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01 Dec '14

How To Choose A Chocolate Gift - A Quick Guide

This time of year, we think about finding the perfect gifts for our friends and family. I tend to think that good chocolate is a perfect gift for anyone.  But with so many wonderful products and superb chocolate makers to choose from, how does one match the person to the chocolate.  Here are some of my thoughts, gathered from lots of experience helping my customers tackle this very enjoyable challenge!

For the Purist:

Is your chocolate lover a purist (meaning they like simple chocolate, with nothing in it like nuts, fruit, etc.)?  For the purist, a fun chocolate gift would be a sampling of origin bars, where the cocoa to make the chocolate comes from different single country.  Look for chocolate bars that advertise the cocoa comes from Venezuela, Madagascar, the Philippines, Ecuador, etc. You can also find origin bars in different cocoa percentages; 60%, 65%, 70%, 75%, etc.  By getting a few bars with different percentages and from different origins, you can give that person a nice, fun personally curated tasting kit. They will experience different percentages as well as explore the unique flavors and undertones of cocoa bean varieties and origins.  Each bean variety (chuao, trinitario, etc.) 

For the the Thrill Seeker:

Is your chocolate lover is an adventurous eater? You might want to find some chocolate bars with different spices and flavors. How about a chocolate bar that is infused with Lemongrass? A bar that has spices in it like cinnamon or chili peppers? Maybe a bar with bacon. For the adventuress eater, finding chocolate with different flavor combinations will lead to a culinary journey of discovery.

For your Host:

Are you going somewhere and want to bring a gift to the host? Bring something that your the host can put on a plate and share.  A perfect gift would be a box of classic truffles, a bag of chocolate covered almonds, a box of caramels coated in chocolate.  If you are visiting a family, throw in a tin of hot chocolate.

Salt and Chocolate - A Classic Combination:

And how about the person that loves the salt and chocolate combination? There are so many wonderful chocolate bars and treats that combine salt with the chocolate. You can look for caramels coated in dark chocolate sprinkled with different salts, or bars that have salt blended in. Some even have cocoa nibs crumbled into the bar, so you get the creaminess of the chocolate, the crunch of the cocoa nibs and the burst of salt.

Any of the options above will show that you've put a lot of thought into your gift.....and kept your chocolate lover loving chocolate!



29 Jul '13

S'mores Test Results!


Hello Chocolate Lovers,

Here are the follow-up results for the summer s’more challenge, here they are!  As you may recall from my last guest blog post, I was planning to organize a taste test with my friends to determine the best chocolate for s’mores. If you forgot the tasting options, they were:


Patric’s Mocha OMG


Patric’s PBJ OMG


Olive and Sinclair’s Sea Salt Bar


Chuao’s Firecracker Bar


I made up a rating sheet and asked everyone to say something about the chocolate and give it a rating (out of one to five). Here are the results.

Over all, the PBJ OMG scored the highest with a whopping 21.2 points. Mocha OMG and the Firecracker followed close behind with 21 and 20 points, and the Southern Artisan came close with 17 points. The PBJ OMG reminded the tasters of the classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich and blended the best with the marshmallow. The Mocha OMG blended well but didn’t compliment the marshmallow as much as the PBJ OMG. The Southern Artisan was very dark, I would definitely recommend it to those of you who enjoy the mix of sweet and rich.  The Firecracker was an experience, it is great for those who like excitement and a pop of spice.

I hope you enjoyed my blogs and let us know if you would like me to do more. I am always happy to experiment with chocolate.


                                  Stay Happy,

 Lena Fine