Gift Basket Ideas!


There’s no better to place than the internet to find fantastic gift baskets.

Are you looking for that perfect gift for a business associate or a friend? Just think what gastronomic joy you could give when you choose that ideal gift from a wide selection of gift baskets.

Some great gift basket ideas for those you know with a hearty appetite, what could be better than a gift of delicious meats?

When you do your shopping online, you can select from marvelous gift baskets featuring smoked salmon or delicious cheese and crackers.

And, let’s not forget nuts (also a popular item not only during the holidays, but year round.} Fresh, delicious shelled pecans and pecan treats are all available in a wide assortment of eye-pleasing baskets that would be a welcome gift for anyone on your list.

And have we mentioned chocolates. No one could really resist a gift basket of mouth watering decadent goodies including chocolate covered nuts and regional favorites from around the country all beautifully packaged and wrapped to delight any connoisseur of fine eating. In fact, one doesn’t have to be a connoisseur to enjoy a good piece of chocolate!

And when you’re shopping, keep in mind the favorite jams and jellies and crackers that can make the ordinary extraordinary! Gift basket ideas abound with these delightful temptations that will please any family. And, they’ll think of your thoughtfulness when they’re enjoying their morning toast and coffee.

When you want to send something that’s not too personal, yet shows you’re thinking of the recipient, a gift of food is always appropriate. Gift baskets not only offer you a wide choice of content, but also a wide price range to suit your gift giving budget. 


Call us today to order your gift basket brimming with fine chocolates, prime wines, fresh fruit and nuts and so much more! Enjoy free Canada-wide delivery to Montreal, Quebec, Ottawa, Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton, Halifax and all cities in between.

Corporate and Business Gift Giving Etiquette

The Do’s and Don’t of Corporate Gift Giving 
In the corporate and business world it is customary for companies and businesses to give clients, customers, suppliers and employees a gift at Christmas or other special occasion. Corporate or business gifts are a great way to thank your customers and develop goodwill, which in turn develops your business! Giving gifts to employees is very effective for recognizing their contribution to your success as well as promoting loyalty and good performance. Whether an employee or client, everyone appreciates being recognized with a special gift, but what is the correct etiquette when giving a corporate gift?

Some Do’s and Don’ts in Corporate Gift Giving

There are some do’s and don’t in corporate and business gift giving etiquette though. It is important to make sure that your gift is not of a personal nature unless that client or employee happens to also be a very close friend. If you are choosing different individual gifts for each recipient then be careful in giving gifts of alcohol which could be inappropriate for that particular person. As well, make sure that the client to whom you are giving a basket of smoked meats to is not a vegetarian.

Be careful when considering using your logo
Some companies will have their logo placed on jackets, vests, or other articles of clothing to be used as corporate gifts. This is an area that requires some caution too. While some employees may not mind wearing a jacket that has the name of their employer on it, you may find that clients, suppliers and customers are insulted by the idea of advertising your business on their clothing! If you do decide to put your logo on a gift, make sure that it is small, subtle and tasteful. That will go much further at promoting you than something large or garish.

Be consistent in gift giving to employees
When giving gifts to employees, try to be consistent from year to year. If it has been a company tradition to give a certain type of gift to each employee, consider carefully before discontinuing or changing the tradition. Instead of being grateful, employees can sometimes grumble about the gift they got this year when compared to the years that came before. If you are cutting back on the expense of employee gifts for financial reasons, make sure this is communicated to your employees so that they won’t feel you are not appreciating them. Then try to find other ways to show your appreciation to them. Perhaps you could suggest the whole company put money towards sponsoring a child somewhere for that year.


Ever wonder how National Boss’s day got started? The history of Bosses’ day is quite recent. In 1958 in Deerfield, Illinois a secretary by the name of Patricia Bays Haroski wanted to honor her boss – her white-collar father, who helped his children with good advice throughout their careers.Remember that corporate and business gifts are a excellent way to promote your business and and services, and choosing the right gift will go a long way in making your clients and employees know that you value them.

History of Boss’s Day

His daughter Patricia registered the day – October 16th – with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Four years later, Bosses’ Day was backed by Illinois Governor Otto Kerner who officially proclaimed the day in 1962.

