All right. Listen Up. From here on out we're changing the name of the upcoming holidays in order to focus exclusively on chocolate gifts. From now on Christmas will be known as Chocomas. Hanukkah becomes Chocokah. Kwanzaa, Chockwanzaa. I'm not trying to be blasphemous here. I'm just trying to help all of you give your loved ones what they probably wantnamely chocolate in all its forms.
Here are twelve places to order truly extraordinary chocolate items online. Those of you celebrating Hanukkah or Kwanzaa will have to pare down these choices to eight or seven, respectively, unless you want to double up on four or five of the days.
Day 1: John & Kira's | johnandkiras.com
John and Kira are two politically correct chocolate makers who craft fabulous molded chocolates out of extraordinarily high-quality ingredientslocal whenever possible. (Unfortunately, they can't grow cocoa beans in the Philadelphia area.) I'm partial to their chocolates filled with raspberry, mint, pistachio, ginger, honey-lavender, and coffee-whiskey.
15 single-flavor pieces, $27 (excludes shipping)
Day 2: L. A. Burdick | burdickchocolate.com
9 chocolate mice, $29 (excludes shipping)
Day 3: Fran's Chocolates | franschocolates.com
Fran Bigelow popularized caramels with fleur de sel in this country, and as far as I'm concerned, hers are still my go-to caramels. I usually get the box that combines the regular gray salt caramels and the smoked salt variety.
15-piece gray-and-smoked caramel box, $22 (excludes shipping)
CHOCOLATE ICE CREAM
As good as chocolate is on its own, I want to offer you some variety while still maintaining the spirit of Chrismachocolakwanzaakkah. Here are three different kinds of ice cream from different parts of the country.
Day 4: Kopp's Frozen Custard | koppscustard.com
10 pints, $75 (excludes shipping)
Day 5: Capogiro Gelato Artisans | capogirogelato.com
6-chocolate sampler, $60 (excludes shipping)
Day 6: Graeter's | graeters.com
Graeter's has been making great French pot ice cream in small batches in Cincinnati way before Jerry Springer used his time as the mayor of that fair city to catapult him to talk show host infamy. The black raspberry chip is one of the great ice cream flavors of all time.
Six pints, shipping included, $50 to $70 (depending on location). 12 pints, shipping included, $80 to $110
And now let's warm up a bit before opening a few more packages ...
Day 7: MarieBelle New York | mariebelle.com
Maribel Lieberman fell in love with the hot chocolate at the legendary Café Angelina in Paris, and she set out to replicate it at her store in New York City. She has succeeded beautifully. Her Aztec Dark flavor is a heady, chocolaty brew with a very smooth finish. Maribel taught me that her hot chocolate tastes better made with water instead of milk. Nobody believes me, but it's true.
20-ounce tin Aztec Dark hot chocolate, $22 (excludes shipping)
Day 8: Recchiuti Confections | recchiuti.com
40 pieces of burnt-caramel almonds, $8 (excludes shipping)
Day 9: The King's Cupboard | kingscupboard.com
10-ounce jars of sauce, $7.95 each (excludes shipping)
Day 10: Boule | boulela.com
Box of 7 rochers, $10; box of treacle pecan toffee, $8 (excludes shipping)
Day 11: Maison du Chocolat | lamaisonduchocolat.com
Small box of truffles (0.42 pounds), $35 (excludes shipping)
Day 12: Zingerman's Bakehouse | zingermansbakehouse.com
1.25-pound loaf chocolate cherry bread, $12.50 (excludes shipping)
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