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As any loyal reader knows, I have a thing for chocolate so when Savory Spice Shop approached the Virtual Potluck (VP) gang and we were all charged with choosing a section — I chose the baking section because Savory Spice Online has six different kinds of cocoa/cacao powder residing there.  Ah! The rich splendor of cocoa!

For the rest of this month, The Groovy Foody will be exploring the world of cocoa with a total of six recipes (one for each type) including a bevy of savory entries, because  if you haven’t experienced cocoa or chocolate in it’s non-dessert form, you’re only getting half the picture.

Here’s the best part of this promo for readers —  since each member of VP is covering a different section that means there is not only a huge variety of recipes (using all different spices) for you to enjoy BUT there’s a different spice prize package up for grabs on each site. If you want a chance at winning all 12 — visit the host page at Cookistry to see what everybody’s cooking up! Scroll down for your chance to win the Loco Coco prize package right here on The GrooVy Foody.

The World of Cocoa

Since I have six cocoas to play with, I decided to create a six course meal, hoping to sort of let you experience the world of cocoa and what you can do with it by having each course feature a different cocoa or cacao powder. This course is the appetizer and features a deep dark, Dutch cocoa, bleu cheese (Gorgonzola to be exact) and 72% dark chocolate.

Dutch Cocoa

Dutch cocoa for the uninitiated, is processed with alkali which reduces some of its bitterness and acidity. If you’re someone who experiences occasional heartburn with chocolate or cocoa, you will find that using Dutch cocoa may reduce this effect.

The Dutching process overall creates a smoother, deeper colored cocoa that has a neutral pH. Because it is not acidic like regular cocoa, it should only be used in recipes with baking powder as its leavening agent, NOT baking soda, as many of these baking soda recipes rely upon natural cocoa’s acidity to activate the leavening.

There is some dispute about whether or not cocoa still retains its full antioxidant properties once it has been dutched. If you want to dig into the science of Cocoa and Health please be my guest and read the British Journal of Nutrition’s scientific piece on it and the decade of studies that have been done. (There are some interesting tidbits in there with regards to cocoa’s impact on things like heart disease but I warn you it is science-y so get your cup of coffee first!)

Rolling truffles in rich dark Dutch cocoa

Truffles!

These simple to make, cocoa-dusted bleu cheese truffles are more savory than sweet and work well as an appetizer or as a more European end to a meal, working their magic on any cheese plate. Pair these with a juicy red wine like a well-aged Cabernet Sauvignon or Barbara D’ Alba.

Cocoa-Dusted Gorgonzola Truffles

 Filling:

  • 4 oz of Gorgonzola cheese (I like Oregonzola!) – no rind, at room temp
  • 2 Tbsp sifted powdered sugar (stirred in 1 Tbsp at a time)
  • 2.5 oz 70-72% dark chocolate,  chopped

Coating:

  • 1- 2oz Dutch cocoa

Directions

In a mixing bowl, combine rindless, room temperature softened cheese and powdered sugar. Mixing until well incorporated. Melt the dark chocolate in a double boiler, over simmering water.

Combine the melted chocolate and cheese mixture by hand, until well-mixed and smooth. If mix is too dry add a few drops of water to smooth it out. If your chocolate was too hot when mixed, the mixture may become too gooey to roll. If this happens, just refrigerate it for 10 to 15 minutes to make truffle workable.

Roll the filling mixture into small 1/4 to 1/2-inch balls and refrigerate for 10 to 15 minutes. Once the filling has set, roll the truffles in the dutch cocoa powder and plate. Store in the fridge in an airtight container, as room temperature cheese will continue to ferment.

Congrats to Deb Frutiger ~ Our Savory Spice Shop Loco Cocoa Winner!


Savory Spice Loco Cocoa Giveaway

The Loco Cocoa spice gift set, available exclusively at Savory Spice Shop, will let one lucky winner do what I just did — explore the world of cocoa in your own kitchen. With five types of cocoa (four bottles and one small sampler) including the Mayan and Mexican blends and three other pure cocoas including Natural, Dutch and Black Onyx, you’ll have more than enough cocoa to explore your wildest cocoa-filled fantasies.

 

How to Enter:

 

    • Visit Savory Spice Shop’s  Facebook page and click the Virtual Potluck link.
    • Choose a product from the baking section and come back here to The GrooVy Foody and comment on what dish you’d make with that spice or product.
    • Visit Savory Spice Shop on Twitter: @SavorySpiceShop 

Disclaimer: Savory Spice Shop cocoas and other spices were  provided free of charge in order to facilitate these recipes. No monetary compensation was received. US mailing addresses only. One (1) winner will be chosen randomly. Contest ends April 21st, 2012 at 11:59 Pacific time and prize will be shipped by Savory Spice Shop. The winner will be announced on Sunday, April 22nd via email and will have 48 hours to respond with shipping information before a new winner will be chosen