Although it is not an official holiday, Boss’s Day is a great opportunity to tell your boss that he or she is doing a great job and you appreciate them! 


National Bosses Day is traditionally celebrated with greeting cards, gifts and a few extra smiles in honor of the big Boss Man or Lady.

A Sweet Gift For Any Time of the Year

Many different types of chocolate are available for consumption, but what is the real difference between dark, milk and white chocolates? Chocolates are classified by the percentage of cocoa in the mix and the other ingredients that are included. The exact percentages are outlined in the Nodeworks online encyclopedia and are summarized here:

 


Unsweetened Chocolate
 (also known as “Baking” or “Bitter” Chocolate) – Chocolate liquor is purely made from roasted chocolate beans and unsweetened chocolate is simply the solid form of this chocolate liquor. The center of the cocoa bean is literally ground into liquor. Nothing is added yielding a rich, deep and strong straight-from-the-bean chocolate flavor. Unsweetened chocolate is primarily used in recipes and in baking desserts such as brownies and cakes. Since it has no sugar, it isn’t normally eaten.


Bittersweet Chocolate
  Take unsweetened chocolate (chocolate liquor) and mix in some sugar, cocoa butter, lecithin, and vanilla and you’ll have delicious bittersweet chocolate. To be defined as bittersweet, the mix must contain at least 50% chocolate liquor.


Semi-Sweet Chocolate – Like bittersweet chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate has sugar, cocoa butter, lecithin and vanilla mixed in. The difference is that semi-sweet has more sugar and less pure chocolate liquor (minimum of 35%) than its bittersweet counterpart.


Dark Chocolate
 (also known as “Plain” or “Sweet” chocolate) – The rules regarding classification of chocolate in this category vary throughout the world. However, the one constant is that this type of chocolate contains no milk solids, but has sweeteners and cocoa butter added to the mix. In Europe, dark chocolate must consist of at least 35% cocoa solids while in the U.S., it must have a 15% concentration of chocolate liquor.


Milk Chocolate
 – Like you’d guess from the name, milk chocolate is made with condensed or powdered milk. In Europe, milk chocolate must consist of at least 25% cocoa solids, while in the US, it must have a 10% concentration of chocolate liquor and  a minimum of 12% milk solids. Milk chocolate is primarily used for eating and is the most popular form of chocolate in the U.S.



Couverture Chocolate
 – Chocolates under this classification are true gourmet chocolates that are rich in cocoa butter (upwards of 35%) which creates an extremely high fat content. Cocoa butter is the fat extracted from chocolate liquor. These chocolates contain a very high percentage of cocoa which is the solid powder left after the cocoa butter is extracted from the chocolate liquor. Most of the world’s finest gourmet chocolatiers such as Lindt, Scharfenberger and Guittard fall into this category.


White Chocolate
 – The name given to white chocolate is a misnomer because it isn’t really chocolate at all. Strictly speaking, chocolate is defined as any product 100% based on cocoa solid. White “chocolate” doesn’t contain any cocoa solids and is made from cocoa butter, milk solids and sugar.



Which version is your favorite? There are so many different variations and brands of chocolate, it would be hard to try them all.

Order your favorite chocolate gift basket today or for that special someone! Call us at 1.866.683.3885 today!


Wedding Etiquette & Superstitions

The Wedding Toast

Toasts to the Bride and Groom-The bride and groom should not raise their glasses like everyone else. Since they are the ones being honored, it is not considered polite to toast themselves.

Why do they call it a ‘toast’? It comes from the French custom of putting a piece of bread at the bottom of a wine goblet. The goblet was passed around to honored guests and the guest who got it last would eat the bread.

 

The Receiving Line

It was believed in ancient times that the bride and groom were blessed, and those who touched them would receive good luck and fortune.

The Garter

Tossing the garter is much like the bouquet toss, but for the single men. The single man who catches the garter is believed to be the next to marry. This custom originated in the 14th century when it was believed lucky to have a piece of the newlyweds’ clothing. Many times, the bride’s dress would be destroyed by the eager and drunken guests in their attempt to gain a lucky charm. In order to prevent this from happening, the bride’s garters were removed and thrown to the unruly crowd to distract them. Today, the tradition of tossing the wedding garter is much tamer.

Why on the Left?

