A Great Taste for Us, a Great Danger for Dogs

 

Chocolate: A Great Taste for Us, a Great Danger for Dogs

eric and dogs

 

 

Most people with a sweet tooth love chocolate, but chocolate can be toxic to dogs. Chocolate poisoning can cause serious health issues in dogs, and is the most common cause of dog poisoning, according to WebMD’s Pet Health information. But how can something that tastes so good be so bad for our four-legged friends?

Why Is Chocolate Toxic to Dogs?

Chocolate contains two substances that are harmful to dogs when ingested: caffeine and theobromine, an alkaloid. While these substances are harmless to humans, they can cause serious problems if your pet ingests them. Dogs’ bodies aren’t built to handle the stress that caffeine and theobromine put on their systems.

Certain kinds of chocolate are more harmful to dogs than others, notes PetMD. For example, white chocolate may not necessarily be toxic, but its high sugar content could lead to tummy problems. Milk chocolate, on the other hand, has a low level of toxicity, but should still be taken seriously, while dark or baking chocolate have a very high level of toxicity and ingestion of these types of chocolate should be considered an emergency.

What Are the Signs of Chocolate Poisoning?

If your dog has chocolate poisoning, he will exhibit symptoms that can include vomiting, diarrhea, rapid breathing, increased heart rate, seizure, muscle rigidity and even seizure. As your pet’s body reacts to the substances in chocolate that are harmful to him, his system will be stressed and start to shut down.

What Should I Do if My Dog Eats Chocolate?

If your dog ingests chocolate, you should call your vet or the ASPCA’s poison control center at 888-426-4435. The experts on the phones will help you to determine how serious the situation is by asking you how much and what kind of chocolate your dog ingested. Based on your dog’s situation, they can recommend whether you should induce vomiting or take your dog to a clinic where he or she can receive treatment. If only a small amount of low-level toxicity chocolate was consumed, you may be instructed just to keep an eye on your pet for the rest of the day.

While not guaranteed to be consistently accurate for your pet, as each pet’s metabolism varies just the same as people, PetMD offers an online calculator that shows the toxicity of different types of chocolate for dogs based on the amount consumed and the dog’s weight. Though chocolate can be harmful to our furry friends, that doesn’t mean that we can’t still enjoy it! Just make sure to keep the chocolate of your choice – especially our handmade artisan chocolates that are much better enjoyed by people – out of your pet’s reach!

 

6 Fun Things to do in Asheville in Spring!

While every season is beautiful in Asheville spring is definitely one of my favorites.  It may not offer the majestic grandeur of falls leaf season but along with the subtle beauty of soft green buds on trees come less crowds and less brush and briars to wade through while hiking in the woods.  Here are 6 fun things to do in Asheville in spring that you may not be able to do, or enjoy quite as much during other seasons.

A Dahlia sculpted from chocolate. As beautiful as it is delicious.

Check out some amazing flowers at the North Carolina Arboretum.

The North Carolina Arboretum offers a variety of ways to enjoy springs blooms.  You could check out the Western North Carolina Orchid Society’s Annual Show on March 29th and 30th, or the Dahlia and Mum show on May 10th, or just stroll around the cultivated gardens and hiking trails.  Whatever you decide to do at the Arboretum will be very affordable as admission is just $12.00 per vehicle (even to the plant shows!).

Hike!
The wonderful thing about early spring hiking in Asheville is the dense underbrush and foliage hasn’t had a chance to grow yet so everywhere you hike you can still get a nice view.  Save the mountain balds like Black Balsam and Max Patch for summer and fall and get out now to enjoy the last few moments of winter and spring views while you can!  A favorite close to town hike I recommend that will afford nice pre-leaf views is Rattlesnake Lodge.  An added bonus of this hike is that its access is not on the Blue Ridge Parkway which is often still closed this time of year.  Other good spring views can be found all over Hickory Nut Gorge.  I recommend hiking the Florence Nature Preserve a recently opened section of trail managed by the Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy.

Zip Line at Navitat.

