Browsing Tag

hot chocolate


Winter White Dessert Party in Gatherings Magazine

gatherings magazine white dessert table

gatherings magazine white dessert table

If spring is all about colour, winter is a study in white. Or at least it should be. Thanks to mild temperatures and plenty of sunshine, for many of us this winter has been anything a white wonderland.

Looking for a little frosty inspiration? Check out the Winter 2012 issue of Gatherings magazine – the “white” issue. Gatherings is a newish digital magazine created by interior designer and blogger Heather Spriggs.

We fell for the Snowy Sweet Sensations white dessert party – with its refined palette of white, cream and cocoa-coloured neutrals, and pretty vintage touches, it’s sophisticated enough for a winter bridal shower or an evening with your most stylish girlfriends, and yet homey and kid-friendly enough for a relaxed Sunday afternoon gathering with family.

gatherings magazine hot chocolate marshmallow stir sticks

The creamy white serving pieces look glamorous next to glass-domed cake stands, and we love how simple mugs of hot chocolate get dressed up with the addition of beribboned marshmallow stir sticks. The display could have fallen flat with such a limited palette, but contributor and food stylist Jessie Senese smartly used dark chocolate brown for contrast and tone-on-tone textured food items – a cake with white chocolate shavings, powdered sugar donuts, white-chocolate dipped pretzels – to add visual interest to the display.

gatherings magazine white dessert table

Other must-read sections in this issue include tips on how to pick the perfect white paint (it can be more challenging than you think) and a collection of yummy white winter side dishes.

+ Winter 2012 issue of Gatherings Magazine


Happy New Year 2012 with a Delicious Chocolate Caffè Latte

my chocolate latte

my chocolate latte

Who can resist a good cup of hot chocolate this time of the year? Not me! I found the next best thing, after a true hot chocolate made from melted dark chocolate is the dark chocolate Variation 2011 coffee from Nespresso. I usually dislike flavored coffee. Now, I am in love. It makes a latte that almost tastes like my favorite hot chocolate. I wish that we bought more capsules since we are running low.

I quietly celebrated New Year’s Eve at home this year. But it suited me. I hope that you had fun with your celebrations. I wish you all the best for 2012: health, peace, love, success and happiness. What are your resolutions? I do not take resolutions per se. Instead, I set overall goals.

With the birth of my son last spring, 2011 was a big year both emotionally and physically. I needed a break, which is why I blogged less over the last two months. I took this time to rest, but also to analyze what I did so far, how to balance life/work and to explore what I want to accomplish next. I still have to figure out the details, but I have a better idea of what’s next for me on a professional level. And it involves blogging, curating and inspiring people. Let’s chat more often in 2012! In the meantime, enjoy what’s left of the Holiday season with your loved on. This is what I will be doing.



Hot Chocolate Products at the Ticket Kitchen

ticket kitchen chocolate spoon

ticket kitchen entertaining pack

Tea and coffee connoisseurs don’t usually have to look too far to find a gourmet fix. But for those of us who prefer a cup of something sweeter, San Francisco-based Ticket Kitchen has elevated hot chocolate with refined ingredients and party-perfect packaging – and you don’t have to travel all the way to California to get it.

Handmade with fine French chocolate, their Ticket Sticks are cleverly designed as individual indulgences:  just swirl a block into 6-8 ounces of steaming milk and start sipping. In addition to a signature French dark chocolate, be sure to try the Three-Chili Ticket Stick, which features a three-pepper blend of chipotle, ancho and cayenne California chili peppers for a sweet and spicy flavour.

ticket kitchen chili hot chocolate

Both varieties are available in “entertaining packs” (shown at top) with enough chocolate blocks for twelve servings. This is a perfect dessert alternative for winter parties or afternoon get-togethers. Check out their Parties & Printables section for adorable labels you can customize for your gathering and creative party ideas.

ticket kitchen baby shower

ticket kitchen chocolate spoon

If you’re planning a slightly smaller gathering, the personalized silverplate spoon is a thoughtful gesture. The spoon can be stamped with a special message that reveals itself when the chocolate melts. You could also personalize the spoons as a thoughtful bridal shower or wedding gift.

