Friday, December 13, 2013

:: need your stocking stuffed? start here ::

So, I don't know about you, but holiday shopping always gives me a teensy bit of anxiety.


Plain old shopping, I love. But the gift giving and the "Is it enough" and the  "What if someone gets me something and I didn't get them anything" and  the questions about what do I want is just too much for me. Which is why I try to do a little shopping all year round. But then I forget where I put the gifts I got people, or I find the gift but forget who it's for, and....well, you get it. Total mess.

Last week I headed over to the North End's Cocoanuts  for a Blog and Tweet Boston event that was a total treat (ha ha). From gourmet nut mixes to gift baskets to artisan chocolates, they have it all and it's so much better tasting and better for you than that stuff you get at the grocery store. Hershey's, I'm looking at you.

Instead, we feasted on samples from the following confectioners and chocolatiers, which are now prominently displayed on my list to Santa:

McCrea's Caramels: With names like Highland Scotch, Black Lava Sea Salt and Rosemary Truffle Sea Salt, these are an adult foodie's dream. I bought a sleeve of the truffle flavor and had no idea that mushrooms could ever be so welcome in a dessert. They're made with no chemicals and no corn syrup and are available at a whole bunch of retail stores as well as online. If you're ever tried to make caramels at home, you know it's haaaard. But these folks make it look easy. Packaging, color, taste.

Pure 7 Chocolate: Handmade by two moms in Carlisle, MA, Pure 7's website isn't quite up and running yet. But here's what I know: They use honey instead of refined sugar, so those of us trying to be a bit more natural can eat it and not at all feel deprived. At all. The chocolate is super smooth.  The packaging is low on processing, just like the product and it's available in mint, coffee, dark chocolate and salted almond.

Raaka Chocolate: Billed as virgin chocolate, this unroasted, stone ground, small batch chocolate is made in Brooklyn and comes in amazing flavors like Himalayan Sea Salt and Vanilla Rooibos, my personal favorite. They liken the different flavor profiles of different cacao growing reasons to wine varietals. And the chocolate is called "virgin" because it's certified organic, fair trade, soy free, nut free and vegan.

So if you're on my Christmas list, you're probably getting chocolate this year. And now you know why. Feel free to thank me with...well, chocolate. 

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