Have you ever wondered why the bride’s family is seated on the left side of the church and the groom’s side is seated on the right? The tradition stems from Medieval times when men wore swords on their right side. It is said they needed that side free in order to draw their sword and protect his bride.

The Wedding Kiss

The wedding kiss symbolizes more than just an endearment. In Roman times, a legal bond or contract was always sealed with a kiss. Therefore, when newlyweds kiss, it represents an agreement to enter into a life-long binding contract with each other. Some believe the wedding kiss symbolizes and exchange of one’s soul with another. When the bride and groom kiss, their souls mingle together.

The Garter

Tossing the garter is much like the bouquet toss, but for the single men. The single man who catches the garter is believed to be the next to marry. This custom originated in the 14th century when it was believed lucky to have a piece of the newlyweds’ clothing. Many times, the bride’s dress would be destroyed by the eager and drunken guests in their attempt to gain a lucky charm. In order to prevent this from happening, the bride’s garters were removed and thrown to the unruly crowd to distract them. Today, the tradition of tossing the wedding garter is much tamer.

History of Wedding Favors

Wedding favors have become an important part of marriage celebrations around the world. The tradition dates back thousands of years. Favors were given to guests in appreciation for sharing in the newlyweds’ special day.

Favors are considered among the most important wedding accessory. Some couples like to use unique favors, while others like to give more practical gifts to their guests. Chocolates, picture frames, candles and candleholders are some of the most popular wedding favors. Brides seek to make a statement with their favors. Personalized wedding favors provide an especially effective way to display a brief message to the reception guests.Wedding favors are as diverse as the cultures surrounding them. Different cultures have various traditional wedding favors that they use. There are some similarities among many of the traditions. For example, it is quite common for many cultures to provide each guest with a wedding favor that contains five candies. Each piece represents one of the five common wedding wishes: health, wealth, happiness, long life and fertility.

Historically favors were initially given in the form of sugar, which was a costly commodity and only given by the wealthy. These sugary treats were fancily packaged and presented to guests at celebrations such as nuptial celebrations, birthdays, christenings, by only the wealthy. When sugar became more accessible, this custom was no longer limited to the wealthy. The most common sugared treat was the almond. Almonds represent the bitter aspects of life and the sugar represents the sweetness of life. Today, the tradition of giving five sugared almonds is still practiced. Many brides package them in netting, favor boxes, tins and gift bags.

Bridal Showers

Some believe the tradition began in Holland when a poor couple was denied the bridal dowry because of the groom’s lowly status as a miller. The groom’s friends showered the bride with gifts to help them set up housekeeping.Wedding showers derived from the time when men would prove their intent by bringing gifts to the bride’s father. Livestock, food, land and cloth were given to the bride’s family as “payment” for the bride. Eventually, this ritual evolved into men giving gifts of enticement to the daughter to show he was a man of good intentions. Fabrics for clothes, the finest dishes and jewelry would prove that he could provide a good home for her.

Today, friends of the bride and groom ‘shower’ the bride (and sometimes the groom) with gifts to start their new lives together. It is believed to be good luck if the first gift the bride opens at her shower is the first gift she uses after the wedding.

Bachelor Parties

Bachelor parties originated with the soldiers of ancient Sparta. The groom feasted with his male friends the night before the wedding, pledging his loyalty and friendship to them. The soldiers provided the loose women, food, drinks and good times for true male bonding. The function of this rite of passage was simply to say good-bye to the wild escapades of bachelorhood while swearing the groom’s continued allegiance to his comrades.

Visit us online or call us today at www.thesweetbasket.com to order your party or bridal favors by Godiva!  Enjoy free Canada-wide ground delivery everyday!


Fruit Gift Baskets

Dried Fruit, Crisp Nuts, Chocolate Covered Fruit And Fresh Fruit

From what is on the bottom of your yogurt to the apple that Eve ate, fruit has seeds planted throughout our culture. The meaning of the word fruit can be a thousand different things depending on context, but when it is presented as a gift, it shows elegance and thoughtfulness. Fruit gift baskets are the easiest gifts to give, with no assembly, wrapping, or boxing required.

Fruit gift baskets are also the ideal ready to present gift that is perfect for the busy gift giver.

