Posted on

Port Ganache Square

Locals Guide: December

Port Ganache Square

Branson’s Chocolates is debuting a new chocolate just in time for the holidays—Port Ganache Squares. We start with our delicious semi-sweet chocolate and local cream, stir in a heavy drizzle of Port, let it set, and then dip it all over again in that rich semi-sweet chocolate that you love. Can you say gourmet?

Fun fact about Port—the name Port is derived from the city of Porto, Portugal, where for centuries merchant ships loaded with casks of Port began their journey up the coastline to England. Port is a fortified wine, because brandy is added during fermentation, which helped sustain the fragile wine during its voyage to England, and also made the wine considerably sweeter. Port is known to pair well with decadent desserts, which makes it a perfect match for our chocolate!

The idea for Port Ganache Squares came from our newest intern, Tori. Tori is only a junior in high school, but is working with us for her senior project because she plans on graduating a year early—talk about hard work paying off!

If you want to catch us out and about in December, you’d better hurry! We will be at—

  • The 4th Annual Christmas Showcase December 1st-3rd at the Jackson County Expo in Central Point. It’s the region’s largest holiday gift and craft show with over 190 vendors. We will be there Friday & Saturday 10am-6pm, and Sunday 10am-4pm.

The rest of the month we will be right here at our store to fill your all holiday wish lists, your must-impress gift needs, and your own candy bowls and secret stashes. We’re at 1662 Siskiyou Boulevard, just a block south of 7-11, in the Minute Market shopping center. We’re open Monday-Friday 10-6, and Saturday 11-5.

You can also find Branson’s Chocolates on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, and at bransonschocolates.com for online chocolate shopping.

(Thanks to www.thespruce.com/what-is-port-wine-3510911 for the history of Port.)

Posted on

Peanut Brittle

Locals Guide: November 2017

Peanut Brittle

There is something rather addicting about the salty sweetness of Peanut Brittle. One legend has it that in 1890, a Southern lady accidentally created Peanut Brittle. It is said that she was trying to make taffy but accidentally added baking soda to her pot instead of cream of tartar, which resulted in the crunchy brittle we know and love instead of chewy taffy.  Another more fanciful legend says that Tony Beaver, Paul Bunyan’s Southern folklore cousin, saved a town from flooding by pouring molasses and peanuts into the river, which created the delicious treat we all love. No matter which story you choose, Peanut Brittle seems to have originated in the South, which is not surprising as that is where peanuts were traditionally grown. Luckily for us, this treat has made its way out of the South, across the country, and into the copper kettles at Branson’s Chocolates, where we cook peanuts with brown sugar and butter to create our delicious salty-sweet treat– Peanut Brittle, one of the few confections we make without chocolate.

If you want to catch us out and about in November, you’re in luck! We will be at—

  • The 11th annual Ashland Culinary Festival, November 2nd – 5th, at Ashland Hills Hotel & Suites. We will be featuring our decadent Truffles flavored with beers and wines from local favorites Caldera Brewing, Paschal Winery and Vineyard, Weisinger Family Winery, and Grizzly Peak Winery.
  • The Holiday Market at the Expo, November 10th-11th, 10am-6pm, the mecca for local holiday shopping.
  • Paddington Station’s 44th annual Open House, November 18th, 11am-7pm. We will be selling our holiday favorite White Chocolate Peppermint Bar and Peppermint Squares. Stop by and say Hi!

Or if you prefer to catch us at our store, Branson’s Chocolates is right here in Ashland at 1662 Siskiyou Boulevard.  We’re just a block south of 7-11, in the Minute Market shopping center. We’re open Monday-Friday 10-6, and Saturday 11-5 to satisfy your Peanut Brittle cravings.

You can also find Branson’s Chocolates on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, and at bransonschocolates.com for online chocolate shopping.

(Thanks to www.candyfavorites.com/peanut-brittle-candy-history for Peanut Brittle history.)

