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There are nights when the wolves are silent and only the moon howls.

~George Carlin




Does anyone soap windows anymore?

Spacer issue five, volume seven  

Pumpkin Heads

I was a weird kid. When I was in fifth grade and all of my friends were dressing in traditional Halloween The Phantomcostumes; ghosts, superheros, etc. I wanted to be Lon Chaney as The Phantom of the Opera. Now, you have to remember this was in 1972, Chaney's Phantom was released in 1925, Chaney died in 1930 and Andrew Lloyd Webber's version wouldn't premiere for another fourteen years. So why would a 10 year old boy in Southern California want to be what was by then a silent screen footnote? Well, I spent a lot of time at the local library during the summer and they had a series of books on movie legends including villains and monsters. I loved looking at Eyeball in a Handthose books, and one look at Chaney and I knew who I had to be come October. In fact, those books became my secret source of ideas for all of my costumes for the next few years. My Mother loved the Phantom theme and helped with the cape, bow tie and especially the make-up: white face, black circles under the eyes and spirit gum used to create scars. WitchesMy crowning moment came when I went to trick-or-treat at my Grandparents house and my Grandfather didn't (pretended?) recognize me! As in the example of the Halloween costume, I don't think Tracy and I have ever quite followed the crowd but have instead tried to bring uniqueness to all we do. In other words, we are not your average chocolatier. So visit our store, tour Pumpkin Assortmentour website and you will find treats for Halloween both goulish and fun. On the goulish side, we have eyes a-plenty. Who doesn't need a white/dark chocolate hand or a milk chocolate spoon with a bloodshot eye looking at you in just that way. Or a set of eyeball truffles with every color a different flavor. Joining them are pumpkin truffles containing gooey caramel apple. You can Trick-or-treat for a myriad of pumpkins in various states and dress as well as a jolly Pumpkin-headed Man to raise your spirits. Witches are here of course, there are always witches and mummies, ghosts and gravestones to fill your happy haunts. You can also find and consume bats, spiders and mice: Take that creatures of the night! But maybe what it really comes down to, in the end, is the humble peanut butter cup. We have two different designs for Halloween and while we have all enjoyed them since childhood, we hope that we have brought you the best peanut butter cup you have ever tasted. Happy Halloween!

John (Mr. Chaney) and Tracy Anderson



If you have visited Napa Valley in the past 10 years and driven on the Silverado Trail, it's unlikely that you have missed what some in the valley call the Persian Palace. Darioush was founded in 1997 by Darioush Khaledi and is an Estate winery, meaning they grow all the grapes for their wines at their own vineyards. Khaledi is from a wine region in Iran but chose to flee the Islamic Revolution. His winery is a tribute to his ancient homeland, and quite a tribute. Begun in 1999, five full years of stone carving and casting were required to bring to life a building that references the Persian capital of millenia past while being fully functional for the modern age. But, the experience of the ages or not, do Mr. Khaledi's wines like chocolate? Tracy and I hoped so because we have always enjoyed Darioush wines and were looking forward to the tasting. Tracy suggested that this time we try something new, a white! And why not, so we tasted the 2009 Darioush Viognier, Napa Valley ($39). We found the nose of the Viognier to be filled with pear, tropical fruit (pineaple, passionfruit, etc.), jasmine and green tea with the paltate displaying the same notes along with a strong tangerine and even kuquat essence. Beautiful wine. Now for chocolate matches; both Sur del Lago and Milk del Lago were hits, as was the Thai Ginger (Viogner is usually a great match for Thai food), Fiori de Sicilia made the wine feminine and even more floral, the Honey seemed to enhance the complexity of both and finally the Praline Cream created a fruit and cream sensation! If Viognier is new to you this is a particularly good reason to get a bottle of Darioush, some of our chocolate and give it a try. I gurantee this will not be your last bottle!




Serves 4

It's Pumpkin time again! The only more fun than carving a pumpkin is eating one. Pumpkin soup has long been a favorite in my family and I plan on making a big pot for this All Hallows Eve. Or perhaps just a medium pot; this recipe is on the rich side, so a little goes a long way. The only problem you might have is stopping with one portion! I hope you give it a try.

For the Soup:

2 Tablespoons butter
1 cup chopped shallots
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup canned pureed pumpkin
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup cream

Heat a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the butter; if it browns, so much the better. Add the shallots and the salt, then saute, stirring occasionally until shallots are soft and starting to brown. Add the garlic, the pumpkin and the chicken broth. Whisk to combine. I use an immersion blender at this point so I don't have to dirty any more dishes, but you can blend this soup in a blender or a food processor, just get it smooth in whatever manner you choose. Make sure the soup is in the pot, then add the cream. Heat to a simmer and adjust the salt (if you have used commercial chicken broth, you probably will not need any more salt, if you have used your precious homemade broth, chances are you will need a little more). Keep hot.

Pumpkin Soup

Cocoa Croutons :
2 Tablespoons butter
1 cup fresh bread cubes
1 Tablespoon dark cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon truffle salt (I am partial to Casina Rossa Italian sea salt with summer truffle)

Heat a small skillet over medium high heat. Add the butter and when it is melted, throw in the bread cubes and toss them around until coated evenly in butter. Don't get too carried away with your throwing and tossing or your bread will be all over the stove and/or floor. Continue to move the bread around until evenly browned and crispy. Depending on your stove head and weight of your skillet, you may need to adjust your flame so as not to burn your bread.
Put the cocoa powder and truffle salt in a small mixing bowl. Toss the hot bread cubes in this mixture until evenly coated.

To serve, divide the soup among four soup bowls, Put some cocoa croutons on top and garnish with some toasted pumpkin seeds if you wish.


Fish Story

Last month we introduced you to Morimoto, well here comes another fabulous new restaurant in the same riverfront complex, Fish Story. Owned by the Lark Creek Restaurant Group, Fish Story is dedicated to serving sustainable seafood in accordance with the Monterey Bay Acquarium's Seafood watch program. One enters the restaurant through the bar (a tribute to the Beatle's Octopus' Garden), proceeds past their glass enclosed wine cellar and large, twin fish tanks and into a high style dining room with open kitchen, large lighting fixtures and strangely beautiful fishing lures hanging from the ceiling. As Fish Story is located on the Napa River there is also ample outside seating. We went for dinner on a cold evening so we dined inside and found the experience quite inviting and cozy. While we were tempted to order one of their raw bar towers, we stuck with ahi tartare, cod ceviche and arctic char crudo. Each was as fresh as can be and quite delicious with unusual ingredients such as fennel, apple and asian pear thrown in. These people are very much like us- they believe in butter. I enjoyed a chili roasted dungeness crab that was bathing in chili garlic butter, served with sticky rice. Yum. John went the surf and turf direction with a New York Steak and Maine Lobster Tail, which was equally delicious; the scalloped potatoes being the surprising highlight of that dish. The Butterscotch Pudding was really to die for. This is one fish story we will read over and over.

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