Perfect for housewarmings and hostess gifts, fruit gift baskets come with a variety of fresh fruit and other items. Fruit gift baskets can focus on a specific region and have specialty items or baked goods. Fruit gift baskets arrive perfectly presented in baskets overflowing with bounty, and the baskets can be used long after the contents of the basket disappear to hungry holiday crowds or famished homebuyers who forgot to buy food on the first night in the new place.

Fruit gift baskets are filled with the finest pears, apples, oranges, cheese, and various treats. For less than $60, the home of friends and family can be warmed with the red, orange, and green tones of the shiny, hearty fruit.

Fresh fruit gift baskets come in a variety of prices and sizes. Their Deluxe Fruit Basket include fruit from the world’s best orchards high in the mountains to tropical groves.

Papayas, pears, pineapple, kiwi, and bananas burst from the brown wicker basket – for less than $100.00, the world’s most fabulous fruits will make any gift receiver elated.

Nearly everyone loves chocolate. Adding chocolate to fruit gift baskets, making them the ideal gift for any sweet lover – the perfect fall back gift for any occasion. Nestled crisp apples and pears, cheese, and their chocolate truffles and other chocolate munchies into a wicker basket adorned with ribbon. For as little as $70, the chocolate fruit wonder of a gift will live up to its name and be the favorite.

Dried fruit isn’t just for campers anymore. Dried fruit gift baskets are a perfect holiday gift – they can go from being a gift to a luscious snack by just unwrapping the package. The perfect anytime snack that doesn’t require peeling or washing, dried fruit baskets of mixed dried fruit make perfect snack gifts.

For more of a mix, fruit and nut gift baskets offer even more choices. For a sweet, salty, healthy gift  stuffed with crunchy pears and apples and a generous amount of snacks including mixed nuts, the Deluxe Fruit Basket is more luxurious and expertly package that any fruitcake on the planet.This beauty of a gift is easy to give and easier to enjoy.

Plentiful and always welcome, fruit gift baskets are an ideal gift the family and friends who have everything. There is never such a thing as having too much beautiful, fresh fruit and snacks, so fruit gift baskets will be welcomed with smiles everywhere they go.

Visit us online today to order your fresh fruit gift baskets for that upcoming occasion!

Chocolate Corporate Gift Baskets


Proven to make people feel happy by releasing serotonin, chocolate has become the gift to give for birthdays, holidays, or any day. When a gift giver wants to make a person really appreciate a gift, the best thing to send is a chocolate gift basket. Chocolate gift baskets are literally baskets of happiness.

godiva-chocolate-gift-box_1.jpg

Godiva’s chocolate gift basket line will please even the most discerning chocolate connoisseur. Truffles, chocolates filled with caramel and creme, hazelnut pralines as well as some decadent surprises are very simply and elegantly tucked into a wicker basket, adorned with a ribbon. This little wonder of a chocolate gift basket will guarantee smiles.

To be the life of any party or to make it the perfect date, arrive with a happy bubbly gift, known widely as a chocolate wine gift basket. The chocolate wine gift basket is the little black dress of the chocolate gift basket world because it works for any occasion and is always a huge hit. Whether for a romantic picnic or a gift for a housewarming, the pop of a wine cork and the smell of chocolate are synonymous with indulgence.

Any extras in the chocolate gift basket are a plus. Many housewarming gifts never include the one thing that seems to be forgotten on the first day in a new place: food. A bottle of California Syrah, a tin of chocolate squares, and other sustenance like havarti cheese, nuts, and crackers nested in a rectangular basket will be the welcome gift for any occasion. For around $100, it may seem a little steep, but the return on investment for a chocolate gift basket like this will go far.

Corporate gifts usually don’t hit the mark with everyone. Who really needs an engraved picture frame touting the anniversary of their company or another company-logo hat, t-shirt or sweatshirt? Not many people require more than one gift, but everyone will welcome a chocolate corporate gift basket with open arms and rumbling stomachs. Chocolate corporate gift baskets will lift the spirits of employees, clients, vendors, and friends. Chocolate gift basket pros all have corporate purchase programs that provide discounts on an increasing scale – the more money spent, the better the discounts. Any chocolate gift basket that for sale is available with the corporate program.

