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For Chocolate Lovers only
 


Hi! My name is Stephanie Zonis, and welcome to the December, 2003 edition of “For Chocolate Lovers Only”. Each month, you’ll find recipes, tips, and recommendations on great chocolate specialties. This month: my New Zealand write-up and new recipes to celebrate the holidays. As usual at the end of the year, I’d like to thank you, reader, for without you there would be no “For Chocolate Lovers Only”. May 2004 be a happy and healthy year for us all. Special thanks, also, to Antoinette, Will, Karolina, and Tatiana, and thanks to my family and friends for their never-failing support.


Chocolate Recommendations of the Month: This is the time of year when we like to remember special people in our lives, and I like to remember special chocolatiers: the ones I go back to year after year simply because their products are always good. Alas, a complete list of such producers would take up too much space, so I must pare down my roster to a very few. Please order early! All of these are small-scale producers with a limited capacity.

  • Martine’s Chocolates, (212) 744-6289, boutiques: 400 East 82nd street (off First Avenue) and 6th Floor of Bloomingdale’s at 59th and 3rd , both in New York City, website: www.martineschocolates.com. I’m thrilled that Martine has opened a second boutique, and the bright pink façade makes the 82nd Street location a cinch to find. These chocolates are deliciously classy and traditional, though never stuffy. This is also the place to go for molded chocolates in innumerable shapes, with everything from an adorable “Santa” teddy bear to a chocolate penguin to a Rolls Royce.
  • Knipschildt Chocolatier, (203) 849-3141, no boutique, website: www.knipschildt.com. Master chocolatier Fritz Knipschildt somehow manages to produce both classic chocolate flavor combinations and intriguing new tastes, all accomplished with top-quality ingredients and a lot of love and hard work. Knipschildt is now making some dessert sauces, as well. Find these products at Whole Foods stores, Martha by Mail, Dean & Deluca, Sutton Place Gourmet, www.normthompson.com, www.eChocolates.com, Barney’s, and in other places.
  • Christopher Norman Chocolates, (212) 677-3722, boutique: 60 New Street, New York, NY, website (under construction); www.christophernorman.com. Christopher Norman has finally opened a store, which I’m certain will be filled with the same innovative flavor combinations in chocolates they’ve been producing for years. Creative packaging that ranges from whimsical to elegant, too. If you can’t get to the boutique, try Dean & Deluca, Henri Bendel, or Whole Foods (all also in New York City); you can also visit Whole Foods in Atlanta, Fox & Obel in Chicago, or select locations in Philadelphia and Los Angeles.
  • XOX Truffles, (415) 421-4814, 754 Columbus Avenue, San Francisco, CA, website: www.xoxtruffles.com. Small, irregularly-shaped truffles in a bewildering number of varieties, including Caramel, Rum Raisin, Cognac, and Earl Grey. Your truffles might be coated in cocoa powder, coconut, hazelnuts, coffee crunch, or white chocolate, depending upon variety. The truffles are fresh and of excellent quality, no matter which you choose. And for those who can’t or won’t eat dairy, XOX makes six kinds of vegan soy truffles! Packaging is done with flair and a sense of fun.

Of Interest to Foodies: You have an unsatisfactory meal at a restaurant. The food is mediocre, or it takes your waitperson thirty minutes to bring the dessert menu, or the avant-garde artworks scattered about the place just look ridiculous. If you’re like me, when you leave, you say to yourself, “Well, I could do better than that!” Now you can prove it, without working 24/7 or finding investors. Enlight, a computer game developer, has released “Restaurant Empire”, wherein players can own and manage a restaurant. You’ll choose a staff, select a menu, even pick out the décor of your eating establishment, all in an effort to gain fame and praise for your ability in managing the unpredictable world of the eatery. I have not played “Restaurant Empire”, but I think it’s a very clever idea for a computer game. Check out www.restaurant-empire.com for more information.


Last-Minute Gift Idea: Instant communication is OK sometimes, but what about a real letter, the kind you write on paper and send through the mail? Remember those? I do, because I’m still writing them. For me, correspondence is a way to see the world through someone else’s eyes as well as a means of self-expression, and it’s wonderful to go to your mailbox and see something other than bills and junk mail. The Letter Exchange (aka LEX) is a correspondence service. You subscribe, and three times a year a booklet comes to you in the mail. The booklet is filled with categories in which subscribers have placed ads, hoping to begin a correspondence with those sharing some common interest (the categories range from Contemporary Issues to Movies & Television to Humor to Kids’ Corner). Singles ads are not accepted; the idea here is meeting on paper, not necessarily in person. Your information is never sold or given to mailing lists, either. I have some terrific correspondents via The Letter Exchange, some of whom I’ve been writing to for 7 years or more. Writing and receiving letters can be a real joy. Experience it for yourself, or give someone a gift subscription. To subscribe, see www.letter-exchange.com (the website will give you a better idea of the service); you can also order a single issue of LEX to check it out.


Do you have a comment, question, or suggestion? You can reach me at sdziadwm@nac.net. Please specify in the subject line of your e-mail that you're writing about chocolate. Thank you!

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