Sunday, December 27, 2009

a cocoa bean boy!

welcome to barnaby william denham sandford, born on christmas eve!
and congratulations to emily, chris and lola.... and santa who found his way to the hehir's house to fill lola's stocking on christmas morning!
barnaby was a whopping 10lb 6oz and was born one day early, sneaking in just five hours before his due date!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

quality presents, the irish examiner and near perfect vision

if you don't have the super human vision required to read the bit under the ladybird in the article above, it says that cocoa bean's chocolate tree decorations (€4.95) are in the top three chocolate treats for christmas as recommended by roz crowley. thank you - we are delighted! our christmas tree was originally decorated with all three designs (stars, trees and baubles) but we have already eaten them, being unable to keep chocolate in the house for two minutes. luckily the girls are prolific in the manufacture of replacement decorations and eggs decorated with sequins and feathers are the chosen medium this weekend. classy!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

golden tickets and party fun

here is butterslip's christmas picture showing the lovely ladies of kilkenny having a super dooper christmas party in the shop. there was supposed to be more pictures of tempting pressies and party fun but there was so much cake eating, chatting and laughing that the photos were forgotten. the cake was a worthy distraction; both extremely pretty and harbouring willy wonka style golden tickets worth €200 in butterslip vouchers. wish i had won....

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

institutes, women and back to chocolate class

WI was great - a kind of hectic whirl of activity! the air was heavy with the aroma of toasted cardamoms and the giggles of women away from their children, dipping their fingers into bowls of dark, melted chocolate laced with port and lemon zest.

christmas food and wine

over 500 people came to see the delicious artisan food on offer at mccambridges this christmas. the wine was flowing and everyone at the fair got the chance to sample lots of goodies. you can see grainne rooney from mccambridges pictured, happy to be surrounded by the festive chocolates!
eoin mccambridge toasts j-me, originally from new zealand, now in spiddal co galway, who makes great dressing and chutney. If you haven't been already, seek out mccambridges. if you live in galway, you already know how lucky you are!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

christmas in cork

cork is such a lovely place to capture the thrill of preparing for christmas. it's great mix of high street shops and quirky backstreets remind me of exciting childhood trips to york. finish the day at the english market and pick up some culinary christmas treats. i believe in getting started on the festive food as soon as december starts. winter continues for a long and stark time after the new year begins so take advantage of the natural exuberance of december and eat well!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

stilton and chocolate

we had a fabulous night at knightsbridge harvey nichols on tuesday where champagne was flowing freely and artisans were handing out the best of their festive food. the mood was cheery and christmassy! i love meeting the customers who already eat our bars and delighting the ones who haven't yet tasted them. everyone has their favourite and seem willing to passionately fight their corner across the tasting table with strangers: sea salt against chilli; lime and black pepper against gin and tonic!

i bought the harvey nichols jasmine leaf tea, some balsamic vinegar, a small bunch of red grapes and a wedge of highly recommended coltson basset stilton. when aidan and i were eating the stilton for lunch yesterday, surrounded by my preparations for the WI demonstration - aidan discovered dark chocolate drops and stilton are a heavenly combination. i have had a delicious stilton and white chocolate truffle before but this 60% was moreish. try it...

Thursday, November 26, 2009

are you near kilkenny???

if you are in or near kilkenny, this will be a brilliant event! if not, then have a look at their lovely new website and plan a trip...

Christmas Party InvitationThursday 3rd December 6pm – 8pm
Yipee we're having a party! Recently we decided it was high time we had a little party at Butterslip and would love you to come along. We'll be cracking open some bubbly, catching up with friends and hopefully spotting some good ideas for christmas pressies… To help us along there'll be €200 worth of Butterslip gift vouchers to be won as well as some tempting offers…
So dress up, or down, but do pop down we’d love to see you! xxx
click here to View Invite
Butterslip Website – Finally!
After much procrastination, deliberation, sticking of head in the sand…la la la.. we have arrived in computer land! Check out our lovely new website where we'll be busy writing about goings on at Butterslip, our favourite new pretty things in the shop and other notions and vagueries… We'd love to hear what you think so click in and have a look. The online shopping bit is not ready yet so for that you'll have to do the old fashioned thing and come and visit us in real life. Its much prettier anyway!
Click to view website

