The Perks of Perfect Percolation…

… or how I learned to brew the perfect cup of coffee.

mug and coffee

Java, Joe, Brew, Sludge.  Call it what you will; coffee is integral to the social proprieties of many cultures.  It is a concoction that provides the lubricant to many an interaction.  In our own family, it was a ” right of passage” signaling (with the addition of cream and sugar) that one was becoming an adult, after which coffee became a thing of beauty–something to always look for in its best presentation.

Yes, coffee snobs are we–it “ain’t purty” yet alas, it is what it is.  Anything less would be ordinary and a diminishment.  With that said, below are the steps to making your own perk perfect:

  1. INVEST IN A BURR COFFEE GRINDER.   It’s amazing what a difference that one thing makes.  When you grind coffee you increase the surface area of the coffee bean that is exposed to air hastening the release of the oils that give it its rich flavor. Grind coffee right before you use it.

    brown coffee beans on glass container

    Photo by on

  2. Buy Good Coffee.  The better coffee you start with the better beverage you end with. Chocolaterie Stam has a full line of European style and flavored coffees roasted by an artisanal Iowa roaster.  They roast in small batches and ship weekly to our stores ensuring that the freshest coffee possible is each Chocolaterie Stam location.
  3. KEEP YOUR DRIP COFFEE MAKER AND COFFEE POT CLEAN.  Coffee oils cling to everything and once they’re deposited they start growing rancid.  Wash out your pot and filter basket every time you make a fresh pot and clean your coffee maker once a week. Descale it once a month. And do remember to clean the shower heads up under where the filter basket goes
  4. USE ENOUGH COFFEE   The biggest mistake that people make when making coffee in a drip coffee maker is using too little coffee.  You should use a full tablespoon of ground coffee for every 8 ounces of water.  Measure it out the first few times and you’ll be surprised how much coffee that actually is.

    restaurant beans coffee morning

    Photo by Pixabay on

  5. USE FRESH, COLD WATER.  Some people recommend using distilled water with all the minerals and impurities removed.  Frankly, distilled water is good for your machine, but it makes flat tasting coffee. If your tap water is good for drinking, it will make good coffee.  If it’s not, use a water filter or use spring water.
  6. AVOID THE TEMPTATION TO USE THE BREW PAUSE.  The first cups or so of coffee will carry most of the coffee flavor.  If you pour that off and return the pot to fill the rest of the way, the first cup of coffee will be very strong, and the rest of the post very weak. Practice patience, grasshopper.
  7. TAKE THE COFFEE OFF THE WARMING PLATE WHEN IT’S DONE BREWING. Coffee left on the warmer plate will continue to “cook”.  Instead, pour any coffee that’s left over into a thermal pot, preferably one with a vacuum seal.
  8. THE RIGHT MUG. Great coffee comes from great mugs. Don’t forget it.

    white coffee mug on brown surface

    Photo by Lisa Fotios on


The First Annual Milk Chocolate of Human Kindness



We’ve all seen it–drooping shoulders, blank stares or uncontrollable weeping–it is a body language that unmistakably comes from loss or failure. Conversely, we’ve all witnessed those who have felt great joy, whether from success, a great love or the thrill of a new adventure.

Great emotion, from either pole, often inspires its witness to act.

To rephrase, when called upon, the human condition is ready to do battle and perhaps, foster greatness.

At Chocolaterie Stam, our first love is our chocolate .  Our second, “mi amor” is for our customers.  Oh, and never to forget, our family is somewhere high up there in the mix, also.

Chocolate is a great leveler.  Meaning, it can be appropriate in any circumstance.

With that said, we ask if you know of someone who needs a little boost, a little inspiration, a little tenderness, or just an “atta-boy” or “atta-girl”, and you want to encourage them.

Like the Orbison song goes, “anything you want, you got it.”  Whether sad or happy, with chocolate, we stand ready to help.   Stam’s is proud to serve!

