The artisanal chocolate company was founded by Dr. Gunars Valkirs, a Maui resident and retired biotech entrepreneur, who was the inventor of the first fast and sensitive pregnancy test.
Agriculture is in his heritage, as Valkirs’ father was a farmer in pre-World War II Europe before moving to San Diego, where he maintained a lush citrus orchard.
Inspired by his father, Valkirs started experimenting with planting cacao trees at his Kapalua home. Before long, he was leasing 50 acres of former sugarcane fields in Maui. Today, his farm, which marked its first harvest in spring 2018, encompasses about 7,000 cacao trees.
I doubt if anyone ever needs an excuse to indulge in Recchiuti chocolates. But with Valentine’s Day coming up, you indeed have the perfect reason to treat yourself or someone you love to some of the finest artisan chocolate confections around.
For more than two decades, Michael Recchiuti has been making exquisite chocolates by hand with flavoring ingredients sourced seasonally from Bay Area farmers markets.
You can find the confections at the Recchiuti storefront at the Ferry Building in San Francisco and the retail shop, Recchiuti at the Lab, in San Francisco’s Dogpatch neighborhood. Or you can shop on its own web store.
In anticipation of Valentine’s Day, I was lucky enough to receive samples to try of two holiday offerings.
The Love Birds Truffle Box ($48) is a collection of 16 pieces, an assortment of the most popular flavors, including Tarragon Grapefruit, Pearl Mint Tea, and Piedmont Hazelnut.
I admit this Food Gal is more of a B&B Gal or Resort Gal than a Camping Gal.
I’ve been camping once, and while it was a blast, I readily acknowledge I am not one for roughing it regularly. What can I say?
Thankfully, one of the best things about camping, well, doesn’t really require sleeping outdoors in a tiny tent. And that is S’Mores.
Theo Chocolate’s version may not be melty from a campfire, but it is every bit as blissful to eat.
The Seattle bean-to-bar chocolate company, the first organic and fair-trade chocolate factory in North America, has created the Big Daddy ($9.99), a three-piece collection of S’More confections that I recently had a chance to sample, along with some of its other new products.
When Thomas Keller of the French Laundry makes a chocolate bar, you just know it’s not going to be your run-of-the-mill candy.
Not by a long-shot.
What makes this chocolate bar so different and special is that it contains extra virgin olive oil. And naturally, it’s olive oil by one of Italy’s most exclusive producers, Armando Manni. The Tuscan producer makes some of the most cherished and expensive olive oils around, beloved by illustrious chefs such as Keller and New York’s Jean-Georges Vongerichten.
Their collaboration is K+M Extravirgin Chocolate. The premium cocoa beans are processed in a way that maintains their antioxidants that are normally destroyed in the chocolate-making process. A small amount of Manni extra-virgin olive oil is added to boost the level of antioxidants even more.