Sunday, November 22, 2009

christmas at harvey nichs

rachael will be handing out samples of our winter range at harvey nichols in manchester. find her in the food hall on the evening of 25th november, along with lots of other artisans eager for you to taste their christmas delights! the events in manchester are always warm and bubbly, infused with that first sparkle of christmas.

look out for our five bar packs in the lucky dips at all the festive fetes across the stores. if you're not lucky enough to be a winner, the shelves should be well stocked!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

turkish delight cocoa bean style!

emily mentioned our nightmares working with hot sugar in her last blog. but these are so worth the effort!
this limerick market recipe was the only one we could find at the time that was made with no animal products (important in aidan's vegan days!). the lack of gelatin means it is a bit softer and stickier than shop bought turkish delight and so works best dipped generously in dark chocolate. shame! it is very delicious - don't be put off by our stress warnings!
you will need a sugar thermometer unless you are a genius. use the chunk tempering method emily described in 'temper, temper'
4 cups caster sugar
4 cups water
1 tsp lemon juice
1 cup cornflour
1 tsp cream of tartar
1 1/2 tbsp rosewater
red food colouring (if you want it pink)
1. combine caster sugar, 1 1/2 cups of water and the lemon juice in a medium pot. stir over a low heat, without boiling, until the sugar dissolves brush the sugar crystals off the side of the pot with a brush dipped in water. simmer, uncovered, until the temperature reaches 116 C on a sugar thermometer ( a teaspoon of the mixture will form a soft ball when dropped into a glass of cold water.) remove from the heat.
2. meanwhile, in a separate pot blend the cornflour and cream of tartar with enough of the remaining water to form a smooth paste. stir in the remaining water and stir constantly over heat until the mixture boils and thickens.
3. gradually pour the hot syrup, in a thin stream, into the cornflour mixture, whisking constantly. simmer gently, uncovered, for about 1 hour or until it is translucent and pale straw coloured; stir occassionally.
4. stir in rosewater and tint with food colouring if you want pink turkish delight.
5. line a square cake tin with greased clingfilm. pour and spread in the tin. stand, uncovered for at least 3 hours.
6. cut jelly into squares with an oiled knife. dust with icing sugar and coat in 2 layers of tempered dark chocolate and store in an airtight container.
serve with strong black coffee or take to the woods and eat after a long, wintry walk.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

christmas decorations

look out for our christmas decorations in harvey nichols, shops throughout ireland and online. harvey nichols have uk exclusivity of the bauble in milk, dark and white chocolate tied with a rich, red ribbon. in ireland you can also find the christmas tree and star tied with christmas colours.

these look fabulous on a tree with white lights. they are also perfect for giving to teachersor a thank you to a friend. They each come with a gift tag which means you can have a few in for a last minute present which you don't need to wrap!

Monday, November 9, 2009

beautiful butterscotch

this is a lovely, simple sauce for icecream, poached fruit ,baked apples or sarah's pancake recipe from last month. i served it with a very spiced apple tart for our bonfire party at the weekend and it was wickedly finished up for breakfast the next morning. delicious warm or delightfully gloopy and thick cooled down.

i'm not one for boiled sugar products, the turkish delight we made for limerick market wore my spirits for such things thin - however delicious it turned out my friday evenings became a battle between me and a sugar thermometer and my friday nights disturbed by feverish panics as to whether it would set overnight.

the great thing about this recipe is it is seemingly foolproof. originally from the waitrose website i have added golden syrup because, well because why wouldn't you? I will be trying this with the addition of chocolate as soon as the guilt of finishing the first batch has worn off.
175g soft brown sugar
125g butter
150ml double cream
2 tbsp golden syrup

method everything in a saucepan and heat until the butter has melted and the sugar dissolved (you shouldn't be able to see any gritty bits on the back of a wooden spoon).
2. remove from the heat and stir well.
3. leave to cool

be careful the sugar gets incredibly hot so take care.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

beautiful butterslip

it's worth going to kilkenny to visit anne's fabulous shop alone. this designer boutique shop has truly original gifts from unusual tea (and cocoa bean chocolate bars of course!) to pieces from designers like Johnny Loves Rosie and Nica Zedzz. just being in the shop is inspiring and reinvigorates the good side of shopping - the excitement of getting a gift for someone that truly thrills them!