Beat the summer crowds and explore the forest in a new exciting way!  Navitat, located a short drive north of Asheville, features an amazing zip line experience including sky bridges and rappelling.  A great way to enjoy the outdoors and catch some mountain views… especially fun for kids.

Everything in our Easter display is edible! The “desert sand” is made of brown sugar, graham crackers crumbs, and finely ground chocolate. Maybe we should call it “dessert sand?”

Check out the Easter Displays at The Chocolate Fetish.

Occasionally spring can be a little rainy in Asheville so when your outdoor adventures are stifled by April showers come downtown and check out the Easter displays at The Chocolate Fetish.  From chocolate bunnies riding motorcycles down a road made of sprinkles to a Cowboy bunny shoot out in a brown sugar dessert our whimsical chocolate bunnies and hand decorated Easter Eggs are sure to bring out the kid in everyone.  While you’re here be sure to walk around to the back and check out the chocolatiers at work in our glassed in kitchen.  If you’re lucky you’ll get to see one of our talented artist/chocolatiers hand sculpting a one of a kind Smash Cake or Chocolate Sculpture.  Best hours to see chocolatiers at work are between 11 and 3.
Enjoy a meal on an Asheville Patio.
Once summer’s heat soaks in and droves of tourists descend on Asheville enjoying a meal al fresco losses its allure.  A cool spring day with ample sun shine affords the perfect opportunity to enjoy an outdoor meal in one of Asheville’s myriad patio dining establishments.  For patios with great atmosphere and cocktails I recommend The Southern or Mayfel’s courtyard.  For fabulous food try the patio at Carmel’s.
Attend the Asheville Herbal Festival.
In its 25th year the Asheville Herbal Festival is the place to find all the seedlings and starts you need for your herb and vegetable garden.  Held at the Western North Carolina Farmer’s Market on May 2, 3, and 4 the Herbal Festival hosts a plethora of vendors from around Western North Carolina featuring culinary and medicinal herbs, veggie starts, a beekeeping demonstration, master gardeners and more.  It’s a great place to find a Mother’s Day present (to go along with a box of chocolate from The Chocolate Fetish) and it’s free!

Spiceland’s Time Machine

“Samurai” on display at The Satellite Gallery until March 23rd.

Asheville is a city alive with the arts and The Chocolate Fetish is frequently blessed by the creative energies of local artists.  If you’ve been following our blog and Facebook pages then you have probably heard about talented artist Joshua Spiceland.  In addition to being an artist he is also an art teacher and part time chocolatier.  If you’ve eaten a Sea Salt Caramel from us in the last four years then chances are good his hand helped make it.  We frequently find doodles and works in progress tucked around the shop on there way to other places.


An exhibition of Spiceland’s work is on display at The Satellite Gallery in Asheville until March 23rd.  The show, titled “Time Machine,” features numerous paintings in Spiceland’s eclectic folk art inspired style. Spiceland draws inspiration form many things including art history and music and many works incorporate detailed geometric patterns.  Titles of pieces range from “Fishing for Inspiration”, “Killing Time”, and “These Rooms Have Seen It All.”   In the world of Asheville art this is a must see exhibition and a good chance to get a great deal on some fine art as Spiceland usually prices his art very affordably.  
You can see the show at The Satellite Gallery located at 5 Broadway Street in Downtown Asheville .  The gallery’s hours are 11am – 6 pm Tuesday – Saturday and 11 am – 5 pm on Sunday adn the show will be up until March 23rd.
If you would like to read more about the exhibition or about Spiceland’s art check out the following links:

Small Business Saturday

We're giving away 40 of these tote bags for FREE!  Read more to find out how to get yours.

We’re giving away 40 of these tote bags for FREE! I wonder how many pounds of chocolate one will hold?

I know you’ve heard of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but have you heard of Small Business Saturday?  Sandwiched right between the two biggest shopping days of the year that mostly support big box and chain stores is a day encouraging you to shop small and support locally owned, independent businesses.  Small Business Saturday is celebrated on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, this year it falls on Saturday, November 30th.