 

Posted on

Pumpkin Spice

Locals Guide: October 2017

Pumpkin Spice

If there is one word that perfectly describes the sights, the scents, and the tastes of autumn, that word is pumpkin—bright orange pumpkins carved and lit for Halloween, glowing pumpkin spice scented candles, and warm homemade pumpkin pie ready for dessert. We’re doing our part to carry on this autumn tradition at Branson’s Chocolates, where we’ve created Pumpkin Spice Bars in creamy White Chocolate and Pumpkin Spice Truffles in sweet Milk Chocolate just in time for pumpkin season.

Pumpkin Spice flavor isn’t just a new trend. “’History shows that pumpkin spice-like combinations have been used for millennia in various cultures,’ said Kantha Shelke, a scientist at Corvus Blue, a Chicago-based food science and research firm and an adjunct professor of regulatory science and food safety at Johns Hopkins University. ‘For instance, similar mixtures of spices are used in Indian masala chai and Middle Eastern baklava.’ Shelke notes that ‘spices are powerhouses of phytochemicals — chemicals that the plant makes to protect itself — that can afford us health and protection from many health issues.’” Here’s to Pumpkin Spice, and everything nice!

Branson’s Chocolates, your pumpkin spice headquarters, is right here in Ashland at 1662 Siskiyou Boulevard.  We’re just a block south of 7-11, in the Minute Market shopping center. We won’t be out and about in October, so come see us in the store and get your pumpkin spice fix. We’re open Monday-Friday 10-6, and Saturday 11-5.

You can also find Branson’s Chocolates on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, and at bransonschocolates.com for online chocolate shopping.

(Thanks to http://www.cnn.com/2017/09/13/health/pumpkin-spice-ingredients-science-explainer/index.html)

Posted on

Gift Giving Paradise

Local’s Guide: September 2017

Gift Giving Paradise

Make Branson’s Chocolates your ultimate gift shop–we have something for everyone!

We have creamy Milk Chocolate, sweet White Chocolate, and of course dark luscious Semi-Sweet Chocolate.

We have traditional chocolates, table-creamed fudges, gourmet chocolates, and chocolate bars. We have nuts, we have caramels, we have crèmes, we have chocolate with fruit, and even chocolate with espresso if you want a little kick. We even have caramels without chocolate, just in case.

If you want something for a chocolate connoisseur, of course we have Truffles, but we don’t stop there. In our Gourmet Chocolate line we have Macha Squares, Earl Gray Tea Squares, Jasmine Squares, Lavender Squares, and Wasabi Ginger Squares. Wait, that’s not all, we also have Gourmet Caramels—Sea Salt, Smoked Salt, and if you’re feeling a little adventurous try our Whiskey Caramel.

Our Truffles come in gift boxes of 4, 5, 6, 9, and 12. Gourmet Chocolates are in boxes or 2 or 5. Our traditional chocolates can be boxed in ½ pound or 1 pound boxes. All our boxes can tied with pretty bows ready to give.

With a minimum order, we can customize the label on any flavor of our Chocolate Bars with your name, your logo, your business, and even your photo, making our Chocolate Bars gift-ready, just for you.

Branson’s Chocolates, your gift giving paradise. Right here in Ashland at 1662 Siskiyou Boulevard, M-F 10-6, Sat 11-5.

Posted on

Customizing Chocolates

Local’s Guide: Aug 2017

Customizing Chocolates

Ask us about

CUSTOM MOLDED CHOCOLATE

and

CUSTOM LABELING

The delicious finishing touch for any business, any occasion, any event!

Let us customize our delicious chocolate for you.

 

Custom labels can be created from your business logo, your motto, your event, your photograph, even your name, just about anything that will fit on a label.

We custom label chocolate bars for many local businesses. In fact, if you’ve had chocolate at Paddington Station, Paddington Station’s Inspired By Oregon, The Paddington Jewel Box, all nine locations of The Grange Co-Op, Tudor Guild Gift Shop, Craterian Theater, Camalot Theatre, Holly Theatre, The English Lavender Farm, Sew Creative, Griffin Creek Coffee Roasting, Kriselle Cellars, Schmidt Family Vineyards, Paschal Winery and Vineyard, or Weisinger Family Winery, you’ve probably had Branson’s Chocolates without even realizing it.

