by Stephanie Zonis
Hi! My name is Stephanie Zonis, and welcome to the December, 1998 edition of "I Love Chocolate."
The holidays are here in earnest once more, and everyone has many items on his or her personal "get it done" list. If you won't put cooking or baking on your list, consider using it as a well-deserved break. Cooking and baking are creative outlets and just the ticket to restore a frazzled mind. No matter how I'm feeling, I always look forward to working with chocolate, because it's a process of growing and discovery. I always learn something. I know many people who enjoy gardening, because they get to watch tiny, unimpressive-looking seeds sprout and grow into plants laden with good fruits or vegetables or beautiful flowers and leaves. Cooking is the same way, for me; an initial idea or craving blossoms into a finished bread or pastry or pot of soup--and it's usually much faster than waiting for seeds to grow! So take a little time to get into your garden--I mean, kitchen--plant a few recipe seeds, and see where it leads you.
December's Chocolate Find is Kristen's Gourmet Brownies. Are you searching for something chocolate to give to someone special? If your special person likes brownies (and who doesn't?), think about Kristen's. I had thought brownies only came in fudgy or cakey types, but Kristen's brownies are a cross between the two. They are chocolatey without being overbearing about it, and Kristen's makes twelve varieties, from Extraordinary Raspberry Walnut to Incredible Caramel Pecan to Peanut Butter Chocolate. These brownies look homemade; they are thick, the sizes vary slightly, and each comes neatly, individually wrapped. They do not taste salty, as do so many commercial types. Kristen's uses no additives or preservatives; all orders are baked individually, made fresh from scratch, and shipped the day they're baked. I also especially like the fact that Kristen's will tailor orders to suit individual preferences. If you do not like or are allergic to nuts, coconut, etc., your brownies will be modified for you. and here's a hint: these brownies are great eaten directly from the freezer. Guess how I know?
Kristen's Gourmet Brownies has Brownie of the Month Club memberships (in 3, 6, 9, and 12 month blocks). All orders include free shipping within the continental U.S. and Kristen's offers a choice of pretty gift boxes for your brownies; there's an Anne Geddes design, Winnie the Pooh, Curious George, and Danbury Roses. A card is enclosed with your order, so you can tell the recipient anything the brownies cannot. For more information, see their website at: www.angelfire.com/biz/kristensbrownies, or call their toll-free order number: 1-800-396-2244, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. These brownies come with a 100% satisfaction guarantee, too, something else that I find very appealing. Check 'em out!
Enid Futterman's Bittersweet Journey: A Modestly Erotic Novel of Love, Longing, and Chocolate (Viking Penguin, 1998) uses chocolate as a metaphor for many things. A cross between a present-day love story and a journal of one woman's attempt to find herself and emotional fulfillment, the story is based in the great chocolate cities of the world. Ms. Futterman's descriptions are lush and sensual. The photography is wonderful, and the book contains a few recipes and a source guide for the chocolates mentioned. If you enjoy modern fiction from a woman's point of view, pick up a copy. Because this is a visually beautiful work, it would make a nice gift book, as well. While there is a website, at: www.bittersweetjourney.com , I do not think it does the book justice. For you online shoppers, Bittersweet Journey is available at: www.amazon.com; www.barnesandnoble.com; and www.borders.com.
Another year is coming to an end, so I'd like to take a minute to acknowledge some people. Thanks to Kate H. and Thomas W., without whose work you wouldn't be reading this. Thanks also to my family, especially my parents, for their tireless support and encouragement. And, of course, thanks to all my readers. I know fewer of you than I'd like, but I do know we all have a love for chocolate in common. I wish you all a happy and healthy 1999, and may it be full of good chocolate!
'Til next month,
Yours in chocolate,
This page created December 1998
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