Browsing Tag

Valentine’s Day

Food + Recipes, Shopping

Delicious Chocolate & Champagne Candies for Valentine’s Day

February 1, 2013
socola_valentine_chocolates

Words of love are screen-printed on champagne ganache chocolates filled with raspberry pâte de fruits. Sea salt caramels topped with red salt complete the box from Socola Chocolates.

Probably because they’re both foods associated with indulgence and pleasure, people love to talk about eating chocolate while sipping champagne for Valentine’s Day. Know what that combo makes me think? Yuck!

A typical brut champagne is far too acidic to pair with a sweet food like chocolate, so even your favorite champagne will taste tart and thin. And the wine does nothing to improve the flavor of the chocolate. It’s really a waste of both.

Here’s how we can stop the madness: with chocolate truffles that are made with champagne! This way, the champagne lends brightness, fruit and a hint of luxury to the chocolate.

If you’re feeling ambitious, it’s easy to make Chocolate-Champagne Truffles yourself with this recipe from Martha. She rolls hers in white sparkling sugar, but it would be fun to use different colors.

But if you don’t fancy cleaning chocolate and sugar off your kitchen cabinets and floor, here are some great champagne and chocolate truffles to buy for your sweetie or yourself for Valentine’s Day:

Socola Chocolatier’s Aphrodite’s Delight: This chocolate gift starts with raspberry pâtes de fruits enrobed in champagne ganache; each one is topped with the word love in a different language. The other half of the box is filled with grey sea salt chocolate caramels topped with red Hawaiian salt. Super-cute sisters Wendy and Susan, who are based in San Francisco, just became the featured chocolatiers for Zaarly, a cool site that curates all sorts of services. New members can go to Zaarly and snag the 12-piece Aphrodite’s Delight box for just $15; shipping is free in San Francisco and $5 elsewhere.

 

Recchiuti Champagne Truffles: Chocolatier Michael Recchiuti adds the deeply toasty and fruity Schramsberg Blanc de Noirs to super creamy dark chocolate. They’re rolled in powered sugar as the final step. Pick them up at the Recchiuti shop in the Ferry Building, at the new Chocolate Lab Café in Dogpatch or online.

 

Moonstruck Chocolate Pink Champagne Truffle Heart: I met a sweet lady from Seattle’s Moonstruck Chocolates at the Fancy Food Show in San Francisco and was eyeing these cute pink hearts. A candied raspberry is at the center, surrounded by a white chocolate ganache flavored with champagne and raspberries and finally a white chocolate shell. Like all of their confections, it’s hand painted.

 

 

Teuscher Champagne Truffles: While I’ve not tried these yet, the website for the Palo Alto-based confectionery makes a compelling claim: company founder Dolf Teuscher Sr. invented the chocolate truffle back in 1946 in Switzerland.  A buttercream center infused with Dom Perignon Champagne is wrapped in either dark or milk chocolate. The milk chocolate original is dusted in confectioner’s sugar for a juicy sensation, while the dark chocolate is rolled in bittersweet cocoa powder for a drier, deeply flavored bite.

 

Vosges Haut Chocolat Champagne Truffles: These truffles and I go way back: We’re both from Chicago. The stylish chocolatiere Katrina Markoff mixes Krug Champagne Grande Cuvée with 85% chocolate and a splash of rosewater. The truffle is finished with a dusting of cocoa powder before being popped in a purple box.  You should know that the Vosges website has a range of other Krug and chocolate gifts, just please promise you won’t drink the champagne and the chocolate together.

Bubbly Girl Cocktail Recipes, Drinks

Make a Pink Rose Cocktail for Valentine’s Day

February 13, 2012

Floral rose notes, Pink Pigeon Rum and sparkling wine make for a romantic combination in my Pink Rose Cocktail – it’s perfect for Valentine’s Day.

There’s something incredibly alluring – and delicious – about the combination of roses, raspberries and sparkling wine. The flavor of roses and tart raspberries meld so well, and the bubbles are like an atomizer that bring the gorgeous scent floating out of the glass.

I’ve made plenty of rose and raspberry cocktails over the years, but when Valentine’s Day come around, I like to revisit it to see if I can invent anything new. I love the way the combination of rose and raspberry is a beautiful shade of pink and it’s intensely flavored enough to work with a variety of spirits.

(For some of my favorite pink wines, check out this Valentine’s Day rosé post on Williams-Sonoma’s Blender blog.)

This year I was inspired by the release of Pink Pigeon, a Madagascar vanilla-scented rum from the African island of Mauritius. I used a rose syrup in my cocktail, but it also works with a Tea Rose Petal Jam like this one from Harvest Song. I balanced the fruity and floral flavors in this cocktail with a splash of Campari. Like love, a good cocktail is bitter and sweet.

Pink Rose Cocktail
1 ounce Pink Pigeon Rum
3 raspberries, fresh or thawed frozen ones, plus one for garnish
1/2 ounce rose syrup (or 1 tsp. Tea Rose Petal Jam)
1/2 ounce lemon juice
1 teaspoon Campari
2 ounces sparkling wine, brut, brut rosé or blanc de noirs
fresh organic rose petal

Add the rum and raspberries to a cocktail shaker and muddle. Add the rose syrup (or jam), lemon juice and Campari. Shake until well-chilled, then double strain into a champagne coupe. Top with chilled sparkling wine, then garnish with a rose petal and the remaining raspberry.

