by Frances & Ginger Park
I’m joining Jain at Food for Thought, a delicious blog for readers with an appetite for the written word.
“Frances and Ginger Park were carefree young women when the sudden death of their father turned their world upside down. Reeling from the loss, they turned to each other—and the comfort of good chocolate—to numb their pain as they tried to figure out a way to create a shared future. The answer turned out to be as simple as their childhood dream: open a chocolate shop.”
“In January 1984, Chocolate Chocolate opened its doors in downtown Washington, D.C. But it was a rocky road to success. After battling with their contractor, the walls of their shop literally crumbled around them, and building a clientele wasn’t easy—on many days the sisters consumed more chocolate than they actually sold. Over time, with much hard work and perhaps even a divine dose of chocolate magic, their no-name shop was transformed into a nationally celebrated boutique.”
“Along the way the sisters found love, penned books, and befriended a charming entourage of customers whose own stories were as luscious as the bonbons that had them coming back for more.”
What a sweet read ~ especially timely & fun for Food for Thought! I thoroughly enjoyed reading about these sisters who were “chocoholics long before it was a diagnosis…”
In addition to satisfying my sweet tooth, I could identify with their roller-coaster-retail-ride. . . the insanity of holidays, difficult leasing agents/landlords, rising rent, and the day-to-day selling woes of a shop owner. Much more entertaining to read about than to experience!
Fortunately for me, my out-of-date & non-selling inventory wasn’t edible~ otherwise my weight would have rivaled the number of pages of this book :)
I’m speaking the language of chocolate, sharing my favorite quotes from the book~ with candy as props ~ a delicious excuse to shop early for Valentine’s Day! Since one of my New Year’s resolutions was to exercise more, I’m exercising restraint :) and parceling out my chocolate for Valentine’s treats. My mom, a bonafide chocoholic, is a getting copy of this book, along with a box of Neuhaus & Baci Perugina for her February birthday.
And I also had a little fun shopping at World Market along the way. . .
“Coffee and cream in a bittersweet cup, topped with a dreamy swirl of white cocoa-dusted chocolate.”
I mixed a version of a Cappuccino Cup using these Dark Chocolate Cordial Cups from World Market
($5.99 for a box of 12).
~Coffee, chilled (so it won’t melt the cup) mixed with a little Bailey’s Irish Cream, (the cream part)
~Whipped cream mixed with a tablespoon of Godiva White Chocolate Liqueur, (the dreamy swirl of white cocoa)
~ Choco Straws from World Market~ chocolate straws ($4.99 for a box of 18)
~ Chocolate Curls to garnish
Sip your coffee underneath the whipped cream layer thru your chocolate straw~ or throw caution to the wind~ shoot your cup then eat your straw & your cup!
“The marriage of coffee and chocolate was a match made in heaven. Topped with a meringue-like swirl of white chocolate, the bittersweet cup lent itself to being dropped into a mug of steaming black coffee. Wait for the bouquet. Go cross-eyed. Drink.”
“For us, chocolate proved an elixir that could soften all the blows of life: coping with our father’s untimely death, losing our small inheritance to a contractor who left our shop in shambles, praying for love when there was none.”
“Let’s face it: There are times when only chocolate can make a bad day better. That’s when you summon the most luminous piece of chocolate in the shop, one that sings to you. That chocolat du jour.”
“Chocolate was our comfort food, and we spent our days munching away on Hershey Kisses wondering whether we should go into business together…”
“Try a Baci. It is singly the most famous piece of chocolate in the world. Look at it. Not only is it so beautiful and delicious, there is a precious little poem inside, a little fortune.”
The Park Sisters introduced to me Baci Kisses & their love notes which I found at HomeGoods~
“Our introduction to Baci lived up to the Perugina rep’s description. There was something alluring about the whole romantic package, not to mention the sensation of crunch against velvet chocolate, an almost erotic light-headedness.”
“We stacked trays in our glass cases high with rustic-looking Belgian truffles as well as our fragile crème fraiche pralines. We place eye-catching gift-wrapped boxes in the windows to lure passersby. We gave our shop every ounce of chocolate love we had in us.”
“A mud-black chocolate truffle spiked with Kahlua and dusted with cocoa powder.”
I found a Chocolate Truffle recipe from Ina Garten that was easy, rich & wonderful!
I substituted Kahlua for the Grand Marnier called for~ a mini bottle is ideal since you only need 2 Tablespoons~ I made half a recipe.
~ 1/2 pound good bittersweet chocolate
~ 1/2 pound good semisweet chocolate
~ 1 cup heavy cream
~ 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier (or Kahlua)
~ 1 tablespoon prepared coffee
~ 1/2 teaspoon good vanilla extract
~ Cocoa powder
After reading some of the reviews of this recipe, I decided to let the chocolate mixture sit in the fridge overnight, rather than the recommended 30 minutes the recipe called for. I pulled it out the next morning to stand at room temperature for about 20 minutes and then used a melon baller to scoop the chocolate, roll in my hands, then in cocoa. We’re dark chocolate fans, so we didn’t object to the cocoa coating, but if you find it bitter, mix some powdered sugar with your cocoa or roll in confectioners’ sugar only. You can also roll your truffle in chopped nuts~ hazelnuts, pecans, etc.
With willpower, these truffles will keep refrigerated for weeks, but serve them at room temperature.
“If windows could talk, ours would say: Step inside and stay awhile. Warm up, smell the chocolate. Listen to the good music they’ve got playing. You may not know a soul on the street, but once you’re inside, you’ve got someone to talk to. Welcome to Chocolate Chocolate.”
“Few things in the world were as dispiriting as throwing out stale chocolate. Thou shalt not throw away chocolate was probably carved into a chocolate tablet somewhere, but without customers, we had no choice but to commit that sin. It felt like we were going to hell.”
“While we were well aware of the power of chocolate, it seemed like the rest of the world wasn’t.”
“We loved bittersweet chocolate, we loved chocolate infused with exotic things, but as equal opportunity chocolate eaters, we also loved quality milk and white chocolate with all the gooey works. Our philosophy: If it made you smile, it was good for you.”
“Books and chocolate—what a perfect fit.”
A perfect Valentine’s Day pairing!
“The ultimate cautionary confectionary tale, replete with all the romance, ups and downs of any great food drama. This is a book to curl up with, along with the delicious, toothsome comfort of all the Godiva, Lindt, Baci and Bouchons, and (mood-altering) Half-Moon Buttercream Dreams you could wish for.”
~ Marcy Goldman, A Passion for Baking, The Baker’s Four Seasons, founder of BetterBaking.com
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Posted in Books, Food, Valentine's Day
Tagged Baci Perugina, Cappuccino Cup, Chocolate Chocolate, Chocolate Chocolate: The True Story of Two Sisters Tons of Treats and the Little Shop That Could, Dobla Choco Straws, Dobla Dark Belgian Chocolate Cordial & Toasting Cups, food for thought edible review, Frances and Ginger Park, Ina Garten Chocolate Truffles, Kahlua Truffle, World Market