Monday, October 26, 2009

dark chocolate sauce

i meant to include this in the last entry so here it is! this is my favourite chocolate sauce but you can experiment with the strength of chocolate or add flavours. a drop of brandy or liquer works well for a grown up taste or a pinch of chilli or drop of rosewater for a real cocoa bean experience!

175g of dark chocolate broken into small pieces (skelligs dark bar 54% or bitter bar both 71% work well)

115ml water

30g unsalted butter cut into small chunks

6 tablespoons of single cream

3 tablespoons of caster sugar

vanilla seeds from pod or 1/2 teaspoon good vanilla extract

in a medium sized pot, heat the water and sugar and stir until the sugar is dissolved
add the dissolved syrup to the butter and chocolate in a glass bowl over a pot of gently simmering water
keep stirring until they are all melted together

mix in the cream and vanilla

serve while still warm over waffles, icecream, strawberries, banana split, chocolate cake ....

Monday, October 19, 2009

waffles with chocolate sauce

i'm writing this blog on what is now a freezing, grey and drizzly day and can't believe that so recently we were lounging about in sleeveless tops and sunglasses!

we went out for waffles without children which was splendidly indulgent. mary chose vanilla icecream and chocolate sauce and i went for greek yoghurt and strawberries to prove i am capable of choosing something without chocolate, if ony very occasionally!
on saturday, i fancied a try at recreating the waffle experience but don't own a waffle iron so i made drop scones instead. they were very easy to make and though they weren't as crispy as waffles, they did a pretty good job at satisfying the craving!
drop scones or scotch pancakes

125g self raising flour
2 level tbsp sugar
1 egg
150ml milk

i used a heavy frying pan but you can use a solid hot-plate if you are lucky enough to have one. rub the cooking surface with salt to season it. wipe clean and grease the surface lightly.
in a bowl, put the flour and sugar. add an egg and half the milk and beat until smooth. add the rest of the milk and beat the mixture until little bubbles rise up to the surface.
heat the frying pan or hot-plate until the fat is hazing. wipe with kitchen paper and spoon the batter onto the surface. coook on one side.

when bubbles appear on the surace of the scone, turn it over with a palette knife and cook on the other side for 30 seconds to a minute until golden brown.

remove and place on a wire rack. cover with a clean teacloth until the rest are ready or hand straight to eager family and friends but be sure to save some for yourself!
i put all the topping options out on the table so that the girls could have fun experimenting with their own creations: chocolate sauce, icecream, whipped cream, strawberries, hedgerow blackberries, honey and bananas.
the blackberries were a very popular topping with the girls but left them looking like extras from some low budget halloween horror film! esme embraced the role with disturbing enthusiasm...

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

how can you resist?

fancy a trip to kerry, the deep blue sea, colm healy proffering the best of our chocoholic offerings? ryanair flies from dublin and stansted to kerry international airport. there are so many fabulous things to do and see near our chocolate factory including a trip to valencia, the lighthouse cafe, a boat trip to the skelligs, dinner at qc's in caherciveen, killarney national park, murphy's icecream or just smelling the turf and salty fresh sea air and then warming up with a pint of guiness or hot port in the moorings at portmagee.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

mastering muffins

sarah is the family expert on muffins, able to whip them up in seconds using anything she has about and they always taste delicious. i, on the otherhand, seem to be able to mess them up even if i'm following a recipe to the letter. i think this is quite an achievement...

i finally managed to produce a batch with the right texture, good distribution of exciting bits and they managed to rise and look good too so i feel i am on the right track towards mastering muffins. the recipe is sort of based on one from the times newspaper but with a few alterations.

blueberry, raspberry and white chocolate muffins.
makes 12

100g raspberries
60g blueberries
40g white chocolate drops
200g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
125g caster sugar
175ml milk
2 free range eggs
125ml vegetable oil

1. heat the oven to 180c. fill a muffin tin with muffin cases. a bowl sift the flour and baking powder into the sugar. in a jug mix the eggs, milk and oil unil smooth.

3. make a well in the centre of the dry mix and lightly stir in the wet ingredients. don't overmix it, it is meant to remain a bit lumpy. stir through the fruit and chocolate. divide the mixture between the muffin cases.

