"Research tells us that 14 out of any 10 individuals like chocolate."
—Sandra Boynton, Chocolate the Consuming Passion
Some people don't just "like" chocolate—they are absolutely, completely, enamored with and addicted to this food, like no other substance on earth. Quite simply, chocolate makes them feel good. They put a piece of it in their mouth, close their eyes and slowly swoon into euphoria as the sweet, gooey stuff spreads warmly over their tastebuds, caressing their tongue with sensual texture and deep, rich flavor. It is no accident that the Latin name for cocoa, from which chocolates are made, translates as "food of the gods" (Theobroma cacao).
Chocolate always seems to play a role in holiday indulgences, a symbol of our desire to abandon our soul to frivolity and celebration. At Christmas, we give chocolates as gifts. For Hanukkah, children receive chocolate coins. What would Spring be like without the chocolate Easter bunny? and at Halloween we really set our spirits loose, donning costumes and begging our neighbors for candies, hoping most of all to get not some stupid apple or stale popcorn ball, but a bar or bite of the real treat: chocolate.
No holiday celebrates the glories of chocolate more than Valentine's Day. "Rose are fine, but chocolate's divine," echo the thoughts of a true chocoholic. In this issue, we present a festival of chocolate recipes from the most advanced to the simplest, from European classics to whimsical innovations. You could resort to just buying a box of assorted chocolates. But a dessert, cookie or truffle hand crafted with love will surely prove the most irresistible way to capture your desired's heart.
We begin with Death by Chocolate Cookies, a sequel to the gorgeous Death by Chocolate. Known as the "guru of ganache," Marcel Desaulniers heeds no bounds when it comes to creative concoctions with chocolate. His stunning chocolate cookies are the ideal snacks to remind your true love just how much you care.
In Vienna, the classic Sachertorte attracts travelers from the world over. Now you at home can make this rich aromatic cake, layered with apricot essence, and sealed with a thick layer of chocolate. Don't worry if you're not a professional pastry chef: the Chocolate Bible shows you step-by-step how to create this elegant masterpiece flawlessly, as it does with all its recipes.
For sweet little bites, Chocolates on the Pillow drops kisses into cookies and Kahlua into truffles. From Gail Greco's Little Bed & Breakfast Series, these recipes will remind you of the pampering, indulgences and sweet memories of a weekend at a country inn.
The contemporary design of Chocolate: A Sweet Indulgence will appeal to the city chic. Its grilled chicken with Chocolate Zinfandel Sauce and Hot Buttered Cognac with Chocolate Dipped Spoons will surely soften the hardest of hearts.
One last thing, if your lover cooks with passion, give him or her an extra bit of cupid's magic. Don't just stop with making a decadent chocolate delight, give him or her the book from which you used to make it. Chocolate is wonderful, but when accompanied by a keepsake they can use, it's even more divine.
Happy Valentine's Day!
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