The first food festival after the Winter Food Festival Show is Valentine’s Day so of course, we have to find the newest fun sweets to eat for the sweetest. We have everything from gluten-free chips to chocolate-covered chickpeas, to the most heavenly hand wipes to clean your hands after you have licked your fingers.
1. The newest sweets are from Saffron Road, chocolate covered chickpeas. I know, right! Chocolate and chickpeas aren’t the first two foods I would put together, but you have to try them. From the ancient silk road trade routes to the passenger seat of your car, these snacks are crunchy and come in many flavors, including honey roasted, dark chocolate chai and salted caramel.
2. If you think Yoga is good for your body and soul, then you can feel good about pulling this gorgeous little package of delight out of your glove box and eating Ayurveda Inspired Artisanal Chocolate with orange pistachio infused with turmeric from Elements truffles. Once you’ve finished that little piece of chocolate joy, you can try the Raspberry infused with beetroot. Elements truffles use no refined sugar, no preservatives, and seventy percent cacao ethically sourced from Peru. The desire for pureness can be seen in the box; a simple cardboard box with a piece of sewn cloth and pastel watercolors. One wonders how much works goes into making the box look handmade. Open the box, and raspberry chocolate infuses the room. The stamped chocolate design celebrates flowers and stars. I love that their website boasts that the bars are rich in antioxidants and essential minerals and that Beet Root helps boost the immune system. And of course, it is Anti-aging. As if you needed any of that to eat these.
3. Californians just can’t help themselves; they have figured out a way to make cabernet wine even better. RayZyn has taken cabernet wine grapes and dipped them in dark chocolate! Talk about Zynful! We’ve all heard how good red wine is for you, combine that with dark chocolate because RayZyn uses the grape (with small nuggets of seeds to distinguish this from a raisin) you also get an extra boost of fiber. This family-owned and operated company is located in Napa, California. A little secret here; if your wine doesn’t say Napa (or a city in Napa), it is from California, not Napa. Big difference! RayZyn is a farm product that can be stored in your car for that time when you are stuck in traffic, and all you want is to be home with a glass of wine and a piece of chocolate.
4. What would life be without a crunch? You have to have a crunch. Primizie (Pri mit tsje) Flatbread Crisps have the taste of bread, with the crunch of a chip. Inspired in Italy, the flavors range from Italian Everything, Gouda and Garlic, Green Harvest, Simply Salted, Robust Beet, Ancient Grains, Chile and Lime, and Dolce Caramel. When you can’t afford a professional chef to cater your party buy these chips and add a garnish on top of the chip. They are perfect to store in your car, or snack on with your favorite Valentine.
5. Is there life after the crunch? Yes, and it includes chocolate – and nuts! Brownie Brittle has more choices than the girl scout cookies, and some are gluten-free! They include Brownie Brittle – Toffee Crunch, Brownie Brittle – Mint Chocolate Chip Brownies, Brownie Brittle – Peanut Butter Chip, Brownie Brittle – Salted Caramel 5oz Bag, Brownie Brittle – Chocolate Chip Cookie Brownies, Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Brownie Brittle, Organic Chocolate & Toasted Coconut Brownie Brittle, Organic Brownie Brittle Pretzel & Dark Chocolate, Organic Brownie Brittle Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Almond Brownie Brittle, Gluten-Free Brownie Brittle – Chocolate Chip Cookie Brownies, and Gluten-Free Brownie Brittle – Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Cookie Brownies.
6. You’ve heard of Sweet Home Chicago, well know you can add Sweet food Chicago, also known as damn good cookies, or Chubby Wubbys. I found these great cookies at the Chicago Auto Show in the Infiniti booth. The cookies I had were packaged in sophisticated see-through packaging with a blue ribbon with white stitching. These cookies are a marriage between a cake and cookie but bite-size. Handmade cookies, sort of like a soft oreo cookie, two pieces with a soft center inside. The taste is true to the description.
7. We’ve all heard of craft beer, but what about craft chocolate? Dick Taylor’s craft chocolate is packaged with the love of your life in mind. Eureka! Well, that’s where Dick Taylor’s is located and where they have all their organic ingredients sent to produce a beautiful piece of chocolate wrapped handsomely in a package that looks like it would have a story to tell. The designs on the chocolate are as unique as some of the woodworking they did before they started a chocolate company.
8. Over two hundred years ago Mr. Ghirardelli was born, and the rest is a chocolate history that everyone in San Francisco and beyond has come to love. What most people don’t know is that Ghirardelli started in Stockton, California, even though they are well known at the Ghirardelli Square which houses the Ruth Asawa woman with child fountain. The Swiss company Lindt & Sprungli acquired Ghirardelli Chocolate Company. In 2011 it became the No. 2 baking brand in the U.S.
9. In the 1920s Canadian Charlie Sees opened the first Sees candy store for his widowed Mother, Mary Sees, in Los Angeles, California. In the fifties the popular I Love Lucy “Job Switching” episode was shown highlighting Sees candy stores. It took forty years from inception before Sees would venture outside of California, into Arizona. In the ’60s Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger purchased the company, which is pretty much what I would do if I were a gazillionaire. Get the Sees chocolate lollipops and pass the time away deliciously.
10. Oshibori is a luscious wet towel wrapped in silver or gold and scented with white tea, orange blossom. Oshibori is Japanese for a small dampened towel for wiping your hands and face. Let’s face it, your hands can get a little sticky after eating all these chocolates and chips, and some hand towels leave your hands dry, or have a scent that is less than desirable. The towels are durable, but what I love the most is the smell. If you’re in an airplane, you don’t have to worry about offending your seatmate with offending smells. These towels are Made in France but can be found in high-end luxury hotels in the United States or can be ordered online.