August 31, 2007

Tara and the Chocolate Factory

(Warning: you might want to grab a nice cold glass of milk because I'm going to get descriptive about the chocolates)

The other night I went to a chocolate Tasting at Edelweiss Chocolates, a landmark in Beverly Hills since 1942. Edelweiss actually makes all their chocolates on-site. This shop also served as the inspiration for a famous I Love Lucy episode and the iconic photo of the pair stuffing their faces with chocolates hangs in the back by the chocolate conveyor machine.

From the small store-front you'd have no idea that they have over 85 kinds of chocolates inside or that they have a factory in the back where they hand-dip their chocolate items, including a variety of flavored marshmallows and fresh fruit, all dipped in either dark or milk chocolate.

The store also has a celebrity following, which enter through the back entrance right into the factory portion of the shop. Customers include Stephen Spielberg, Kirk Douglas, Lauren Bacall, Madonna and Leonardo DiCaprio. Nancy Sinatra says she likes to come here on Saturdays for the toffee. Her father, Frank Sinatra, favored the maple creams, which we got to sample. We tasted 7 other pieces of chocolate in the fragrant shop, met the owners (Steve & Madlen Zahir) who described the process and showed us the different machines, one dating back to 1914 that they still use.
The machine in the back of the second photo is the conveyor, but the slab of white in front isn't a table surface but marshmallow set out for cutting, I couldn't believe it, it was so flat and smooth it looked like a cutting board.

I was super excited to try my idol, Katharine Hepburn's favorite Edelweiss candy, their chocolate turtles, which were super soft and creamy. Another favorite was the Geraldine (my grandmother's name) which is chocolate covered apricot grinds an caramel, it was definitely unique. Their most popular selling item is their chocolate coated marshmallows, one in a toffee flavor with toffee bits. The original owner, used to make them at 3 a.m. so no one would steal her recipe. There's one called the caramallow that are made separately in two layers, caramel and marshmallow and then put together and covered by an outer layer of chocolate. It was so soft and heavenly and their coconut chocolate was super moist.

Fact time. Did you know that white chocolate isn't chocolate? It's actually the fat of the chocolate that's why it tastes so sweet. The owner made the comment that usually people start out liking white chocolate when they are young and then milk and then dark chocolate the wiser they get. That made me feel smug since I love dark chocolate ;) Their dark cocoa is only 50% dark, which isn't strong enough for me but still good. Also, did you know that they use copper pots to melt their chocolate because it heats evenly? Chocolate can also last for 3 months to a year when stored in room temperature. Sometimes when you see white on chocolate it's just the milk showing through or wax used in other chocolate. Edelweiss, however, doesn't use any preservatives. Hmm what else did I learn? It takes them three days to make a batch of their chocolate brandy cordials since one day the cherries need to soak in the brandy.


  1. Yum. Chocolate. (How much am I loving that I can now actually post comments on your blog?)


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