Monday, March 8, 2010

A Lost Weekend with Christopher Norman Chocolates

By Cal Orey,

The Writing Gourmet

This weekend was chock-full of work, sort of. I dished out my April Earth Changes and What's Cookin' at Callie's Cabin columns. And then, it was back to my secret intuitive job. Since I didn't have a pool to turn to (it's tourist time during the weekends) I turned to walking my beloved Brittany duo and Christopher Norman Chocolates to provide me with those feel-good endorphins and super brain power...
In my book The Healing Powers of Chocolate, Christopher Norman Chocolates (check out more of their awesome treasures) is listed as one of my chosen few--9 Top-Notch U.S. Chocolatiers. Flashback to during the research of this bible on chocolate, two boxes of chocolates arrived from John Down and Joe Guiliano--two trendsetters in the chocolate industry...
Yes, it was an outstanding gift that will always stand out in my mind. On the web site the unique round box of wild Italian cherries called Amarene Cherries attracted me. And I wasn't disappointed. The Amarene cherries are small (not like the inexpensive ones you can buy at the drugstore). They are both sweet and tart and oh-so fruite but different from any dark chocolate-covered cherry I have ever tasted. These juicy gems are coated by hand with at least 70 percent cocoa content chcolate.
The second box: Hand Made Truffles Made with Spices and Herbs--one of my favoriest of all the chocolates I've encountered during my chocolate affair. These are dark chocolate truffles, including Rosemary Walnut and Australian Ginger. I was amazed when I consumed each and every one that I could taste the herbal and spicy notes and know what they were without looking at the ingredients list. And the chocolate, too, was dintinct without overlap. The best part: A perfect taste lingered in my mouth like after a perfect first kiss.

So this time around I was greeted by Christopher Norman's Signature Ballotin Collection--and a collection it is. The presentation of the box is so pretty and was a hint that springtime is on its way at Lake Tahoe. A mix of hand made truffles included Manhattan Dark, Passion Fruit, Wild Berry, Granduja Heart (my favorite for its look and exotic taste), Caramel Hearts (my favorite for its look and unique texture), Toasted Almond (my favorite for its unforgettable light crunch), and Strawberry Truffles.
Indeed, it was a wonderul lost weekend of work and pleasure. I had the pleasure again of savoring these chocolates, one by one, in front of a warm crackling fire while watching the annual academy awards, in the kitchen while I whipped up a meal for the Tahoe Daily Tribune piece, and after a brisk dog walk in a snow flurry. Thank you Christopher Norman. You made my weekend work work for me.

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