What’s one word that’s sure to grab people’s attention, make them perk up, and put a smile on their faces?
No, I don’t mean sex. Chocolate! Who doesn’t like… no, I mean LOVE chocolate? I can count on the fingers of one hand the people I know that don’t like this delicious treat, and have fingers left over! So, it’s pretty universal, this love of chocolate. And it isn’t a recent phenomenon. No indeed, it’s been around for a long long time!
Chocolate has been around the Americas for a good three thousand years. It was fermented and used in beverages to take away the bitterness of the cocoa bean. The Aztecs called it xocolātl , from a Nahuatl word that meant ‘bitter water’.
They also ate chocolate, and used it in religious ceremonies. Wow, what a great incentive to go to those, right?
It’s only appropriate to discuss chocolate during the holiday season because it makes such a great gift—not just for the people on your gift lists, but for yourself as a treat for running yourself ragged with holiday rituals—cleaning and cooking and shopping and wrapping and decorating, the whole nine yards!
There are different types of chocolate, and each is determined by the amounts of cocoa powder, chocolate liquor and sugar involved.
· Cocoa powder is for baking, and doesn’t taste good on its own. Unsweetened chocolate is also called baking chocolate or bitter chocolate. It is pure chocolate liquor, made up solely of ground cocoa beans. It’s not meant to be eaten solo, but forms the base of the other chocolates, except for white chocolate.
· Dark chocolate has chocolate liquor, sugar, cocoa butter, vanilla and leicithin, with a cocoa content ranging from 30% to 70-80%. This category also includes bittersweet chocolate and semi-sweet chocolate.
· Bittersweet chocolate has at least 35% cocoa solids; most contain at least 50% chocolate liquors, some as high as 70-80%. Since there is no regulation on the amount of sugar, the taste can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer.
· Semi-sweet chocolate contains at least 35% cocoa solids and is primarily an American term, popularized by Nestle and their Toll House morsels. Usually, it’s darker than sweet dark chocolate, but sweeter than bittersweet.
· Sweet dark chocolate has a high percentage of sugar and is sweeter than other dark chocolates, and might have only 20-40% cocoa solids.
· Milk chocolate, besides containing cocoa butter and chocolate liquor, must contain condensed milk or dry milk solids. While it’s easier to overheat, it’s a very popular type of chocolate and has a rich creamy taste and texture.
· White chocolate has cocoa butter but no chocolate liquor or other cocoa products. Not surprisingly, it has no actual chocolate taste, and may taste like vanilla. It must contain at least 20% cocoa butter, 14% milk solids, and no more than 55% sugar. If you see white chocolate that contains vegetable fats instead of cocoa butter, this isn’t really white chocolate, and won’t taste the same.
I have a new release with Museit Up Publishing, my first with them. It’s just out today, actually and I’m excited to tell you about it. It’s called The Belgian Chocolate Remedy. There’s that chocolate theme again! Milan is my Belgian chocolatier. He and his brother Ludolf came to America, after Milan had studied hard in Europe to become a chocolatier, and they ended up settling in the Midwest, in a small town in Indiana. The plan was that Ludolf would help fix up the shop where Milan would make the chocolates, and they would make a good life for themselves. But life doesn’t always work out the way you want it to. On the other hand, there’s Jesse, who has no interest in his life since his boyfriend dumped him. He lives in St. Louis, but comes to Lafayette, Indiana, at his best friend Reggie’s request (read demand!). They’re going to help her friend Milan get his booth ready for Outfest. Has Reggie got something else in mind?
I hope you like the story, and it wouldn’t hurt to eat some chocolate while you read it, maybe drink some too!
Thanks for having me, Dawn! I’d like to give back to your readers, so let’s have a giveaway! If I get 25 comments or less, I’ll pick a winner to receive anything I’ve written. 25 to 50 comments, there’ll be two winners. Over 50, I’ll give away to 4 readers, and one person will get a $10 Amazon gc! Don’t forget to leave your email addy. No addy – no win!
Here’s the link for The Belgian Chocolate Remedy – enjoy!
The Belgian Chocolate Remedy by Julie Lynn Hayes
m/m romance, sweet, lifeline, Belgian chocolate, chocolatier, dessert, Outfest, m/m sexuality
MuseIt Up Publishing
Milan, a Belgian chocolatier, lost his beloved brother. Yet life goes on, and he must ready his booth for Outfest—Ludolf would have wanted him to carry on. Jesse is a rudderless soul, unable to cope with the rejection of his lover. He comes to Lafayette, Indiana at the request of his best friend, Reggie. She inveigles him into helping her friend Milan…A way to pass the time, or something more?
The two brothers had come a long way together. Orphaned at an early age, they’d been raised by their aunt and uncle. They’d worked hard for years in order to make the move to the United States, and it seemed as if all their dreams were coming true. Life was very good indeed for these two Belgian brothers.
Six months later, everything changed—every dream they’d shared—shattered by a cruel Fate, a moment of carelessness upon the road, with Ludolf paying the price. Milan watched helplessly as the casket slowly lowered into the ground. He didn’t have to stay for that part of the service, in fact, Reggie and Grant had tried to dissuade him. But Milan had insisted. He would not leave Ludolf any sooner than he had to. Tears stained his pale cheeks as he bid his brother a last good-bye. The house was his alone now, and how very much he hated that.
About the Author:
Julie Lynn Hayes was reading at the age of two and writing by the age of nine and always wanted to be a writer when she grew up. Two marriages, five children, and more than forty years later, that is still her dream. She blames her younger daughters for introducing her to yaoi and the world of M/M love, a world which has captured her imagination and her heart and fueled her writing in ways she'd never dreamed of before. She especially loves stories of two men finding true love and happiness in one another's arms and is a great believer in the happily ever after. She lives in St. Louis with her daughter Sarah and two cats, loves books and movies, and hopes to be a world traveler some day. While working a temporary day job, she continues to write her books and stories and reviews, which she posts in various places on the internet. Her family thinks she is a bit off, but she doesn't mind. Marching to the beat of one's own drummer is a good thing, after all. Her published works can be found at Dreamspinner Press, and MuseitUp Publishing, and she has also begun to self-publish at various places on the Internet.
My blog: http://julielynnhayes.blogspot.com
My facebook: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=527332074
Museit Up Publishing: http://museituppublishing.com/
Dreamspinner Press: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/index.php?cPath=55_222