Last night, we sat down to a chocolate tasting.  The selection:

The entire Pralus line of dark chocolate bars.

We had 14 bars to get through, so we started early and finished late.  Following proper chocolate-tasting etiquette, we:

1. Made sure the chocolates were at room temperature.  The Zero Bars were kept refrigerated for a future tasting.

2. We studied the chocolate.  Shiny and smooth.  No blooming.  Aside from the obvious thumbprint on the Ghana bar, they looked great.

3. We broke each bar and listened for the nice, crisp snap which, I imagine, is the equivalent of a wine-taster sniffing the cork or a car buyer kicking the tires.  Not sure what it accomplishes outside of making you seem knowledgeable but it seems to be an unwritten rule.

4. We smelled the chocolate, picking up the subtle aromas – fruity, floral, nutty, roasted, sleepy, dopey, and Doc.

5. We popped a square into our mouths, allowing it to melt a little, then breaking up the pieces and discovering its nuanced flavors.  The Trinidad had a mild tobacco flavor; the Cuba possessed of a somewhat peppery undertone; the Caracas redolent of the laborer who picked the cacao, a fellow named Pedro of about 43 years of age who walked with a limp.

6) We made sure to cleanse our palates between bites.  Most chocolate-tasting guides suggest water or unsalted crackers.  We went with ice wine instead.

My assistant could only manage a nibble from each square.

These were her leftovers which, once I was done, weren’t so left over.

The results?  I was partial to the nutty Papouasie and fruity Equateur, while she preferred the woody Tanzanie.  Overall though, there isn’t a single bar in the line I’d kick out of bed for being eaten with crackers.

Next up, we’ll be taste-testing the Amano chocolate line.  For the record, it’s all part of necessary research for my planned Top 10 Favorite Chocolate Bars post.

All chocolated out, my assistant gears up for dim sum.

Bubba was thoroughly bummed when Lost ended.

Jelly finds Bubba very supportive during her recovery period.

Lulu practices earthquake preparedness.

Jelly – up close and personal.

Maximus on the lookout for trouble.  And dropped food.

I'm not woooorthyyyy!

45 thoughts on “July 18, 2010: Chocolate and dogs don’t mix! Except on this blog.

  1. I should just shoot myself. Chocolate now triggers my migraines, so it’s out for a while. The cheap junk candy is ok, it’s just the good stuff I can’t handle. What fun is that? This happened once before and it went away, so I’m hoping… I was drooling looking at your pics 🙁

    All your pups are gorgeous, but Jelly’s little face is just so sweet. Hope she’s feeling spunkier (?) tonight!

  2. Hello Joe

    Awww. That picture of Jelly and Bubba is soooo CUTE!!! I hope that Jelly is doing better. As I recall, you had said that she should show improvement in 1-2 days, so I hope she is on schedule for her recovery.

    Best Wishes,


    Ps. BTW: since we are discussing chocolate, have you ever had one of those fist sized Ashers brand peanut butter cups? Yummy!!! And my friends say the dark chocolate is even better!

  3. All the dog pics as of late are making me want a dog….

    What is the ‘for sure’ date for season 2 premiere?

  4. Never recommend a book to Joe. Check. Got it.

    I’m the same as Deni when it comes to chocolate. My friends say that I’m extremely lucky because I’ve never had to worry about my weight (I can’t consume enough calories to put on significant weight due to my system not liking anything overly sweet or processed). I try to explain to them the downside is I’ll never know what it’s like to experience the bliss of extreme chocolate consumption. Ah well. What you don’t know…

    Glad to see Jelly is getting hugs from her fellow furries. One of my friends is interested in hearing Jelly’s progress as he is looking at it as a possible treatment for one of his pups.

    My heart broke for a friend who was picking up her first dog on Saturday. She got a call from the owner on Saturday morning to say her puppy had died overnight. Only 8 weeks old. They believe bitten by a spider.

    Riley and I spotted an interesting looking pug on Saturday during our lunch catchup. Do pugs come in a skinny version?
    Funny how friendships are formed from your blog Joe despite us being on the other side of the world.

    Deni Glad to hear Elway is back to his usual self.

  5. Joe, I am so inspired by your dedication to research. The sacrifice you will make in order to write a blog entry is just so awesome. I will try and follow your example!

  6. Savoring the chocolates – virtually, then enjoying the puppy pix, then the burst out laughing at the Lulu pose of not being worthy. LOL…too funny.
    Thanks for the great blog entry!

