For Chocolate Lovers only

Happy New Year! My name is Stephanie Zonis, and welcome to the January, 2004 edition of For Chocolate Lovers Only! Each month, you’ll find recipes, tips, and recommendations on great chocolate specialties. In this special edition, I look at the crowded world of drinking chocolates, all vying for your affection, brand loyalty, and disposable income.

Chocolate Recommendation of the Month: Second careers are so common these days that nobody blinks an eye at such an occurrence. But I especially like to find people who go into a second career because it involves doing something they love. This month’s recommendation, The Crazy Baker, is the brainchild of one Hall Hitzig. For twenty years, Mr. Hitzig was in aviation, although he had always baked for friends and family. When he decided that a career shift was in order, he turned to his passion for products created in the kitchen, with some intriguing results. The Crazy Baker now sells Panforte, X-treme brownies, Crazy Toffee, and Crazy Crackers.

I haven’t tried the Panforte or the crackers (although the pesto parmesan variation sounds terrific). The brownies are certainly “x-treme” in size, as they are enormous and very thick and chewy. But my favorite of their products is the toffee. No dainty tearoom confection, this; instead, it is a collection of ruggedly handsome, thick, crunchy hunks, slathered generously with dark chocolate on top and studded thickly with chunks of almonds. Yum! Small amounts of most products are available (great if you live in a small household or want to try something for the first time), and packaging ranges from less-expensive to truly presentational. This is a young company, so expect additional products with time. You can find The Crazy Baker at http://the, or call them at (304) 497-2799 or toll-free at (866) 440-4797. If you’re looking for a Valentine’s Day gift, this is a fine place to start your search.

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