+ Three-Chili Hot Chocolate on a Stick, Service for 4$15 USD at Ticket Kitchen
+ French Dark Hot Chocolate on a Stick, Entertaining 12 Pack $43 USD
+ French Dark Hot Chocolate on a Stick, Service for 2$7.50 USD
+ Personalized Hot Chocolate Silverplate Spoon $37 USD
+ via Creature Comforts


Food Gifts in a Jar

4 hot chocolate mixes in a jar

Holiday Panettone in a jar

You can’t really go wrong with an edible gift, especially if it’s homemade and thoughtfully packaged. Never unappreciated, food gifts are a great option for the “extra” people on your list – like the mailman, your child’s teacher or a kind neighbour – who tend to be overlooked until the last minute.

If you’re pressed for time or just can’t bare to bake another batch of cookies, opt for one of these foodie gifts that don’t require much time in the kitchen for you or the recipient. Each can be layered and presented inside a jar – just dress it up with the cooking instructions, a pretty ribbon and a holiday note to the recipient.

Holiday Panettone

Panettone is an Italian sweet bread flavoured with dried fruit. It’s typically enjoyed during the holidays, but with ready-to mix-ingredients your gift recipient can enjoy it anytime of year.

Hot Chocolate

4 hot chocolate mixes in a jar

Sunset magazine offers up four flavour variations on everyone’s favourite winter beverage, including classic, spicy, mocha and peppermint. Create single-size servings of each in small jars and package them as a set.

Curried Lentil Soup

Food in jar gifts :: curried lentil soup :: Jamaican jerk rub :: gluten-free cookie mix

Your gift recipients will be grateful for this just-add-water homemade soup on the next snowy day.

Gluten-Free Cookie Mix

For a gluten-free gift, consider this cookie recipe made with almond flour, dark chocolate chips and agave nectar.

Jamaican Jerk Rub

Gifts in a jar don’t have to be sweet. Give guys this spicy Jamaican Jerk Rub from Better Homes and Gardens paired with a guide to grilling or barbecue tools.

+ Holiday Panettone from Food Network
+ 4 hot chocolate in a jar flavors from Sunset Magazine
+ Curried Lentil Soup from Good Housekeeping
+ Gluten-Free Cookie Mix in a Jar from Elana’s Pantry
Jamaican Jerk Rub from Better Homes and Gardens


Three Spicy Hot Chocolate Recipes

spiced hot chocolate by martha stewart

spicy hot chocolate recipe by radishes and rhubarb

I enjoy the taste of a hot chocolate after a day of ski or to drink instead of dessert on a cold winter night. I always melt chocolate pieces and use warm milk to prepare mine. Adding spices enhances the flavor. I found you three recipes online that you can make to your guests during the Holiday season.

Radishes and Rhubarb shared a hot chocolate spiced with cayenne, nutmeg and cinnamon. Her recipe uses a mix of dark chocolate pieces and premium cacao powder.

spiced hot chocolate by martha stewart

Martha Stewart proposed a Mexican Hot Chocolate and a Spiced Hot Dark Chocolate on her sites. If spices are not your thing, give a try to an Earl Grey Hot Chocolate.

Creative Drink Presentation

ingenious cookie cutters :: cookie that hangs on a cup

Pay attention to how you will serve your hot chocolate. I like the idea of a cookie hanging on your cup. You could do it with special cookie cutter or for a breath-taking version, bake your own gingerbread house cookie.

gingerbread house perched on a cup

+ Ingenious Cookie Cutter Set, choice of a star or a heart £10 at Cox & Cox


DIY Hot Cacao Chocolate Favors and S’mores Kits

hot cacao chocolate favors

hot cacao chocolate favors

These DIY party favors are ideal for a winter wedding, or to distribute at Thanksgiving or Christmas. They will please adults and kids. You could replace the tag on the Hot Cacao Chocolate Favors with place cards and write a tailored wish on the other side.

s'mores kit favors

Once you bought the supplies, all you need to do to assemble the favors and make you own tag. The s’mores kits designed by Jordan Ferney for Project Wedding is a little tricker because you need to bend the wire hangers. You can write in Holiday paper your s’mores kit favors. The idea is to nicely wrap the ingredients separately. The muslin bags add a nice touch.

s'mores kit favors at Elizabeth Anne Designs

Look for food-grade packaging. Garnish carries a nice selection. For the stamp, you can get a custom one at Impress, look at their Christmas/winter theme stamps. Paper Source is also a great spot for rubber stamps. I bought several on my last visit.