In 2010 American Express spearheaded the Small Business Saturday movement offering cardholders a credit on their accounts when they shopped at small businesses.  Today the movement has grown to being officially recognized by the US Senate and generating an estimated $5.5 Billion in consumer spending at small businesses.  If you are an American Express Cardholder you can go to www.shopsmall.com to register your card and receive a $10 credit on your statement.  Be sure to register soon as space is limited.

We hope you’ll come by this Saturday and do your part to help make Small Business Saturday one of the biggest shopping days of the year for small businesses like us!  In celebration of Small Business Saturday we have a special FREE offer for you.  This Saturday, November 30th be one of  the first 30 in store customers to mention Small Business Saturday (or first 10 online customers to write “Small Business Saturday” in the additional information section) and you’ll receive a free Shop Small Tote Bag!  So… what are you going to put in your tote bag?

Pick Your Chocolate Purse!

Hand Sculpted Chocolate Purses.  Yes!  They are as delicious as they are beautiful.

Hand Sculpted Chocolate Purses. Yes! They are as delicious as they are beautiful.

What’s the only thing more exciting than winning a designer hand bag?  Winning a hand sculpted chocolate purse!  We are so excited about an upcoming promotion we are sponsoring with local radio station, Mix 96.5!  The promotion, “Pick Your Purse” begins next week and gives 96 people the chance to win great prizes including $1000 cash, designer handbags, hand sculpted chocolate purses, massages and more!  I know your excited to hear more about the chocolate purses… but hold on a second while I tell you all about how “Pick Your Purse” works and how you can win $1000 which may actually be better than winning a hand sculpted chocolate purse… although then again, maybe not.

Starting next Monday you can go to Mix 96.5’s website and register to qualify.  Then listen to 96.5 and if you hear your name called out call to claim your spot as a finalist.  On Saturday, December 7th join us at Paramount Kia in Asheville for your chance to win any number of great prizes, and taste some special chocolate samples.  At the event there will be a reverse raffle with the final 12 names called getting to pick one of a dozen designer handbags for their prize.  When all 12 finalists have selected their purses they will open them together and one lucky winner will find $1000 stuffed inside.  Everyone that qualifies as a finalist will win some sort of prize, it may be a gift card from The Chocolate Fetish, or a free massage or facial from Massage Envy, or any number of other fabulous prizes.

Here you can see the first stage of creating chocolate purses.  Later I will add handles, buckles, buttons and other embellishments, all made out of chocolate of course!

Here you can see the first stage of creating chocolate purses. Later I will add handles, buckles, buttons and other embellishments, all made out of chocolate of course!

Winners’ number 13, 14 and 15 will each get to choose from three Chocolate purse sculptures.  You can’t stuff it full of all your miscellaneous paraphernalia but you can eat the entire decadently delicious thing, if you can bring yourself to destroy it.  Each chocolate purse is made entirely from our high quality custom blended chocolates and each one is a unique one of a kind edible masterpiece.

So which would you rather have?  A one of a kind edible chocolate purse or a designer handbag filled with $1000?

Mix 96.5 Website  http://mix965asheville.com/

Begining a Family Tradition… with chocolate!

Questions about our heirloom quality Advent calendars are pouring in so I thought I would take a moment to answer some of them on our blog.  I grew up with advent calendars.  Every year right after Thanksgiving my mom would give me a small cardboard calendar with 24 perforated doors.  Resisting the urge to drool, I would anxiously await December 1st, the day I got to open the first little door and savor the little morsel of chocolate behind it.  Advent Calendars filled with chocolate were a part of Christmas for me like decorating the tree and making Christmas cookies; they were a tradition I will always cherish.  For generations, families have marked the coming of Christmas in a variety of ways. From simple chalk markings to lighting candles, families have employed unique ways to enjoy the counting of the 24 days before Christmas.

