For Chocolate Lovers only

Hi! My name is Stephanie Zonis, and welcome to the September, 2003 edition of “For Chocolate Lovers Only”. Every month, you’ll find recipes, tips, and recommendations on great chocolate specialties. This month: chocolate cake for the time-challenged, the first in a two-part series that looks at the advantages and disadvantages of mixes.

Chocolate Recommendation of the Month: Here is a true story: Earlier this year, I ordered several kinds of chocolate chip cookies to try (I’ll do this periodically with different chocolate items to find out if I ought to tell you about them; of course, now, when I order them, I don’t tell people I write about chocolate!). One brand of cookies, from, arrived in a nice tin. The cookies were large, of a size I think would appeal to a lot of people, but I wasn’t too impressed with the taste; they were too salty and didn’t contain enough chips. Naturally, I was disappointed, but I thought no more about it until I received an unexpected call from the business owner, one Marcia Flanigan, who asked me how I liked the cookies (remember, she didn’t know then that I have a chocolate column). I explained as gently as possible that, while the tin was attractive and the cookies had been fresh and were handsomely large, I hadn’t been crazy about them overall. Almost before I could finish the sentence, Ms. Flanigan apologized profusely for the cookies, explaining that she’d taken a rare day off and that her specifications for the cookies hadn’t been followed by the person she’d left in charge. Instead of my having to tell her that the cookies were too salty and didn’t have enough chips, she told me! Then, she asked if she could send me another tin, free of charge. When those cookies arrived, I noted with pleasure that the overly-salty taste was gone, and they contained what seemed to be to be two or three times as many chips (my estimate was correct; they contained 2-1/2 times as many chips).

To my way of thinking, is just what a small food business should be like. There is an intense devotion to the cookies (I wish you could hear Ms. Flanigan talk about her products!). Good-quality ingredients are used (organic flour and eggs, imported butter and chocolate chips, and, of course, no preservatives), and if I’m any example, customer service is of paramount importance. If you don’t care for large cookies, you can order a tin of minis, and cookies are available with or without walnuts. These cookies also freeze beautifully, and they are lovely when dunked into milk or coffee. This edition of “For Chocolate Lovers Only” is devoted to the time-challenged among us, and I’m attempting to demonstrate that convenience foods need not be of lesser quality or filled with chemicals. These cookies are eminently edible proof of that philosophy! Check out the website at: or call them (toll-free) at 1-800-278-8960 or 1-304-725-3533 (don’t be alarmed if someone answers the phone by saying, “Honey’s”; it’s the bakery/catering business to which is attached).

Upcoming Chocolate Event: Wahoooo! The Sixth Annual Chocolate Show is coming to New York City! After last year’s incredible attendance (25,000 people in three days of bad weather), the organizers have added a fourth day this year. Save the dates on your calendar now: Thursday, 13 November through Sunday, 16 November. As usual, you’ll see chocolate fashions and sculptures and showpieces; there’ll be chocolate samples and chocolate holiday gifts everywhere you turn. Demonstrations by top pastry chefs are par for the course at this celebration of all things chocolate. This year there will be no fewer than three demonstration kitchen-theaters, so get ready to be amazed by chocolate artistry in many forms. The demonstrations are great fun and very popular; you get a good sense of the skill and creativity of the chefs in an informal setting, and everyone’s in a good mood because they’re around so much chocolate.

The Sixth Annual Chocolate Show will open daily at 10 am (closing hours vary by day) and will once again be held at The Metropolitan Pavilion, 125 West 18th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues. Admission price is $20.00 per adult, with discounts for senior citizens 65 and over, ID-card-bearing students, and children ages 6 to 14 (kids under 6 get in free). Tickets will be available at the door or in advance at or Don’t miss it!

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