Friday, November 30, 2007

Choccie Texture

Hi guys!
I saw this today and thought of you! (are the rest of you as flummoxed as I am??)
As well as looking completely delicious, these are just SO pretty!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

German Chocolate

Only three days left until Erste Advent, which in Germany means that all Christmas preparations are in full swing. Depending on your family, you have either already baked a million cookies to be eaten starting the first weekend of Advent, or you will start a month long baking marathon beginning on the first Advent. The Christmas Markets are set up and almost ready to open, and the stores are fully stocked with the requisite decor, candles, Glühwein, cookies, and CHOCOLATE!

I kicked myself tonight because, as I walked out the door, I opted not to bring my camera. Who needs their camera to go grocery shopping? I went to the big grocery/everything store for the first time in months and as I stood looking at their entire aisle devoted to chocolate (candies and cookies are in another aisle) I soooooo wished I had my camera. THEN I turned the corner and found the giant display devoted to the specifically Christmas chocolates. There were Russian Mastroishka shaped chocolates, chocolates with gold strings to hang on your tree, cinnamon and apple chocolates, cardamon and almond chocolates, liquor-filled chocolates of many varieties, all sizes of chocolate Santas, chocolates specifically for kids, chocolates with toys inside, big bars, little truffles, nougat, white, dark, milk, and on and on. I may have to go back just to take a picture. Here's a bit of what I brought home. I still need to go to the little neighborhood store for my favorite chocolate covered cardamon and cinnamon almonds.

Clockwise from the left: Ritter Sport: delicious little squares packed with rich chocolate and a wonderful variety of not-too-exotic flavors; Lindt Nougat: this one's ready to hang on the tree (they also come shaped as moons, bells and pinecones); Sarotti "Schwartze Herren (black men):" you probably can't read the text at the bottom, but it says "pour Messieurs." I couldn't pass that up for the men on my Xmas list; and last, but not least, two varieties of chocolates filled with Asbach Uralt brandy -- do your Santas carry bottles?

The chocolate museum in Köln features a lot of Sarotti chocolate and I'm trying to figure out a day to get up there before our challenge is over. Sarotti's logo is two Moors, so I'm pretty sure the Schwartze Herren is a play on words refering to them.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Cocoa Couture

I am indebted to one of my loyal blog readers for drawing my attention to the Chocolate Couture Collection in Canada. I then came across this (much faster loading) video of the 2007 Haute Chocolate Couture Collection in New York. Do you think we can have our quilts and eat them too?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Deborah & Terri in Houston

It was such a delight to meet Terri in Houston! Terri Stegmiller and Deborah Boschert in the Misty Fuse booth at the International Quilt Festival in Houston.

I'm looking forward to meeting more of you in "real life." I'm also wondering how many of you have met each other in person. I know Diane and Terry and Gerrie know each other. And I know Kristin met Gerrie when she went to Art Quilt Tahoe. Anyone else?

Monday, November 12, 2007

Wrapped up in art quilting

I have discovered tonight that it is perfectly possible to quilt using Lindor Irresistibly Smooth Milk Chocolate truffle wrappers as fabric. I am considering extending this theme to a king size bed quilt accordingly! However, I have also discovered that photographing the shiny wrapper was a royal pain in the butt because of course it reflects the light. A problem as I am now inspired to so something 'multi-media' with the wrappers but would hate the work not to show up in a photo. This is my best attempt. (Taken without flash obviously). Any tips anyone?

I am prepared to undertake additional research to see if other wrappers have a more matt effect if that is what it takes.

Sunday, November 11, 2007


Do you know about Mole sauce? It is a famous sauce used in Mexican cooking that contains chilis and chocolate. It is something you must eat if you visit Oaxaca and it is divine! I searched my pictures of Oaxaca and couldn't find any specifically of mole, though they sell it in the markets. It looks like a huge pile of black mud and they will scoop you out a big plastic bag full to take home and cook up to serve over enchiladas or chicken. I did find this photo of a chocolate shop in Oaxaca that advertises "mole negro" (black mole).

Those are roasted cacao beans in the tubs and everything on the shelves is something made from chocolate.

As I am thinking about this challenge I keep going back to Mexican chocolate and the Aztecs and Toltecs and chocolate with chilis or chocolate with cinnamon. Gotta get a little color into that brown scheme!

Milk or Dark?

Which one are you? Me, I'm a dark fan. But will on occasion eat some milk chocolate. It actually works out well in our house as my hubby likes milk and I like dark, so if we have an assorted bag of chocolates, we each get some.

Oh, and guess what, I'm in luck! On this site: they say that dark chocolate is the better choice for your health.

Saturday, November 10, 2007


Well, Francoise, if you wanted to create a CHALLENGE you certainly have succeeded! I have been thinking and thinking and thinking, (oh and eating and eating and eating!) and I haven't conjured up a single image that is anything more than a tragic cliche!
This is going to be a very interesting project.

