Happy New Year!

With the new year just starting what will you do this year? Are you planning any trips? If you have tried all of the chocolates in your town and still want more, there are many chocolate houses and factories across the United States to get your fill. Here are a few suggestions to get the planning started:

Payard in New York is owned by Francois Payard, a James Beard “Best Pastry Chef” award winner. Located at 1293 3rd Ave in New York City, this bistro boasts fabulous chocolate desserts and many other treats. In 2013, their dark chocolate, key lime and slated caramel chocolates won awards at the International Chocolate ceremony.      vanillarumtruffle

While in New York, you may want to stop by the Jacques Torres Chocolate Shop at 350 Hudson Street. Delve into the delicious chocolate of one of the world’s most renowned chocolate chefs. All of the chocolates are made rich and thick and bursting with flavor. jacquestorreschocolate

It may not be a household name, but Scharffen Berger Chocolates in Berkley, California is a great place to watch how chocolate is made. A small production facility allows you to watch the process from start to finish. Started in 1997 by Robert Steinberg and John Scharffenberger, their chocolates are used by many top chefs. Truly distinctive chocolates with balance and complexity—not unlike those found in exceptional wines.

Finally, while in the San Francisco area, take a jaunt to the Embarcadero and sample some Recchiuti Confections. Such exquisite delights include a burnt caramel or a candied orange peel. Michael Recchiuti has been making delectable confections for over 25 years and uses everything from fruit to nuts!burgundybox

As 2014 rolls along, remember to stop and sample the chocolates along the way!

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Holiday Spirit

In just a few weeks the holiday rush will be upon us. Are you ready? Getting started early is essential in having those yummy chocolate treats ready for visitors.  Here are some websites that can make the season a little less hectic with some great chocolate candies, gifts and ingredients:

www.mylindtchocolatersvp.com/teamcocoa. Lindt & Sprungli is full of single-origin cocoa bars. Many of the items you find in the RSVP Shop are not found in your traditional local stores. The LINDT Master Chocolatiers have perfected the art of creating the finest chocolate using a selection of the finest cocoa beans and highest quality ingredients.

www.ghirardelli.com. Ghirardelli has the richest heritage of any American chocolate company since beginning operations in 1852. Ghirardelli is one of the few companies in America that controls the entire chocolate manufacturing process, from cocoa bean to finished product. This control over the manufacturing process, combined with Ghirardelli’s proprietary bean blend and unique methods of roasting and processing, ensures that you are rewarded with the highest quality and richest products.

www.guittard.com. Etienne Guittard began his chocolate making business in San Francisco in 1850 bringing with him his knowledge of French traditions. One of Guittard’s earliest and perhaps most important innovations was their proprietary Guittard Sweet Ground Chocolate. Guittard milk chocolate chips, white chips and super-sized chips were other notable innovations as was the idea of truffles, which Guittard passed along to some of their confectionary customers.

Whatever products you decide to use for your holiday table remember that quality is key. Delight even the most discriminating palates on your gift list with homemade chocolate confections or those you purchase from the best!