Monday, January 16, 2012


Caramel Pecan Cheesecake at Papa Vino's Italian Kitchen

Chocolate delights all ages.  Feel good nourishment lifts mood and enhances social fun and sharing. 

*Unsweetened dark chocolate (baking chocolate with zero sugar grams) is beneficial for encouraging cardiovascular health.  One half square of melted unsweetened dark chocolate is a treat I enjoy.  Eaten plain with a fork, the chocolate may taste somewhat like coffee.  Sometimes I like to drizzle warm melted chocolate over buckwheat cakes with pecans, almonds, or walnuts.  Unsweetened chocolate can partner with cottage cheese, plain yogurt, or mozzarella cheese cubes.  Unsweetened cocoa powder can be mixed into plain no fat Greek yogurt.  Unsweetened chocolate may be an acquired taste.  I quite like it!

When I was a child, I ate candy by the pound!  No wonder my dad called me "the candy kid!"  In those days, boxed chocolates including chocolate creams of various flavors, were made with pure cane sugar.  Candies were also richer in cream and butter.  

During holidays, my parents and I traveled to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to enjoy the festive store fronts in the downtown area.  The song Silver Bells' lyrics described everything as music floated through the air, piped out into the streets.  Yes, we had snow too, a living Christmas Card.  I wore my favorite blue coat with a faux fur rimmed hood collar.  I imagined I was a wolf cub!

**Best of all were the trips to the giant Gimbels and Hornes downtown  stores. The Anaclair was a chocolate wonder at Gimbels!  This large chunky chocolate event featured either milk or dark chocolate melded with toasted fresh pecans covering a burst of creamy white filling.  These were my ultimate favorite.  I also loved the "break up" fresh milk chocolate from the candy case.  The creamy melt in your mouth goodness was like a trip to Switzerland! 

Chocolate Creations from the Chocolate Cafe

And then there is cheesecake!  My favorites are made with blends of cream cheese, sour cream, and/or ricotta cheese and not too sweet.  The parade of New York style plain cheesecakes, perhaps drizzled with dark chocolate and/or carmel sauce, turtle cheesecakes, and milk or dark chocolate cheesecakes bring sweet memories, nourishment for body and soul! 

***Painting with Chocolate
Recently I saw a program about melting dark baking or semi-sweet chocolate and painting a chocolate layer over traced or free hand designs onto waxed paper.  Someone made a horse!  You could do leaves or other motifs.  You use an "artist's spatula" (a clean palette knife) to sculpt your creations.  Later, when hardened, you peeled the designs carefully off the paper and use them to decorate tops of cakes.  I like the chocolate horse best!

No Flour Chocolate Cake at Sandra Kay's Bakery and Cafe

Related Post:  Tonal Vision (The Power of Music in Your Life, Jan 2011). I am enjoying the Vienna Boys' Choir while I write.

Local Suggestions:    Carmel Pecan Cheesecake at Papa Vino's Italian Kitchen, St. Joseph, (SW) MI USA, various locations for Italian favorites in relaxed settings.  South Bend, (Northern) Indiana company includes the Chocolate Cafe in St. Joseph, Michigan.  Scenic walk to Lake Michigan is like a bit of Europe.  Coloma, (SW) MI, award winning hand made creamy chocolate truffles with various fillings.  Tina Buck Owner, shipping is available.  Stevensville, (SW) MI Cafe and Bakery in a Countryside Setting, take out, custom orders.

The Flour Shop, Stevensville, (SW) MI, Cheesecake Balls hand dipped in dark chocolate, baked goods, custom orders.  The Flour Shop is on Facebook.

More  Since 1780, Bakers chocolate is a favorite.  Check out Baker's Heritage (La Belle, oldest logo in USA registered 122 years ago) and chocolate recipe selections.  My favorite recipe is truffles.  Dr. Joseph Mercola, discusses benefits of dark chocolate Sept 21, 2011, articles, free newsletter, blog and more.

**  History of Gimbels (1887-1987) started by a Bavarian Immigrant and home of Anaclairs candy.  Photo of Pittsburgh, PA "Flagship Store." 

***  Julia Child The French Chef  Giada De Laurentiis, Giada at Home and Everyday Italian, TV series, traditional and modern Italian dishes.  Giada At Home, #1 NY Times Bestseller and other books by Giada, a student of Le Cordon Bleu.  purchase original paintings and prints, request free E-book, Silver Butterfly, Create A Vision.

Photos:  Caramel Pecan Cheesecake at Papa Vino's, No Flour Chocolate Cake at Sandra Kay's by Dahlis Roy, and Chocolate Creations from the Chocolate Cafe by Emilie