For Chocolate Lovers only  

Happy New Year! My name is Stephanie Zonis, and welcome to the January, 2005 edition of For Chocolate Lovers Only! Each month, you’ll find a recipe or two, tips, and recommendations on great chocolate specialties. This month, I ask you to join me in praise of the humble banana. Plentiful, inexpensive, nutrition-packed, and good-tasting; it’s no wonder bananas are America’s favorite fruit. Best of all (for our purposes), bananas go beautifully with chocolate! In this edition, you’ll find a few ways to use the two together.

Chocolate Recommendation of the Month: If you pay any attention to chocolate in the US, you know that one of the biggest trends in the past decade has been the move toward darker chocolate. Everyone is doing something bittersweet these days; some chocolatiers seem to do nothing but bittersweet. So what do you do if you love good chocolate but find that your tastebuds are overwhelmed by the really dark stuff? You look to Iowa. More specifically, you look to Bochner Chocolates, in Iowa City. Eric Bochner, the chocolatier, doesn’t believe that bitter goes with chocolate, and his products reflect his philosophy. In his own words, dark chocolate is “one of the many tools in the chocolate tool chest, and we try to fully utilize the whole bunch of tools rather than…rely on just one”.

What to order? The selection appears to change on an almost-daily basis at this point, so you might be pulled into a discussion about what you’d like. If a caramel piece is suggested, trust me; you want it. I’m not the world’s biggest caramel fan, but the Caramel Truffle, with a supersmooth center of perfectly-textured caramel, a milk chocolate shell, and an exterior of crisp flakes, was just about perfect. Other winners included a Banana Truffle, a Pistachio Truffle, and a Coconut Truffle. Bochner Chocolates offers pieces other than truffles, of course, but I think they do truffles extraordinarily well. For those who are big on appearances or foolishly planning to give these chocolates as gifts (really, who deserves a box of good chocolates more than you do?), note that Mr. Bochner has an eye for design as well. Some of the chocolates are airbrushed with edible coloring, such as the silver and red dome containing a cinnamon ganache center. Bet you didn’t realize you could have your art and eat it, too! Bochner Chocolates has a boutique at 1419 Waterfront Drive in Iowa City. If Iowa isn’t nearby, check out the website, at, or call the company at (319) 354-7900.

Do you have a comment, question, or suggestion? I’d like to hear it. E-mail me at: Please specify that you’re writing about chocolate, or I might think it’s spam.


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    ...Published: January 2005