  7. First, thanks for the dedication last week Joe.

    Second, well, dang. I just looked back and found a post I thought I sent didn’t appear, but pretty sure wasn’t filtered…

    >>for the love of Beckett

    Debra, so sorry for the recent loss of your Rottie dog. It’s so hard when it is “time.” I am without my favorite breed (or any dog) right now, too.

    I’m still paying on the vet bill for my departed doggie grrl, but it’s almost done. <<
    We are there too… first thousands trying to save my 7 yr old basenji 2 yrs ago (lymphoma… she crashed on every chemo protocol and we lost her after 5 mos); then mostly supportive care bills for my chow/coyote who was, at least, older.. also to cancer. Then Connors meds, cancer removed from leg earlier this year, etc. It will be another year to pay off those bills but I don't regret a penny. You just have to do what you can.

    Joe are you seeing any improvements yet with Jelly?

    And WHEN will SyFy announce the Atlantis crossovers?

  8. hummm! chocolate :D.
    had 2 pieces of strawberry shortcake this evening. Felt a bit guilty about it. I tought I was being over a bit over the top. a few people at work looked at me with big eyes…. then I read you blog entry… feeling much better!!! 8)

  9. Haven’t had a chance to work on questions. Not really in the mood for it…. Will hopefully catch the interview on the internet…. if it’s filmed and available …. 😉

  10. I am confused! What is Sun Kwon doing at your place? Didn’t she die in that sub? Or is this part of that dubious series finale? Maybe Bubba knows!

  11. haha, does lulu do that alot, i remember a video of her crawling in that position.

    While i was dog-sitting my sister’s dog Jersey this weekend, I notice she likes to sit with her front paws folded in. Like she is leaning forward on her elbows, kinda weird, i asked my sister and she does that alot. I was gonna take pics but they took my camera on their trip, since theirs broke just before they left.

  12. Chocolate sigh……. There’s a woman at work who’s allergic to chocolate, I could not imagine. Oh man I have been hungry for chocolate ALL day, this is torture. Guess what I’m going to do tomorrow?

    …..and Dim Sum. I love Dim Sum!!

    Dopey!! I forgot all about him, yeah that would also fit.

    So is Mr. Gero making you jealous with his New York Foodie experiences?

    Isn’t Lulu doing to Yoga position Downward Dog? Which is kinda ironic…

    Thanks for all the puppy pics!

    Have a Good One!!

  13. Send leftovers. I could really use a chocolate tasting right about now, but I don’t like the dark stuff.

    Anne Teldy

  14. Thank you! And everyone involved in making the Atlantis crossover happen. I hope it’s a team adventure. I so miss their interactions. But whoever, it’ll be great fun!

    Wait a minute…the whole Destiny thing isn’t a day at Disneyland. Between drifting in space, the Alliance backstabbing, evil aliens lurking about, and endless tragic encounters of the various kind, the Atlanteans will be relatively, ah, not dead, right?

    Good girl Lulu! Contemplating quake preparedness is the first step. Ironically, a friend who is terrified of quakes almost didn’t visit today because her cat, Hickory, went wacko, hiding under tables, looking at the ceiling and other weird behavior. After experiencing a few minor quakes lately, and reading about the Mogi doughnut theory in the L.A. Times this morning, I was eyeing a table or two myself. Not to mention that it gives a whole new meaning to a doughnut hole. Anyway, if there’s another triggered quake anytime soon, call it the Hickory theory.

    Hugs to Jelly for a speedy recovery. She couldn’t be in better hands than you.

  15. Hi Mr. Mallozzi,

    I have some questions for you regarding “Stargate”. I hope you’ll be able to answer them.

    1. What happened to the Goa’uld infiltrated on Earth? Are they still here or have they been all captured and extracted by the Tok’ra?

    2. Will you introduce another Daedalus-class vessel in the future or the existing ships are more than enough?

    3. Destiny is older than Atlantis. In “The Lost City” we come to know that Atlantis is about 30 million years old. The gate aboard Destiny is older than the ones in the Milky Way. In “Frozen” we come to know that the gates in the Mily Way are about 50 million years old. Is the Destiny about 60 million years old?

    4. We know that in the Ori galaxy there are gates. The Priors used them to come through the Milky Way gates and probably the people in that galaxy use them to get to other planets. Is it possible that the seeder ships reached the Ori-Ancient home galaxy long ago and seeded the Destiny gates on those planets? So, is it possible that the gates in the Ori galaxy are of the same model as the gates that we see in “Stargate Universe”?

    Again, I hope that you’ll have time to answer my questions.

