Friday, December 9

Cocoa Correction

A Lighter Shade Of Dark

Last week I wrote about a wonderful source for bulk herbs and spices called AmeriHerb. I mentioned that they sell this amazing organic dark cocoa powder for $3.30 a pound. Well, they did. But now they don't. Last night I used up the last little bit of my "old" cocoa powder while making chocolate biscotti. And when I opened one of the bags I recently ordered, I was dumbfounded. The cocoa was a completely different color--and not in a good way. The old stuff was practically black. The new stuff looks like every other cocoa powder I've seen. Bummer.

I emailed AmeriHerb today and was informed that my old cocoa powder was part of "a previous lot. The origin was from Vietnam, and it is no longer available in this country. To get more would triple the price. The cocoa you received is certified organic. Yes, it is not as dark." And true to their word that they guarantee all their products, they added, "If you would would like for us to credit, advise."

Double bummer. This new cocoa looked and smelled fine and was still a great price especially considering it's organic, so I figured there was no reason for a refund. I did mention, however, that they might want to take the "dark" part out of the description since, well, it isn't anymore. And before I went and blindly recommended it to you, I baked another batch of biscotti with some of it this afternoon just to make sure it was good. Two thumbs up!

I apologize about the false advertising. I know some of you were really excited about this special cocoa. The only thing I can say that might make you feel better is that at least you never tasted it. I get to live with its vivid memory tattooed on my tastebuds forever. I also have to decide if I should give away last night's double batch of biscotti for holiday gifts as planned, or be extremely selfish and keep it all for myself. When it comes to chocolate, sometimes I am not the kindhearted and generous person you might take me to be. And when it comes to special Vietnamese cocoa powder I will probably never ever taste again, well. . . as fellow foodies I'm sure you understand.

And while my plan is to share my biscotti recipe in the next day or two, I'm not going to actually come out and say that here. I think the recipes I have promised and not yet posted (but have every intention of doing) is starting to pile up. If I don't watch out, you'll probably start referring to me as Fibbing Farmgirl or The Girl Who Cried Recipe. Gosh, maybe you already do. I hope not. Hmmm. I bet a biscotti or two would keep me from starting to worry.


  1. 2 biscotti will definitely work for me, FG! Otherwise..... =:o

  2. LOL !!!!
    FFG hehheheeheheheheheh

    I am very glad I didn't get to try that cocoa!

  3. since am not there to order from yr supplier let me just talk about cocoa powder.

    Baked some cookies will post this weekend have no update yet.. used a local greek cocoa. arghh it taste a bit bitter. now am going to the deli (pay a handsome price of course) to look for belgian or dutch cocoa.

    is biscotti part of those contrasting photos like the scenery hahahaha

  4. Dark or Light who cares.. Lets Eat!! it looks yummy :-)

  5. I love that biscotti picture! And you've been tagged to list your 10 favourite foods : )

  6. that's a bummer about the original cocoa. but I agree with other FG friends -- it looks yummy!

    *whispers* I would keep the "dark" to myself too... *snickers and wanders off to find a WCB picture to post*

    I am still not having any luck with the PITA bread -- my second go around was more promising than the first -- I had ONE puffed pita out of 8. None to worry though -- they make the very best pizzas. My whole crew gets excited about my PUFF-LESS pita breads!

    Have a great weekend FG!

  7. oh, that's bad, bad chocolate news...but I'm glad to hear the lighter chocolate does taste good. You would likely have to wrestle the dark ones away from me, though.

    I've never made biscotti, so wait your recipe half eagerly, half knowing it'll take me forever to try it anyway...

  8. Oh, please post your recipe: it would be a perfect compliment to some gifts I'm putting together for the holidays!

  9. Hi Jeff,
    Um, that was a couple of biscotti for me--not you. : )

    Hi Clare,
    Ha, I knew you'd be happy I can't get that incredible dark cocoa anymore.

    Hi Sha,
    Belgian cocoa--now that sounds nice.