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Here we are getting ready to fill the Advent Calendars with our chocolates. Each box represents a different day. Each bag is filled with two chocolates and decorated with festive holiday garland. You’ll never get the same chocolate twice!

Our Heirloom Advent Calendars are thoughtfully designed with 24 numbered doors behind which are a variety of our handcrafted artisan chocolates.  Every day you can savor a different Christmas themed chocolate shape in a variety of milk, dark and white chocolates.  These wooden calendars can be used year after year providing a tradition that your family is sure to treasure.  We make it easy for you to continue the tradition year after year with refill packages, 24 individually wrapped chocolates ready for you to refill your calendar.

The big question people keep asking me is, “Christmas, already?  It’s not even Halloween yet, why so early?”  For those of us who really get in the Christmas spirit it’s never too early for Christmas but more importantly advent starts on the first of December.  That gives us exactly 35 days to get all these wonderful Advent Calendars filled with delicious chocolate and heading your way.  If you’d like to see all the calendars you can check them out here http://bit.ly/16eBCvp.

It’s only 112 days until Christmas!

It may seem early to be thinking about Christmas but in the world of retail sales its already getting late.  In fact when I called one of our tin suppliers last week to order holiday tins I was dismayed to find that one of the patterns was already sold out for the year!  (Don’t worry we found something else that is even more fabulous!)  We started feeling the holiday spirit a few weeks ago when a couple of our chocolatiers started listening to Christmas Carols.  A few of us weren’t exactly getting in the spirit but its hard to continue being a bah humbug when others are finding so much joy in there daily dose of the Pandora Christmas station.  Not to mention with talented vocalists like Lauren Baker of Sirius B signing along who couldn’t get in the spirit?  Sirius B, an ‘absurdist gypsy funk folk band’ was recently named best local band in the Mountain Xpress Reader’s poll, check them out here http://www.siriusbmusic.com/.

Woodland Santa Advent Calender

Count down the days until Christmas with one of our heirloom quality Advent Calenders. Each one is filled with over 40 pieces of chocolate!

It was a good thing we were in the spirit because shortly after the carols began the advent calendars arrived.  For the past few years we have been offering these calendars and they are the type of thing that tends to take over our already limited space.   Each one stands about 20″ tall and is made of wood and you can imagine when receiving about 30 of them they take up quite a lot of room.  Further more each and every one had to be opened and carefully checked for damages.  We have already had customers asking about these so I’ll go ahead and let you know that we plan to have them available in October and we will have them in the shop and on our website then.  Each calendar has 24 little doors and behind each door we put two hand crafted chocolates in a variety of Christmas themed shapes.  We won’t plan on shipping until mid November so that you get nice fresh chocolate at the beginning of December when you start opening them.  I’ve included a sneak peak photo (of this year’s new design) here just to get your interest peaked.  If you want to reserve one we’ll defiantly do that for you, we usually sell out of at least one design (and I can never tell which one that is going to be).

Vintage Holiday Tin

One of this years NEW special holiday tins. This one is 10″ x 7″ and it sure can hold a lot of our delicious handcrafted chocolates!

The Holiday product pile continues to grow as a variety of special tins and adorable boxes are quickly flowing in.   My job… figuring out exactly what goes in each special assortment.   It can be difficult to build a special assortment, and in years past I have had some that have been surprisingly successful and others that have just flopped.  I usually have a certain price range in mind and I also have the limitation of the size of the packaging but after that the sky’s the limit.  I’m always torn between trying to give the customer one of everything and not giving the customer the one thing they won’t like.  In the end we usually just try to have a good mix of different things and hope that they are appealing.  Here’s where you our valued customer comes in.  What do you want to see in a special assortment?  Special holiday offerings like a hand crafted chocolate Santa or snowman, individual bite size delicacies like truffles and caramels, collections of bags of pretzels and peanut butter bites?  More variety or stick to one kind of product?  Right now we’re playing around with a variety of assortments in special keepsake boxes with prices ranging from $16.95 to $65.95, so let us know what makes an assortment appealing to you!
As we get closer to the Holiday season we will continue to highlight special holiday products and offerings here on our blog.  Check back later this week to hear the details of my recent adventures in Chocolate and Beer pairing in Beer City USA.