    Gabriele from Italy

  16. Hey Joe or anyone.

    Feel a little dumb reposting this after the chocolate…

    I’ve been craving southern fried chicken. Anyone got a recipe they use/like? I’ve been searching the web but they are either simple (flour, salt, pepper) or crazy.


  17. @KYMM

    I didn’t even notice they don’t ship the chocolates to Canada. Well, darn. Sorry, Joe! 🙂

  18. @Narelle: Chocolate, cheese, wine, any of those and I’m in trouble. I still remember (very clearly and can almost feel the pain) the time my daughter and I decided to go out to eat and had some bubbly with dinner. We decided that since I was feeling fiiiiine, we could have the cheese plate with some port and then, WTH, “Fudge Corruption” cake after dinner. Oi. Stupid much. 🙂

    Elway, who is still asleep with his big ol’ head on Mr. Deni’s pillow, thanks you, as do I! How’s “our” Ralphie doing?

    Hi Joe, check this out if you haven’t, it’s HILARIOUS:

    Have a good day, everybody!

  19. I think I’m in heaven. Sweet, chocolatey heaven. Somewhere, for reasons unknown to him, my doctor is frowning. In my head, I’m dancing out the best story I can, that chocolate is good for me, right? So more has got to be better! Everyone knows this.

    *goes back to drool over the goodies*

  20. Sounds like you have found heaven on earth, with the whole taste testing thing. And we, the readers, will eventually benefit from your hard work when you share the results. You WILL share the results, right? And not hold out for a contract with the Food Network to do a series about chocolates?
    The pictures are great, and the Jelly/Bubba one priceless. How do you manage to get so many wonderful shops, and still lead a life outside of following the dogs around?
    Thanks for the post, even if it did set off a round of uncontrollable drooling.

  21. Those are fun and interesting poses for the dogs. I really like the pic of pensive Bubba, and agree with Sylvia that the “I’m not worthy” one of Lulu is just toooooo funny.

    Mmm, tasty chocolate and ice wine – a lovely pair.

    Akemi looks to be in the bloom of health . . . *warm smile*

  22. @ Kymm

    So true, it’s hard to find a massage not to like. I have to be careful about not being vocal, though. If I were to go through my standard repertoire of muscle-relaxation sounds, people in adjoining rooms would wonder. . . Well, umm, you know *blushes* . . . and some male therapists can make it all too easy to be tempted. But that’s never led to anything (I don’t carry a billy club for nothing – heh); still, it’s one reason I prefer masseuses to masseurs. – And yes, friends are SO great!! I’ll find a way to pay her secretly – that was a gift, and she’d be offended; but she’s struggling a bit – but even then, I’ll be in her debt. She likes my embroidery, so I’m thinkin’ a wall hanging might make a good expression of appreciation.

    LOL, yeah, I guess the overindulgence was worth it psst yes my birthday was weds. and was a hallmark of sorts so thank you. – Also giggling over “the pleasure and the pain, like a lot of things in life, eh!!” Yup yup, you nailed it.

    Hey, you have a good one, too. *smiles*

  23. Hey Joe,


    Also, Ziggy loves chocolate. It’s a huge problem. Ananabelle seems to not care for it. Do the dogs every try to steal your chocolate? Ziggy went into my carry on bag and got my kitkat bar. I was literally saving it for later. He seems OK after eating it. But it was scary to find the wrapper perfectly flattened out on the kitchen tile.

    I hope Jelly is feeling better.

    @Deni: It’s good to know you’ll always take Ziggy if he ever should need a home. However he says he is happy with us for the moment. 😉 I hope Elway is doing well, too.


  24. So the chocolate tasting, is that for the next chocolate party?

    Thanks for the dog pictures. Jelly looks a little stoned. Must be the Percocet. I like a vet who thinks about pain control (some don’t bother). I hope she is feeling better.

    Narelle: When I was young, I had trouble maintaining my body weight. Kept slipping below 100lbs (I’m about 5’6) but as I age, it’s easier to keep the pounds steady.

    I could have soooo taken Mr M and Akemi in a chocolate eating contest! There wouldn’t have been large chunks left from my taste testing 😉 . You know Mr. M., those left over chunks could be melted down for strawberry dipping.

    Das: I’m glad your sister was such a big help. Can she come back to help you again, if you decide to have surgery?
    You get used to the heat in the South. It’s going to be 94F here today, (practically a cold front) but the humidity is 77%! It’s feels like a sauna out there.

  25. @ Bryan M. White – Just in case you missed my insanity, I replied to your questions about Todd/Shep under the entry for July 16th.

