Everything you want to know about chocolate
No need to waste time in crowded malls this holiday season just to buy a desperate box of gaudy, foil-wrapped chocolate that will only end up in the re-gift pile. And while cooking is great, you don't have to knock yourself out in the kitchen, either. Sit back, relax, and browse the luscious chocolate gift options that we've rounded up for the chocoholic in your life.
Chocolate Dipped Marshmallows
If you have a Mallomar or chocolate covered-Peep addict on your hands, take their obsession to the next level with one of these chocolate enrobed marshmallow delights. Hand crafted by Mr. Chocolate himself, Jacques Torres, these bite sized marshmallows are made from scratch and coated in a luxurious house made dark chocolate.
$7.50 for 3.5 ounces at Jacques Torres Chocolate
For the serious chocolate baker whose pantry is an avalanche of variably sized chocolate bars and wrappers, an industrial hunk of chocolate is both an extravagant and practical gift. World Wide Chocolate is an online bulk chocolate store that offers fifty-four brands from around the world, including the heavyweights Callebaut, El Rey, Valrhona, Taza, and Scharffen Berger. This is definitely one of those gifts where you'll want to stock up on your own stash as well.
Assorted prices. $69.95 for the 11lb Callebaut block pictured above. At World Wide Chocolate.
Easy Pour Funnel
Anyone who works with chocolate knows that can be a messy situation. This tool from Wilton aims to keep the workstation tidier. Instead of using a spoon to fill chocolate molds (with errant drizzles galore), just aim the chocolate filled funnel over the mold and use the finger buttons to control the flow. Great for the budding chocolatier, or for whipping up chocolate nut clusters, and also ideal for creating perfectly round pancakes (chocolate pancakes of course).
I Heart Chocolate Apron
Protect your favorite chocoholic from wafts of cocoa powder and chocolate splatters (and keep them looking cute too) with this adorable apron. The khaki colored apron has three spacious pockets in the front to stuff full of tools and utensils.
$21.95 at Zazzle.
Chocolate of the Month Club
What better gift could a chocoholic want than the one that keeps on giving? Bestow a monthly fix of outrageous high end truffles to your favorite chocolate fiend with the Vosges Haut Chocolate Lunar Club. With exotic flavors such as Absinthe (Chinese star anise, fennel, absinthe), Naga (sweet Indian curry powder, coconut), and Olio d'Oliva (olive oil, white chocolate, green olives), you might end up sending the gift to yourself instead. You can choose your chocolate selection and the number of "moons" you'd like the chocolate to flow.
Starting at $138 at Vosges Haut Chocolat.
A thoughtful gift for the chocoholic/mixologist enthusiast, a dash of these aromatic chocolate bitters will add a robust and bold chocolate essence to their next concoction. Revitalize a Manhattan or Vodka martini with a shot of this potent chocolate elixir. Scrappy's Bitters are hand crafted in small batches, and use fresh, organic fruits and herbs; no oils, extracts, or dried produce. Available at a number of online stores via their website.
$17.95 for a 5 ounce bottle through Scrappy's Bitters.
The great thing about Godiva chocolate liqueur is that it's so versatile. A perfect fit for the chocolate lover, and also elegant enough to tow along to any holiday party (how many boring bottles of wine do people need anyway?). The velvety texture and rich chocolate flavor makes for a decadent creamy liquid chocolate with a boozy kick. Also comes in a sublime white chocolate version.
$69 at Vingift.
Chocolate Soap Bar
This chocolate soap bar from Coco-Zen is made with organic oils, and both organic/Fair Trade cocoa butter and cocoa powder. The best part? This is one chocolate gift that you won't have to fret about melting before you get it to it's destination.
$5.00 at Coco-Zen.
Edge Brownie Pan
Satisfy everyone with a specially designed pan from Baker's Edge that gives each brownie a crisp-chewy edge and a moist, fudgy center. The s-shaped chamber also promotes even baking for not only brownies, but other thick, dense batters such as pound cake.
About the Author: Yvonne Ruperti is a food writer, recipe developer, former bakery owner, and author of The Complete Idiot's Guide To Easy Artisan Bread. You can also watch her culinary stylings on the America's Test Kitchen television show. She presently lives in Singapore as a freelance writer for Time Out Singapore. Check out her blog: shophousecook.com . Follow Yvonne on Twitter.