Chocolate & Quinoa

Chocolate & Quinoa

You know how sometimes, you introduce two of your friends, and later find out they’ve clicked so well that they call and see each other without you? Now, as I understand (and this I gather from reading women’s magazines, so take it with a grain of Maldon salt), some people hate that: it makes them feel left out, or perhaps sligthly cheated. But I’ve never been of a jealous nature, and on the contrary such situations make me glow visibly (a bit freaky when you turn off the lights), thinking that I can take a little credit for the spark that ignited a new friendship.

And this is exactly how I felt last week at the Lafayette Gourmet store: I was browsing the organic aisle (right after bumping into Louisa, Paris is such a small village), when my attention was caught by not one, but two products that featured both chocolate and quinoa, two of my very favorite ingredient-friends.

“Chocolate! Quinoa!”, I exclaimed, “Fancy seeing you here! So, sharing the same package, now, aren’t we?” And indeed, they were, in the form of slim sticks of dark chocolate (by Kaoka), and a quinoa cocoa muesli (by Jardin Bio), both of which I promptly purchased to show how happy I was for them.

Upon dutiful taste test, I have to report that the muesli could let the chocolate and quinoa speak up a little more: since it also includes oat, wheat and barley, the quinoa is a little muffled, and the cocoa powder comes tenth in the ingredients’ list, right after grated coconut. It is a very flavorful mix nonetheless, crispy and not too sweet. I just think it a little deceiving to call it “quinoa and cocoa” when it could just as rightly be described as “oats and coconut”. But I don’t make the rules here, I just eat by them.

The chocolate quinoa sticks, however, really delivered on their promise: the chocolate is dark (61%) and remarkably tasty, its base studded with puffed quinoa that pops between your teeth, so that every bite is a pleasant mix of smooth and crunchy. And of course, their size and shape makes them ideal coffee stirrers — we call those touillettes in unofficial French. I do have to object to the wasteful individual wrapper around each of the 10-gram sticks: it may be convenient for packing in your (or your lucky kid’s) lunch box, but to me, it clashes with the ethical and environmental claims made on the package. Will email the company and tell them that.

And thus ends this little food-trend-awareness post. Both of these products are French, and I’m curious to know if anyone has spotted this Chocolate & Quinoa affair in other parts of the world?

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  • http://willows95988.typepad.com/ Corey Amaro

    That is what I like about your blog, you show taste…
    You introduce as to two of your friends, Mademoiselle Chocolate and Monsieur Quinoa, (did I get that right?) and just when we are feeling familiar with them you take us for a dip at Madame Coffee!
    Utterly Delicious! Word for word and taste by taste!

  • Always Ace

    I like that being in Paris allows me to be an early commenter on your post! Although I have to admit that this is the first time I’ve commented after reading your site for a couple months now… And I’m totally addicted! I have to admit that I’m a recent convert to cooking and all things related to cooking — I never really got into it before, and just recently I’ve become obsessed with trying new things and looking for fun recipes, which at the same time are not too hard to do… (I really am a novice, trust me!) For quick meals after work, I’m totally addicted to your coquilettes au comté et jeunes pousses d’épinards…!

    I love how you find such interesting taste combinations, and this post is just one example… And you always have such great, original ideas! You are an inspiration to me…

    And I’m so looking forward to your book! I really like a lot of the recipes you put on your site, and I look forward to discovering them every time. I actually now live outside of Paris (suburbs, had to bite the bullet) — had to sacrifice the proximity for more space, a bigger apartment and more sanity with my boyfriend! — but I work in the city and I love discovering new restaurants too! This Friday I’m taking him out to dinner for his birthday, to Les Papilles, per one of your suggestions.

    Clotilde, the one thing I was wondering is, do you think it’s too late to get a copy of Olive magazine at W.H. Smith’s at this point? I was in Germany on vacation and didn’t get to look for it sooner… I hope I can still get my hands on it! It sounds like such fun, and your article on Paris restaurants seems great!

    Anyway, I’m another fan, and I wanted to congratulate you on all of your talents — creatively in cooking and with writing, designing, photography — so much! I really admire you…

  • http://kitchenette.blogspirit.com kitchenette

    Ou comment manger du chocolat en toute bonne conscience!

  • http://www.carolgillot.com carolg

    Another funny story Clotilde :) Thank you. And thanks for the wonderful link to http://www.kaoka.fr You feel you’re right there in the jungle picking those pods…

  • http://wandernut-eats.blogspot.com wandernut

    First time visitor from Malaysia (somewhere between Thailand and Singapore). I only discovered your blog recently. Where have I been all these years!! Your blog is amazing and I’m now even more a foodie blog junkie than ever before. All the best with the book! :)

  • http://www.mary-michele.com Michele

    I did a Google search and found a link for a quinoa and chocolate cake, which sounded yummy. Other than that, I haven’t seen or heard of the combo before but will keep an eye out for it.

