Sensational Toffee

Hermit Cookies

Sweethearts' Chocolate Cake

Chocolate-Vanilla Pudding

Sweet Spot


My name is Stephanie Zonis, and welcome to the February, 2000 edition of "For Chocolate Lovers Only". Each month, you'll find great recipes, tips, and recommendations on where to find chocolate specialties.

Chocolate Recommendation of the Month: February's Chocolate Recommendation is Payard Patisserie and Bistro, in New York City. Day or evening, you can drop in here for a meal, afternoon tea, or a restorative pastry and a cup of coffee. What might interest you further, reader, are Francois Payard's chocolates. They are on the small side, decorated in an understated but classy fashion, and unfailingly good. Many are named after artists, like the Rodin (white chocolate and raspberry ganache in dark chocolate) and the Degas (crushed coffee beans in dark and milk chocolate ganache). Still more to be praised are the truffles, dark chocolate ganache with a touch of rum, dusted over with cocoa powder. The chocolates, along with fruit jellies, teas blended specially for Payard, and some gift selections, are sold on Payard's website.

The chocolates, truffles, teas, etc. would make a lovely Valentine's Day gift---or a lovely gift for almost any occasion, really. Payard Patisserie and Bistro also does wedding cakes; they have a number of pictures of them on their website. I recently heard Francois Payard give a talk at a pastry and dessert conference. In a time when so much emphasis is placed on how food looks, Payard's philosophy is that everything ultimately revolves around how it tastes. To my mind, this is a more-than-sufficient reason to try his creations. Payard Patisserie and Bistro is located at 1032 Lexington Avenue in New York City. You can call them toll-free at (877) 9-PAYARD, or browse through the informative and appealing website at www.payard.com.

Chocolate Book of the Month: Once upon a time, there was a chef who became a therapist. Out of curiosity, as he treated his patients, he gradually began to make inquiries into their chocolate consumption habits. What he found surprised him. The outcome is Chocolate Therapy: Dare to Discover Your Inner Center! by Murray Langham. Mr. Langham, the therapist, claims he can tell you about your personality according to your tastes in chocolates; this includes what you do with the leftover candy wrapper in addition to preferences in shape and flavor of center.

I don't believe I've ever seen anything quite like Chocolate Therapy: Dare to Discover Your Inner Center! You need to decide for yourself how much heed you'll pay to the author's words, but certainly a number of different personality theories are postulated and reading through the book can be quite entertaining. I'd recommend this book as a fun Valentine's Day gift (in addition to a box of chocolates, of course!), or you might want to grab a group of your friends and use this book (and a box of chocolates) as the basis for a get-together. Chocolate Therapy: Dare to Discover Your Inner Center! was published by Ten Speed Press in 1999, and it's available at www.tenspeed.com, www.amazon.com, and many bookstores and gift shops. Psychological analysis has never been so sweet!

Special Section: Stephanie Visits Sin City
I attended a dessert and pastry conference in Las Vegas this past fall. I'd never been there before, so I took a few extra days to wander around. Here are my impressions and opinions...

Do you have a comment, question, or suggestion? I'd like your input into this column. You can reach me at: sdziadwm@nac.net; please specify that you're writing regarding "For Chocolate Lovers Only". Thanks!