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It's time for Miss Potter and the boys...

Spacer issue three, volume six  

Laughing Rabbits

Easter, that greatest of chocolate holidays is on its way, hopping down the bunny trail so to speak. Of course you know what they say about rabbits and multiplication, well the Baby Bunniesrabbits at Woodhouse must have been working extra hard because we sure have a lot of them and so many different kinds! We have bunnies that do nothing but laugh (perhaps they understand the world more fully than we do), at the opposite end of the spectrum we have little rabbits that take things rather more seriously in their trousers, button down shirts and ties. In between are Victorian styled rabbits seated oh so properly and equally proper rabbits Chicksstanding with baskets on their backs. Also in the middle are more modern designs of baby bunnies with pink noses and whisker spots, adorable little bunny FooFoos and tiny solid bunnies that come 8 to the box. Of course we have yet to mention our Bunny Bars, beautifully hand-decorated rabbits sitting on a rocker of solid chocolate. These, like almost all of our rabbits, are available in dark chocolate, milk and white. Don't forget about Woodhouse Truffle Bunnies; cute little decorated rabbits Filled Eggsthat have been filled with ganache in three different flavors. But of course Easter doesn't stop with rabbits, what about chicks and ducks (and geese and Gordon McCrae for that matter)? Of course we have those things (llright you caught me, no Gordon) and many more awaiting your interest. Three different ducks grace our shelves, the first looks like it came straight from the barnyard, the second is the cutest baby duck you have ever seen and the thirdAsparagus looks like its ready to join you in the bath. It wouldn't be Easter without chocolate eggs, filled eggs and chocolate nests. Well don't worry it is Easter and we have a nice selection of solid chocolate eggs, Robin's Eggs filled with brown butter ganache and nests filled with Robin's Eggs. Finally don't forget some of Tracy's famous asparagus in milk or dark chocolate. People will think you are eating your vegetables, and after all you are eating your beans. Happy Easter!

John and Tracy Wood Anderson

Duckhorn Logo

I hope you enjoyed the Rober Sinskey Pinot Noir, I know we did, so on to something new. This month we bring you another tried and true Napa stalwart, Duckhorn. Founded in 1976 by Dan and Margaret Duckhorn with a strict focus on Merlot, Cabernet and later Sauvignon Blanc, Duckhorn Winery has become one of the most respected in the Napa Valley. Their early commitment to Merlot was unusual and came at a time when most wineries were focused on Cabernet and if they used Merlot at all, it was strictly for blending. We tasted the 2006 Napa Valley Merlot ($52) which opened with a bright bouquet of blackberry, raspberry, black cherry and spice. The palate is similar and adds noted of black pepper, tobbaco, anise and a pleasing earthiness. Really a beautiful wine that one is tempted to linger over throughout the evening. No question a wine that will go beautifully with food, but does it pair with that ultimate of food, chocolate? Yes, and while it had its standouts that I will discuss, it was at least ok with a wider range of chocolates than most wines. Now for the great pairings! Try the Duckhorn with the Thai Ginger (brings out the wine's compexities), the Toasted Coconut, the Heatt of Darkness (brings out the tobacco and black pepper), the Caramel Mousse, the Champagne Truffle and the Milk del Lago. Honorable mentions were the Gianduja and the Honey. Remember this Duckhorn Merlot is a great food wine and Tracy has a great lamb recipe in the next column. Merlot, lamb and chocolcates: looks like the makings of a great evening!




Serves 4

. It's Spring again, and since my mind is always on food, that makes me think of mint and lamb. I have one favorite presentation that includes both. This one is based on the Argentinian sauce that every household has on hand; chimichurri. There are as many versions as there are people making it, but it is basically a vinaigrette with a ton of herbs and garlic. Of course, me being me, I add chocolate. This combination may sound a little unlikely, but beleive me, it's yummy. Try it, you'll like it!


Chimichurri :

12 large sprigs of mint, leaves only
12 sprigs cilantro, leaves only

6 sprigs parsley, you guessed it, leaves only
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1/3 cup sherry vinegar

1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
3/4 cup olive oil
2 ozs. dark chocolate, finely chopped (I used 64%, but just about any good quality dark chocolate will do)

Lamb chops for 4 people
2 cups peas, blanched
2-4 ozs. fresh goat cheese
extra mint and parsley leaves
grey salt, or fleur de sel

Place the mint, cilantro, parsley, garlic, sherry vinegar and fine sea salt in a small food processor or blender. Process until smooth. Add the olive oil in about 4 batches, processing in between additions. Add the chocolate and pulse a few times to combine (you don't want to puree the chocolate, you still want little bits). Adjust the salt if necessary. This will taste a little sharp on its own, but once you apply it to food, it mellows out.

Here my recipe gets a little loosey-goosey because I am going to assume that you know how to grill lamb chops, and you know how many you want. So, grill your desired number of lamb chops to your desired doneness. Good. Now, put your beatifully blanched peas in a mixing bowl and add some fresh mint and parsley leaves. Go ahead and get carried away with the herbs, this is a salad. Add some of the chimichurri sauce to the peas (about 1/4 cup or more depending upon your school of thought - salad as a vehicle for dressing or dressing as a small bit of moisture. You know who you are). Toss the peas in the chimichurri to drench or moisten evenly. Divide the pea salad amongst four plates, crumble some fresh goat cheese over each, place lamb chops on top, spriinkle with grey salt (lamb always needs more salt), then drizzle with more chimichurri sauce. Serve extra sauce on the side, you'll want it! Yum.


Michael Chiarello of Food Network fame has expanded his empire and returned to the kitchen in a beautiful new restaurant named Bottega. It's located in the Vintage Estates in Yountville; 6525 Washington St. The original chef of another Valley favorite, Tra Vigne, Michael took many years off between restaurants, but kept himself busy with the establishment of the Napa Style catalog as well as his family's winery, Chiarello Family Vineyards. Tracy and I have eaten at Bottega twice and each time were taken with inviting and relaxing atmosphere. The interior is sophisticated without being at all stuffy while the outside has multiple fireplaces and is cozy and open overlooking a nice garden area. It makes you feel as if you are visiting someone's home (someone's really nice home). The food is also warm and inviting. Italian, of course, with a good mix of tradition and innovation. Some of our favorites include the Warm Pecorino Pudding with Oven Roasted Rapini - a smooth creamy cheese custard with crispy bread and pleasantly bitter greens, the tender Braised Short ribs and whatever you do, try the Cornish Chicken. Chicken has never tasted so good. Ironically, we haven't tried any of the desserts yet, but we look forward to that next time and there will definately be a next time. (707)945-1050.

© 2009 Woodhouse Chocolate LOCATION
1367 Main Street
St. Helena, Ca 94574
telephone 800-966-3468
email info@woodhousechocolate.com