Many businesses including Abigail’s Bed and Breakfast, Bayberry Inn Bed and Breakfast, The Iris Inn B&B, McCall House Bed and Breakfast, AmeriTitle Inc., Highbanks Machining, Siskiyou Endodontics, and Larry Steiner at Edward Jones Investments use our custom labeled chocolate for Thank You Gifts.

We create custom labeled chocolate for events such as weddings, showers, races, fundraisers, corporate meetings, grand openings, promotions, company dinners–anything you want to be remembered.

We can create Custom Molded Chocolate in almost any size bar or square, with your name or logo. Just ask Butler Automotive Group, Acorn Consulting Services Inc., Ashland’s Main Street Inn, or The Blue Giraffe.

If you want to talk about customizing Branson’s Chocolates for your business or event, stop by our store at 1662 Siskiyou Boulevard here in Ashland, M-F 10-6, Sat 11-5, except August 27th we will be at The 3rd Annual Benefit Car Show at Phoenix’s Petro Truck Stop/Iron Skillet Restaurant , 10am-4pm.

Posted on

Marzipan Creams

Local’s Guide: July 2017

Marzipan Creams

Marzipan Creams are our Item of the Month at Branson’s Chocolates in July. Marzipan is a sweet paste made of finely ground almonds and sugar or honey, and often flavored with vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, orange, or lemon. It is a traditional European treat eaten like candy, often molded into fruit shapes, sometimes dipped in chocolate. Our Marzipan Creams start with our classic cream recipe, stir in almond paste, and then dip it all in our delicious rich semi-sweet chocolate.

Across the world, Marzipan has many variations. In Latin America, the almonds are replaced by peanuts, and they call it Mazapan. In Mexico, pine nuts and pistachios are substituted for the almonds. In the Middle East, Marzipan is usually flavored with orange-flower water.

Marzipan treats have an ancient history. Legend has it that during a 15th century famine when flour became scarce, bakers created a replacement using eggs, sugar, and stores of almonds.In Germany and throughout much of northern Europe it is considered good luck to receive a Marzipan pig on Christmas or New Year’s Day. Marzipan is a traditional food to eat on weddings and religious feast days in Italy, Greece, and Cyprus.

But don’t think that Marzipan is only for European history buffs with a sweet tooth. People everywhere love Marzipan so much that it has its very own holiday—January 12th is National Marzipan Day.Marzipan is even the name of a character in the Nutcracker ballet. How sweet is that?

We won’t be out and about in July, so come see us in the store at 1662 Siskiyou Boulevard here in Ashland. We’re just a block south of 7-11, in the Minute Market shopping center. We’re open Monday-Friday 10-6, and Saturday 11-5. If you’re lucky, youmight even catch us dipping and pouring chocolate!

You can find Branson’s Chocolates on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, and at bransonschocolates.com for online chocolate shopping.

We will be closed on July 4th, come join us in celebrating our nation’s independence. Ashland puts on quite a party for the Fourth of July, starting with a hometown parade and ending with a fantastic fireworks display. Happy Fourth of July to you!

(Thanks to www.seriouseats.com/2010/12/marzipan-history-what-is-it-almonds.html  andwww.bbcgoodfood.com/glossary/marzipan .)

Posted on

The English Lavender Farm’s Lavender Square

Local’s Guide:June 2017

The English Lavender Farm’s Lavender Square

We have partnered with our local English Lavender Farms this month to bring you English Lavender Farms Lavender Squares. We have been making Lavender and Sea Salt Bitter-Sweet Chocolate Bars and Lavender Salted Caramels. English Lavender Farms Lavender Squares will join our gourmet line. We steep English Lavender Farms lavender buds and infuse them into a semi-sweet ganache center, then dip the ganache in our semi-sweet chocolate, and top it with a stripe made from purple- tinted white chocolate. The lavender is a subtle background flavor and beautifully complements our dark, delicious chocolate. English Lavender Farms Lavender Squares are an indulgent, aromatic treat for the senses.