There is no going wrong with a chocolate gift basket. The little wicker and chocolate concoctions bring smiles everywhere they go. For very little money, a lasting impression can be made on friends, loved ones, or employees. No wrapping paper, already perfectly decorated, very little guesswork or shopping, assured happiness by the receiver – all of these things define a chocolate gift basket. Everyone needs a little sweetness in their life, and with a chocolate gift basket they are being given a gift to indulge and enjoy.

Visit us online today at www.thesweetbasket.com and discover our vast selection of rich decadent chocolate gift baskets perfect for any occasion!

Spa in a Cup!


We are so pleased to have recently acquired our lastest luxury brand- Tea 
Forté – a truly enchanting line of extraordinary gourmet teas.

Tea Forté is an award-winning specialty tea which captures the “Art of Tea”. Known for their signature silken tea infusers made by hand and using whole tea leaves creates a visually stunning way to prepare and serve tea.

Their blended high-quality teas of which, there are 37 varieties include black, green, white, oolong and herbal .Their sophisticated, culinary inspired blends include Mojito Marmalade, Apricot Amaretto, Blueberry Merlot, Kiwi Lime Ginger and Cherry Cosmo.

Featured exclusively in high-end retailers, gift shops, restaurants, spas and hotels worldwide, Tea Forté is a true contemporary tea experience!

See what Oprah has to say:

“If you’re a tea lover, this is about as good as it gets. Whole leaves
picked from the tea gardens of China are hand-packed in silken
pyramid-shaped infusers that give buds lots of room to bloom into a
spectacular cup of tea.” — Oprah

Stay tuned for our Mother’s Day Gift Collection featuring our exclusive line of Tea Forté gift ensembles!

Chocolate is Good for You!

Great news on the chocolate front! Chocolate is good for you. Under certain circumstances. 

Katherine Tallmadge, spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association, says, in the February 9, 2005, WASHINGTON POST, that “cacao, or cocoa beans, contain ‘flavanols,’ naturally occurring plant compounds also found in tea, red wine, and apples.

Their properties have been studied as heart disease inhibitors.” 

Carl L. Keen, chair of the department of nutrition at University of California, Davis, states in the same article that “the flavanols in cocoa help maintain a healthy vascular system. They reduce blood clotting — an aspirin like effect — reduce oxidative damage and improve blood flow.” 

Unfortunately the flavanols in chocolate are bitter and are mostly removed from processed chocolate. The level decreases with each step, from the bean to the cocoa powder, and ultimately to a finished product. But big manufacturers like Nestle and Mars Inc.(producers of M&Ms) are working on chocolate items that are — what else? — good for you. We can soon expect chocolate bars and candies that advertise their high level of flavanols. In the meantime, the only product that states its flavanol level is Mars’ Dove Dark Chocolate, which has 150 mg. in 1.3 oz., a high level. It also has 200 calories. We live in an imperfect world. 

While we’re waiting for more high-flavanol products, Ms. Tallmadge recommends unsweetened cocoa powder, but not the alkalized “Dutch processed” kind, which has had its flavanols reduced. Next in desirability is semisweet or bittersweet chocolate with a high cocoa percentage. Some chocolates contain as much as 70 percent cocoa, but they can have as little as 35 percent. The percent of cocoa in milk chocolate can be even lower, and she does not recommend it. She says, “I recommend cocoa or an ounce per day of dark chocolate, which may be about 110 to 150 calories, depending on the chocolate. Any more than that and you’re probably going to take in too many calories for weight control.” 

Do you have any idea of what you just read? A highly qualified nutrition professional is RECOMMENDING that you eat chocolate! Maybe not large quantities of chocolate, but chocolate. If you have suffered much in the area of chocolate, you may want to enlarge that statement and post it on your bathroom mirror, where it can cheer you on rainy mornings.

Now comes the chocolate frosting on the cake. Deanna K. reports: “The Diabetic Educator told me about CARBOLITE, a 1.1 oz. low carb chocolate bar made with Splenda, containing 0 sugar carbs, 15-18g carbohydrates, depending on flavor. On Google type in ‘Carbolite’for more information.” 

Deanna continues, “The other chocolate bar that I think is acceptable is Amber Lyn Chocolates (fine imported Belgian chocolate), sugar free and carb conscious. A little higher in calories than Carbolite, the 1.2 oz bar has 15-16g carbs. For nutrition information visit www.amberlynchocolates.com.” The dark chocolate bars have 157 calories. 

