Friday, February 3, 2012

Foodie Love for Your Foodie Lover!

Let's be honest, Valentine's Day is all about the chocolate. All the chocolate in the world, allowed on one single day. Oh, and sharing all this chocolate love with your favorite person in the world! And hey, if that person is yourself, than that just means more chocolate for you! That's why today is all about edible chocolate treats and one special inedible candy you can wear.

The Chocolate Coast

First up a company based out of Wellfleet, MA, called The Chocolate Coast and makes one of the most uniquely shaped chocolates I've ever seen: chocolate oysters. What describes Massachusetts, Cape Cod and Island better than fresh shucked oysters? Nothing comes to mind, and this is what The Chocolate Coast creates!

They once found the perfect oyster shell and sent it out to be made into their own special mold. After that, the oyster mold is hand-filled and painted for a special treat. These would be perfect as a souvenir for a beach wedding or party! They come solid in assorted chocolates: white, milk and dark; they also come in a variety of fillings: Nutella, Bananas Foster, and Peanut Butter were some of the ones I sampled. One of my favorites? Bananas Foster, a silky caramel flavored with brown sugar, rum and banana flavoring.

Would you like to try their hand painted oysters? 
One (1) winner will receive The Chocolate Coast Giveaway Prize:
One dozen (12) assorted solid Chocolate Oysters in dark, milk and white chocolate.

Not Your Sugar Mamas

Up next is a local chocolate maker on Martha's Vineyard, with one of the most whimsical names in the industry: Not Your Sugar Mamas. And they definitely aren't! Their chocolate bars are unlike any other I've tried, and believe me, I've had my fair share of chocolate. They're RAW, which means this chocolate is untempered, giving you the full health benefits that chocolate provides.

"The health benefits of cacao are numerous, particularly in it’s raw form since none of the nutrients have been lost in the heating process. It is the highest antioxidant food on the planet. It is also very high in magnesium which helps to relax the muscles, support the heart and increase brain power. The bliss chemical, Anandamide, is found in cacao making us feel happy and good!"
Not only are they raw, but they are jam packed with organic ingredients that add even more health benefits! So as I am eating a piece of their original bar, I'm thinking " this is actually HEALTHY. Which means I should eat it every day!", so that's what you should do. In my opinion. What other great ingredients do they add to their bars? Maca, Spirulina, Himalayan Sea Salt, Cinnamon, Coconut Palm Sugar, Pomegranate, Nutmeg, Lucuma, Mesquite, Lavender, and even a powerful elixir made by Skye Botanicals called Aphrodite's Love Potion (in their Be Sexy bar)!

Unlike other chocolates, since these bars are untempered, they should be kept in a cool environment such as the fridge, but if you leave them out, their texture is like soft fudge, and both textures are delicious! You can also check out their Be Cozy superfood chocolate mix, perfect for the winter months.

Would you love to try Not Your Sugar Mamas?

One (1) winner will receive The Sampler (four bars):

The Sampler includes one (1) bar of Be Jolly, one (1) bar of Be Sexy, one (1) bar of Be Original and one (1) bar of Be Cool.

Guylian Belgian Chocolates

Guylian's Special Valentine's Day Packaging
From the island of Martha's Vineyard, we take a flight to Belgium! Let me now introduce you to Guylian Belgian Chocolates. Remember those chocolate seashells? These are the originals, crafted in Belgium from smooth Belgian dark, milk, and white chocolates made from 100% pure cocoa butter. The signature truffle recipe is still made in small-batch copper kettles exclusively in Sint-Niklaas, Belgium.

