Saturday, November 24, 2012

Gift Ideas for the Chocoholic + Food as Fuel Types...Holidays 2012

Magical-the nearly three foot high Celestial Chocolate Tree with 36 hand cut milk and dark chocolate stars topped with a saller star dusted in 22-carat edible gold. $1000 available in boutiques only.
There's chocolate candy---and then there is La Maison Du Chocolat  Paris-flown in fresh fyi---offering elegant, exceptional selections, hand made-that are a revelation.

The Christmas Star Coffret-3 sizes-dark & spicy, Dark&sparkling, light&sweet, dark&sweetly tart, and dark&fruity selections ($78-$125-$260)...
We might have inhaled an enormous selection of morsels-at a recent tasting---but when the quality of a chocolate is so high, one actually needs less-with the chocolate savoured in small fine wine in a way (the terroir)---there are many subtle flavors that reveal themselves, slowly...and are of course,  far more satisfying.

Each season, La Maison du Chocolat's Master Chef-Nicolas Cloiseau- creates new exceptionally aromatic and balanced flavors-with exotic cacao, spices. liquors (other countries!!) and/or fruits --- crafted elegantly-for a unique taste- as well as carefully conjuring up the sumptuous flavors that are season-less-for example, the signature ganaches-its silky texture made from fresh chocolate and fresh cream-then enrobed in a fine layer of chocolate(!!!).
La Maison du Chocolat's holiday selections---are all careful blends-beginning with the finest cacao beans and best vintages from exclusive plantations in Venezuela, Ecuador, the Caribbean, Africa and Madagascar

Chocolate in all forms- bonbons, pastries, confections, chocolate tarts, macaroons with ganache, éclairs, ice creams and sorbets---are available at the well as chocolates, packaged in luxurious boxes -including holiday themed selections, available by e-commerce and at the boutiques.

all size confections-including pralines.

For the athlete...pre -race nutrition can be a very personal 'experience'---but when we got gifted a basket full of energy gels, energy shots and protein bars (for post race)...yeah-not very romantic---but more appreciated and def. more used than any piece of jewelry we ever got .

Gel Shot Bloks by Clif-as in Clif the only thing we ever "eat" pre-race day morning. The chewable 33 calorie cubes-are super easy to digest--- never resurfacing in the back of our throats during those white capped/four foot swells open water swims...PLUS satisfy the hunger pains---and actually tastes like gummi bears.

Our fav, the chocolate cherry flavor--made with organic brown rice syrup, organic dried cane sugar, organic brown rice syrup solids, and organic cocoa power-as the main ingredients---gives enough of an energy kick without the crash and burn of sugar products.

Plus, this flavor-has 50mg of caffeine/per pack---about one third a cup of coffee's worth- in it from Organic Green tea extracts...for an added kick-as does 2 other flavors (Cherry, Tropical Punch) .

Blueberry Hemp Superfood 

Citrus Chia Super Food Snack

For our hiking buddies-who we appreciate so much -the nutritious and healthy snacks for a holiday treat-would be the best gesture well as some after hike beverage options.

Cacao Goji Superfood
USDA Organic-vegan, raw, gluten-free and sustainably harvested-Navitas Naturals products-practically major in sourcing exotic foods from far flung locales that can be turned into yummy treats... that are essentially multi-taskers-loaded with vitamins, plant-based proteins, minerals, and anti-oxidants from  super-foods.

PLUS: the company's Organic Raw Power snack treats (chewable-with a gel/gummi bear texture)...are as tasty (and addictive) as any of the junk food that often passes for "natural' and are just empty calories without a purpose.

We have tried all three---and all are FANTASTIC-and forewarning-can quickly disappear. Not too sweet...yet savory with the ideal balance of fruitiness (date paste) and nuttiness- for the Blueberry Hemp flavor. The Citrus Chia has subtle added crunchiness from chia, cashew, and sesame seeds. And the Cacao Goji has the added kick of chocolate flavor (cacao powder)- and crunchiness- courtesy of sesame and sunflower seeds---something even the kids would appreciate. (8oz/$8.99).

Ice Cream-yup-we scream too---can often mean sugary worthless junk food that leaves a less than filling feeling-often coupled with a headache. Yet, some nutritional needs can be better met with a lot of newer brand's offerings we demo-ed-at the most recent Natural Expo East-that really surprised us.

San Fran. based, Double Rainbow Gourmet Ice Creams are creamy authentic tasting ice creams made from hormone free cows milk/cream-we tried the French Vanilla flavor-that has 4grams of  protein and 15% of daily calcium needs-per half cup serving. Retail-seven flavors (16oz) are available---but the sheer number of options available in bulk 2.5 half gallon tubs including Espresso Bean and Hazelnut Truffle Latte-makes us want to order commercially. Widely available out west...and Hawaii.

Active D'Lites ice cream bars---are the first, all natural, GMO-free, daily low calorie (120!!!) probiotic line -well that we thought are great. The company makes chocolate bars too.

And crunch wise...both the organic Late July multi-grain tortilla chips-like Dude Ranch- and the fun Hippie Chips are zero cholesterol, non-GMO, Gluten Free, No Trans Fat AND satisfying, waaayyyy better tasting to the conglomerate owned,  mass merchandized alternatives.

We are not big tea drinkers- but the Now Real Teas we tasted...the Better Off Red (organic red rooibus with a vanilla blush)...was so delicious...that we actually went out and bought ourselves some after the show. It's sweet already-as BetterStivia™organic stivia extract (leaf)  is in the ingredients. Yum!

-J. Ecochard