    @ Joe – Now that I’ve gotten over my initial jealousy, how do you rate Pralus chocolate over the others you’ve tried?



  26. I brought couple squares of toffee and chocolate for lunch, but waiting for lunch is gonna be hard after reading this very chocolatey post.

    Went to see Inception this weekend; after House of the Suns the brain twistiness wasn’t as severe, tho at the end we had tons of questions about what was real and dream in the movie.

    Saw a trailer for Due Date, which has a little pup who looks
    a little like Jelly and Bubba; the trailer had some good yuks, but might be a better rental.

  27. Suffering puppy longings here. Overdue to help at shelter but pending knee pain diagnosis & treatment.

  28. Joe, JOEY!! Guess what, GUESS WHAT??!!!!

    When I got into work today, there on my desk was not only the film Runaway (starring Tom Selleck and Gene Simmons – one of my guilty pleasure-films), and the book Diving into the Wreck by Kristine Kathryn Rusch (for Mr. Das, I think he will enjoy based on the BotM responses), but also…*drum roll please*… MASKED! WOO! Very excited (can ya tell??)!

    Hopefully will get to reading it this week – at least your story. IF I can make it through the whole thing before it’s featured in the BotM, I will save most of my comments for then, but I will let you know what I think of your story as soon as I get a chance to sit down and read it.


  29. Joe, I just saw this interview (quoted on GW) with Dave Howe, President of Syfy, where he answers:
    What do you know about the fan base that the others don’t?

    One of the fascinating insights that we gleaned four or five years ago when we looked at how to appeal to an 18-to-34 demographic is that the traditional trappings of science-fiction don’t appeal to that audience. And by that I mean the science-based, technology-based, space-based [fare]. Younger audiences are less interested in how things work or what they can do with technology because they all grew up in the world of cell phones, the Internet, streaming video. They take for granted technological innovation in a way 20 or 30 years ago people didn’t.

    Maybe you guys should start writing Stargate as a psychic cooking show or something….:O

  30. my “no good, non-condo fee payer, just sold his house , pain in the ….. of a neighbour” showed up at my house this morning. After sending him 4 letters in 3 months on how much he owes, calling him at least 4 times…. He tells me that he hasn’t received any of my letters via the mail!!! (none of my 4 registered letters 😯 )

    When he sold his house, he tought, he wouldn’t have to pay the condo fees he owes. He didn’t tought the buyer notary would call me …. 💡 “no good -soon- to- be ex- neighbour”

  31. No chocolate connoisseur, I, but as far as the nice, crisp snap goes, I’ve always considered that a function of the ambient temperature.

  32. @Das

    I wonder if a Wraith queen ever told her underlings “don’t play with your food!”


    Best Wishes,


  33. Well, technology gave us an interesting weekend. Sassy Dad gave his final salute to Comcast and switched to ATT Uverse this weekend. He got the usual bundle for a low price for 1 year. Then saw a Comcast ad for the same price for 2 years for *new* customers. Yeah, he reacted. Did I mention dad used to be a sailor? 😉

    The wrinkle: He has internet access on his ‘puter, but I don’t on mine, thanks to a Windows Live “family safety” software issue. That pain in the neck came with the MSN messenger I loaded last year. Thought I finally had gotten rid of it, but it resurfaced this weekend when we changed ISPs. Suddenly the password prompt was up, and would only give me an error code on log in. Tried a gazillion things, changing password, opening another account, but no dice. Then tried System Mechanic’s special Incinerator software. Nada. The files refused to be deleted. Am thinking colorful thoughts about windows right now, along the lines of when iTunes wiped my dvd drivers the morning of my brother’s wedding.

    Deni, So glad to hear Elway is better. A friend also has the same breed, and her slogan is, “The only things I need to make me happy are God, a beer, and a beagle.” LOL. We like what we like, don’t we? I like the nordic, working, and herding breeds. Actually I’m a pushover for any kind with upright ears. And certain small breeds with a “big dog” attitude.

    Debra, Oh boy, have you guys been through it. It’s hard enough when one furry family member is hurting. I can’t imagine what you’ve gone through with several pets who have health issues. Just one was almost more than I thought I could bear. Bless you for taking care of them.

    Joe, thanks for telling us how Jelly is doing. And all the great pictures. Yes, you are a good Doggie Daddy. 😀 Her cold packs are good for initial swelling. Later on, a low-level heated doggie bed might help with the joint pain, and there’s no drug interaction. My grrrl liked warm baths for her joints, too. So, it really is a spa… 🙂 And you love her.

