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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please specify in the subject line of your e-mail that you're writing
about chocolate. Thank you!