4. bake for 25 minutes until risen and golden. cool on a wire rack and ideally eat the same day.

you can use fresh or frozen fruit. I was using up leftover frozen bits and pieces from our summer pick your own sessions, as far as i can tell you can sort of make up the 200g of extra ingredients from any combo of other delicious ingredients that you have around or take your fancy.

the other big advantage of muffin mix is that until it is cooked it tastes oily and rank unlike cake mixture. as a pregnant woman with a weakness for cake mix despite the uncooked eggs muffins may well be the way forward.

Monday, October 5, 2009

100g of dark chocolate

we are all aware that dark chocolate has many virtues but even we were surprised to find out that the protein in 100g of dark chocolate (approx 8g) is MORE than in 100g of baked beans (approx 5g).

i'll be the first to admit that the other nutritional aspects don't lean as favourably towards chocolate. saturated fat, for example, not so good. however compared to a cheddar cheese chocolate suddenly doesn't seem so very unholy.

for all the bad press that tinned beans get for their sugar content chocolate beats them hands down. though if you can stomach a jacket potato with 100g of virtually sugar free 99% cocoa solids chocolate next time good on you! i think cheese and beans may stay a more popular topping for now though....

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

mango and coconut mint truffles

these truffles topped with fresh mint were a great success with coffee at the end of our african inspired dinner party last friday night. although the fuul that aidan cooked was authentic, other dishes were more inspired by flavours rather than from recipes. this is maybe why my coconut jelly served with mango and passionfriut was a complete failure! i haven't used gelatine since school cookery classes and it always led to disaster then. if anyone has any advice, i would be delighted to hear it! i ended up serving it like an ice cold, exotic, sweet soup - with a frogspawn dollop of passionfruit. hmmmm.....

Monday, September 28, 2009

bad girls' breakfast

sunday morning chocolate blowout!
very, very bad but very, very good! wicklow fine food and wildes chocolate do a good irish made chocolate spread or nutella is wonderful if you can't get hold of the others. we used white and dark chocolate chips to contrast with the flavour of the milk chocolate spread and to look pretty too! to make the chocolate pancakes we added cocoa powder to the the flour and then made up the batter as usual.
chocolate pancakes with chocolate spread and double choc chips
makes approx 8 6" pancakes

4 large tbsp plain flour
4 tsp good cocoa powder
1 large free range egg
milk to create correct consistency (similar to pouring cream)

chocolate spread
white chocolate drops
dark chocolate drops

vegetable oil

1. sift together the cocoa and flour
2.add the egg and beat well (preferably with an electric whisk) until a smooth paste is formed
3. add the milk, a little at a time until the right consistency is achieved
4. wipe a non stick frying pan with a little oil on a piece of kitchen paper and heat
5. add enough batter to the hot pan to thinly coat the bottom of the pan
6. when the first side is cooked it should unstick itself when you give the pan and gentle shake
7. flip it!
8. catch it hopefully and cook on the other side for approx 1 minute.
9. place the cooked pancake on a plate and spread with chocolate spread. scatter the choc chips down the centre and fold or roll as you prefer.
10. serve.

it helps to get someone to decorate the pancake while you cook the next. if the chocolate filling is all to much the chocolate pancakes are also delicious with freshly squeezed orange juice and a little sugar.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

hearty autumn stew time - with a chocolatey twist

the cooler weather is the perfect excuse to start cooking up big batches of rich, warming stews and one of our favourites is alistair hendy's hungarian goulash from his indispensible book 'home cook'. the author himself doubts its hungarian authenticity, and i would think a goulash was more soupy than this intense stew, but noone can doubt the delicious comfort of this recipe. an easy and reliable one pot recipe to which i have got into the habit of adding about 25g of intense dark chocolate to at the end of cooking to rev the richness up a notch.
fantastic served with any of the following-
crusty bread and a simply dressed green salad
mashed potato
new potatoes
jacket potato

hungarian goulash (with the cocoa bean style)
serves 6

1 kg stewing steak, cubed
3 tbsp seasoned plain flour
60g lard or 3 tbsp olive oil
2 red peppers, deseeded and cut into chunks*
2 onions, finely sliced
2 fat cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 big tbsp paprika
2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
a small string tied bunch of fresh bay, thyme and parsley
750ml beef stock
25g dark chocolate*
1 x 250ml pot soured cream
handful of flat leaf parsley