The English Lavender Farm, run by Sue and Derek Owen, opened to the public for the first time in the summer of 2014. They have been planting Angustafolias (English Lavenders) since 2012 and are turning their lavender farm into a luxurious venue for weddings and other events. Their farm is set on a gentle hillside, and there are stunning vistas of row upon row of purple lavender. They have spent time in Provence with French lavender farmers, and love to discuss the history of lavender production. Their drying barn serves also as a gift shop, and it is well-stocked with a wide variety of handmade lavender products produced on the farm, including Branson’s Chocolates English Lavender Farms Lavender Squares, Lavender and Sea Salt Bitter-Sweet Chocolate Bars, and Lavender Salted Caramels.

We won’t be out and about in June, so come see us in the store at 1662 Siskiyou Boulevard here in Ashland. We’re just a block south of 7-11, in the Minute Market shopping center. We’re open Monday-Friday 10-6, and Saturday 11-5. Maybe you will even catch us dipping and pouring chocolate!

You can find Branson’s Chocolates on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, and at bransonschocolates.com for online chocolate shopping.

 

(Thanks to http://www.englishlavenderfarm.com/)

Posted on

Ginger Squares

Local’s Guide: May 2017

Ginger Squares

Dark Chocolate Ginger Squares are the newest item at Branson’s Chocolates. We use Spiritopia Ginger Liqueur, “The World’s Finest Sipping Ginger”, crafted locally in Corvallis. Spiritopia uses only “ultra premium ingredients because taste rules”, uses no artificial ingredients, and we are proud to feature their Ginger Liqueur. Our Dark Chocolate Ginger Squares start with a dark chocolate ganache center made with Ginger Liqueur, then we dip the ganache in another layer of dark chocolate, and top it with a white chocolate stripe. It has a deliciously warm and slightly spicy flavor.

Ginger has a very long history of being used in traditional and alternative medicine, and is given the status of a “natural medicine chest” in ancient Ayurvedic medicine because of its numerous health benefits. Ginger has many benefits beyond helping fighting the flu and the common cold. Ginger has been used to help digestion, is often used to treat chronic indigestion, and appears to be highly effective against nausea, having long been used as a remedy for morning sickness and sea sickness. There is some evidence that it may even be as effective as prescription medication. The active ingredient in ginger can help fight infections, ginger’s anti-inflammatory effects can help with osteoarthritis, and may be effective over time at reducing muscle pain and soreness.

In relatively new research, substances in ginger appear to lower cholesterol levels, improve brain functions and protect against Alzheimer’s, lower blood sugars, improve heart disease risk factors, and even help prevent cancer.

Ginger is delicious added to hot tea, juice, or smoothies, or the best idea of all, our Dark Chocolate Ginger Squares.

If you want to catch us out and about in May, we will be at—

  • The Jackson County Master Gardener’s Spring Garden Fair at the Jackson County Expo, May 6th and 7th, Saturday 9am-5pm and Sunday 10am-4p.

You can find Branson’s Chocolates on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, and at bransonschocolates.com for online chocolate shopping.

 

(Thanks to https://authoritynutrition.com/11-proven-benefits-of-ginger/ and http://www.foodmatters.com/article/10-healing-benefits-of-ginger)

Posted on

English Toffee

Local’s Guide: April 2017

English Toffee

We are featuring English Toffee this month at Branson’s Chocolates. Our Old-Fashioned English Toffee is cooked in a copper kettle and poured onto a table to cool, then each piece is hand-dipped in creamy Milk Chocolate or rich Semi-Sweet 58% (Dark) Chocolate and topped with bits of roasted, salted, almonds.

 

Crunchy, buttery caramelized sugar with nuts and chocolate—what’s not to love? As it turns out, only its name. The English Toffee so many of us prize is actually an American invention. What the English call Toffee is a plain candy made of sugar and butter, sometimes with added nuts. But what Americans call English Toffee is actually what the English call Buttercrunch. Either way, this crunchy chocolaty confection is one of our best sellers! Come on in, get some for yourself, and find out why.

 

Easter Sunday is April 16th, and even though we always make chocolate bunnies till we’re bursting at the seams, they are so popular that we always manage to run out. This year, in order to guarantee your bunnies in the chocolate of your choice, we are accepting pre-orders. Please call 541-488-7493.

 

If you want to catch us out and about in April, here’s where we will be—

  • April 6th, Thursday 7:30-10:30pm, I will be at the 16th Annual Ashland Independent Film Festival’s Opening Night Bash – Savor the Rogue®. This event includes delicious tastings of local foods and beverages, and a no-host bar. Tickets are required. ashlandfilm.org

 

  • April 7th-8th, Friday 3-10pm and Saturday 10-5pm, I will be at the Pear-a-Fare in downtown Medford during the Pear Blossom Festival. This event includes vineyards, breweries, distillers, local artisan food makers are all under the festival canopy serving tastes, and selling products. Tasting glasses and tickets to sample the flavors will be for sale at the Pear-a-Fare entrance. Vendors will also be selling wine, beer, coffee, and other local drinks by the glass. Our artisan food makers will have a wide variety of products for sale as well as samples available.org

 

You can find Branson’s Chocolates on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, and at bransonschocolates.com for online chocolate shopping.

 

(Thanks to http://www.sallybernstein.com/food/columns/zonis/toffee-buttercrunch.html)

Posted on

Earl Grey Tea Squares

Local’s Guide: March 2017

Earl Grey Tea Squares

Maybe you’ve heard the story of about a gift of black tea and bergamot oranges being sent from China, only to have the tea accidentally absorb the orange’s flavor during shipping. Or the one about how a friend of the Earl Charles Gray blended bergamot oil into the Earl’s tea because of the mineral flavor of the water? Or maybe how the recipe for Earl Gray Tea was actually given to the Earl as a reward for his accomplishments in China? However the recipe came about, today Earl Gray Tea is a well-loved favorite with many benefits.

  1. The bergamot in Earl Gray Tea relaxes and relieves stress, fights anxiety and depression, and boosts mood. And it has enough caffeine for a boost of energy, clarity, and focus.
  2. One of the most popular effects of Earl Grey Tea is weight loss, and it is considered to be a natural cold remedy, both thanks to the bergamot extract.
  3. Tea helps you stay hydrated due to its high potassium content.
  4. Earl Grey Tea contains high quantities of antioxidants, which helps fight off free radicals that cause diseases such as cancer. Antioxidants also help your skin to stay healthy by fighting the free radicals that damage skin.
  5. A study found that people who drank three cups of black tea daily dramatically lowered their triglyceride levels and increased their ‘good cholesterol’ HDL after three months, lowering their risk for heart disease. The participants also had increased levels of antioxidants. And research on patients with high levels of blood fats found that ‘bad’ cholesterol (LDL) was reduced by 39% after a month of taking Earl Grey extract. It also reduced blood sugars by 22% and raised ‘good’ cholesterol by 41%. The reduction in blood sugar also shows that Earl Grey Tea may be highly beneficial for those suffering with diabetes.

But the best thing about Earl Gray Tea is that it is delicious, which is why BRANSON’S CHOCOLATES created our EARL GRAY TEA SQUARES. We steep Earl Gray Tea into rich cream, and then stir it into a dark chocolate ganache. We cover the ganache in milk chocolate, and top it with a stripe of more dark chocolate. We are passionate about local products from local vendors, so we use tea from Full Leaf Tea Company based in White City, and cream from Umpqua Dairy.

You can find us, and our EARL GRAY TEA SQUARES, at

  • The Oregon Chocolate Festival at Ashland Hills Hotel & Suites, March 4th-6th, Friday & Saturday.
  • The Oregon Cheese Festival at Rogue Creamery on March 18th-19th, Saturday & Sunday.

Bransons Chocolates              @bransonschocolates         Branson’s Chocolates

https://bransonschocolates.wordpress.com/  for our new blog!

https://bransonschocolates.com/  for online chocolate shopping

 

(http://worldteanews.com/insights/brief-history-earl-grey  and http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/10-surprising-benefits-earl-grey-tea-you-never-knew.html)