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The Mother of All Chocolate Blogs: Part 2 Print E-mail
Thursday, 07 December 2006

As I explained yesterday, I’ve discovered a gaping hole in the chocolate world – an unexplored area, if you will. Specifically, no one had really delved into the world of chocolate from the point of view of a pregnant or post-partum mommy.

As we all know, we’ve got specific cravings and wants when the hormones are raging. So I made it my mission to find the best of the best from small chocolatiers all across the country. For more details on my criteria and how I narrowed the final list down, see yesterday’s blog. But for now, let’s get to the chocolate.

By the by, feel free to email this entry to your spouse as the holiday shopping season starts, or simply print and tape it up on your fridge to remind you that some chocolate bliss is never more than a mouse click away.

So without further ado, here are my recommendations, in no particular order. Enjoy in good health. And if you contact any of these stores, tell them Jennifer sends a fond hello. And for the record, did you know that a recent study showed that pregnant women who ate chocolate every day had babies who cried less during their first year of life? Food for thought . . .

Yummie This place is everything the name implies. I list it first because it makes no pretence at being a superior bar of chocolate from some remote cocoa bean in the Amazon. No, this online store simply comes up with candy combinations that fit pregnant women to a “t”. Conceived and run by a fellow mom, Yummie tickles all your craving spots. Sweet? Salty? Crunchy? Smooth? It’s covered. Now, I’ve sampled most of her line (the sacrifice, I know) and I can tell you that my all-time favorites as a pregnant woman were her Peel ‘Em Pretzel Rods – two pretzel sticks wrapped in caramel, chocolate, peanut butter, and heath – and her Squirrel Stash – a ball of popcorn, caramel, peanut butter, and dark chocolate. Trust me: head to the website and your eyes will tell you what you want.

Legacy Chocolates A small chocolate store in Menomonie Wisconsin, I stumbled upon this site by accident and have already sent a half-dozen people there. The selection is small and choice – they do truffles, and do them incredibly well. You can choose your chocolate “strength” – everything from milk to very very dark. The fillings are made from the freshest, highest quality ingredients and it shows. Their mint truffle really hit the spot for me. They use only fair trade cocoa beans and since their truffles are not made with any preservatives, the box is shipped to you with an impressive cold-pack inside. The store suggests you refrigerate the truffles, but they won’t be around long enough to need it. Reasonably priced, they make an excellent gift and can compete against any famous chocolate company. I mean it.

Chocolate Bar – this New York City store pulled together the best chocolate chefs in the area and stocked their store with some amazing creations. It’s hard to go wrong here, but a couple things really stand out from the hormonal aspect: First, their Atomic Collection. Listen, you’ll love it. It sort of looks like a chocolate-covered oreo, but it’s a chocolate cookie with some sort of filling. My favorite is the Black and White – homemade marshmallow, caramel, and graham covered in dark chocolate. My girlfriend Renee loved the Elvis – homemade banana marshmallow and crunchy peanut butter – while another favorite is the PB&J (you can guess on that one). Hands down my favorite part of their store. But they’ve also got an incredibly good toffee – tied, in fact, for first place with another store listed further down. And the store owner, a mom herself, said a lot of pregnant women who come in the store crave their Peanut Butter Caramel Retro Bar (I personally can’t stay away from their Malted Milk Retro Bar). You try for yourself and decide.

The Cocoa Tree A small selection of unusual truffle flavors guaranteed to hit the spot, from a small store in Franklin, Tennessee. Many are liqueur-filled, so talk to your OB before eating or save them for post-partum weep-fests. I love the Irish Cream and the Jack and Ginger. But even better than their truffles is their toffee, tied with the Chocolate Bar above for first place (and I know good toffee). Rich and buttery and simply perfect.

Norman Love A client of mine first told me about this confectioner from Florida. With no stores outside their hometown of Ft. Myers, I thought I’d be destined to mail-order with them. Lucky me, I stayed in a hotel on vacation that served Norman Love exclusively. Rough life. Every single truffle is a work of art, and they’ve got some incredible taste combinations. Tropical was a favorite of mine, though the Pink Lemonade and Key Lime Pie were huge on my list when newly pregnant. Tops with them for me, though, was the mochachino, which I don’t seem to be able to find on their website. Start a petition.

Jacques Torres Finally, no chocolate list of mine would be complete without my gold standard, my favorite man (other than my husband), the guy I fondly refer to as “J.T.” Like we’re best friends. Quite simply, he does the best quality chocolate I’ve found. I’ve got a bar of his 72% house blend dark chocolate in my bag for emergencies. Think I’m kidding?? He makes all my favorites – the wicked hot chocolate (French-style hot cocoa with a peppery kick to it), the passion fruit truffle, you name it, I’ll eat it. Coincidentally, he makes a mean chocolate chip cookie; anytime I’m in the store I’ll buy a few and freeze them for later. Several of my friends swear by his pistachio or macadamia brittle. While pregnant, check out his chocolate-covered apricots; I found them last pregnancy and thought he made them just for me – and I’m not a chocolate and fruit kind of girl. He also makes my favorite chocolate peanut butter bar. And as a bonus for kiddies, this genius does chocolate-covered cheerios. Seriously, I love the guy.

So that’s my list. I’ve got other favorite chocolate houses here in Manhattan – Richart, La Maison Du Chocolat, Max Brenner, Lilac, to name a few – but I wasn’t searching simply for superior chocolate.

I wanted someone who understood a hormonal woman’s itch, and was willing to scratch it.

If you’ve got favorites, by all means, post below – I’m always looking to expand my waistline – er- horizons.

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