What makes a better gift than DIY cocktail supplies? This kind of gift is cute, unique, and way more useful than another pair of hand-knit socks. Best of all, it’s surprisingly easy to make the components of one of my favorite cocktails, the Manhattan. Well, all of the components except for the rye whiskey. That one, I’ll leave to the experts.
But as long as we’re indulging, why not throw in some adult libations as well? Of course there is the standard Peppermint Schnapps for a tried and true candy-cane flavored holiday aperitif, but what about some amaretto, Frangelico or whiskey to liven things up? Or, as Fred McMurray says in the classic Double Indemnity, “I wonder if a little rum would get this back on its feet?”
Los Angeles-based SusieCakes has been open about a month in the Bon Air Shopping Center in Marin, and I’ve been meaning to visit with each passing day. I was doing errands in the area the other day and decided to stop in and see what all the fuss was about. I’d heard about their “frosting-filled cupcakes” and I thought it was a genius idea for all of us who use the cupcake as a socially acceptable excuse to eat frosting. And lots of it. What I didn’t expect to find was the huge celebration of Valentine’s Day in full effect–from sweet little cookies to festive whoopie pies.
I’ve been spending entirely too much time watching episodes of The French Chef with Julia Child that my friend Craig gave me.
I find Mrs. Child oddly hypnotic. There is something about her uniquely-accented voice and the not-entirely graceful movement of her formerly 6′ 2″ body that compels me to watch her.
And watch her I do. Over and over again.
This week, I’ve been enjoying an early, black and white episode wherein she gives a champagne and coffee party in honor of:
“…the Queen of Sheba, which turns out to be this dark beauty, made of chocolate, and almonds, and rum, and butter!”
She then invites us into her kitchen where she promises we’ll make:
“the best chocolate cake you ever put in your mouth.”
That’s one heavy promise, but I love her enthusiasm.
I decided to put my money where Mrs. Child’s mouth is and examine this cake and the woman behind it, however superficially.
All Summer long chocolatiers suffer as warm weather makes working, not to mention shipping their delicate product a challenge. But Winter comes along and everyone I know craves chocolate. Hot chocolate, chocolate confections, chocolate cake, it’s all good.
This coming Saturday you can indulge your desire for chocolate and find out what to drink with your favorite bon bon. CocoaBella Chocolates will be hosting a Top Chocolatier Pairing Event, featuring Christopher Elbow of Christopher Elbow Artisanal Chocolates, Fritz Knipschildt of Knipschildt Chocolatier, and Jeff Shepherd of Lillie Belle Farms.