Experience: Chocolate

Have you ever really experience chocolate?  Do you know anyone who has?  That is why chocolate makes such a great gift come holidays, birthdays, etc.  Experience: Chocolate has come up with some great ways for you to give chocolate as a gift to other or even to yourself (I have to admit I like that last one).  They have something called Tasting Experiences.  What they do is you get a variety of gourmet chocolate tasting squares.  The collections consider the origin of the cocoa beans, cocoa content and manufacturing process and are designed to satisfy the desire of an experienced gourmet or pique the interest of a casual taster.  Here are a few you can try out:

Chocolate for the Vine™ – Our tasters’ pairing guide will help you marry these fine chocolates with your favorite wine.

Sweet Serenity™ – Milk chocolate from around the world with a focus on taste and smoothness.

Pure Rapture™ – Varietal, single-origin or estate-grown chocolate from the world’s foremost growing regions.

Euphoric Indulgence™ – Featuring some of the world’s best semi-sweet and bittersweet dark chocolate bars.

Now, if you live in the Boston MA area, you can even have your own Chocolate Tasting!  At these shows, you will learn how to taste the difference between three varieties of cocoa beans.

They even have gift baskets!  This is one gift basket any chocolate lover would like. These baskets include your choice of our Sweet Serenity™ milk chocolate Tasting Experience™ box, Euphoric Indulgence™ dark chocolate Tasting Experience™ box, or Chocolate for the Vine™ Tasting Experience™ box, plus chocolate covered cocoa nibs, Mexican drinking chocolate, and other goodies.

The prices for the chocolate collections start at $24.99 and vary according to the collection. The gift basket is on sale for $49.95.  I have been lucky enough to try out four of the flavors of chocolate that they have:  neuhaus, Valrhona Jivara, Michel Cluizel Chocolatier Paris, and Amedei Tuscany Toscano Brown.  This is some of the best chocolate you will have.  However, my favorite has to be the neuhaus.  It is milk chocolate that just melts in your mouth.  It has a smooth taste with my aftertaste.  Milk chocolate has and always will be my first love.

If you are needed a Christmas gift for a chocolate lover, definitely check out Experience: Chocolate.  Its is your one stop shop for some the of the chocolate in the world!

Nature’s Path Breakfast Favorites

My kids love breakfast!  They love cereal.  However, mommy likes to mix it up a bit for them, so when I can find products out there that are both healthy and great tasting, I am very happy.  You wouldn’t think it would be hard to find products that encompass both those, but it is.

One of the things we recently tried in our house was waffles from Nature’s Path.  I personally am a waffle fan.  They are one of my personal favorite breakfast foods.  We tried both the Nature’s Path Gluten-Free HomeStyle Waffles and the Nature’s Path Flax Plus Red Berry Waffles.  Now, the berry waffles were eaten by my husband and kids before I even got to try one!  I got one bite when I was ripping it apart for Will.  Needless to say, these were very good since they were gone so fast.  I did get to try the gluten free waffles myself.  They too were good.  The one thing I noticed right off the bat is that when these waffles come out of the toaster, they are soft instead of crunchy.  I have never had waffles come out that way.  I think that made them even better.  It gave the waffles more taste.

The other breakfast good we got to try was Nature’s Path Hot Oatmeal. The two flavors we tried were Veri Berry™ and Chocolada Almond™. Again, these were huge hits in our house. Not only did they taste good, they even smelled good! I noticed when I took the bowls out of the microwaves that the oatmeal wasn’t all dried out like what normally happens with other brands. When I added the water to the oatmeal, there was no guessing on how much I needed to put in there for it to turn out perfect. Madison loves this oatmeal so much that she still asks for it all the time. The oatmeal is vegan and contains more than 25g of whole grains per serving.

Nature’s Path has several other breakfast foods. I recommend checking them out for all your breakfast needs. They are a huge hit in my house and they will be in yours too.

Foodies Events

Again, these are all for the Chicago area.  If you’d like me to include your event, please leave a comment and I will add you to next week’s list!

Taste Of Italy – Mario Rizzotti (one of the judges on Iron Chef America) will be having a cooking demonstration and tasting of extra virgin olive oils and balsamic vinegars.  $30 tonight at 7 pm at Mezzaluna Italian and Cooking Classes in Wester Springs.  Please call for reservations at 708-246-6055.

Just Food – 20 area chefs are participating in the Chefs & The City befits for those affected by HIV and AIDS.  Tickets are $250 and $350 for the VIP event.  It is tonight at 7 pm at The Peninsula, 108 E Superior St.  Call for reservations at 312-948-2785.

Cooking at Green City – Paul LoDuca is teaching a demonstation class at the Green City Market, 1750 N Clark St for free tomorrow morning at 10:30 am.  For more information, please call 773-435-0280.

Tricks Of The Trade – Michael Foly shares menu ideas at a demonstration class at Bloomindale’s Home & Furniture Store, Medinah Temple, 600 Wabash Ave.  It is free and at 2 pm tommorrow.  For more information, please call 312-324-7678.

Cutting Edge – Stephanie Oesligle is teaching a hands on “sharp as a knife” skill class.  It is $53 and takes place August 18 at 6:30 pm at Two Kitchens, 2035 Washington St. Suite 155, Naperville.  For more information, please call 630-717-9630.

Cheese course – Mary Rose teaches a class on cooking with Italian cheeses.  It is $75 and takes place August 19 at 7 pm at Cucina Della Rose Cooking School, 211 Park Ave., Barrington.  For more information, please call 847-650-9463

Healing Foods – Jeannie Burke shares tips in “Foods that Heal – Taste and Learn about Easy Recipes the Fight Inflammation and Prevent Diseases”.  It is $30 and takes place at 7 pm on August 19 at A Movable Feast, 1641 N Alpine Rd., Rockford.  Please call 815-877-8696 for more information.

Culinary secrets – Ramiro Velasquez  is having a demonstration class followed by a 3 course lunch with wine pairings.  It is $65 on August 20 at 10:45 am at Carlos Restaurant, 429 Temple Ave., Highland Park.  For more information, please call 847-432-0770.