5427 College Avenue Oakland, CA 94618, 510-654-7159

Friday, January 22, 2010

Did you know?

  • The word "Chocolate" comes from the Aztec word "xocolatl", meaning "bitter water."
  • Some of the earliest European cocoa-makers were apothecaries seeking medicinal uses of the plant.
  • Each pod is about the size of a pineapple and holds thirty to fifty seeds - enough to make about seven milk chocolate or two dark chocolate bars.
  • The seeds of the cacao tree grow not on the end of its branches, but directly off the branches and the trunk.
3.5 - million pounds - the amount of whole milk used every day to make chocolate by U.S. chocolate manufacturers

3.3 - billion lbs. - The amount of chocolate eaten in the U.S. in the year 2000!

51% - the percentage of Americans who choose what chocolate they eat by the shape of the piece

40% - the percentage of women who regularly crave chocolate

15% - the percentage of men who regularly crave chocolate

5, 026 - pounds - the weight of the largest chocolate bar ever made, According to the Guiness World Book of Records. It was produced by Elah-Dufour United Food Companies at Turin, Italy, in March 2000.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Because Life is Bittersweet!

Thursday, January 21st marks our 5th Anniversary! Please come in and join us as we celebrate this wonderful occasion. We will be sampling all day as well as special events from 5-9.

We will be offering:
Chair massages
2 Classics for $5.55
And many other great surprises.

Can't wait to see you there!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Puerto Plata Bars for Haiti!

We here at Bittersweet want to do our part to help the people of Haiti. Our own Bittersweet Origins Puerto Plata Bar comes from the Dominican Republic and that is why, starting tomorrow and for the next week, we are donating all of the profits from the sales of that bar, both 65% & 75%, to the International Rescue Committee's Haiti Fund.

The International Rescue Committee has deployed its Emergency Response Team to Haiti to deliver help to the devastated city of Port-au-Prince. Their team includes experts in emergency health, shelter, and children’s welfare. They will be working with local aid groups to provide vital help to survivors of the massive earthquake that struck Haiti January 12. Meanwhile, the IRC has committed to raising $5 million for reconstruction work in Haiti over the next year.

Please help us help others in their greatest time of need.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Patric Chocolate Event at Fillmore Store!

Hello Chocolate Lovers!

We are excited to announce an upcoming event with Alan McClure, chocolate maker and owner of Patric Chocolate. Alan will be visiting with us at Bittersweet in San Francisco, and we'd like to invite you along to chat about his bars, unique sourcing, processes and the profusion of interest in fine chocolate!

Bittersweet San Francisco
2123 Fillmore Street
San Francisco, CA 94115
Monday, 1/18
7:30 pm

Space for this event will be quite limited, so if you'd like to attend, email us at info@bittersweetcafe.com as soon as you can. Hope to see you there!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Alter Eco and the El Ceibo Cooperative

We are carrying a delicious new deep milk chocolate that tastes good and is good for farmers in developing nations. The bar, called Dark Chocolate Velvet, is a 46% milk chocolate made from organic fair trade cane sugar from Paraguay and organic fair trade cocoa from Bolivia. It is the result of a collaboration of Alter Eco in France and the El Ceibo Cooperative in Bolivia. As one of my new favorite chocolate bars here at Bittersweet, I am glad to read about the sustainable practices that go into making this chocolate. That and the bar is our only one from Switzerland and its velvety texture is truly a testament to the centuries of chocolate craft tradition in the region.

Alter Eco is a fair trade organization based in France. It started in 1998 and quickly built up its name in the Fair Trade Movement thanks to its unique marketing and extensive product range. Considered to be one of the strongest Fair Trade brands on the market, Alter Eco offers over 100 products that are sourced from 42 cooperatives in 37 countries. The organization took the Fair Trade Movement forward in 2006 when it approached Brazilian retailers to sell Brazilian products under Fair Trade terms, hereby creating the first South-South Fair Trade arrangement. All Alter Eco products are Fair Trade Certified by TransFair USA.

The El Ceibo Cooperative formed out of the ashes of the Brazilian government's cocoa coop, which went bankrupt in the 60s. After its bankruptcy, farmers were forced to sell to local middlemen because of the difficulty of transportation to La Paz coupled with their lack of knowledge of market prices. In the early 70s, farmers in the Alto Beni region in northeast Bolivia formed small cocoa coops, and in 1977, 37 of these small coops united to form the stronger El Ceibo Cooperative. In 1988 El Ceibo became the first certified organic cocoa cooperative in the world. Since then, the coop has reinvested its profits into its community: they provide allowance for school fees to their members, give out yearly bonuses to members over 65, reinvest in trucks and improvements in their processing facilities, operate a technical assistance program in agroecology and forestry, research alternative cultivation methods, and provide all members with health and accident insurance. Today, El Ceibo is responsible for 70% of the organic cocoa production in Bolivia.

Staff pick of the week!

Jake, one of our wonderful baristas has chosen his favorite chocolate bar. He picked the 65% Puerto Plata of Bittersweet Origins. This bar is made by our very own Seneca Klassen. It is from the Dominican Republic but roasted and created all in-house. Earthy tones bring out the subtle flavors of dried berries, sour cherries, and wlanuts. Come on in and ask for a sample!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Time To Get Healthy In The New Year!

It's that time again. Time for resolutions and changes to keep healthy and stay on track. This recent article by RealAge.com spouts, yet again, the health benefits of chocolate and why we should be making it a part of our regular diets.

Apparently there are 3 new reasons to keep eating dark chocolate.

  • Chocolate makes you smarter. Ample research suggests that the flavonols in dark chocolate increase cerebral blood flow, which in turn may trigger the creation of new blood vessels and brain cells. And a new study showed that older adults performed better on cognitive tests after eating small portions of the sweet stuff. Talk about a nourished noggin! (Here's why opting for semisweet or unsweetened chocolate may be even better for your brain.)
  • Chocolate weakens heart attacks. Although more research is needed to confirm this one, a new study showed that regular chocolate eaters who had heart disease were less likely to die following a heart attack compared with the people who didn't treat themselves to the dark and dreamy stuff. (Here's more on chocolate's heart-smart qualities.)
  • Chocolate has a cavity-fighting compound. Okay, so you don't necessarily want to trade in your toothbrush for a chocolate bar. But some interesting new research shows a compound in chocolate -- theobromine -- may be just as good as fluoride at hardening tooth enamel. So the compound could find its way into toothpastes and mouthwashes one day. Until then, keep in mind that most commercially prepared chocolate has lots of sugar in it. Get healthier teeth and gums with these three easy dental tricks.
Most of us knew it was good for your heart, but fighting cavities and making us smarter? There is no reason not to eat dark chocolate, in moderation. That is the key. Anything you eat can be overdone and it is easy to do with the delectable taste of chocolate, but keeping it to a daily moderate level will still give you all the health benefits you need.

Happy and Healthy New Year!