Monday, February 16, 2009

A World Without Chocolate?

After reading in the news that scientists are worried about the sustainability of the world’s chocolate crop, I immediately became moody. The endorphins constantly running through my chocolate-spiked veins plummeted.

According to the ABC News report:

“The Ghana-based Nature Conservation Research Center warns that chocolate may become as rare and expensive as caviar within 20 years.”

Forget saving the children, or the seals… save cacao!

Keep the Chocolate in V-Day!

Valentine’s Day was Saturday, and I am all about a holiday that encourages chocolate consumption.

I celebrated with the BF, by eating burritos (Guacamole is the way to my heart) and cupcakes from Kickass cupcakes. The bakery in Davis Square is one of my favorites. With cupcakes ranging from chocolate with vanilla frosting to fortune cookie flavored, this little shop knows how to please. On the weekends they even have the brilliant idea of serving deep-fried cupcakes. It was a hard decision, but I settled on the red velvet flavor. The moist chocolate cupcake glowed red with food coloring and the cream cheese frosting topped with a little red heart. My only complaint was that I hadn’t been smart enough to order a dozen.

Despite the hype around St. Valentine’s Day, my favorite day is February 15… when all the hearts and truffles go on sale! I’ve been stocking up at CVS and Walgreens, and plan to visit Target for a good bargain hunt this evening.

Here is my top wish list:

Heart-shaped Peeps. Vanilla and cherry flavored marshmallows covered in sugar- Do these really need an explanation?

Cella’s milk chocolate covered cherries- Romantic and oh so easy to finish a whole box. Very good frozen.

Junior Mint Hearts. Shaped for the season, the minty candies look like hearts. In addition to the traditional color, they come red inside as well.

Russell Stover’s marshmallow and strawberry cream hearts. I can’t wait for the Easter eggs too!

Reese’s peanut butter hearts – Why do these taste so much better than regular Reese's?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Who's gonna turn down a Junior Mint?

Big Box of Junior Mints… as if a king size wasn’t enough, I recently indulged in the upgraded 12 oz. size of these minty pastels. I love junior mints. I highly recommend them frozen. The cold enhances the mint burst of refreshment… and slows down my consumption.

I will share that every time I eat out of the box, I manage to drop a junior mint into my collar. I’m lucky to finish a box without leaving chocolate smudges on my clothes behind. I understand that I am not the most coordinated person in the world, but eating candy has never been as challenging as yoga.

But as Kramer said on Seinfeld, "Who's gonna turn down a Junior Mint? It's chocolate, it's peppermint; it's delicious!”

My slip-up isn’t nearly as life altering as the accident featured on the Junior Mint episode,but it has increased my dry cleaning bill. I blame to minty aroma wafting out of the box for hypnotizing me beyond functioning normally.

Visiting the gym yesterday I was excited to see that even at a place dedicated to kicking my butt, a sugar addict can enjoy a little treat before a run. Slivers of truffles from Dean's Sweets in every imaginable flavor (tequila, caramel, maple and cayenne) are just the motivation I need to run another mile... and just what greeted me. Dean’s Sweets made the trek from Maine to Porter Square to introduce the diet tribe to their sinful handmade chocolates.

P.s. all these truffles come in dark chocolate. I encourage you all to give them a try.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Gung Hay Fat Choy

In honor of the year of the Ox and Chinese New Year, I ventured to Chinatown this weekend with a friend to witness local festivities.

Dragons from area dance troupes and martial arts schools paraded through the streets and devoured heads of lettuce and oranges, while I filled up on dumplings, buns and dough balls.

Asian treats are always a unique experience and for the cheap price of $.80 a bun, even during these tough economic times I can afford to splurge.

According to Chowhound, cake and desserts are especially symbolic during the Chinese New Year representing a rich and sweet life in the future. Layered cakes symbolize wealth in the future and the round shape of many cakes is important for family togetherness.

I highly recommend the Eldo Cake House, where I began my afternoon adventure. Known for their sponge cakes layered with fresh fruit and whippy icing, the little bakery was packed with tourists, locals and the downright hungry all fighting to catch the eye of the counter attendants. I really wish I knew Chinese so that I could shout my order over the others.

By the time I elbowed by way to the counter they had run out of coconut buns, but I was lucky to score pineapple cake and a couple of cream buns. Imagine a cream-filled doughnut only with lighter cream and saltier thicker dough padding. The house also has a side room filled with specialty candy.

To wash down our finds we headed to the Bao Bao Bakery and CafĂ© on Harrison Ave… also known as bubble tea heaven. The narrow store burst at the seams with customers clamoring for unusual green teas and red bean smoothies.

Bubble tea is a Taiwanese drink that contains tapioca pearls. This is not your grandmother’s tapioca. These little translucent jewels vary in color and size depending on their ingredients. According to a supplier of bubble tea, the white and translucent pearls are usually made of caramel, starch and chamomile root extract, while the black pearls are a combination sweet potato, cassava root and brown sugar.

In addition to polka dotted drinks, Bao Bao has the most colorful cakes I have ever seen including one iced to resemble a blow fish and another painted electric pink to look like a pig. Very fitting after my own pig-out session.