    Hi Abe/Happy,

    Hi Kimbie,
    Welcome to the farm! Thanks for tagging me. I'm working on my list now. Am sort of surprised by what I've come up with. : )

    Hi Heather,
    Hmmmm. Not sure what the puffing problem is. Unless it's your "crew" wishing very, very hard that they won't puff so they can have pizzas! Those pita pizzas are pretty handy. I think I had them several days in a row for a while. Just plucked an unpuffed pita out of the freezer and had pizza in no time. Yum.

    Hi Kelly,
    Yeah, I'm still pretty bummed about the cocoa powder. I think you'll like this biscotti recipe. Very easy. Very chocolatey. : )

    Hi Spiral,
    I was just thinking about you yesterday as I was re-reading the Name That Sheep Contest Winner post! I'll definitely put up the biscotti recipe, and it does make very good gifts (that's what I'm making it for). Just a lot going on in the next couple of days. Hopefully I'll get it up, though--especially now that I know you're waiting for it. Great to hear from you--even if it was only to put the pressure on me! : )

  10. A substitute for the color at least might be "black" cocoa, which gives Oreos their color. It's available, although not organic, from King Arthur Flour at The expert baker and author of Cocolat, Alice Medrich, however, is not fond of the flavor. Just an idea...

    Your photos keep me tied to my heart's home, the Arkansas Ozarks, while I'm temporarily living on, I mean in Southern California. So, thank you every day, so much.

  11. After reading about your sad story about the cocoa I talked to my friend Phuong who is from Vietnam and she didn't realize/know that the cocoa from her home country was so special. I may be able to talk her into having a family member send her some so I can try it my self

  12. Hi Sweetgum,
    Welcome to the farm! And thanks for the black cocoa information. So interesting. Can't believe I never wondered about how Oreos got so black. (Little bit of trivia: did you know Oreos are the biggest selling cookies in the world?)

    Wow--Arkansas Ozarks to Southern California? That IS a change. Hang in there! Or, should I say, Hang Ten there? LOL, my So. Cal. relatives emailed me photos of them surfing on Thanksgiving Day this year! : )

    Hi Kat,
    Definitely try this. Not chunky! Not hard to cut! : )

    Hi Dara,
    Welcome to the farm! How wonderful to have a Vietnamese cocoa connection. If she does send you some, I would love to hear about it.

  13. By the way, I love your biscotti recipe. We use it at least once a month around here, since biscotti are my afternoon recharge.

    I know you were bummed about the cocoa powder, so I wanted to let you know that I did a bit of a Cook's Illustrated test to compare cocoas I can get locally -- Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa (at Super-Targets and Kroger-Fry's-King Soopers), Ghiradelli's Sweet Chocolate powder and Unsweetened Chocolate Powder, and Rapunzel Organic Cocoa powder. For color, the best is either the Hershey's Special Dark or the Ghiradelli's Unsweetened. In terms of taste, the Hershey's lends an Oreo flavor (very dark and rich) while the Ghiradelli is a more intense Chocolate while still being very darkly rich. However, the best over all flavor and color was a 50-50 mix of the Rapunzel (which has a glorious flavor) and the Ghiradelli Unsweetened. The biscotti were black as good soil, not overly sweet, and intensely chocolately. So... if you can't ever find your Vietnamese chocolate powder again... there's an alternative. (The Rapunzel Cocoa is an organic cocoa powder that we get through a local organic grocer, Vitamin Cottage.)

  14. If you want the real dark cocoa powder, then try to get ADM's De Zaan Black powder.


December 2015 update: Hi! For some reason I can't figure out, Blogger hasn't been letting me leave comments on my own blog (!) for the last several months, so I've been unable to respond to your comments and questions. My apologies for any inconvenience! You're always welcome to email me: farmgirlfare AT gmail DOT com.

Hi! Thanks for visiting Farmgirl Fare and taking the time to write. While I'm not always able to reply to every comment, I receive and enjoy reading them all.

Your feedback is greatly appreciated, and I especially love hearing about your experiences with my recipes. Comments on older posts are always welcome!

Please note that I moderate comments, so if I'm away from the computer it may be a while before yours appears.

I try my best to answer all questions, though sometimes it takes me a few days. And sometimes, I'm sorry to say, they fall through the cracks, and for that I sincerely apologize.

I look forward to hearing from you and hope you enjoy your e-visits to our farm!