Just Peachy!

Peach season has finally arrived! When you live in the Green Belt like we do, that’s a pretty big deal. Is there anything better than taking that first sweet and juicy bite out of a locally grown stone fruit? We think not!

Peach Recipes | Christy's Gourmet Gifts

But there is more than just one way to enjoy this fuzzy favourite; from festival ice cream parfaits, to party drinks, or sweet treats, peaches are a versatile ingredient that makes any event extra special.

One of our favourite ways to enjoy peaches is with a kicked-up Peach Sangria. Citrus, white wine, and the delicious peachy flavour with a touch of bubbly is sure to put a smile on any peach-lover’s face.

Peach Sangria Recipe | Christy's Gourmet Gifts Burlington Ontario

Here’s how to make it:

White Wine Peach Sangria Recipe
1 Bottle White Wine
1 cup Peach Nectar or Peach Juice
1 Liter Ginger Ale or 7UP
Local Peaches, Sliced
Ice

  1. Place sliced Peaches into the bottom of a serving jug.
  2. Add ice.
  3. Add White Wine.
  4. Top with Peach Nectar or Peach juice.
  5. Top with more ice and more peaches. Stir.
  6. In glasses, put Gingerale.
  7. Pour the sangria mix over the gingerale and stir with a spoon.
  8. Garnish with extra peaches and enjoy!

Peach Sangria Recipe | Christy's Gourmet Gifts Burlington Ontario photo 2

We love the peach craze so much, we had to create our own homage to the tree-fruit, with peach-shaped cookies! A soft sugar cookie, decorated with sweet royal icing is sure to bring your party, event, or even just your Instagram account, to the next level.

Peach Cookies, Burlington Ontario | Christy's Gourmet Gifts Decorated Cookies

And we aren’t the only ones that love peaches! In nearby Winona, Ontario, they host the annual Winona Peach Festival – celebrating the fruit that they grow right in the region. Highlights of the festival include the famous Peach Parfaits topped with Ice Cream, the “Peach of a Car” show, and the amazing local retail vendors.

Find the festival in Winona this Friday August 24th, Saturday August 25thand Sunday August 26th. The details about the festival can be found at THIS LINK.

Do you have a favourite way to enjoy peaches? Share the details with us in the comment below!

For more from us, follow @christysgourmet on instagram

Bean to Bar Chocolate

Chocolate making is an art form. Tougher still, is the bean-to-bar process, which requires many different steps and precision…but results in some of the most amazing sweets you’ll ever taste! We are pleased to say that we now offer both options at Christy’s Gourmet Gifts – creating chocolate in-house with products like our Christy’s Crunch, and creating handmade bean-to-bar chocolates, some of them vegan!

Chocotalk | Christy's Gourmet Gifts Bean to Bar | Burlington, Ontario Chocolate

With Bernhard’s expanding passion for high-quality chocolates, and the knowledge he has gained along the way, we are able to create innovative products that aren’t readily available at local chocolate shops, one of our favourites being our Coconut Milk Chocolate Bean-to-Bar. Bernhard was first inspired to create bean-to-bar from his trip to Costa Rica – he explored the chocolate industry from the grower and agricultural end, and was inspired  by the farm-to-table movement that’s currently flourishing in the culinary industry.

Chocotalk | Christy's Gourmet Gifts Bean to Bar | Burlington, Ontario Chocolate Photo 2

To give you a behind the scenes look at the detailed process, Bernhard shares a bit more about our creation process for bean-to-bar chocolate below:

Chocotalk | Christy's Gourmet Gifts Bean to Bar | Burlington, Ontario Chocolate Photo 11 Source high-quality processed beans from the farmers. Bernhard uses a variety of high quality beans, choosing to source them from different farms and locations like Honduras or Mexico, to sample the different flavours that are available to us. Currently, he is sourcing his beans from Peru, but each shipment of beans he receives is a different variety.

Chocotalk | Christy's Gourmet Gifts Bean to Bar | Burlington, Ontario Chocolate Photo 32 Processed beans then go into the crushing machine to bring the beans down to smaller, workable pieces and separate the husks.

Chocotalk | Christy's Gourmet Gifts Bean to Bar | Burlington, Ontario Chocolate Photo 43 A winnowing machine is then used to separate the smaller cacao nibs from the husks. The husks are set aside to make anything from tea to garden filler.

Chocotalk | Christy's Gourmet Gifts Bean to Bar | Burlington, Ontario Chocolate Photo 54 Then, the chocolate liqueur is created by placing the nibs into the refiner. Once the chocolate has heated, sugars, any extra cocoa butter (which adds a smooth mouth-feel), and spices or flavourings can be added, and then we continue to process in the refiner for around 48 hours.

5 From there, we complete the tempering process and place into chocolate moulds for cooling.

Chocotalk | Christy's Gourmet Gifts Bean to Bar | Burlington, Ontario Chocolate Photo 2

The bean-to-bar process may be a long one, but the products that come of it are even more customizable flavour-wise, and more raw. Some of our favourite bean-to-bar creations in the shop have been our antioxidant bar with cacao, goji berries and blueberries, our gianduja bar, and more!

