Sally's Place eNewsletter
Valentine's Day Gifts
February 2012

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Chocolates dianas_strawberrybundtcakefor Valentine's Day -- what could be more seductive and fun? But remember, just because a 2010 study said eating a small amount of dark chocolate could be beneficial to your heart, don't abuse that privilege.

Although chocolate is a good source of antioxidants and can help lower your blood pressure, there is a lot of sugar in chocolate confections.  And just because dark chocolate is healthier than milk because it has less added sugar doesn't mean it is low calorie.  It isn't.

According to a survey by Chocolate Manufacturers Association, Switzerland leads the world in chocolate consumption with 22.36 pounds per person. In the U.S., we eat 11.5 pounds per person each year.

Statistics show that more than 36 million heart-shaped boxes of chocolate will be sold for Valentine's Day. The candy makers below make quality products so you don't have to consume a lot to feel like you've satisfied your sweet tooth.  In other words, a little goes a long way. If you want to make your special Valentine a treat this year, we have lots of suggestions to offer. Sally's Place has complete chocolate sections where you can peruse hundreds of recipes:

1. Make Mine Chocolate by food writer Stephanie Zonis


2. A World of Chocolate!  by Pam Williams, founder of Ecole Chocolat  and 


3. Occasional Baking by Flo Braker, author of The Simple Art of Perfect Baking and Sweet Miniatures: The Art of Making Bite-Sized Desserts


4. Chocolate Recipes section of Sally's Place



All the best in food, wine, and travel.


Happy February!


Sally Bernstein



Photo Credit for Strawberry Heart Bundt Cake: Diana's Desserts 



Read my  "New Year New You" post on on Sally's Food for Thought blog.



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sallywhisk_ekSally's Recommendations










Droga Confections 


droga_chocolates Honey salted caramels that are made from refined honey instead of corn syrup won me over immediately. Michelle Crochet's Droga Confections in Los Angeles also makes Rocky Road Chocolates and Candy Bandits (non chocolate) in several fun flavors.; 650.452.3023 



Valentine Flowers Delivered to the Restaurant                

red roses
Dining out this Valentine's Day? The ultimate romantic gesture is having flowers delivered to the restaurant. specializes in this restaurant service. 800.958.4390




Fran's Chocolates


frans_heart A Satin Heart box of Truffles & Caramels is the perfect Valentine's Day gift. Fran's fills a beautiful red satin heart with an assortment of their award-winning caramels and signature chocolate truffles. My favorites are the Gray Salt Caramels because of the perfect blend of sweet and salty.  Visit one of Fran's three Seattle area locations, call to order 800-422-FRAN or order online.



Schneider Kitchens Toffee 


schneider_toffee Schneider Kitchens Toffee is made in small batches from pure cane brown sugar and organic sweet cream butter, topped with premium dark chocolate and sprinkled with quality pecans. A host of sizes are available and the packaging can also be customized for party favors, weddings, baby showers and hospitality baskets. A glass of wine or champagne and a piece Schneider Kitchens Toffee is a great pairing for Valentine's Day or anytime! To order, call 713.665.1950 in Houston, Texas, or email Susan at:;


Julia Baker Confections  


julia_baker_confections This Valentine's Day, Julia Baker will seduce chocolate devotees nationwide with her sublime handmade confections. Julia's signature chocolate recipes include truffles and hand-cut artisan chocolates, ranging in flavors from decadent dark ganache to passion fruit. Julia, also being a culinary artist, creates cakes, boxed chocolates, chocolate bars and corporate gifts in Scottsdale, Arizona.; 480.699.4017 



recchiuti_hearts Michael Recchiuti's BCT, or Burnt Caramel Truffles, might just make your Valentine special. Or try the Recchiuti Hearts & Arrows Burnt Caramel Truffles, as they are sure to please. Michael has been handcrafting artisan confections in San Francisco since 1997 and has a James Beard Award nominated cookbook, Chocolate Obsession. He has some recipes available on his website but his stock in trade are boxed chocolates, sauces, shopping bags, favors bars and T-shirts.  But I must admit that my favorite is his S'mores Bites, made with the freshest marshmallows you care to taste.; 800.500.3396  




Dave's Gourmet

daves_logoRecently Dave's Gourmet had a contest to find a great sauce(s) from consumers and/or chefs and received over 800 entries.  The prize was royalties up to $1 million.  This week they announced that the winner is Patricia Dugan with her Curried Butternut Squash Dip!  Congratulations to Patricia and thank you to all the entrants!    



Lake Champlain Chocolates 


lake_champlain_hearts Their products includes not only truffles, but also organic truffles (crafted from organic ingredients), nuts, boxed chocolates, hot chocolate, bars and party favors.  Vermont all-natural ingredients are used in Lake Champlain chocolates, including fresh cream, sweet butter, honey from the hive and pure maple syrup.   Their Sea Salt Caramels are made with the sugar slowly caramelized, hence the impressive final product.; 800.465.5909    




At Home Gourmet Coffee     

roaste_coffee Offering a vast array of more than 1,000 superior coffees from award-winning roasters and top coffee brands, ROASTe is the world's largest online marketplace for distinctive gourmet coffee. ROASTe also serves as a popular forum for original coffee content, and an engaging community for coffee enthusiasts. It has quickly become the "go to" destination for coffee aficionados.  