Our NEW website is here!

As many of you have already discovered we have recently launched our new and improved website! www.chocolatefetish.com  All of us at The Chocolate Fetish hope you’ll take the time to look around and get to know it.  We’re still working on perfecting it and ironing out the wrinkles and we’d love to hear your feedback. 

With the launch of the new website comes the re-launch of our blog.  There is a saying in business, “work on your business, not in your business.”  Being a small family run operation its easy to get caught up in the day to day and well let’s admit it I love to get my hands on some chocolate and enjoy getting to meet all the customers that frequent our shop more than I love to sit in an office and type.  However, I know how much all our fans want to know what’s going on behind the scenes so I’m going to make sure to keep you updated once or twice a week from now on.  I hope that this blog can become a dynamic place with readers anxiously awaiting each week’s post and giving us lots of feedback.  We’d love to get your input about what you want to hear about in our chocolate blog so please don’t be shy!

Here are some highlights from our new website that you should be sure to check out!  First of all you can now order a custom box of our Ecstasy Elite Truffles.  This line features our ever expanding selection of seasonal flavors so be sure to keep checking back often to see what we are featuring.  As fall is quickly approaching we will soon be offering our Pumpkin Pie Truffles and our Maple Walnut Carmel Cups, yum!  Another favorite feature of the new site is our Caramels & Frogs page… no more searching for that assorted box of Sea Salt Caramels!  Also on our Caramels and Frogs page is a brand new caramel assortment that has a nice selection of all our different caramel products including a personal favorite, Almond Caramel Cups.  I just can’t get enough of these delicious delicacies… a thin dark chocolate shell encases a liquid caramel wrapped accented by lightly salted slivered almonds.  How many times can I write yum! in one blog post?

Have you seen our hand decorated Chocolate Shoes?  Now featuring a page of their own you can purchase a variety of our chocolate shoes right from our website.  All hand decorated by our talented chocolatiers we are offering our Chocolate Shoes in Cowboy Boots, Contemporary High Heels, and our NEW Animal Print High Heel Shoes.  Be sure to check out the photo gallery to see a small selection of the creativity and whimsy our chocolatiers bring to our Chocolate High Heel Shoes.

Be sure to check out our updated selection of Chocolate Rounds.  I know when I look at that beautiful photography I instantly begin to crave some chocolate (luckily I have it close at hand).  The last thing you want to be sure to check out is our new and improved Chocolate Dictionary complete with videos.  Careful not to drool on your tablet or keyboard as you expand your chocolate knowledge and enjoy listening to the incredibly sensuous voice of Peter, the lovely man that provided the video voice-overs.

Don’t forget to share your feedback and keep an eye out for interesting upcoming blog posts including my recent adventures in beer and chocolate pairing in Asheville!

 

The Mountain Xpress Best of WNC

It’s that time again!  It’s time to vote for your favorite Asheville establishments in the Mountain Xpress Best of WNC.   We have won first place for Best Chocolate for 12 years (and 2nd place twice) and we need your help to win again!  Please vote for us and your other favorite Asheville establishments and tell your friends, neighbors, and fellow chocoholics to vote.
When you begin filling out your ballot, remember that you can skip the survey at the beginning but you will need to vote for at least 30 categories for your vote to be counted.    Even if your local we know this can be a challenge so we have compiled this list of our favorites to help you make your decisions.  It could get a little long so if you get tired just write The Chocolate Fetish into 30 slots!  Thanks for your continued support and thanks for helping us “rock the vote!”
Place your vote here:  www.vote.bestofwnc.com
Voting ends August 22nd

Eats
Barbecue  12 Bones
Bakery (sweets/desserts)  Old Europe
Bread  Farm & Sparrow
Breakfast/brunch  Early Girl Eatery
Burger Roman’s
Caterer Rosanne Capone Purple Rose Catering
Cheap lunch The Mediterranean