1. toss the meat in the saesoned flour, brown all over in hot fat in a casserole until quite dark then lift out. Cook the meat in batches so as not to sweat the meat. Reserve the remaining flour.
2. next lightly blister the peppers by frying them in the remaining fat, remove and keep to one side. * I roast my peppers in the oven during the casseroles first half of cooking in the oven. I find there is never enough fat left at this stage and the lovely meaty/floury residues begin to catch at the temperature you need to cook the peppers at.
3. add the onion and garlic to the remaining fat in the pan, add a little more fat if required, and gently fry until well softened and touched with brown, then sprinkle over with paprika.
4. add the saved flour to the pan and stir through, cook for a few minutes more, stirring regularly to stop the floured onion catching.
5. add the tomatoes, stir through and bubble up. Add the meat and any collected juices along with the herbs and and enough stock to ensure the meat is completely covered. Bring to a bubble again.
6. put in a 150c oven and gently braise for 2 hours, stirring in the peppers and chocolate half way through the meat's cooking time.
7. serve with a dollop of soured cream and strewn with parsley.

also lovely if cooked the day before and reheated for 45 mins at 180c. garnish with the soured cream and parsley just before serving.

* cocoa bean twists

Friday, September 18, 2009

lola's 'moth buns'

sorry for the absence of recipes of late. i'm currently 6 months pregnant and as i did when i was pregnant with lola i completely went off chocolate until recently! dreadful state of affairs!
i did attempt a banana and chocolate tart recipe from delicious. food magazine but i think the bananas i used were overripe and although the result looked great (the hazelnut pastry was fab but a faff!)it turned my stomach completely and i'm not sure it was because i was pregnant - no-one else raced to eat it either! I would have been much better off using the bananas to make aine's wonderful banana bread she often treats the factory to at tea break!
anyway yesterday was lola's first day at nursery (effectively a lovely holding pen til she starts school properly in january)and she proudly marched off in her uniform giving me strict instructions to make sprinkly moth buns for her return.

moth buns are what she calls chocolate butterfly . fairly accurate really. so anyway it is the basic cupcake recipe that we have posted previously but with a little message for my super duper growing up girl.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

diary of the chocolate shop - willie's cacao

rose, at the chocolate shop in the english market, reflects on willie and how he's creating a real buzz around great chocolate. . .
we were delighted to add willie's world class cacao to our range of premium bars last spring. willie harcourt-couze's chocolate was made famous through a channel 4 series which followed him as he created delectable chocolate from 'bean to bar'. during the show he converted a group who had, until then eaten only mass market chocolate, to his high cocoa content bars. remarkably we saw the same ting happen at our shop. initially it was only the curiosity factor but then people were truly transformed and began to experiment wih the whole world of real chocolate. what fun for less than a fiver; discovering the subtle single estates to the funky flavours of cocoa bean!
willie's venezualan back and peruvian black 100% cocoa blocks are also a hit with customers, and are marvellous as an ingredient for sweet and savoury dishes alike - his cloud forest cake is easy to make and everyone loves it. it also makes an authentic dark chocolate drink. however, demand is already strong for his rambunctious get up and gocoa which is due out shortly and has been scientifcally proven to accelerate the fat burning process! i have a feeling that will be most popular of all ...

Thursday, September 10, 2009

christmas is coming...

we have already started making and wrapping chocolate for christmas. this will carry on into the last mad weeks of december, reaching a crescendo of frantic festive spirit. emily's baby is due on christmas day which makes the build up even more exciting!

even stranger than wrapping christmas bars in september is thinking about eggs, chicks and bunnies. harvey nichols and avoca's seasonal buyers will be looking for easter ideas long before carol singing begins.

when i'm not at work, i have to remind myself to enjoy the season we're in. it's autumn and the sun has finally come out in the glen! seasons of mist and mellow fruitfulness - rosehips nearly ready in the hedgerows and homemade blackberry jam.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

so bring me some figgy pudding . . .

clara and elsie are pictured with the tasting tray. a brown turkey fig grown in clara's garden (slightly soft, slightly rough looking) pitted against a black bursa fig from a leading quality food hall advertised as 'perfectly ripe from the orchard...this is simply one of the best figs we have ever come across. grown in the bursa region in the north of turkey, the black bursa is a plump, black fig bursting with a super sweet jammy texture and delicious rich flavour.'