Flavanols are not listed, but these dark chocolates are a good bet for that HEALTHFUL piece of chocolate it is your DUTY to eat regularly. And soon, no doubt, manufacturers will begin to formulate their candies to be high in flavanols — and say so.

 

The Thrill of Gift Baskets


Gift baskets are the new gift to give. They are popular with everyone from business associates to children. A gift basket is much like a goodie bag – the person never knows what will be inside, but they cannot wait to find out. The many choices in gift baskets make them a good idea for many special occasions…


A gift basket is simple a combination of small gifts in a nice container. It does not necessarily have to be a basket, either.

– Baby Shower: A gift basket for a baby shower is very fun to put together. Babies require many small items that often are overlooked. These items alone probably wouldn’t make a great gift, but put them together in a cute package and they will be a big hit. A cute example is a bath tub themed basket. Items like wash clothes, hooded towels, baby wash, lotions and bath toys are put inside an old fashioned washing tub:Gift baskets can be boxes, bags or creative packages, like baby tubs. The gift basket is made to suit the occasion as well as the person. A gift basket works great for close friends and simple acquaintances. Gift baskets are made in a variety of themes that are suitable for any age group, as well. The possibilities for gift baskets are endless. The following list gives examples of gift baskets for every occasion:

– Father’s or Mother’s Day: Nothing says “You’re the greatest” like a beautiful gift basket. Children will love putting together special items for their parent in a gift basket. The theme should be suited to the person. For example, a dad who loves golf could be made a basket with little golfing items, like tees and balls. Some other golf themed items could be thrown in and the whole package could be put in a new golf bag.:

– Birthday: A birthday gift basket is a great way to buy someone things they would never buy for themselves. Gourmet foods are a great gift basket, packed inside a nice cooking pot. The birthday gift basket should center around the idea of pampering for adults and big fun for children. A child’s birthday gift basket could include stuffed animal themes, outside play themes, bathtub fun themes, or art themes. The ideas are endless!:

– Christmas: A gift basket makes the perfect gift for someone who is hard to buy for. Some people seem to have everything they could possibly need. In cases like this a gift basket works great. Little trinkets or food items in a stylish package work great for anyone on the Christmas list.:

A gift basket can be made for any occasion imaginable. The basic idea is to use small items based around a theme to create a great gift. It is becoming very popular to give gift baskets and people are thrilled to receive them. The next holiday or special occasion that rolls around is definitely worth giving gift baskets a try.

Chocolate Glossary!


AFRI-KOKO

A chocolate-coconut cordial made in Sierra Leone.

BITTER CHOCOLATE
Known as the best type of chocolate for baking,
it is made from chocolate liquid which has been cooled and molded into blocks. Also Known As: Unsweetened Chocolate.

BITTERSWEET CHOCOLATE
A dark chocolate containing a minimum of 35% chocolate liquor as a general rule. In spite of that ruling, bittersweet usually contains about 50% chocolate liquor. Semi-sweet chocolate falls more into the 35% range. Can be used interchangeably with baking chocolate. Also Known As: Semi-sweet blocs, squares, bits. 

BLOOM
Cocoa butter, the fatty part of chocolate, can solidify into different crystalline forms at different temperatures. This means that untempered chocolate is vulnerable to changes in temperature. Chocolate must be tempered to stabilize it before use, or crystals may form, causing what is called “bloom”. This can appear as a white film on the surface of chocolate, and in some cases the chocolate may become soft or crumbly. While bloom is unwanted, it is not harmful and chocolate with bloom is still safe to eat. 

BREAKFAST COCOA
Cocoa powder which contains at least 22% cocoa butter. 

CACAO
The cacao tree (Theobroma cacao) is a native of South America. Its fruit is a large pod which can contain many imbedded seeds. The pod is fermented, then the seeds are removed, cured and roasted. The end results are called nibs. Cacao has a high fat, carbohydrate and protein content. Besides chocolate, cacao is used in the preparation of cosmetics and medicines. 

CHOCOLATE LIQUEURS
The most common type is creme de cacao, and is found in many chocolate-based drinks. There are also many other specialty chocolate liqueurs available.