We announce on August, 22nd 2014, the first annual Stam’s Milk Chocolate of Human Kindness Day. On that day in participating Chocolaterie Stam stores, we will be giving away to the first 100 people who stop into our shops, a one piece box of milk chocolate (one box per customer, please) that carries a gift message to its recipient that who ever gives it, could be trying to say that  “It get’s better” or “I am so proud of you!”

No purchase necessary, no gimmicks.  Just be human, caring, and stop by a participating Stam’s, and think that chocolate… especially Stam chocolate, might make a difference.

The cow jumped over it, Neil Armstrong landed on it, and…

…we’re over the moon for this recipe.  In honor of the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing on July 20th, we present our version of the moon pie.

The first Moon Pies were made by the Chattanooga Bakery in 1917 and were based upon requests from hungry coal miners. When a Chattanooga Bakery salesman visited a company store that catered to coal miners, the miners told him they wanted something solid and filling, because they often didn’t get time for a full lunch. When the salesman asked them how big the snack should be, a miner framed his hands around the moon hanging in the sky and said, “About that big.”

Chocolaterie Stam  Mini Moon Pies
The easiest way ever to make this vintage classic, this recipe calls for just four ingredients, and takes less than 10 minutes to make! Enjoy a nostalgic favorite in no time at all!
Makes 12

24 Vanilla Wafer cookies
1 cup mini marshmallows
1 cup Chocolate Stam dark chocolate drops
1 tablespoon coconut oil


Lay vanilla wafer cookies out on a clean work surface, curved side up. Place ½ cup of mini marshmallows in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave them for 15-20 seconds, just until melted and fluffy.

Working quickly, spread about 1 ½ tablespoons of melted marshmallow on the curved side of 6 vanilla wafers. Press a second wafer on top, curved-side down. This will give your final cookies a flat top and bottom (just like the original Moon Pies!)

Repeat with the second ½ cup of marshmallows.

In another small microwave-safe bowl, melt Stam dark chocolate drops with coconut oil for 30 seconds. Stir and return to microwave for another 30 seconds. Stir once more and return to microwave, if needed. Chocolate will melt before it gets hot, and your goal it to get a smooth chocolate without it actually being warm to the touch. This will keep your chocolate from mottling as it cools.

Plunge cookies into the chocolate mixture. Transfer to a piece of parchment paper. Once all cookies have been dipped, place them in the fridge for 10-15 minutes to all the chocolate to harden.

C’mon Lucky 7! It’s World Chocolate Day All Week Long at Stam’s


Lucky Us! Lucky You! We're celebrating World Chocolate Day all week long!

As chocolatiers, we may have the happiest job in the world. We get to spend our days melting and blending and filling (and tasting!) and selling our world-class confections, and we think that makes us some pretty lucky people.

July 7th (lucky number 7/7) is World Chocolate Day! (Appropriately, this year’s digits (2014) add up to 7, as well. Jackpot!) To celebrate this auspicious day, we’ve planned a week of extra-special specials in our Ingersoll store.

Day One: Monday, July 7, 2014 Roll the Die Day
Come in to Chocolaterie Stam on Ingersoll and roll a die at the time of purchase for your discount. You’ll save 10 times your roll, so a 6 will get you 60% off your total!

Day Two: Tuesday, July 8th 2014 Choc-o-Let’s Make a Deal!
We’ll give you a 10% discount, which you can choose to use, or risk it all for a chance at a prize worth up to $10. 

Day Three: Wednesday, July 9th, 2014 Dealer’s Day Off
The croupier has the croup, so the cashier has to make the deal today. If you draw the high card, you’ll win a 10% discount on any purchase (excluding wine). If the dealer wins, better luck next time!

Day Four: Thursday July 10th, 2014 Better Luck This Time!
Our stakes are higher today, but you can’t lose! Draw the high card and win a 20% discount on any purchase (excluding wine). If the dealer wins, it’s your lucky day: you still get 10% off!

