The story of chocolate, as far back as we know it, begins with the discovery of America. Until 1492, the Old World knew nothing at all about the delicious and stimulating flavor that was to become the favorite of millions.

The Court of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella got its first look at the principal ingredient of chocolate when Columbus returned in triumph from America and laid before the Spanish throne a treasure trove of many strange and wonderful things. Click here

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Eating Chocolates  |   Growing Chocolates  |   Chocolates just for kids


Las Vegas Wedding Cakes Its More Than Culinary Art

You're coming to Las Vegas to have the most wonderful wedding and you hope that your wedding cake will not only look well -- like you, your gown and bouquet -- but that it will also be very delicious. For hundreds of years (some say it goes back to old Rome), the wedding cake has always be in the center of every guest's attention -- right behind the bride. Coming up with the most unique, most sophisticated cakes became a tradition at Las Vegas weddings -- known for lavish, opulent receptions. The cakes have been huge -- usually with three or even more stories supported by Roman columns and they had lots of plastic and other inedible glittering pieces. You can still order such cake, but modern brides getting married in Las Vegas have quite a different taste for their dream wedding cake. Those monstrous cakes now have been replaced by much smaller and simpler cakes.

Simplicity is the order of the day. No more columns -- just straight layers. Flowers -- lots of them, both fresh and sugar-made (edible) -- are now the most popular decorating items on the cakes. Traditional shapes -- round, square are still most popular, but many brides choose new shapes, for example hexagonal cakes.

Finally, another typical Las Vegas item is gone for good; namely those plastic bride-and-groom or Elvis cake tops. Simple but elegant tops that match the items from the bride's wedding dress or the wedding theme have replaced them. Very often beautiful flowers, such as roses, jasmine, dogwood and clematis top the cake.

A number of Las Vegas bakeries specialize in wedding cakes and have on their staff highly skilled cake bakers -- true cake artisans -- who can create the most sophisticated designs. Among the most popular wedding cake bakeries in Las Vegas is Freed's Bakery. They bake over 2,500 wedding cakes each year and have international reputation, having been featured on The Food Network, Travel Channel, in Bon Apetit Magazine and in Martha Stewart Wedding Magazine. Among many of their customers are such popular celebrities as Tiger Woods, Chuck Norris, Diana Ross, Lance Burton, Sylvester Stallone, Liberace, Dionne Warwick and many more. The wedding cake bakers need only a color picture or a drawing of your desired cake and they will create it for you exactly as you've ordered.

Cakes are usually priced by the slice, though it varies from baker to baker. Price will depend on the number of things, such as: the type of the cake, ingredients used, how complicated the design is, etc. Prepare the picture of the cake(s) you want to order and ask at least few bakers for the price quote. It may be tricky to calculate the desired number of cakes. The baker will tell you how many servings you will get from one cake. You'll have to decide whether you'll be following the tradition of saving the top tier for your anniversary, but it may not be practical if you'll be having a long trip home from Las Vegas.

When ordering your wedding cake you will have to provide the bakers with any special dietary requirements (e.g. non-dairy or organic) and all the basics -- the style, flavor, frosting, filling, topping.

It's essential to provide the baker with all the information and special requirements and have the deal documented in writing, including all the details of the design, the price and the delivery details (time and place). Brides most often take their ideas or the wedding cake from the magazines (especially Martha Stewart Weddings Magazine or Bon Apetit Magazine), books and most often recently -- from the Internet. It's good to learn a bit about the basics of the art of creating wedding cakes to be able to choose the best cake for your wedding. Borrow a book from the library or do some research on the Internet and at least find out which type of cake can be served in Las Vegas. For example, because it is so hot in Vegas (over 100 degrees in summer!), whip cream is usually not used at all and non-dairy whip cream is used only in wintertime.

Learn also a little bit about various cake flavors, frostings and fillings so that you know the difference between the royal icing, fondant, butter cream, ganache, etc. Customers of Freed's Bakery can have free cake tastings and other Las Vegas bakers also offer them. However, if you live somewhere else and come to Vegas just for your destination wedding, you may not have an opportunity to taste the cake before the wedding. In such case, you'll be relying on a Las Vegas-based wedding planner or coordinator, but he or she will also need some input from you -- selecting the wedding cake is traditionally bride's domain. By the way, in case you didn't know, there are a few wedding-related superstitions you should be aware of -- some say such things may have impact on the success of the marriage. It's up to you if you believe in them or not; it seems most of the people just ignore them.

One of them says that green color shouldn't be used on wedding cakes if you want your marriage to last forever. Well, those who choose a cake with flowers apparently don't believe this superstition. The other one is even harder to believe -- it says that chocolate cakes should be avoided! I wonder who invents such strange superstitions.

So in order to make this whole idea more reasonable, I'll leave you with a superstition that surely will not harm anybody. This one says that the groom should cut the first piece, but it's the bride who should have the first bite.

Helen Goldstein just wrote a FREE ebook "Let's Tie The Knot In Las Vegas!" about Las Vegas Wedding cakes and all you need to know to have a fabulous Las Vegas wedding. Go to:


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