  • http://www.midnightbunny.com/ Michelle

    I really adore your analogy … and it’s one of the best things about your blog … aside from the wonderful food, food and more food. :) Kudos and continued great posting. :)

  • http://lindystoast.com lindy

    Sounds a bit like a much classier version of a Nestle’s Crunch- the chocolate bar with puffed rice.

  • Jerry

    Great little post/story!

    I have had the Kakao sticks here (Canada). Although, I enjoyed them, they were too expensive!!

    I have started mixing my own chocolate. I will try adding some grains in the future.

  • http://barbie2be.blogspot.com barbie2be

    i’m not much a fan of muesli but the chocolate quinoa sticks sound heavenly. :) thanks for sharing your find with us!

  • http://tascadaelvira.blogspot.com/ Elvira

    Je ne connaissais pas. Mais ça doit être délicieux!

  • Charm School

    Your blog combines my two favorite things Food and Paris! Tell me, have you been to the Cafe Rhubarbe? On Montparnasse (Metro: Vavin)? The “Dessert de Mon Enfance” is to. die. for.
    Please do try it. Grosses Bises! Ciao!

  • Jacquie

    wow. I have not yet heard of quinoa but I am willing to do some research to find another “goes well with chocolate” find.

  • http://www.dinnerdaily.blogspot.com Leisl

    Good for you – excess packaging is bad, bad, bad!

  • Charlotte

    Hi Clothilde

    You should try some coco and quinoa biscuits (cookies) made by a French health food company called Favrichon – they are to die for – they also make wonderful meusli – great combinations like pumpkin and flax –

    C

  • http://www.winosandfoodies.typepad.com/ Barbara

    I’ve never seen chocolate and quinoa together. In fact I’ve only ever eaten quinoa as a savoury dish. Sounds fascinating.

  • http://intheshadowsofthesign.blogspot.com/ Cynthia

    I don’t believe I’ve ever run across this combination, but it strikes me as similar to an Amaranth and Chocolate combo that I know I’ve seen and eaten during my travels through Mexico. In both combinations the main ingredients originate in the “New World” (Quinoa is from the Andes, Chocolate from Mexico/Central America) so my guess is you might come across similar products in Peru or Mexico, perhaps? Just speculation on my part….

  • http://woodwart.blogspot.com travis

    japan in notorious for individually wrapping it’s food items. But with good reason; it is extremely humid here a good part of the year, and things like rice crackers totally dissolve (figuratively) once exposed to humidity. Chocolate, though, I can’t see why there would be any reason to wrap them individually unless the quinoa puff was an issue.

  • Shavonne

    I recently discovered your blog through NPR and love it!
    What blog host or software do you use to ceate such a beautiful site?

  • http://kick717.exblog.jp/i0 Akiko Kaiyama

    It”s not quinoa, but very similar products in Japan. “Rice Chocolate” is chocolate studded with puffed rice. It”s mainly for kids, and very reasonable price, also long seller items in Japan. In passing, we have products as chili flavor rice cracker covered with chocolate. This is surprisingly happy marriage!!

  • Pete

    Doña Chocolate y Señor Quinoa:
    What a knock our combination! In fact, it’s probably the only combination I’ve ever searched on http://www.chef2chef.com that returned 0 hits. How bizarre!

    Fortunately, Msgr. Google had a few hits:
    ~ Quinoa-Chocolate Cake w/ Cardamon
    ~ 75% Chocolate Bar w/ Quinoa and Ají
    ~ No Bake Chocolate-Quinoa Cookies

    There are others, but these looked most interesting to me. I’ll have to try this combination out sometime. As always, thanks for the innovative spunk!
    ¡Viva chocolate!

  • Pete

    And another interesting hit from Google, this time searching for “chocolate y quinoa”:

    CHIPIRONES RELLENOS CON CHOCOLATE Y QUINOA REAL

    Strangely enough, this translates to “Baby Squid stuffed with Chocolate and Quinoa.” Not sure if I’d be that daring, but it certainly catches the eye….

  • http://goodamericanwife.blogspot.com/ AnnieKNodes

    I don’t mind the chocolate and quinoa got together. I mean, it’s great that they’re so delicious and all. But if they start excluding me from their get togethers, I may have to say something.