    Thank you also for the Atlantis pics posted. Are we being good enough for more? Enjoy all the delicious chocolate leftovers! I’m another one who can’t do chocolate. It does a number on me. But we can watch you eat it. Give Lulu a scratch for me, too.

  34. @ Bryan M. White – Oh, I’m certain at least one has…and I’m suspecting it was said by Todd’s original queen, right before he slit her throat and decided he didn’t much like anyone telling him what to do. 😀

    You know what I wanna know?? I wanna know where Todd and Kenny (second in command) got that wooden ‘conference’ table they had in The Queen. ALL I can imagine is Todd and Kenny – right in the chaotic middle of a culling – carrying that thing out of a hut like Pintel and Ragetti carting around a treasure chest on the Isla de Muerta:



  35. for the love of Beckett: MSN should not keep you from getting into your other programs. I occasionally forget my MSN password and I just ignore it. It doesn’t seem to bother anything if I close the prompt window. Sounds very odd. Find the error code and do a search for it on sassy’s dad’s computer. I hope you can get some help with it soon. Computer problems are very frustrating.
    Tell sassy dad that we ran into the same thing with direct tv. They offered all the deals to NEW customers and we got screwed! Of course, when we switched to dish network, direct called and offered us the new customer deal. Good luck!

  36. Tammy – Ooo, that was a migraine cocktail. I’m not as bad as I was so I can now indulge in particular wines, cheese and chocolate, but had to learn the hard way which ones to stay away from. I don’t mind, it means I eat healthy.

    Deni – Ralph can’t stay out of trouble long. I noticed yesterday a big pool of drool where he’d been sleeping. He doesn’t drool, even when hungry with food in front of him. The prospect of eating salt and vinegar chips is the only thing that sets him off, and that’s because he doesn’t like them. Checked his mouth and he’s broken off another lower canine. He doesn’t seem in as much pain as last time. He’s at my feet now snuggling with his alien soft toy.

    For the love of beckett – Were there any registry entries you deleted after uninstalling Live? I use uninstall in air quotes when it comes to most software applications.

    Take care.

  37. Ah Chocolate my one weakness. I usually have the will power to eat in moderation to not put on a huge amount of weight, I wouldn’t consider myself fat anyway, just Chocolate, something about it that just calls you back after 1 bite lol

  38. Ohh.. the tasting session sounds fun. Looks tasty too. 🙂

    Food for me is starting to not taste good as it used to because im starting to get sick. 🙁

    Couple questions for the next mailbag if thats cool with you. 🙂

    1. Im glad to hear your still confident the SGA will move into production(and SG-1 too). So I was wondering. Given MGMs financial situation, the DVD market, the economy, SGUs shooting schedule, actor’s schedules, when do you think (Educated guess) that the movie(s) will go into production. Is a shoot on season 2 of SGU’s hiatus out of the question.

    2. So you told us what ep of SGU the SGA characters would be in, could you maybe tell us what SGU episode the SG-1 characters will appear in (Brad wright said there would be SG-1 characters in season 2)? Could you tell us what characters will be making an appearance or is that for syfy to announce?

    Thanks so much,
    Major D. Davis

  39. @Narelle: Yikes! How’d he manage that? Hope he’s ok, the poor boy!

    @for the love of Beckett: I’m a pushover for, well, any dog 🙂 I do love big dogs, though – kind of like having a huge teddy bear to cuddle with 🙂 No special breeds (although I do fancy Newfoundlands), a mutt will do.

    So Joe, any improvement for Ms Jelly yet?

  40. I am livid, Joe, and it’s all your fault!

    How dare you write a Crossover episode and leave out Gil the Prancing Unicorn? Hmmm? Explain yourself.

    I am the President of the Gil the Prancing Unicorn North American and Sometimes Including Norway and the Pacific Rim Fan Club (GtPUNAaSINatPRFC for short).

    We here at GtPUNAaSINatPRFC have a motto: timelines are sacred, and Gil the Prancing Unicorn is sooooo hotttttt.

    So don’t go around putting this movie in between this and that episode or placing this season of that series in bed with that movie or this thing or this other thingy thingness. Yeah, you heard me. And above all, you better damn well make sure that Gil the Prancing Unicorn gets first billing, lots of screen time, and doesn’t wink at any of the other girls on the show. Hussies.

    I have every right to tell you how to do your job because of my extennnnnnsive experience in ‘whatever’, so you’d be wise to listen to me.

    So there, patooie.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.