It's been fascinating to see the amazing flavours that you have all found. The only one that I have already tried is the chili chocolate but, given my dislike of chili, I won't be trying it again.

We are BIG chocolate fans in this house (yes, pun intended) and we are also chocolate snobs. Our newest finds are chocolates by Brisbane chocolatier Peter Mayfield in Australian "bush" flavours - kakadu plum, wattle, lemon myrtle, eucalyptus. Delicious and unique - I can't even describe some of them, there is nothing to compare them to. We gave out boxes of them at our company launch a few months ago and they were a big hit.

But none of this Chocolate Passion is getting me any closer to a quilt...

Ooh, writing the word "passion" does remind of something else. Do you non-Australians know Tim Tams? They are an Australian chocolate biscuit that have the honour of being considered a National Treasure. Two layers of rectangular biscuit with a creme filling, then all is coated in chocolate. The favoured way to eat them is with coffee as follows :
Nibble the chocolate away from two opposing corners of a Tim Tam, exposing the biscuit.
Dip one of the open corners in hot coffee and simultaneously suck hard on the other open corner.
Within about five seconds, the whole of the creme layer will explode into your mouth as a molten chocolate/coffee mix.

Poetically known as The Chocolate Orgasm.

(I just found a wikipedia entry for Tim Tams and they called it a Tim Tam Slam. NEVER heard that EVER. Only Chocolate Orgasms.)

They're messin' with the good stuff

Bacon and chocolate? Oh my. And did you know there is lavender flavored chocolate?

Chocolate with pumpkin and sunflower seeds?

With rosemary? I love that herb, but I sure don't want it in my chocolate...

And then there are rosehips ... Wait, aren't those what you get after you eat too much chocolate?

I even found this -- curry flavored chocolate.

And chocolate that looks like sush!

Me, I'm a purist. Give me good, creamy milk chocolate and I'm happy.

Chocolate thoughts

You all seem to be going top end with your chocolate. Meanwhile I have been playing word association with chocolate in the hopes of getting inspired. It has backfied becuase all I have in my mind now is the annoying little ditty from the advert for Cadbury's Roses chocolates. I don't know if the the advert has travelled to all your countries but the idea is the you would give a box of Roses as a thank you gift so the TV adverts had a song with changeable lyrics, the essence of which is

"Thank you very much for{da da da da} thank you very much, thank you very, very much..."

For the tune you can go to here and press 'Play the advert'. Or for an Australian version try here

As you will find out, this is not a good thing to have in you head. Although it has led to two thoughts:

(a) Given that this an international group is it better that the inspriation behind a quilt 'travels' i.e is universally understood. Or, it is a good thing that the viewer will learn about UK only sources of inspiration. Or, in the alternative do you even care?

(b) My favourite quilt title so far is 'Feeding William' ( the freckled child actors's goldfish) (Insert in song above!) second choice 'Being grandma.'

(c) I need to (1) keep thinking and (2) get out more. Like to a chocolate shop

By the way, if you go to Green and Blacks you can fill in a questionnaire with a chance to win a chocolate hamper.

More research

My sister is a big fan of the super fancy chocolate brand called Vosges. (I'm so pedestrian that I don't even know how to pronouce it.) They have a new chocolate bar called "Mo's Bacon Bar." As you can see here, it includes deep milk chocolate, bits and pieces of applewood smoked bacon and a sprinkling of Alder salt.
Ummm. Yuck.

Friday, November 9, 2007

In the name of research

If I still lived in Balmain, I could pop into my local chocolatier Belle Fleur that produces chocolates every bit as fine as those I tasted in Bruges. Instead I can only indulge in low-calorie, online research:A perusal of the slide show on their gallery page shows that chocolate comes in all shapes and colours. We have lots of scope! And, for a touch of fire, why not try some of Lindt's Excellence Chilli Chocolate:

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Dandelion Quilt Gallery

Our collection of dandelion-inspired art quilts can now be viewed on the gallery pages of the Twelve by Twelve website:

If you would like to add the website button to your sidebar, here is the code that you can cut and paste:

<a href=""><img src="" title="Twelve by Twelve:The Website" /></a>

The button looks like this:

As always, please do not hesitate to e-mail me if you require assistance with the button code or if you notice something is not working on the website.

24 November Update: The image url for the website button was updated today and you may need to update your code accordingly so that the button shows up properly in Firefox.

Saturday, November 3, 2007


Thinking about chocolate.
Christmas before last we spent the holidays in Ecuador where our daughter was living at the time. We spent several days at a resort in the rain forest called Arasha. One of the activities that was offered there was a workshop on making chocolate, starting from scratch with raw cacao beans. It was very interesting and a fun way to spend an afternoon, plus we got to eat the finished product, which was warm chocolate poured over fresh bananas. Really good! Here is my husband with his chocolate treat.

You can see more pictures and read about the process on our Ecuador blog here: