Learn to Eat Chocolate with the Real Willie Wonka


Theobroma–“Food of the Gods”

Two weeks ago, I decided I wanted to be the real Charlie in the Chocolate Factory.

Two reasons: 1) because it seemed like fun, like when I decided to play with monkeys not long ago, and 2) because I wanted to learn the little-known art of eating and choosing chocolate, which I could then share with you. It’s a simple way to seriously upgrade your Valentine’s experience.

Since I use Scharffen Berger gourmet chocolate for most of my truffle making (70% cacao), I tracked down their most famous chocolate maker, Brad Kintzer, and convinced him to take me behind the scenes for a tasting.

Below are four video clips that explore everything from pairing with scotch and the taste trail of dark chocolate to the importance of blending cocoa beans for the perfect chocolate…

Here are a few cool facts about chocolate to pique your curiosity:

1. Anandamide (from “ananda” in Sanskrit, which means “bliss”), a messenger molecule sometimes called the “chocolate amphetamine,” is unique in its resemblance to THC, the active psychotropic in marijuana.

2. The chief stimulant in chocolate, an alkaloid called theobromine, comes from the latin genus theobroma, which means “food of the gods.”

3. In the US Department of Agriculture’s ORAC ((Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) chart, raw cocoa powder is at the top of the antioxidant list with almost four times the amount of antioxidants as Goji Berries.

How do you take a a bean that not intended to be eaten and reveal more than 1,000 flavor compounds, which is rivaled only by coffee?

Let the real Willie Wonka explain how to satisfy — and make the most of — your sweet tooth this Valentine’s Day.

Thanks to Gennaro Strangis for helping me with camera work and eating a few kilos of chocolate :)

PART 1 – Introduction to Brad and the spectrum of chocolates

PART 2 – Tastings and flavors, “semi-sweet” vs. “bittersweet”, and percentages of cocoa content

PART 3 – Pairing with Scotch, choosing, and tasting nibs

PART 4 – Experiencing the candy store

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For next week:
How to Lose 20 lbs. of Fat in 30 Days… Without Doing Any Exercise


Odds and Ends: Get Goodies from Me for Valentine’s Day, Cosmo Thinks 4HWW is Sexy…

V-Day Goodness from Me:

Would you like a big and beautiful Joseph Schmidt Valentine package from yours truly, replete with all the best chocolates they have? Or, if chocolate’s not your thing, some delish Ginger Snapdragon cookies from LizLovely? Just give me three bullet point reasons in the comments no later than 5pm PST Tuesday, and I’ll choose one of you to join me in sweet indulgences. If you really want to win, put up a video on YouTube with “4hourvalentine” in the tags and link to it in the comments. Have some fun :)

Cosmo and Sexy Time for 4HWW:

You may have noticed in this month’s Cosmo that, between “Arouse Him Like Crazy” and “Great Butt and Thighs,” The 4-Hour Workweek is voted on pg. 38 as “sexy” in the monthly “Sexy vs. Skanky” list. Yeeeeah, baby! Thanks to Vanessa for the tip off. Larger size here.

Posted on: February 11, 2008.

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Comment Rules: Remember what Fonzie was like? Cool. That’s how we’re gonna be — cool. Critical is fine, but if you’re rude, we’ll delete your stuff. Please do not put your URL in the comment text and please use your PERSONAL name or initials and not your business name, as the latter comes off like spam. Have fun and thanks for adding to the conversation! (Thanks to Brian Oberkirch for the inspiration)

98 comments on “Learn to Eat Chocolate with the Real Willie Wonka

  1. Whats goin on Tim? I havent read your book yet, but its definately something I plan on doing. But heres why I deserve to win some of those delicious LizLovely cookies….

    1.) I dont bike 150 miles (for fun) or breast feed, but I can tell you that some extra sugar during the day would be great for myself and the guys at work….

    2.) I work for the Army and most of us usually have the mindset that if its vegan, it cant taste good. I want to put a little experiment together and I bet most of them wouldnt have a clue that its vegan.

    3.) I also was in an edition of Cosmo’s Sexy vs. Skanky. Unfortunately, I was stuck in the skanky side and I bet those Liz Lovely cookies are exactly what I need to make the big jump!!


  2. Hi Tim,

    First off I have to say I love your mind, body and soul. You seem really connected to life and that is rare in the world, Kudos and Yummm ;) Thanks for all your inspiration so all of us can become more whole and less addicted to distraction. (Ha-ha I said dicted!)
    BTW- Heart IS my last name and there is a story behind it. It doesn’t come from my Mother’s wish for her daughter to be asked for years-Did your name come from the TV show Hart to Hart?

    On to the list-
    * Daddy, I want a chocolate box now! I want the whole world- Give it to me NOW!
    * You must give ME the chocolate as it is your duty as a single man to give to a single woman. Consequences for insubordination are being hand cuffed, flogged and hot chocolate.
    * Because chocolate is a substitute for not yet having a special someone to make love to. And another fun fact- Chocolate contains phenethylamine, a nutrient that enhances mood and is the chemical we produce in our brains when we fall in love.

    How do you like them apples?!!

    Happy Valentines Day!
    Love and Hugs,


  3. 1- As a vegan, my favorite vegetable is sugar cane; my second favorite is ginger.

    2- If I get the case, I promise to eat a cookie, give a cookie away, so even more people can enjoy (eh, get addicted to…) these dangerously decadent treats.

    3- I live in the quirkily fabulous Mad River Valley, home of the Liz Lovely Cookie Factory (which is adjacent to the American Flatbread transport center, which is across the street from where Green Mountain Coffee roasted its first beans, which is 20 minutes from Ben & Jerry’s factory…we love our goodly creative food here…) and so you won’t have to pay for shipping–I will pick them up! Today if possible!


  4. I would love to win the Liz Lovely cookies because:

    1. I love those cookies. They’re great.
    2. I have a kiddie pool full of milk just waiting to be dunked into
    3. I’ve gotta do something with the other 36 hours of my week that I’m not working ;-)



  5. Hi Tim,

    I’m a fan of your book and blog. So inspired, in fact, I quit my day job in October and went full-time in my studio. I want that chocolate! Reasons why are these:

    1)Two weeks after quitting my day job I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I’m doing battle (and winning!) with the best of Western and Eastern medicine. I need those antioxidents, man!

    2)I’m a young single woman and I’ll be spending my Valentine’s Day morning getting radiation treatment and meeting with my oncologist about side effects.

    3)If I’m not having sex this Valentine’s Day, at least I need to be having chocolate. (Like you, Tim, I eat a little dark choc every night as well, actually…so even if I don’t win, I’ll eat some chocolate)

    By the way, congrats! 4HWW is totally NOW and sexy. Glad Cosmo is on board. i am sure that means so much. *grin*

    If you want to verify my (sob)story, I’m writing a blog on it here:

    Thanks, Tim.


  6. Everyone deserves cookies, but of all people I deserve a box of Liz Lovely cookies for, hopefully, what you see as three darn tootin good reasons.
    -I love in Colorado where Liz Lovely unfortunately does not distribute, too, but everytime I’m home I smuggle them here in my bookbag.
    -I’m a starving, vegan college student and although we’ll be the first to say we aren’t deprived of sweets, we are! Were cheap and too busy to cook our own!
    -For Valentine’s day my roomate and I are going bowling. We are losers in dire need of some love! Liz Lovely that is.


  7. I deserve to win the Liz Lovely Ginger Snap Dragon cookies because:

    1: I eat them every week on my way to band practice; it helps me concentrate
    2: My kids always try to eat them all, so I need all the extras I can get to share
    3: They go great with ginger kombucha, plus they’re the same color as my guitar…


  8. My three reasons:

    1. Cookies are the best way to express “I Girl-Love You” to other ladies. I would wear that slogan on a T-shirt if you made it, but the cookies would work better for girls.

    2. Savoring a cookie on your mat and listening to a story before taking a nap is the daily secret to success. Ask any pre-schooler.

    3. Cookies are the distillation of the finest things, and therefore can be balm a troubled soul, can dissolve barriers and can offer transcendence. I want some of that, please!


  9. As for this contest, I deserve to win the Liz Lovely Ginger Snapdragon Cookies because:

    1: I eat them every week for inspiration on the way to band practice
    2: I need all the extras I can get to share with my kids
    3: They go great with ginger kombucha, plus they’re the same color as my guitar…


  10. Please rescue me with a chocolate delivery!

    1. My job (which is not a four-hour work week – must buy that book) has sent me into the 20-below, snow-covered wilds of the Adirondacks, with no chocolatier in sight.

    2. I work all week with about 200 construction guy, none of whom is my valentine.

    3. A chocolate delivery would warm the cockles of my heart.

    A Chocolate-loving Damsel in Distress


  11. I would love to win those Liz Lovely Ginger Snapdragons because
    1) They sure beat animal cookies or any other kind of cookie for that matter!
    2) They are so tasty and delicious. They tingle your tongue and tickle your tummy as you gush with glee from gnashing your teeth on those gingery giant gems.
    3) I tasted Liz Lovely’s cookies in Vermont but haven’t found them any where around here in rural New York and my mouth is just watering thinking about them. Do me a gingery favor and select my entry, please kind sir.


  12. This message is for Tim but all are welcome to reply to me..

    This is random and not part of the chocolate story..

    Does anyone ever feel like quitting the mindless drome of society and leaving all material possessions behind? I lately feel like travelling indefinately and just living like….i dunno what the word is….

    It seems as a more beautfiul life to spend it around nature and out of our business driven, advertising swamped, material greedy society that has been created.

    I feel it more and more now to abandon the lifestyle that most people attain to. Even if just for a short while.

    Anyone else feel like this or imagine at times?

    Email me if you do mattbailey84@hotmail.com

    Im interested to hear the ideas.


  13. For the Liz Lovely package:
    Please, please send me those scrumptious Snapdragons!
    – I’m lactose intolerant and most of the vegan cookies out there are SO boring. Liz Lovely’s are outstanding and really wake up your mouth!
    – I work for a nonprofit so I have a low cookie budget (and I promise to share)
    – My name begins with an “L” too!


  14. 1. I deserve the cookies and treats because I am skinny!
    2. If I win, I will have more to share with my husband and daughter
    3. I could also use the added calories, it has been so dang cold here, I live in Minnesota:(


  15. Okay, here we go:

    [1] All that gingery-goodness would certainly help clear the nasal passages which are currently in desperate need due to the cold and wind of my first Chicago winter.

    [2] I would share these lovely delights with the eighteen other people suffering through the first-year program of the mathematics PhD program at the University of Chicago, who are all needing a bit of love due to rather longer than four-hour work weeks. (The rest of the college has this Friday off for “suicide prevention day,” except the graduate students.)

    [3] As my partner left for Cambridge UK at New Year’s, I am living the celibate life until we reunite at the end of June, and will spend Valentine’s Day studying for a functional analysis midterm.

    [3.14159265...]* I’m the only first-year who has ever had Liz Lovely cookies! This is a tragedy of major proportions which needs to be rectified!

    *Given the main topic of this post, I thought it would be appropriate to give pi (=pie) many reasons…

    thanks for the awesome blog,


  16. The best three reasons why you should select us for the Liz Lovely cookie give away are:

    1)Liz and Dan are Lovely people, it’s true I know them personally.

    2) My kids love the cookies and they are a healthy snack alternative

    3) They’re soooo damn good



  17. 1. I deserve the cookies because I am bulimic and I would enjoy the cookies “twice” as much as anyone else…please…please….give me the cookies!!!


  18. #1. I have not received a valentines gift in 4 years…due to my never ending divorce…I deserve something…the ex-husband is a nice gift…but I would LOVE to have TREATS too!!!


  19. 1) Because I’ll out eat you and you’ll be impressed

    2) Because winning an extra 5 lbs of fat is way cooler than loosing it =)

    3) I. Love. Chocolate. And you too, if that helps me win.


  20. ……Liked this post,

    Only thing I have to complain about Tim is that I had a terrible craving for chocolate after this post, Thanks!!!! There went the diet, I am having to go grapple twice now to get rid of some of these extra calories….LOL

    Check out Nicaragua when you get a chance, they have kickass coffee beans…

    Jose Castro-Frenzel


  21. * my wife is away for Valentine’s Day and I have been looking for something extra special when we celebrate on her return

    * it would be like outsourcing, while simplifying my choices at the same time

    * I have some Oban Single Malt, one of the 6 Classic Malts, that would go really well with some of that chocolate.


  22. OK…I’m Back!

    Here’s the link to You Tube for the video I made this afternoon…

    Phew! Man, what an adventure…my video camera is broken so I went to the closest store, which is Staples, to buy a new camera and every model that I wanted was out of stock! Not having a whole lot of time to get this finished I opted to use the video function in my Palm Centro Phone which I have never done before…quick trip to Trader Joe’s to come up with an idea for a recipe on the fly, pick up a few things and then off to the beach to make the video. No cameraman, just me winging it, without even knowing if any of it was going to work (I’ve never posted to you tube before). Got it on the first take…it’s not super-exciting but it’s not bad for a first try! I had alot of fun just putting it all together and making things up as I went along.

    I am re-posting my 3 reasons here in case it gets confusing:


    * I can show you how to make Truffles or any other kind of Chocolate Delight with a little known Sweetener that Looks and Tastes Just Like Sugar, Has a Glycemic Index of Zero, has Zero Calories, is All Natural, and has Absolutely No Aftertaste whatsoever…(No it’s not Stevia or Xylitol or any other thing you’ve probably heard of)

    * I will give you a very generous quantity of this Sweetener for your own personal use and testing…and if you love it (which I think you will) maybe you would consider some kind of endorsement in exchange for an unlimited personal supply??? This product is actually my Muse…and who knows it might make a great case study as well…

    * You can now be free to eat chocolate anytime you like (assuming it’s the sugar that’s stopping you) as well as adding true sugar-like taste and sweetness to anything else you want…




  23. Gingersnaps are spicy cool treats that are sooooo good for you

    The Liz company is a true small business dream come true, they should be an example we can all strive to goal for.

    Besides saving animals and being vegetarian, they are saving people by being so good for you and tasting so good for you, that every one what’s to eat them:)


  24. Hi Tim!
    Ready? Here goes…
    1. I recently decided to quit my job and make a movie (which has been my lifelong dream)!!! My last day of work is tomorrow and Valentines day will be my first day of preproduction:-) I have the script done, the 3 main roles cast and so far everything is falling into place. I’m so stoked I actually find myself grinning randomly throughout the day! Chocolate would even enhance the high ;-)
    2. On the other hand, this could very well be (que music..) the beginning of the end. I’ll spare the boring details but given my present circumstances and the rediculously challenging nature of the film industry, I might have screwed myself just a little :-/ I already weighed this option and decided it was worth it because I’ve always wanted to do this, but it will still be on my mind come Thursday… and chocolate it the best thing for denial.
    3. I’m single. Don’t send it to a couple. They have eachother damnit. ;-)


  25. Hi Again,

    My last comment appears to be stuck in the process of moderation and I apologize if this post is redundant but I wanted to make sure my You Tube link shows up before the 5 pm deadline, so here it is again:




  26. 1. I need to prove to my husband that vegan food can be delicious, and vegan cookies especially, can be knock-your-socks-off yummy. Bottom line: I want to buy the cookies, but my husband fears it would be gross and not worth the money.

    2. My cat loves cookies and I want her to try these! She only lets me cradle her like a baby if I feed her something that makes her belly happy.

    3. My home value has dropped over $250K and I need to eat away my woes.


  27. * Because tardiness is next to godliness
    * Because I need to slap more lard on my ass.
    * Because I once had to sell pens for a living.


  28. Sorry, don’t know where else to write…

    I have a HUGE idea, nothing like it out there,
    found a patent attorney, helped me write up a patent application, submitted it and now trying to license or sell the idea – no one will even listen.

    You said in your book you have helped people,
    PLEASE give me a second of your time! I beg you!!



    Hi Jess,

    Please search “Stephen Key” on this blog and you’ll find the right concepts and people for licensing. They’re the pros. Good luck!



  29. I love this!

    First, I am a Liz Lovely Fan Club vegan cookie eatin’ chocolickin’ life lovin’ gal! (the Ginger Snapdragons and the Cowboy Cookies are my two favorites!)

    Second, I’m willing to share my cookie winnins’ with less fortunate cookie eaters.

    Third, I will now share with you a not-so-secret: You must find your way to 30, Rue Des Saints-Peres, Paris, France, where you will then enter the most lovely chocolate establishment…quite possibly in the world! Debauve & Gallais. Try the 99% cacao Chocolat bar. Oh my!

    Thank you for your great blog!


  30. Just wanted to say that I completed Tim’s 7 hour
    CD and it is some of the best marketing information
    available today.

    Great job.

    Mike Smith
    Creative Advertising Services NET


  31. :P to Vanessa for tipping you off. I really could have snorted my water out my nose while perusing a Cosmo a few weeks from now while getting my pre-spring pedicure. pssht.

    Seriously, that rocks. No explanation, just “The 4-Hour Workweek” I think that officially makes it an icon :)



  32. It’s already 5:30 AM on the 15th so V-day’s come and gone but Happy Valentine’s Day from the Land of the Rising Sun! (Did you know that men/boys RECEIVE the chocolate here on Valentine’s Day…then on March 14, they are supposed to reciprocate with a gift of some sort like jewelry or a new purse? What a great marketing strategy by the candy companies!) BTW I just stopped by the LizLovely site upon your fab-o recommendation. Wish they shipped overseas…I can think of a bunch of folks who would go orgasmic over their baked goodies. But we’re moving back to Texas after 4 FANTABULOUS years living in beautiful Kamakura (SOB SNIFF WHINE…so I guess I’ll be hunting down LizLovely in my local Whole Foods and sending a care package back to Japan. Arigato gozaimashta…for sharing the love and knowledge!


  33. Tim, I have to admit, your book has changed my life. Fortunately and/or unfortunately it also made me go into a depression. How? Why? I realized many things I have been doing wrongly in my life. Now, I’m the most effective person, I’m making the most money I have ever made and I’m working the least (about three hours per week for $60,000). I feel weird, my boss thinks I’m great employee and he thinks very highly of me. I only meet five minutes with him every two weeks to keep him updated and I have three business ideas going on. Yet, I feel that I don’t know how to get excitment about life again. I know I should be grateful but I can’t avoid feeling like in a limbo. Everything is working fine. I have beautiful women inviting me to go to other countries with everything paid and others want to settle down.

    I guess I need to get use to the idea of transitioning to this new uncluttered person. I’m seing a psychologist .. he doesn’t know why do I feel empty. Have you even felt this way?


    Hi O,

    This is very, very common. Filling the void is the hardest of all. Please reread that chapter and search “Groundhog Day” on this blog for some great experiments people have done to address this.

    Best of luck — it’s a battle worth fighting,



  34. Hi Tim,

    Excellent post! It actually relates to what I am currently working on. I wasn’t sure how else to contact you, but I wanted to let you know that your book was the final piece in the puzzle that helped me complete my newest entrepreneurial venture. See link related to this comment!

    It just about answered all the questions I needed – I listen to chapters 6 – 12 at least once a week since October. I wasn’t sure how to set up a lot of that stuff like the relationships between manufacturers and mailing services, your instructions were perfect! I love how you include estimated costs, that was something I was concerned about.

    Thank you so much for printing when you did!

    As for anyone reading this blog – BUY 4 HOUR WORK WEEK now if you want to succeed in business on the first go around!

    D Sanchez


  35. I know it’s an old post, but it seemed like the best place for my question…

    I know you have your “nutritional day off” on Saturdays- I’ve done the same on Sundays for as long as I can remember. I also follow that you cheat occasionally- I do the same frequently. I was wondering- if you cheat on your diet on another day of the week- for whatever reason, maybe you had the opportunity to eat something great, maybe you felt you deserved a treat- do you then say “OK today is going to be my day off instead of Saturday,” or do you just flat-out cheat?

    D’avance merci!