We had to eat it all for the review. Photo by Dhanraj Emanuel.
Quick: What‘s the number-one selling chocolate in Switzerland? Here’s a hint: It isn’t Lindt! (But you can read our review of Lindt Chocolate, which includes some of the finest chocolate bars made.) Since you read the title of this post, we can’t put the wool over your eyes. But who, you ask is Frey (rhymes with sleigh)? The Frey brothers opened shop in 1887, just 12 years after fellow Swiss Daniel Peter created the first successful milk chocolate (using neighbor Henri Nestlé’s condensed milk invention) and eight years after Swiss Rodolph Lindt invented conching, the process that creates the smooth, silky chocolate we know today. Now, Frey wants a bite of the American market. So, savvy businessfolk, they honed in on America’s favorite retailer and are now available in all Target stores. A big, 3.5-ounce bar is just $1.99—and it’s not just Swiss milk chocolate. THE NIBBLE’s chocolate specialist, Peter Rot, takes on the extreme bars—13 flavors, including White Chocolate with Rhubarb & Aloe Vera, Milk Chocolate Tiramisu and Dark Chocolate with Hot Chilli Pepper. There’s nothing boring about Swiss chocolate. Read the full review of Frey Chocolate.
St. Dalfour, the French company best-known for its sugar-free preserves, has come up with something quite clever: microwavable “ready to eat” mini-meals for people on-the-go. Given all the bad food we eat on the road (or late nights at the office, or at school) because healthy alternatives aren’t available, Gourmet On The Go is a welcome solution (in fact, at least one major airline is selling them to passengers). The best flavors are Couscous, Three Beans With Sweet Corn and Wild Salmon With Vegetables. The 6.2-ounce can is a satisfying portion, and for $3.95 it should be. The elegant can comes with a well-designed spork (a spoon-fork) that makes you feel as if you’re doing better than eating out of a can. The line is all natural and preservative free. Four of the six flavors are vegetarian, and two are gluten free for those on restricted diets. Read more about St. Dalfour Gourmet On The Go.
Buy enough to divvy because you won’t want to share.
We get boxes and boxes of sweet delights sent to us weekly, and many provide great gustatory enjoyment. But a box of Divvies chocolate cupcakes and a tub of vanilla icing provided so much pure glee, we felt no need to add the multicolored nonpareil “sprinkles.” We had no complaints with the cookies and kettle corn either. This beautifully-packaged line wins the trifecta: It looks great, it taste great, and it’s free of some major allergens (eggs, dairy and nuts). Not surprisingly, it was developed by a mom with an allergic kid. We’re happy that people with these allergies now have more delicious delights to divvy up, and we’re still trying to figure out how those cupcakes taste so great with no eggs or butter. Read about all of the treats from Divvies.
Every six months or so, San Francisco chocolatier Michael Recchiuti adds a new Bay Area artist to his Artisan Collection, an “edible chocolate gallery” of limited edition chocolates. The artist creates four representative images, and both the chocolatier and his customers have a new way to support the arts! A new collection has just debuted, featuring the work of Michele Carlson, an Oakland-based artist whose ink drawings and collages investigate the intersections of history, memory and popular culture. They’ve been screened onto the surface of Recchiuti’s most popular chocolate, Burnt Caramel. Send some to your favorite art and chocolate connoisseurs. Candied Orange Peel, hand cut and enrobed in dark chocolate, is also available, through the end of the month.
Michele Carlson’s edible art.
Eight pieces, 3.5 ounces, are $18.00 at Recchiuti.com. Previous artists in the Collection include Brian Barneclo, Sherry Olsen, Paul Madonna, Rex Ray, Kelly Tunstall and Beth Weintraub. Pieces from the most recent collection, Liz Saintsing, whose work features eccentric images of birds, insects and other creatures, are still available. Read our full review of Recchuiti Confections.
“Chile heads”—people who can’t get enough hot habañeros in their daily diets—are on a healthier road than the rest of us, according to new medical research. Capsaicin, the heat component in chiles, is an antioxidant and a proven anti-inflammatory just like Aleve and Tylenol. It also kills cancer cells, prevents sinus infections, provides gastric relief like Tums and even oxidizes fat like Ephedra.* While some people may feel pain when eating hot chiles, those who enjoy it will feel less pain, breath easier and burn more calories. Unlike OTC pharmaceuticals, capsaicin has no side effects. It is a myth
that hot chiles cause stomach irritation and ulcers (although they may aggravate existing conditions). The spicier the chile, the stronger its health effects. (See our Chile Glossary for the Scoville Scale of comparative chile heats and a listing almost 40 different chiles.) According to Medill Reports, if you don’t like spicy food, keep trying. The report states that it can take up to 14 exposures to get used to a new food. Try using ground cayenne red pepper, by sprinkling it on popcorn, mixing it with lowfat frozen chocolate yogurt (or regular chocolate yogurt) and adding it to spaghetti sauce. More than 200 placebo-controlled studies, such as the recent study at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles on capsaicin’s ability to halt prostate cell replication, are underway. By the way, chile “peppers,” members of the Capsicum family, originated in Mesoamerica and are not botanically related to true pepper, Piper nigrum, the black peppercorn, which originated in India. Chiles were misnamed by none other than Christopher Columbus who, when tasting chiles for the first time in the New World, equated their heat to that of peppercorns and assumed they were related. *Don’t get too excited. Preliminary research suggests that adding a teaspoon of cayenne pepper to each meal can cause the body to burn an extra 15 calories.