Day Five: Friday, July 11th, 2014 Five-Finger Discount (Rock, Paper Scissors)
Purchase $25 or more and play Rock, Paper, Scissors at checkout. If you win, you’ll get $5 Stam gift card. If you don’t win, it’s out of your hands. LOL

Day Six: Saturday, July 12th, 2014 Four of a Kind Gelato Day
Today you can score a special foursome of 2 oz. gelato and sorbetto selections for $7. Our signature gelati and dairy-free sorbettos are hand-crafted using traditional Italian techniques and ingredients. We partner with Picket Fence creamery to create some the most extraordinary frozen treats we’ve tasted.

Day Seven: Sunday, July 13th, 2014 Luck be a Lady Happy Hour
We made it to the end of the week without losing our shirt, yet we still have one more special up our sleeves! On Sunday, July 14th, between 2 and 5 pm, ladies get two-for-one gelato, cremosas, Italian sodas, and coffees.

Play the Gelato Lotto!

GelatoLottoYou can win a Chocolaterie Stam Gelato Party for 6 people! Print this word search and correctly fill it out.  Return to any participating Chocolaterie Stam with your email address and we will draw one random winner each week until September 1st.  We must have a valid email to contact the winner otherwise we will continue to draw until we have selected a winner. No purchase necessary to win.

Lift a glass to Chocolate!

Here’s the skinny.  First off…. GET GOOD CHOCOLATE!

The more sugar in the chocolate, the more sweetness we need to consider for the wine. #1 rule of thumb when pairing up desserts with wine; the wine should always be perceived as sweet as the chocolate. When it comes to chocolate, the higher the percent of cocoa, the less sugar in the chocolate

So to make wine and chocolate pairing easier, you may simply refer to the tables below.

Red Wines and Chocolate Pairings
Wines Chocolate
Beaujolais Extra Dark Chocolate
Cabernet Sauvignon Dark Chocolate
Merlot Dark Chocolate
Pinot Noir Dark Chocolate/Milk Chocolate
Sangiovese Dark Chocolate
Zinfandel Dark Chocolate

White wines have a light body which goes very well with milk chocolates. But if you are feeling adventurous, you might also experiment with white wine and white chocolate pairing.

When it comes to dessert wine, you should toss the rules about wine and chocolate pairings. Champagnes seem to go well with almost any type of chocolate, while Port and Sherry are on opposite ends of the chocolate spectrum.

White Wines and Chocolate Pairings
Wines Chocolate
Chardonnay White Chocolate
Riesling Milk Chocolate
Sauvignon Blanc Milk Chocolate

When it comes to dessert wine, you should toss the rules about wine and chocolate pairings. Champagnes seem to go well with almost any type of chocolate, while Port and Sherry are on opposite ends of the chocolate spectrum.

Dessert Wines and Chocolate Pairings
Champagne & Sparkling Wine Almost any kind of Chocolate 
Port Dark Chocolate
Sherry White Chocolate

Next Month, we will show specific bonbons and chocolates from our Chocolaterie Stam selections that will pair best with the wines above.

Our gelato can be g-free.

(If gelato is “g-free,” does that mean it’s ‘elato?)

Once or twice a week we field questions about our gelato and its appropriateness for people living gluten-free.

In most of our stores, we not only have gluten free gelati but also they are made with a local organic milk from Picket Fence Creamery. Only when seasonal or unusual flavors are added do we have a gluten included in our gelati. Flavors such as Red Velvet Cake or Apple Pie actually have flour ingredients associated with those desserts.  Otherwise, we are gluten and often can be dairy-free (for those lactose intolerant).  If the frozen dessert is a sorbetto which is only fruit, sugar and water added then there isn’t any dairy included in the recipe. To be sure, though, just ask your Gelato or Chocolate concierge at any Chocolaterie Stam. They should be knowledgeable and will help you stay “g-free”. Sampling is encouraged and we hope our Gelato will make you ‘elato!