there was no contest.... the home grown fig was so vastly superior that the supermarket import was left outside to dry slowly in the last of the sun. it's bland flavour reminded me of chewing on a piece of grass. the flowery description above is so perfect for the freshly plucked home grown fig. it was juicy. it made us happy. i'm going to grow figs next year.

look out for a fresh fig chocolate truffle recipe soon. i just have to somehow convince clara and family that my need for the last of their seasons fruit is the greatest!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

burrenbeo walk

the burrenbeo monthly walk is this sunday (6th september). it's suitable for all ages and is led by a local farmer and a burren specialist. this months walk is led by botanist dr. stephen ward with michael keane. see for more information.

call into burrenbeo's lovely cafe and shop in kinvara. you can even get cocoa bean chocolate to restore your energy...

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

i love this!

after nearly five years of talking about sourcing a counter display for our cocoa bean bars, i finally have one sat beside me on my desk.

i am so happy with it that i'm jealously guarding it and haven't even eaten one of the rose and pistachio bars yet - i don't want to ruin the beautiful symmetry.

you should start seeing them on the counters of our stockists soon.

also seen in the photo is the view from our factory; the atlantic ocean, the skelligs rocks, sheep and mountains - but just look at those bars - magnificent!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

cocoa bean raspberry truffles

as promised in the last blog. . . these are so delicious, very fresh and should be eaten on the day they are made.

they taste even better if the truffle is not too firm though you have to be swift and expert at enrobing to deal with a very soft ganache.


1 packet of rapberries (fresh or frozen if not in season)
250g dark chocolate about 50 - 60% cocoa solids
3 fl oz single cream or soya cream
1 spoon corn syrup
2 spoons sugar
1 spoon raspberry liquor
dark chocolate for enrobing (70% cocoa solids)


mulch the raspberries through a plastic seive until you have approx 75g seed free juicy stuff. in a small pan, boil this gently along with the sugar for about 5 minutes and reduced by about half the volume.

break the chocolate into small pieces and melt slowly in a bowl over a gently simmering pot of water.

when the chocolate has almost melted, add the liquor, corn syrup and cream to the raspberries and heat again until it reaches a gentle boil.
mix the hot cream/raspberries into the melted chocolate until thoroughly blended.

transfer to a bowl to cool.

when cold, spoon equal quantities onto a plate of cocoa and shape into balls, using the cocoa to stop them getting too sticky.

coat with two layers of tempered chocolate (see 'temper, temper' november 2008) and top with edible pink sparkly dust or a swirled squiggle of tempered chocolate.

to ensure a crisp temper, you can pop them in the fridge or freezer for a few minutes. this is particularly helpful in warm summer kitchens.

enjoy these with a glass of rose or a cup of earl grey tea.

Monday, August 24, 2009

chocolates from new york

aidan has been in new york for a week interviewing experts in prevention of genocide. on his last day, as some much needed light relief, he went in search of exciting chocolates to bring back to me.
the first was a very beautiful, white square box of chocolates by the bald man! max brenner's chocolates remind me of artisan du chocolat - stylishly stark presentation and fresh, real flavours in high quality squares of dark ganache.

aidan hand picked the flavours from a large, square glass counter in the centre of the shop. he says he struggled to fill the box without choosing any pralines (i just can't get excited by them!) the dark chocolate cream with wild flower honey was fragrant and smooth and the dark chocolate with spices was excellent. the raspberry was a bit too sweet for my tastes, not as good as cocoa bean's raspberry truffle (recipe to follow soon)

if you're in new york you'll find max brenner's shop on 92nd street y and 1395 lexington avenue. aidan described a chocoholic heaven of churning vats of hot chocolate and floor to ceiling delights. i can't wait to go there one day...

his other find was a bar of scharffen berger 70% bittersweet dark chocolate made with whole vanilla beans. it was fabulous - exactly my style of chocolate - fruity at first, developing to a lasting strength of cocao character.

even opening the bar was a real pleasure. i was also impressed by the weight of the paper it was wrapped in - a slightly sad obsession with packaging i have.

i shared the bar with aidan under a starry sky accompanied by a rose wine by anthony road wine company, made from grapes grown in the finger lake region. a taste of new york that makes me hungry for more!