CHOCOLATE LIQUID
This is the basic building block from which all chocolate and cocoa products are developed. It comes from ground nibs. Also Known As: Chocolate Liquor.

CHOCOLATIER
A shop or a candymaker that creates and sells chocolate confections. 

COCOA BEANS
Seeds from the pod of the cacao tree (Theobroma cacao), native to Amazon forests. The center of the cocoa bean is called the nib, from which chocolate is made. 

COCOA BUTTER
The vegetable fat contained in a cocoa bean. It is a yellowish-white fat. It is removed from chocolate liquid by using high pressure. 


COCOA POWDER

The portion of chocolate liquid that remains after most of the cocoa butter is removed. It is an unsweetened powder. Different types of cocoa powder include breakfast cocoa, medium and low fat cocoas, and Dutch process cocoa. 

CONCHING
Raw unprocessed chocolate is not yet ready to eat, because it is too gritty. To make it smooth, liquid and rich, it is rolled and kneaded until it achieves the desired state. Special machines designed to perform this action contain rollers that are shaped like conches, giving the process its name. 

CONFECTIONARY COATING
A blend of sugar, vegetable oil, cocoa powder and other products. Vegetable oil is used in place of cocoa butter to reduce costs, and to cause it to melt easily and then harden quickly. It is really more of a chocolate-flavored candy, not a true chocolate. It can be used to coat fruit bits, and for other decorating purposes. Also Known As: Compound or Decorator’s Chocolate. 

COUVETURE CHOCOLATE
For a chocolate to be couverture it must contain at least 32% cocoa butter. Some couverture chocolates contain up to 39% cocoa butter. The addition of this extra cocoa butter give it the right texture and consistency to be used for hand-dipping chocolates. It can also be used to enrobe a candy, which means that the chocolate is poured over the candy to coat it. Also Known As: Coating Chocolate, Enrobing Chocolate 

DUTCH PROCESS COCOA
Cocoa powder which has been treated with alkali to neutralize acidity. The process creates a darker, milder chocolate. 

GANACHE
Ganache is used to glaze cakes, or can be beaten until fluffy to use as fillings for truffles and other candies. It is made by mixing chopped semi-sweet chocolate with boiling cream, then stirring until smooth.

LOW FAT COCOA
Cocoa powder containing less than 10% cocoa butter. 

MEDIUM FAT COCOA
Cocoa powder containing between 10% and 22% cocoa butter. 

MILK CHOCOLATE
Milk chocolate is made by combining chocolate liquid, extra cocoa butter, milk or cream, sweetening, and flavorings. This chocolate is generally considered the best for eating, because of its sweetness. 

MOLINILLO
A wooden stick with rings attached to the bottom. It is used to whip chocolate drinks to make them foam on top. 

NIBS
After cocoa beans are fermented and roasted, the nibs, which are the center of the bean, are ground and become chocolate liquid. The high fat content is what allows them to become a liquid. 

SEMI-SWEET CHOCOLATE
Semi-sweet chocolate is created by blending chocolate liquid with varying amounts of sweetening and extra cocoa butter. Flavorings may be included. Semi-sweet chocolate is available in bar form, but is usually sold in pieces or chips. Semi-sweet contains between 15% and 35% chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, sugar, lecithin, and vanilla. It may be used in recipes that call for bittersweet or sweet chocolate, but is not interchangeable with milk chocolate. Also Known As: Semi-sweet blocs, squares, bits, chocolate chips, morsels. 

SWEET CHOCOLATE
Made by mixing chocolate liquor with sweeteners and extra cocoa butter. Flavorings may be included. Sweet chocolate is usually molded into bars. It contains a minimum of 15% chocolate liquor. 

TEMPERING
A method of preparing chocolate so that it will not develop fat bloom. Chocolate that will be used for dipping or coating must be tempered, which also gives it a glossy quality, free of streaks. The classic tempering method is to melt chocolate until it is lump free. Then 1/3 of the chocolate is poured onto a marble slab, spread and worked back and forth with a metal spatula until it becomes thick and reaches a temperature of about 80 degrees. This chocolate is then added back to the remaining 2/3 of the melted chocolate and stirred. The process is repeated until the entire mixture reaches 88-92 degrees for semi-sweet chocolate, 84-87 degrees for milk or white chocolate. Care must be taken not to over temper chocolate, which brings it back to its original state – grainy and susceptible to fat bloom.