Lillie Belle Farms Hand Made Chocolates


lavender_caramel Master Chocolatier, owner and recent winner of the 2012 Good Food Awards, Jeff Shepherd makes artisan chocolates in his shop in Central Point, Oregon.  His Lavender Sea Salt Caramels are divine and Jeff has a Chocolate of Month Club for 3, 6 or 9 months. Visit his shop in Central Point (about 4 ½ hours south of Portland), call to order 541-664-2815 or order online.  





ecole_chocolat Have you always wanted to become a Chocolatier or Chocolate Maker? Get started with Ecole Chocolat online school for chocolate arts and making chocolate.  Learn how to manufacture chocolate, produce candy and confections, use chocolate molds and create professional chocolate recipes with their chocolate making courses. Next session begins March 20th.; 


B.T. McElrath 


btmcelrath_hearts 100% natural ingredients with no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives is the name of the game at this Minneapolis chocolatier, circa 1996. They make chocolate truffles, single-serving bites, filled candies and chocolate bars and their Salty Dog chocolate bar is their best seller.  Butter toffee pieces, 70% dark chocolate and sea salt can be eaten with either salt-side up or salt-side down, depending if you want your taste buds to taste mellow or bold. Their Salted Butter Caramels contain soft caramel with a touch of dark chocolate in a milk chocolate shell.; 612.331.8800  



For additional shopping ideas, visit our Shopping Page  




New Articles



Traveling with Kids  


Elaine Labalme, son Steven and husband Fen enjoy   Weekending with the Kids in "The Sanderling, Duck, North Carolina." They climbed 214 iron steps to the top of a lighthouse, viewed wild horses, visited the Wright Brothers National Memorial, and had a fun stay at The Sanderling in the tiny town of Duck, at the northern end of the Outer Banks.     


Elaine Labalme, 10 year old son Steven and husband Fen enjoy a "Kid Friendly Zone in Detroit, Michigan" including The Henry Ford Museum, The Detroit Institute of the Arts, The Motown Museum and hotels and restaurants, just to name a few.   




In "Lordly Lodging in Germany's North" Sharon Hudgins explores Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, in the northeastern part of Germany.




Diana Rosen updates the Tea Section. To see the new articles, click here.





In "Premiere Bordeaux - Semaine Prochaine - Lundi Matin" Jon Rusciano travels "across the pond" to visit wineries including Chateau Leoville Poyferré and Chateau Leoville Las Cases. This is part of Jon's My Bordeaux Adventures series.



February Is

Chocolate Month; Canned Food Month; Great American Pie Month; National Cherry Month; National Grapefruit Month; Bake for Family Fun Month; Fabulous Florida Strawberry Month; Potato Lovers Month, Sweet Potato Month; Candy Month; National Fondue Month; Heart Healthy Month; Hot Breakfast Month; Snack Food Month; and Berry Fresh Month.



February 1: National Baked Alaska Day
February 2: Heavenly Hash Day
February 3: National Carrot Cake Day
February 4: Homemade Soup Day; National Stuffed Mushroom Day
February 5: National Chocolate Fondue Day; World Nutella Day
February 7: National Fettuccine Alfredo Day
February 8: Molasses Bar Day
February 9: National Bagels and Lox Day; Pizza Pie Day
February 10: Cream Cheese Brownie Day
February 11: Peppermint Patty Day;
Don't Cry Over Spilled Milk Day

February 12: National Plum Pudding Day
February 13: National Tortellini Day
February 14: Valentine's Day; National Creme-Filled Chocolates Day
February 15: National Gumdrop Day
February 16: National Almond Day
February 17: National Indian Pudding Day
February 18: Crab-Stuffed Flounder Day; Drink Wine Day
February 19: National Chocolate Mint Day
February 20: National Cherry Pie Day
February 21: National Sticky Bun Day
February 22: National Margarita Day
February 23: National Banana Bread Day; Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day 

February 24: National Tortilla Chip Day
February 25: National Clam Chowder Day; National Chocolate-Covered Nuts Day
February 26: National Pistachio Day
February 27: National Strawberry Day; National Kahlua Day
February 28: National Chocolate Souffle Day
February 29: Surf and Turf Day  


Credit: thenibble website 



Honey Ridge Farms 15%



Honey Ridge Farms, located in Brush Prairie, WA, is part of an extended, five-generation beekeeping legacy.

Honey Ridge Farms turns honey into an array of delicious gourmet prized products, from balsamic-style and spice/herb-infused honey vinegars and whipped honey crèmes, to honey glazes and grill sauces.

Visit to learn more. Special discount for Sally's Place visitors: type in the code SALLY when you complete an order, and receive a 15% discount! For more information, contact Honey Ridge Farms at 360.256.0086;