+ Hot Cacao Chocolate Favors at Ruffled
+ DIY S’mores Kits at Project Wedding
+ S’mores Wedding Favors at Elizabeth Anne Designs


Earl Grey Hot Chocolate Recipe

earl grey hot chocolate

earl grey hot chocolate

I would like to have a sip of an Earl Grey hot chocolate. In fact, I might also try hot chocolate with other tea blends. Outstanding hot chocolates start with fine chocolate pieces and hot milk. It enhances the flavor to add  a third ingredient. I often simply add a dash of pure vanilla. I never tried it with loose teas.

The Earl Grey Hot Chocolate recipe calls for heating the loose tea and milk in a saucepan for about 10 minutes. Drain the milk with a tea strainer before you pour the tea milk onto your melted chocolate. Find the details on the blog of Fisher & Paykel. If you like Earl Grey, Emma also shared a Earl grey bread & butter pudding recipe.

Another good mix would be a Matcha hot chocolate. These two flavors are known to pair well. Plus, you would not have to drain the tea milk. I imagine that the Lucipia matcha latte that we bought in Japan would deliver a smooth texture. You won’t have to envy me since the Lucipia stores in the United States sell the same Matcha au lait.

Have you tasted a tea hot chocolate before?

+ Lucipia Matcha and Matcha au Lait from $8 to $15 USD
+ photo: by Emma for Fisher & Paykel


MarieBelle Chocolates’ Blue Box for Valentine’s Day

mariebelle chocolates signature blue and brown boxes for valentine's day

mariebelle chocolates signature blue and brown boxes for valentine\'s day

If you are not ready or if you already gave her the Tiffany blue box, here is another signature blue box that will please her this Valentine. I like the drawings on the artisanal chocolates. It is common these days to see design like the chocolates made by Christopher Elbow. The MarieBelle chocolates gain points for being more cheerful and adorable.

You can buy it online from MarieBelle Chocolates or find at a retailer near you that carry the collection. I spotted this gift idea on Parcel Post, the blog of Urbanic Paper, a boutique in Venice, California. I wish to leave a message to my dear husband. I saw on the store listing that it may be available at Indigo.

A must-go in SoHo

mariebelle chocolates retail space :: cacao bar and tea salon in soho, new york

I noted on my agenda a visit to the Cacao Bar and Tea Salon that is inside their retail space in SoHo. Their line of hot chocolate seems awesome and many rave about it. Another idea is to sit down for a nice cacao at their Parisian style salon. It is on the pricey side but indulgences are in order on Valentine’s Day.

+ MarieBelle Chocolates


Happy Easter!

Chocolats Geneviève Grandbois

I wish you a wonderful Easter Day! We bought our Easter eggs and animals all wrapped in cute baskets this year. I will try to take pictures but I cannot promise I could resist eating it right away.

In case I cannot resist the temptation, I gathered nice images from Chocolats Geneviève Grandbois. This artisan chocolate shop is well-known in Montreal for their fine chocolate. I want to try her hot chocolate mix. I did not know she made Easter animals. I checked it out Juliette the Baby Chicken and her Hen Mother. Besides the traditional animals and eggs, she makes a cute hedgehog, a turtle and a mouse. It is good to know that they deliver in Montréal, Québec, Ottawa, Toronto.

+ Juliette la Poulette et sa maman Poule $14.50 CAD
+ Hot Chocolate Mix $11.50 CAD for 8 servings
+ get directions to Chocolats Geneviève Grandbois p 514.933.1331
138 Avenue Atwater, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, H4C 2G3

ALL occasions GIFT IDEAS

A delectable indulgence with Christopher Elbow

artisanal chocolate by christopher elbow

After a visit to the fantastic gallery style shop Rose and Radish in San Francisco, I spot one or two street corners later another retail delight for the senses. This time, it was the shop of the artisanal chocolate maker Christopher Elbow located on Hayes Street.

It was the fashionable design of the store that first caught my eyes from across the street. As I looked further, I realized that it was a fine chocolate shop.

I am passionate about fine chocolate so I could not passed by this opportunity. The red featured wall, dark brown wood and the white décor of his retail place pleased me. The packaging evokes modern luxury.

