Over the holidays, I received gifts of chocolate through the mail from my friends, Margie, Claire and Ellen. Margie sent me dark chocolate bars from a Colorado-based company, Chocolove. My favorite is the dark chocolate bar with crystallized ginger pieces. A few days later, Claire sent me a three-layer box of delectable Neuhaus chocolates from Belgium. What a treat to find a second layer of chocolate goodies underneath and then a third layer!
Ellen sent me a gold box filled with dark and milk chocolates from Harbor Sweets, a Massachusetts chocolate company. My friends know how fond I am of good chocolate (it’s one of my daily food groups). Discovering a package filled with goodies in the mailbox or outside of my front door is a fun surprise that never gets old.
With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, I wondered if anyone sends Candygrams anymore. A Candygram is a gift of chocolate with a personalized message that can be delivered right to your recipient’s door. Remember that skit from “Saturday Night Live” when there is a knock at the door and a voice says, “Candygram,” just to get the unsuspecting residents to open up the door? The ominous theme from “Jaws” plays as the door opens and a giant landshark head lunges inside.
I did find Candygram listed in the Google search, as well as lots of small and large chocolatiers and home-based confectionary businesses offering to ship chocolate gifts. One company offers a selection of chocolate-covered pretzels or potato chips. Another gift item is a tin of chocolate-covered Oreo cookies. Novelty chocolates include molded chocolate candies in colorful shapes that look like Lego building blocks or colorful emojis.
According to the internet, Americans consume 2.8 billion pounds of chocolate each year. That’s some sweet tooth. Gourmet-minded chocolate gift ideas include a chocolate lover’s cheesecake sampler, chocolate covered strawberries or the romantic champagne and chocolate fondue for two.
You can order cute candy bar cards to send to a sweetie or make your own. Almost like a game of Mad Libs, these cards have printed words and actual wrapped mini candy bars attached to form the message. For example: You are Mounds of fun. I love you to Reese’s Pieces. My love for you goes beyond the Milky Way. Get it?
I like chocolates with flavor combinations like dark chocolate with cardamom or milk chocolate with coconut or semisweet chocolate with a hint of cayenne pepper. Years ago, on a ski vacation to Park City, Utah, I gave up an afternoon of skiing to watch a local chocolatier make fudge. On a vacation to Cancun, Mexico, I arranged to assist the resort pastry chef in making chocolate croissants early one morning.
Remember when children bought those red heart-shaped boxes of chocolates to give to their teachers on Valentine’s Day? Whitman Samplers, Russell Stover, Godiva chocolates and other commercial candy companies churn out holiday chocolates for every occasion. No thank you.
The world’s most expensive chocolate is on another level entirely. A French chocolate company, Debauve and Gallais, has a reputation for luxury confections. The Grand Louis XVI collection contains 35 dark chocolates at $900 per box.
Another upscale chocolate company, To’ak offers an exquisite chocolate bar made from Equadorian chocolate for a mere $685 per bar.
I will be perfectly happy to receive a beautiful silver and blue box of Perugina Baci chocolates. These dark chocolate truffles with hazelnuts are delicious. My birthday is coming up in March (hint, hint!).
Kim Kovach includes reading, writing and chocolate as part of every day. This is Kim’s 150th weekly column! kimkovachwrites.com