  • Your papounet

    Chipirons (chipirones) are among the tastiest sea-food you could imagine. I had some “chipirons farcis” at the lamented “Table de Lucullus”, and I wept tears of joy while eating them. In fact, I cried all over the meal, it was so fantastic… It’s also a crying shame when some restaurants disappear…

  • http://www.candyblog.net cybele

    Mmm, sounds delish … and probably something I could make at home, especially at the end of a truffle dip when I have some leftover chocolate.

    I love interesting grains and nuts in my chocolate (maybe even a few spices in there).

  • http://www.paristriptips.com paristriptips

    I will run, not walk, to Lafayette Gourmet to try this heavenly mixture. It sounds so wonderful. Thanks for the idea, I will send my chocoholic clients as well.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/35393811@N00/sets/720420 pastilla

    I do love the way you phrase things! “Fancy seeing you here!” lol

    Cybele’s idea of mixing her own combos with chocolate sounds delish.

  • Christi

    We have an instant hot quinoa cereal called Altiplano in San Francisco. One of the versions of the cereal is “Organic Oaxacan Chocolate”. Pretty good! Here’s their website:
    http://www.altiplanogold.com/

  • sue

    In Austria, you can get fairtraide chocolate bars with quinoa: they’re called “bio fairetta quinua” ( http://eza3welt.cac.at/shop/artikelbild.asp?wbieza=45655459&ID=4803 )

    Love reading the blog and imagining la belle France. Holidays in Bretagne always involve cycling to the boulangerie in the morning for fresh baguettes – heavenly!

  • Céline75

    Bonjour,

    La marque Ethiquable propose des tablettes de chocolat avec des grains de quinoa soufflé. Il y a cependant beaucoup plus de chocolat et moins de quinoa que dans la barre sur ta photo…
    C’est une marque qui propose des produits bio issus du commerce équitable. C’est très bon, et c’est disponible dans les Leclerc et Carrefour (au moins).

  • Ruthie

    Any idea how to prepare the quinoa for making chocolate-quinoa at home?
    Thanks

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    Ruthie – I’ve done a bit of googling, but haven’t been able to find how you can make your own puffed quinoa. I’ll keep looking!

  • http://digestivenirvana.blogspot.com/ John

    I’ve never considered using quinoa in this sort of dish, but it makes perfect sense when you think about it, as rice would used in a similar way.

    http://digestivenirvana.blogspot.com/

  • Shawn

    Clotilde – As chocolate and quinoa are one of your favorite pairings, do you have any recipes you can share with us? (Or do we have to wait for the book?)

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    Shawn – I have been tinkering with a few recipe ideas. They probably won’t go into the book (the list of recipes is almost finalized) but when I do get around to making them, I will definitely feature them here!

  • Sally

    On a vistit to Peru last year I hiked the Inca trail, where we were provided snacks by our tour guides, one snack which was a “granola bar” which consisted primarily of puffed quinoa. (My roommate referred to them as “budgie bars” since they look much like bird food).
    No doubt they would have greatly benefitted from a dip in dark chocolate.

  • http://www.bragazzis.com Jim Plant

    I have to mention about this small deli based in Sheffield called Bragazzis. Matteo Bragazzis has developed and found some of the most beautiful and undiscoved products from Italy. He is now in the process of opening a website to offer next day delivery. Things are a little bit on the expensive side…but I have not found them anywhere before. http://www.bragazzis.com if you are ever in Sheffield pop in and visit him. Chocolates and Ice Cream are to die for!

  • jenail

    Where can I get this?

  • Saki

    Dear Clotilde,

    just found you on Slashfood and am duly amazed :)
    Here in Portugal we have that exact same chocolate in a Biocoop shop, a subsidiary of your Biocoops, and now I see another brand at Carrefour (where else? :)

    Best wishes,
    Saki

  • http://www.andeannaturals.com Sergio Nunez de Arco

    More on the Quinoa-Chocolate affair: some delicious quinoa-fudge cupcakes!

    Thank you for the great article!
    S

  • Sandrine

    Nothing new under the sun!

    As a proud representative of the aztec culture (Mexico), let me tell you that both quinoa & amaranth were considered sacred seeds by my ancestors. Chocolate (xoco atl = bitter water) was golden to them too. Not only they used to mix both ingredients together, they also used other elements back then that may be considered disgusting to many (if not all) of us. They mixed amaranth with the blood of human sacrifices and made beautiful figures with them. They all ate a portion of the figures.
    This little history lesson is just to share with all you guys, that there are things that may seem new to our taste buds, but they have been traditions in other parts of the world.
    Saludos!!!

  • http://thegetrealdiet.com Deborah

    I just brought back to NYC a couple of kilos of puffed quinoa dusted with chocolate that I got in Cusco, where I first bought it ten years ago. It costs 15 soles (about $5.25 US) per kilo. Delicious!

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