About the Chocolate

These decadent pieces are hand-crafted one at a time. The modern patterns are amazing. The chocolate decorations are created using sprays, templates or hand painting techniques. So each piece is unique.

My husband and I ate our box of 9 pieces for dessert two nights ago. They taste as good as they look. We tasted:

  • Caramel with Fleur de Sel
  • Madagascar
  • Ecuador
  • Persian
  • Fresh Lime
  • Rosemary Caramel
  • Strawberry-Balsamic Caramel
  • plus two identical rounds pieces that were delicious but that I cannot find the names

This is an artisanal chocolate with no preservatives made in small batches. It must be eaten within 2 to 3 weeks. They were enough customers while I visited the shop to not worry about the freshness of what you buy. Finally avoid storing any fine chocolate in the fridge to preserve their full flavor.

Christopher Elbow had a special packaging for Christmas but I did not see anything for this upcoming Easter. It is sad!

A Design Idea to Take Home

I want to point out a clever design element of the lounge area. Between each seat, a small table rest on the couch so you can put your drinks and plates. There is still small lighted coffee table but the place was packed and it seems that almost everybody prefer the raised tray on the cough.

Gift ideas

For a hostess gift, especially if you go to a house with kids, you can bring a tin box of hot cocoa. I suggest the Venezuelan Spiced Drinking Chocolate, a dark chocolate blended with chilies and spices to create a cup of rich.

The Chocolate Covered Nuts sounds pretty good to. You have the choice of almond, hazelnuts and spiced almonds.

Where to buy: Christopher Elbow Artisanal Chocolate


Comfort Food Christmas Gift Ideas

christmas gifts ideas for comfort food

For my first Holidays gift ideas of the season, I got inspired by the pleasures of eating at home on cold winter nights near the fire.

These gender neutral gift ideas symbolize friendly atmosphere after skiing or skating. Price ranges go from stocking stuffer to indulgence.

Log Tote by Felt Studio

Made in Canada using industrial manufactured felt, Log Tote is a hip design to transport wood logs. Felt Studio was founded by artist Kathryn Walter.

Knitware Vases by Alyssa Ettinger Design

These vases are hand-cast porcelain. The patterns vary from large knit to large cable knit up to small cable knit. I feel good just looking at Alyssa’s designs. It is perfect for the season. She sells her Knitware ceramics through her etsy shop.

Fingerprint potholder by Menu

Design by Jacob Wagner for Menu, the Fingerprint potholder is made of heat-resistant silicone. It was inspired by the designer own fingerprint. For added practicality, a magnet is inserted at the center. And a little self-adhesive metal plate is supplied so you can hand them anywhere you like. Menu is Menu is a Danish design company that celebrates Scandinavian living.

Roast and Serve and Silicone Locking Tongs by Cuisipro

The Cuisipro Roast and Serve garnered the 2006 Housewares Design Award in the Best Kitchen Tool category. You use it to roast, lift and serve your birds and large roasts. It is available in two formats to best suit your cooking needs.

I own the Cuisipro Silicone Locking Tongs and I am very satisfied with them. I feel that the push and pull locking mechanism works better than the standard one. The non stick silicone ends grab well the food for serving and when cooking.

Bodum Chocolatière at Crate and Barrel

This chocolate maker works for hot and cold chocolate drinks. A manual propeller rod blends the chocolate powder and whips up a delicious froth. Since it is makes by Bodum, I feel it should work well. All parts are dishwasher safe.

Buy online: Log Tote by Felt Studio – price: $80 CAD
Buy online: Knitware Vase by Alyssa Ettinger Design– price: $120 USD for the small, $150 for the large
Buy online: Fingerprint potholder by Menu at Panik Design – price: £25
Buy online: Cuisipro Roast & Serve Roasting Rack at Kitchen Kapers – price: $19.99 USD
Buy online: Cuisipro Silicone Locking Tongs 9.5 Inch in Red at – price: $11.95 for 9.5 inch long, $13.95 for 12 inch long
For Americans: Bodum Chocolatiere at Crate & Barrel – price: $29.95 USD
For Canadians: Bodum Chocolatiere at Muffet and Louisa – price: $38 CAD
Via: 30 Presents under $30 #8  Bodum Chocolatiere on Oh Happy Day and Cuteable Finds on Cuteable