Daniel Peter (Peter’s Chocolate) invented milk chocolate in 1867 in Switzerland. The Europeans have always consumed more chocolates than Americans but it wasn’t until a study came out in 2010 that said eating a small amount of dark chocolate could be beneficial to your heart. Chocolate is a good source of antioxidants and can help lower your blood pressure. And dark chocolate is healthier than milk because it has less added sugar. That is all a lot of us had to hear.
This month I will share some of my favorite chocolate companies as Valentine’s Day in February is the perfect time of the year to treat yourself or someone else to first-rate chocolates.
B.T. McElrathBtmcelrath.com; 612.331.8800
This Minneapolis chocolatier makes chocolate truffles, filled candies, chocolate bars and single-serving bites that are 100% natural with no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives. Their Salty Dog chocolate bar is their number one best seller and is made of their own proprietary blend of 70% dark chocolate, butter toffee pieces, and sea salt, but don’t miss their Salted Butter Caramels, soft caramels with a touch of dark chocolate in a milk chocolate shell made in the European tradition.
Los Angeles is home to Michelle Crochet’s Droga. Michelle is a former national food buyer for Williams Sonoma. She uses 100% natural ingredients in her products, including her “Put Your Money on Honey” caramels, which are some of the best I have tasted. Yes, these caramels are made with honey, dark chocolate and fleur de sel. But the best part is that these salted caramels are made from unrefined honey instead of corn syrup. WOW!!! And they are quite good. Droga also makes Rocky Road Chocolates and Candy Bandits (non chocolate) in several fun flavors.
Fran’s ChocolatesFranschocolates.com; 206.682.0168
With three locations in Seattle, Fran’s is one of the very best. Fran Bigelow began making chocolates 25 years ago when she opened her first patisserie and chocolate shop after a visit to Paris. Fran’s uses the finest ingredients and makes truffles, caramels, bars, fruits and nuts, gift baskets, and dark chocolate, raspberry and caramel sauces. Fran offers wedding and event favors also. My favorite is the grey and smoked salt dark chocolate caramels, supposedly the company’s bestseller. This is also a favorite of President & Mrs. Obama’s and, of course, that didn’t hurt business either.
Stay tuned for more of my favorite chocolates next week. For more information, please visit SallysPlace.