into a story.

It's a story of melding chocolate and spices, of straddling Africa and America, and of connecting cultures and people through taste.

Law enforcement agencies announced on Wednesday a litany of charges against 33 people — including 27 who were allegedly associated with a Russian crime syndicate. Authorities said the indictment represents one of the first federal racketeering charges ever brought against a vor v zakonei — a Russian phrase that translates roughly as "thief-in-law."

Mika Peck, a conservation ecologist at England's University of Sussex, was frustrated. He'd been researching and publishing papers for years on the near-extinction of the Ecuadoran brown-headed spider monkey, and not much was happening to change the primate's extremely threatened status.

Not much, that is, until he started connecting the monkeys to gourmet chocolate.

Sophia Padgett Perez

Venezuela has the world’s largest oil reserves. Big deal. This is Valentine’s week, when cocoa matters more than crude – and what’s important is that Venezuela produces the world’s best chocolate.

Problem is, will politics soon drag down Venezuela’s cacao (cocoa) industry the way it’s reduced the country’s oil output? On Feb. 14, at least, that’s a worrisome question, especially inside gourmet chocolate shops like Romanicos.

Copyright 2013 Chef Allen Consulting

03/07/13 - 1:30pm- Syndicated food columnist Linda Gassenheimer, Special wine correspondent Fred Tasker and WLRN hosts Joseph Cooper and Bonnie Berman interview legendary Chef Allen Susser.  The Miami Fine Chocolate and Food Show is this weekend at Pinecrest Gardens.  It’s all about delectable chocolate: pair chocolate with spices, tasting chocolate tea - learn how to taste, buy and use chocolate.  

This week's Dinner in Minutes Recipe: 

Cumin-Chili Crusted Snapper with Tomato Rice (Arroz con Jitomate)