Interested in making your own chocolate at home? To temper your own chocolate, follow the instructions below or read our detailed blog post here.

Temper Chocolate - Tabling Technique
The tabling technique is best done on granite or a stone counter top. (Use parchment paper to cut down on the mess). I like doing this method because it gives me a real feel for the chocolate and let's me see it start to crystallize.
Ingredients
  • Chocolat callets
Instructions
  1. Measure out the amount of chocolate you need. Melt the chocolate in a clean dry bowl in a microwave. Do short bursts of 30-45 seconds, stirring in between until chocolate is totally melted and you reach 45 degrees Celsius.
  2. Cover a countertop with a piece of parchment paper. Pour roughly ⅔ of the melted chocolate onto the parchment.
  3. With a pallet knife or spatula, work the chocolate until it starts to crystallize (the step right before it starts to harden), if it goes too far and begins to get clumpy, you will have to start again from Step 1.
  4. Once it starts to crystallize, put the chocolate from the parchment paper back into the melted chocolate in the bowl. Mix it together and make sure it all blends in.
  5. To ensure readiness: Milk and White Chocolate should be brought to 28-30 degrees Celsius. Dark Chocolate should be brought to 31-32 degrees Celsius.

 

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A Lesson in Chocolate Tempering: ChocoTalk

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A Lesson in Chocolate Tempering

Ask any chocolatier in the industry what one of the most important skills is to learn and they will likely tell you the art of tempering.

ChocoTalk with Christy's Gourmet Gifts Master Chocolatier | Burlington, Ontario Chocolate and Gift Shop

Tempering chocolate is the art of bringing the chocolate to a certain temperature and viscosity, so that you don’t get ‘bloomed’ chocolate.  Think of cocoa butter and chocolate like oil and vinegar, they desperately want to separate – this creates bloomed chocolate. Tempering chocolate creates a chocolate/cocoa butter utopia, where the chocolate is not able to separate within itself

There are two types of bloom:

Moisture Bloom – Sugar crystals pull in moisture and expand. With the moisture bloom you will see spots throughout the chocolate.

Fat Bloom – Cocoa butter separates from the rest of the ingredients. With the fat bloom you will see a hazy look throughout the chocolate.

Below you will see a photo of chocolate with a fat and moisture bloom, compared to a properly tempered chocolate bar. Which would you rather eat?! 😉

ChocoTalk with the Master Chocolater | How to Temper Chocolate | Burlington, Ontario

How can you tell if you have a properly tempered bar? Even if there are no signs of a moisture bloom (spots) or a fat bloom (hazy), a tempered chocolate will have a tell-tale ‘snap’ sound when you break it.  An un-tempered bar will bend slightly when you try to break it. In addition, tempered chocolate ‘sets’ quickly with a glossy finish, where un-tempered chocolate will ‘set’ slowly and you’ll end up with a dull finish.

Are you interested in learning more about how to temper chocolate? Take a look at the how-to below OR join me at one of our Chocolate Making Workshops!

-Bernhard, The Master Chocolatier

Temper Chocolate - Tabling Technique
The tabling technique is best done on granite or a stone counter top. (Use parchment paper to cut down on the mess). I like doing this method because it gives me a real feel for the chocolate and let's me see it start to crystallize.
Ingredients
  • Chocolate callets
Instructions
  1. Measure out the amount of chocolate you need. Melt the chocolate in a clean dry bowl in a microwave. Do short bursts of 30-45 seconds, stirring in between until chocolate is totally melted and you reach 45 degrees Celsius.
  2. Cover a countertop with a piece of parchment paper. Pour roughly ⅔ of the melted chocolate onto the parchment.
  3. With a pallet knife or spatula, work the chocolate until it starts to crystallize (the step right before it starts to harden), if it goes too far and begins to get clumpy, you will have to start again from Step 1.
  4. Once it starts to crystallize, put the chocolate from the parchment paper back into the melted chocolate in the bowl. Mix it together and make sure it all blends in.
  5. To ensure readiness: Milk and White Chocolate should be brought to 28-30 degrees Celsius. Dark Chocolate should be brought to 31-32 degrees Celsius.
Notes
*Tip from the Master Chocolatier, Bernhard*
Drizzle some of the chocolate on your finger once you think you have brought it to correct working temperature. Touch your lip with the chocolate. If the chocolate reads cold, it is good to go.

 

You can meet the Chocolatier face-to-face at our Tasting Day on Saturday February 6th from 2pm to 4pm. Bernhard will be offering free samples of a new favourite single origin chocolate. Come by 3530 Mainway in Burlington to try it! Taste the difference quality makes!

If you’d like a more in-depth introduction to chocolate, join Bernhard at one of our Chocolate Making Workshops on Thursday, February 11th, Friday February 12th or Saturday February 13th. More information can be found at our website: http://www.christysgourmetgifts.com/store/item/?id=162

Stay tuned for a video where we discuss different chocolate tempering techniques.