Friday, April 29, 2011

Top 5 Californian Chocolatiers for Mother's Day

Spring has finally sprung. I'm starting to see the signs around Lake Tahoe. No bright splashes of flowers or birds yet. But the sun is warmer during the day and opening windows to doing feng shui inside and outside is on my mind. While fresh seasonal vegetables, fruits, and salads are stuffed in my fridge, I've got chocolate--the good stuff-on the brain. Blame it on the upcoming New Moon and Mother's Day. Both events can play games on feelings during a time of renewal.
I've been busy at work on my new Healing Powers book (a surprise superfood); and The Healing Powers of Honey (both published by Kensington Books) is due out in September. So, these are my new kids (sort of). And my new blue-eyed male Siamese cat, Zen is doing magic with my Brittany duo. Next Sunday, it's time to celebrate the popular holiday to show sweet appreciation for nurturing caretakers. Welcome to the Golden State's gourmet chocolate....People often ask me, the author of The Healing Powers of Chocolate, "What's the best chocolate brand?" Well, here is a quick glance at some of my fave chocolatiers in Napa, the SF Bay Area, and Santa Cruz--just in the nick of time for you and/or the mom (to two or four-leggers) in your world... Annette's Chocolates : Truffles, creams, chews, nuts, and assorted specialities, plus chocolate sauces infused with cabernet, port wine, and amaretto, are just some of the goodies that locals and tourists can and do enjoy. CocoaBella Chocolates: If you love chocolate, you'll love the wide array of chocolates, chocolate-flavored coffees, hot chocolates, and more. Guittard Chocolate Company: This long-time chocolate company offers healthful 71 and 91 percent 2-ounce chocolate bars. It also has Single-Origin & Blended Bars. Recchiuti Confections: At Recchiuti they infuse a variety of chocolates, pairing them with an adventurous spectrum of flavors, from Bergamot Tea, Lemon Verbena, and Spring Jasmine Tea. Their distinctive confections contain the finest herb, nut, and fruit essences in surprising combinations. Richard Donnelly Chocolates: Their dark chocolate sea salt caramel bars dipped in premium Valrhona bittersweet blend are 100 percent bliss, as are their truffles.
One more thing. To celebrate my late mother, I made a Boston cream cake (she did the classic "pie" from scratch). However, while I turned to a store bought butter loaf cake and instant pudding with fresh organic milk, it was the dark chocolate chips from Ghirardelli from San Francisco that made this decadent chocolate dessert work with some healthy virtues. Its 21st century wonders made me feel like a female octopus busy at motherhood and work. (I inherited the Type A thing from my mom. Hope she's converted to Type B in Parent Heaven. I'm still working on it. "Zen. Hey Zen...")

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