Thursday, January 20, 2011

Valentine's Day Top Nutty Chocolatey Matches

By Cal Orey,
The Writing Gourmet

Years ago, my landlord-friend, a sophisticate who loved Europe and loved good foods, was like a good teacher (like the character in the film Harold and Maude). During our dining experiences she, in her eighties, always ordered one glass of red wine and said to the waiter, "It's good for my heart." And one night I remember we were sharing our tales of chocolate love. She told me without hesitation, "My favorite chocolate candy is the dark kind with nuts." And note, my longtime food-savvy friend is now almost 100.
Too many people who struggle with unwanted pounds and body fat are too quick to say, "No, thank you" to eating nuts with or without chocolate. This is a mistake. I do eat nuts and I do eat all-natural peanut butter with chocolate, especially in homemade cookies--in moderation. Both are high in monounsaturated fat (this is the good stuff like in chocolate and olive oil), which can help satisfy cravings for junk food while they boast essential nutrients. I'm talking about flavonoids, vitamin E, zinc, selenium, copper, mangnesium, and protien.

Nuts are used in candy--like truffles--both for extra flavor and texture. Here are some popular nut and chocolate combos you will find in chocolate, truffles, and baked goods.

* Almonds--combined with hazelnuts. Dark and milk chocolate. Chocolate bars, chocolates, clusters, truffles.
* Cashews--combined with dark chocolate. Chocolate clusters.
* Hazelnuts--combined with almonds. Balsalmic vinegar with dark chocolate and Sicilian hazelnuts. Dark chocolate.
* Macadamia nuts--often solo. Dark, milk chocolate, and white chocolate. Chocolates, truffles.
* Peanuts--often mixed with caramel. Dark and milk chocolate. Chocolate bars, chocolates, truffles.
* Pecans--often solo. Dark and milk chocolate. Chocolates, truffles.
* Pine nuts--combined with chocolate in baked desserts, chocolates, and coffee.
* Walnuts--often mixed with fruits including apricots. Dark and milk chocolate. Chocolates, truffles, baked goods.

So, where oh where can you buy chocolate with nuts for Valentine's Day? One click of your mouse can help you to pick and choose a good-for-you nutty chocolate gift for you know who or even you. Here are a few of my fave chocolate companies that keep me smiling.

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