Chocolate  The Chocolate Fetish

Greek  The Mediterranean
Indian  Katmandu
Italian  Strada
Japanese / Sushi  Heiwa Shokudo
Options for special diets (gluten-free, lactose-free, etc)  Posana
Pizza  Circle in the Square
Seafood  Bonefish Grill

Best service  The Chocolate Fetish

Splurge restaurant  The Admiral
Subshop/deli/sandwiches  Roman’s
Top chef  Rosanne Capone Purple Rose Catering
Vegetarian  Laughing Seed

Drinks
Bartender Jackson @Beer Garden
Coffee shop Malaprops
Dive bar  The Admiral
Local brewery Highlands Brewery
Sports bar The Beer Garden

Arts

Sculptor Elizabeth Foley Chocolate Sculptor @ The Chocolate Fetish

Local Visual Artist Joshua Spiceland
Photographer Julie McMillan
Local band: R&B/Blues  The Secret B-Sides
Local band: Rock Antique Firearms
Place to hear live music Grey Eagle

Uniquley Asheville

Best Reason to Live in Asheville The Chocolate Fetish

Spring at The Chocolate Fetish

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Asheville is in full spring bloom and things are really starting to hop here at The Chocolate Fetish!  Chocolate bunnies of all shapes and sizes adorn our shelves in preparation for Easter next weekend.  In addition to the beautiful hand painted Easter eggs we have been making for years this year we are adding special filled eggs in four fabulous flavors; Coconut, Soft Caramel, Peanut Butter Melt-away, and Mint Melt-away.  We’ve taken our delicious German style caramel softened it with fresh cream and filled a milk chocolate shell with its gooey buttery goodness.  If caramel isn’t your thing then maybe a melt-away will inspire indulgence?  Decadent chocolate that literally melts in your mouth these chocolates are super smooth and velvety.  Available in dark chocolate and mint or milk chocolate and peanut butter they will make a great addition to an Easter basket or just a great addition to your afternoon.

Our family of Easter bunnies has grown this year as well!  In addition to the fun whimsical bunnies of years past like the motorcycle riding bunny and the bunny wearing a suit we have added the sharp shooter cowboy bunny and the sidecar family of bunnies.  You’re not going to find anything like this fabulous family of bunnies piled up on a motorcycle complete with sidecar at your local grocery store (and I guarantee ours tastes better).  A touch of color has been added to our “big eared” bunny so he now boasts pink ears and nose and fluffy white tail.  We wouldn’t want all these bunnies getting lonely so we added some friends, white chocolate lambs and hand painted chicks!

The Easter excitement doesn’t end there!  We have our signature “Dinosaur Eggs.”  A textured chocolate shell bigger than a softball is filled with little baby chocolate dinosaurs.  Kids of all ages will love breaking one of these open Easter morning to discover the delectable goodies inside.  There are also our German made real eggshell eggs.  While we do make most everything we sell right in our shop downtown every once in a while we discover something special we want to share with you from elsewhere in the world.  A few years ago our owner’s went on a chocolate tour in Germany and found these really cool real eggshell eggs.  The company first empties the eggshell (they use the egg inside to make pre-cooked egg meals, like those used on airplanes) then after cleaning, sanitizing and painting; they fill them with an amazing German hazelnut chocolate.  These eggs are super yummy and lots of fun to eat.

ImageOur owner Sue at the Gut Springenheide Factory in Metelen, Germany

Easter marks the beginning of another exciting time at The Chocolate Fetish… Chocolate Dipped Strawberry season.  Beginning Easter weekend we will be offering chocolate covered strawberries every Friday and Saturday through berry season (usually through June).  We source the biggest most delicious strawberries we can find, then dip them fresh through out the day in our signature dark chocolate blend.  At The Chocolate Fetish you’ll never get a berry that has been sitting around in a case for days.  We dip them multiple times throughout the day so you are always assured a fresh delicious berry.

Stay tuned, chocolate covered frozen bananas are coming soon….