UNSWEETENED CHOCOLATE
Chocolate liquid which has been cooled and molded into blocks. This is the best type for baking or cooking. Also Known As: Bitter Chocolate. 

WHITE CHOCOLATE
Not a true chocolate, since it does not contain cocoa solids. It is a mixture of sugar, cocoa butter, milk solids, lecithin, and vanilla. If cocoa butter is not mentioned, the product is a confectionary or summer coating, not white chocolate. You need to be careful when melting white chocolate because it is more fragile than true chocolates.

How to Give the Gift of a Lifetime


Giving that special someone a special gift can be very difficult. Depending on the situation and occasion, it can be a very tricky thing. You want to do the right thing, but if you’re not careful, it can backfire. As many have found out, you need to give this some considerable thought. 
But everyone wants to give the “right” gift. What makes up a great gift? In my experience, a great gift:

A great gift doesn’t necessarily have to cost hundreds or thousands of dollars to be great. But also understand that getting a gift that is cheap can show how much “you don’t care.” Before you start to shop and buy, also consider the following:Is truly unique, personal and creative;

  • Demonstrates to the recipient the thoughtfulness and caring that went into securing the gift;

  • Evokes emotions from the recipient whenever it is used, seen or thought about; and

  • Makes the recipient truly feel special


1. Who is the recipient? Is it your spouse, significant other, sibling, parents, relative, close friends, neighbor or business associate? 
2. Next, what is the occasion? Holiday, birthday, anniversary, graduation, wedding, engagement, promotion, a “just because” occasion, or “I-need-to-get-out-of- the-doghouse-occasion?” 
3. Be yourself. The gift is from you, so make sure it shows it. But be appropriate, and be sure the gift is something that the recipient will relate to and enjoy. 
4. Try to avoid excessiveness. Simple gifts tend to also be very well received. 
5. Don’t wait until the last minute. It only gives you too little time to get a great gift, and also shows how much you don’t care.


Being creative is a fantastic way to ensure getting the right gift. People love it when it’s obvious their gift required some imagination and creativity. So as you’re going through the “what do I get them” process, remember that a little bit of creativity, uniqueness and personalization will go a long, long way! 

The true measure of a great gift will be seen in the eyes of the recipient when they get it. You’ll know it, you’ll feel it, and you’ll feel great yourself when you’ve given the “Great Gift”! 

The Health Benefits of Chocolate

With the New Year come and gone, many of us are making good on a resolution to eat healthier. So what’s a chocolate lover to do? 

Good news. Research says you can have your cake and eat it, too. As long as that cake is chocolate.For centuries, chocolate has been used to treat diseases and maladies such as depression. Civilizations from Mexico to Europe have hailed chocolate as an aphrodisiac.

The U.S. government officially recognized its virtues in World War II, making the chocolate candy bar standard issue for the military. 

Chocolate’s scientific name, theobroma cacao, is literally translated as “food of the gods,” and we chocolate cravers don’t need any studies to tell us the power of chocolate in mood alteration. Its feel good chemicals have long been associated with feelings of love, safety, and comfort. Maybe that’s why Americans eat an average of 12 pounds of chocolate per year. 

Chocolate contains vitamins A, B1, C, D, and E, as well as potassium, sodium, iron, and fluorine. Now, researchers say those creamy chocolate confections may actually help us live longer, too.

Harvard researchers tracked nearly 8,000 males, with an average age of 65. Those men who enjoyed chocolate and candy lived almost a year longer than those who did not. Those who ate one to three candy bars per month had a 36 percent lower risk of death (compared to the people who ate no candy), while those who ate three or more candy bars per week had a 16 percent lower risk. 

Why? The researchers say they don’t know for sure, but that it might have something to do with antioxidants. Chocolate contains the same antioxidant chemicals as wine (phenols). In the chocolate bar, phenols help preserve the fat. In our bodies, phenol can help prevent atherosclerosis.

Like anything, chocolate is best enjoyed in moderation. Just one ounce of solid chocolate packs about 150 calories and can be as much as 50 percent fat. So, for your next chocolate fix, consider reduced fat alternatives, such as chocolate covered foods or chocolate syrup.