One of my favorite things about the Guylian website is the Chocolate Experience, where they guide you through a full tasting; we sometimes forget to savor the sweets in life! Here are some of the guidelines:
  • See: notice the marbling created with white, milk and dark chocolate; the fine tempered shell creates a shine on each truffle shell, encasing the smooth praline interior.
  • Smell: not only will you smell rich chocolate, but you'll get a hint of Mediterranean Roasted hazelnuts contained in the filling.
  • Taste: you'll bit into the shell, noticing the contrast between shell and truffle interior. The hazelnut flavor is indulgent, and definitely one of my favorite ingredients to showcase in chocolate!
  • Feel: Silky Smooth. No other words are needed to describe this experience.
  • Share: if you want to. I shared. I did, promise! And plus, I'm sharing even more because thanks to the folks at Guylian, we're giving away a great chocolate extravaganza!
Would you like to taste some Belgian chocolates?

One (1) winner will receive the Guylian Belgian Chocolates Giveaway Prize:
One – 22 piece box of Guylian Artisanal Belgian Original Chocolate Truffles 
Two - 6 piece Original Chocolate Truffle Box
Four - 2 piece Original Chocolate Truffle Box

Inedible Jewelry

Photo Credit: Inedible Jewelry

Last, but not least is an inedible treat. One particular from Inedible Jewelry, an Etsy loving company based out of Charlotesville, Virginia. Once upon a time, I lived in Virginia and made chocolates. Coincidence, right? Well, I made real chocolates, read books and visited the farmer's markets. Thus, I met Inedible Jewelry! Sisters Jessica & Susan Partain have been creating teeny, tiny realistic miniature foods for about 20 years, since they were kids modeling clay.

How they make these tiny inedible treat? I could probably say they have elves with tiny heads that craft these pieces, but apparently they are human hands, real sized. (I have yet to believe it, I think it's still elves!) But seriously, each piece is crafted with so much detail, realistic colors and so much love. You can see that love inside their Etsy shop, as well as their interactions on Twitter and Facebook. The passion they have for their craft is palpatable, and it's definitely unique! Have you ever seen...a box of chocolates necklace? Or bacon and eggs earrings? Even better, how about your favorite drink....say a Margarita or two floating from your ears? Today's fun giveaway is Valentine's Day based, and read below for what you could win!

Inedible Jewelry Giveaway: 
One winner will win one handmade candy heart necklace with their phrase of choice OR a pair of studs in their preferred color and phrase (see options below):

Foodie Valentine's Day Extravaganza Giveaway! We will draw four (4) random winners from the comments below and in the order they are chosen, the specific prize from above will be given. Comments about any of the companies will enter you in the drawing to all four giveaways (meaning if you like Inedible Jewelry on Facebook, the comment counts towards possibly winning Not Your Sugar Mamas chocolate); the more entries you comment about, the more chances you'll have to win! More Details: US mailing addresses only; prizes will be shipped by each company to winner, in a timely fashion. Giveaways ends February the 8th at noon Eastern.
  1. Follow Cooking with Books via Google Friend Connect
  2. Follow Cooking with Books on Twitter
  3. Check out The Chocolate Coast and tell me something you learned
  4. Sign up for the Not Your Sugar Mamas newsletter
  5. Follow Inedible Jewelry on Twitter
  6. Answer this: What's your favorite love phrase combination from the ones Inedible Jewelry created (or make up your own, that fit into candy hearts of course!)
  7. Check out Inedible Jewelry's Etsy shop and come back and tell me your favorite item
  8. Follow Guylian Belgian Chocolates on Twitter
  9. Sign up for the Guylian Belgian Chocolates newsletter (top right corner)
  10. Tweet this and come back to tell us you tweeted: Win @Guylian_Chocs, jewelry from @inediblejewelry, Chocolate Oysters, & local-raw-organic MV Chocolate via @nella22:
  11. Share on your Facebook and come back to tell us you shared
Since Facebook has certain rules, I don't require you to like any of these companies on Facebook as an entry, but I suggest you do for updates, recipes and new products launched! (Not an entry, just some love!)

Disclaimer: Samples were provided by the various companies free of charge, but I was under no obligation to review them. As always, my opinions are 100% my own and based on personal tastings and testings. Giveaways were generously provided by The Chocolate Coast, Not Your Sugar Mamas, Guylian Belgian Chocolates and Inedible Jewelry.

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