©By Maria C. Hunt aka The Bubbly Girl

Drinks, Wine + Food Pairing

Great Ideas for Last Minute Valentine’s Day Drinks & Food

February 14, 2011

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Even if you already celebrated Valentine’s Day over the weekend, it’s nice to extend the love-fest one more day, no? So if you’re still trying to think of a special and easy to treat your sweetheart for Valentine’s Day, you’re in luck. I’ve put together a slide show of some of my favorite pink foods and drinks — along with simple recipes and wine pairing suggestions.

Most of the recipes have appeared at some time or another on The Bubbly Girl.com. Stop by the recipes section for the Kismet Cocktail, Raspberry Royale cocktail, the Chocolate Corks, which are airy but chocolaty and moist since they start with a yeast-based chocolate dough.

To make the super-simple and classic Jack Rose cocktail, add 1 ounce Pama pomegranate liqueur, two ounces applejack (or Calvados if you can’t find it) and the juice of half a lime to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake it until your hands are really cold, then strain it into a smallish martini glass.

You could pick up ingredients for most of these recipes at Trader Joe’s, along with the super-affordable Blason Cremant de Bourgogne Brut Rosé, which comes from Burgundy. The Italian sparkling dessert wine Brachetto d’Acqui is getting more and more popular; it’s usually at BevMo or a larger liquor stores with a decent wine department.

Cin cin!

Food + Recipes

Red Walnuts: The Unofficial Sweet-Heart Nut of Valentine’s Day

February 10, 2011

Livermore red walnuts grown here in California are a striking shade of magenta, as well as being delicious.

I love going to farmer’s markets. Even if my refrigerator is full, I love their energy and the chance discoveries.

My latest revelation is the Red Walnut – a really purplish, magenta colored version of the familiar tan nut. The ones I bought were fresh from Terra Bella Ranch in northern San Diego County, so they had a wonderful light and sweet nutty flavor. But what really sold me was the color.

A little sign explained that the nuts are the Livermore variety and said they hailed from England originally. But I did some research and tracked down the US Patent application that was filed by the University of California at Davis, where the Robert Livermore walnut was developed. The Livermore is a cross between a purple walnut variety and the standard Howard walnut. Robert Livermore was a supporter of the university’s programs and with having the unusual new walnut named for him.

Check out Terra Bella Ranch’s Facebook page to learn where to find them. Or if you live in a climate where walnut trees thrive, you can order your own Livermore red walnut tree from Dave Wilson Nursery.

Since most of the good phenolic acids, tannins and flavonoids in a walnut is in the skin or pellicule, it’s not hard to believe that the red walnut has some unique nutrients that aren’t found in the tan walnut. According to the walnut entry on World’s Healthiest Foods, Walnuts are a great source of gamma-tocopherol, a rather rare form of Vitamin E that has been shown to have very positive role in reducing heart disease risk. With that and other beneficial properties, is why I’m naming walnuts the sweet-heart nut of Valentine’s Day.

In case you’re wondering what to do with walnuts besides eat them, I’ve put together a collection of delicious walnut recipes on Foodily.

Bubbly Girl Cocktail Recipes, Drinks

The Raspberry Dream: A Yummy Valentine’s Day Cocktail

February 3, 2011
Raspberries, Chambord and a splash of cream make for a deliciously dreamy cocktail sure to please any Valentine..

Raspberries, Chambord and a splash of cream make for a deliciously dreamy cocktail sure to please any Valentine..

It’s that season when people start thinking about red and pink drinks — the two staple colors of Valentine’s season entertaining. I love working with red fruits like raspberries because the color is so inviting and the sweet-tart berries add such a bright flavor.

I was thinking about a grown-up raspberry milkshake when I came up with this Raspberry Dream cocktail that mixes the fruit with the black raspberry liqueur Chambord, vanilla-infused vodka and a splash of half-and-half.

If you need another reason besides deliciousness to drink your raspberries, it turns out they’re really good for you. Raspberries are high in ellagic acid which helps prevent free radical damage and the flavonoid compounds quercetin and kaempferol, which play a role in fighting a number of diseases, according to World’s Healthiest Foods. Black raspberries may help ward off colon cancer, according to this study from the University of Illinois at Chicago reported on Science Daily.com.

Sounds good to me!

Raspberry Dream
4 fresh or frozen raspberries
1 tablespoon half-and-half
2 ounces Chambord
1 ounce vanilla-infused vodka, see note

Muddle the raspberries in a cocktail shaker glass. Add the half-and-half, Chambord,
simple syrup, vodka and ice. Shake until well-chilled. Strain into a martini glass. Garnish
with a raspberry.

Note: Making your own vanilla vodka is easy, just slit a vanilla bean, slide it into your favorite vodka and wait a few days.
© The Bubbly Girl, 2011