All you need is love. But, a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt. -Charles M. Schulz
Finding the perfect chocolate gift for that special someone can be daunting with all the choices – dark, milk, or white, truffles, ganache, nuts, caramels, assortments – but zeroing in on the recipient can make the decision easier. Is the token of your affection an athlete, a baker, a Francophile, a chocolate connoisseur, a vegan, or a cookie lover? If so, consider the following possibilities:
The Athlete: Most athletes love chocolate but prefer not to have a bar overloaded with sugar. Chocolate and ginseng make the perfect fuel for active lifestyles and Perfect Fuel Chocolate makes single serving 14 gram (0.5 ounce) bars made of five organic ingredients: cacao, cacao butter, coconut palm sugar, vanilla bean, and ginseng. Each bar contains 80 calories, 1 gram of protein, 6 grams of fat, and just 3 grams of sugar. The bars come individually wrapped, ten to a packet. Each packet is $19.99 and can be purchased directly from the company (www.perfectfuelchocolate.com) or through www.amazon.com.
The Baker: Whole Spice makes a Chocolate Cake Baking Set that is sure to please the baker in your life. The set includes six jars: cocoa powder, espresso powder, cinnamon (Saigon), dark cocoa sugar, vanilla sugar, and dark chocolate mouse powder. Each gift set comes in a beautiful box and sells for $37. Use the code “WINTER” for a 20% discount on all orders. All orders over $75 ship free. To purchase, go to the company website: www.wholespice.com.
The Francophile: A traditional box of assorted chocolates is always the safe gift and it’s hard to beat a box of chocolate from French chocolatier La Maison du Chocolat. Assortments start at $12 with a popular size being the 0.51 pound Signature Box for $59. Shipping is complementary until February 12, 2014. See the company website for a full description of all gift boxes: www.lamaisonduchocolat.com.
The Connoisseur: Askinosie Chocolate makes exceptional single origin dark chocolate bars with cocoa beans sourced from specific regions of the world (i.e. Ecuador, Philippines, Honduras, Tanzania). Each bar has subtle differences in flavor, similar to red wine. The 3 ounce bars sell for $8 – $8.50 individually or consider the Chalk-late Box: 4 single origin 3 ounce chocolate bars in a box with a chalkboard top in which a gift message can be written, for $36. All orders over $50 ship free. Purchase the chocolates directly from the company’s website: www.askinosie.com.
The Vegan or Vegetarian: Nicobella Organics makes the most scrumptious truffles using 70% dark chocolate and organic ingredients. Instead of using cream and butter to make the ganache center of the truffle, Nicobella uses coconut milk and coconut oil. Rich, creamy, and not too sweet, Nicobella’s truffles come in several flavors including Pure Cocoa Bliss, Pumpkin Chai, Blueberry Almond, Ginger Green Tea, Walnut Flaxseed Crunch, and Holiday Spice.
The truffles come 6 to a box (2.2 ounces) and sell for $13.50. Nicobella also makes a ridiculously delicious Peanut Butter Square – creamy peanut butter blended with sweet molasses, coated with 60% organic and fair-trade dark chocolate and then sprinkled with a dash of pink Himalayan sea salt. A 6 piece box (2.5 ounces) is $12.95. Use promotion code “bemine” at checkout for a 15% discount on all orders placed by February 15th. All orders over $49 ship free. To purchase Nicobella chocolates, go to the company website: www.nicobellaorganics.com.
The Cookie Lover: There are some people who prefer a cookie over a piece of chocolate so thank goodness for the Levain Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookie: 6 ounces of pure cookie bliss. Crunchy on the outside and gooey in the middle, this chocolate chip cookie should be awarded “Best Cookie in the World.” It’s that good. It’s why I’m not a vegan. If you’re lucky enough to be in New York City, stop by their tiny bakery on the Upper West Side (167 West 74th Street) and purchase the cookies. For those further afield, order on-line: www.levainbakery.com. where 4 cookies wrapped and boxed with a blue ribbon are $27 or choose 8 cookies for $49 plus shipping.