Despite being a Canadian, I loathe winter. Hate everything about it. The cold, the snow, the freezing rain, the nerve-wracking driving, the practical boots, the layers, the slush ... I could go on and on.
Not being a lover of winter sports or anything else about the season, I am hard pressed to get through the deep freeze with a smile.
But I will concede that there is one silver lining. A fabulous, chocolaty silver lining: Hot Chocolate.
It's pure chocolate shavings that you can whisk with warm milk into one of the most delicious hot chocolates you'll ever taste. But, then again, it should be because it comes with a price tag that is anything but modest. It's the old adage "you get what you pay for" and it's a fair indulgence because those powdery imitations don't begin to compare.
However, the hot chocolate I now drink 99.9% of the time is not one you can make on your stove top. I first discovered Starbucks Salted Caramel Signature Hot Chocolate while visiting a dear friend in the US this fall. I was hooked at the first sip. So hooked that I couldn't get it out of my head until we landed back in TO and I promptly went straight to a nearby Starbucks to see if was just an American phenomenon. I squealed, actually squealed, to learn that it was readily available here.
The salty name puts some folks off at first blush but once you try it, there is no turning back. I defy you to find a comparable, quality, savoury, hot chocolate anywhere. There just isn't one. And they haven't given me a single free cup encouraging me to say that to you. Although they really, really, really should since I've spent all my spare cash there weathering the winter storm.
So bottom's up my friends. Wrap both hands tightly around your mug and enjoy.
I am a chocolate Enthusiast (with a capital E) and I've been known to gush and rave unapologetically about the world's most perfect food.
But it is not often that you'll hear me use this collection of words: "These chocolates are one of the best chocolates I've ever seen or tasted."
Best. It's a pretty big word that shouldn't be thrown about lightly - and, believe me, I am not. Because Kohler Chocolates deserves to wear that crown.
I was recently sent a box of their Garden Ganache that is presently featured on Oprah's February 2009 O-List. Mrs. Winfrey absolutely knew what she was talking about this month ... they are nothing short of spectacular and now sit atop the "S-list" for sure.
To begin with, they are stunning to look at. Really, they are beautiful perfect round domes each artfully hand-painted with a burst of lovely colour like they were a canvas. I almost didn't want to bite into them because they were so pretty. Almost.
These original-recipe, hand-made chocolates were brilliant. Not too sweet, not too rich, and you could taste the artistry with each bite. The mouth feel was smooth and the flavours distinct, bold and elegant. I am beyond smitten with Kohler's delicious gems.
In the Garden Ganache box there were a host of lovely and creative flavours each with special hand-painted colours: Coconut, Pear, Asian Spice, Hazelnut Coffee, Macadamia, Chai Tea, Raspberry ... plus my favourites: Passion Fruit, Creme Fraiche and Earl Grey.
And in case you are wondering about the company behind these delectable creations, yes, it is that"KOHLER". The one that makes covetous sinks as well as a host of other seemingly unrelated international businesses. I was prepared not to like them just because of their strange brand heritage that didn't seem to fit.
But the truth is it fits perfectly with their reputation of bringing superior products to market. Kohler Original Recipe Handmade Chocolates were first developed at their five diamond resort in Wisconsin after their incredible chefs were charged by Mr. Kohler with trying to create the best chocolates in the world.
And as far as I can tell, they have succeeded.
Gorgeous to look at and with flavours that satisfy your palette and leave you craving more. I'm having daydreams of buying one of everything they create to savour ... especially the Terrapins (in a word: heavenly).
The only complaint I have (and it is a big one) ... they currently only retail and ship to the US. When they are available internationally I've asked that they let me know so I can share with my readers who live beyond the red, white and blue border.