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Yes Virginia there is a Woodhouse Chocolate...

issue seven, volume seven  

Winter Basket

Here we go again! Crisp winter days are back, joyous music is back and of course the kids are soon to be back from school if they are not already. You know what this means of course (you should have changed the locks?), the holiday season is well Box of Caramelsupon us and it's time for gift giving and the perfect excuse for your favorite indoor sport; eating Woodhouse Chocolate. Remember charity begins at home, so you will want to be sure that you have some Woodhouse chocolate on hand as you plan your gifts! This year we have made gift choices easy by offering a bounty of beautiful confections in a wide variety of prices. A welcome but very reasonable gift is our 12 piece assortment of chocolates at only $22 (shown immediately below). As Chocolate Assortmentsyou need to give a few more chocolates our boxes increase to 24, 48 and finally 96 pieces at prices to fit any budget. All sizes of our chocolate assortments are available in blue or holiday red boxes. If you can't live without Caramels with Fleur de Sel, a good gift for yourself or others might be our assorted box (see above) of 20 for just $30 in our traditional blue box. In the $50 range, a great gift is our Winter Essential Gift BoxBasket (top of page) filled with an assortment of goodies ranging from chocolates to a Snowman to a TAB Bar to...well, all scrumptious things. Perhaps the most flexible way to give this holiday is our Essential Gift Box (shown immediately above), available in both red and blue, it is a sliding drawer into which we place your choice of any of our goodies to create a spectacular present. Retails usually run between $90 and $175. Just remember, whatever your needs personal or corporate, whatever your budget, we have you covered. We wish you and your family a warm and wonderful holiday season.

John and Tracy Wood Anderson

Topaz Logo

Topaz is a very interesting winery that Tracy and I have followed for a long time. They produce a Sauterne styled wine named after the winery that, for our money, is a wonderful equivalent of the French version and made right here in St. Helena. Jeff Sowells is the "winecrafter" as he calls himself and founded the winery in 1986 after knocking around the valley for a few years. For those who are uninitiated, Sauterne is a blend of Semillion and Sauvignon Blanc where the grapes have been allowed to "rot" (the noble rot Botrytis Cinerea) which concentrates the sugar and produces a superb dessert wine. Then again, Sauternes go beautifully with all sorts of food, Tracy and I lost a day after drinking an entire 750ml of Sauterne with lunch...but that's another story. We tasted a 375ml of 2003 Topaz Dessert Wine ($38) and found carmelized pear, honey and orange blossom on the nose and apricot and honeyed fig on the palate. A really beautiful wine, but then again you know what we're after: Does it go with chocolate? Yes, amazingly well! Try it with Brown Butter Ganache (buttery, fruity), Fiori de Sicilia (orangey creamsicle), Honey, Hazelnut Cream, Quatre Epices (like spiced pears), Gianduja and Champagne Truffle. If Sauternes are new to you this is a wonderful place to start and a great wine for the holidays.



16-20 Servings

If you are hosting the holiday party, or have been assigned to take something to another, here is a lovely finger food item to consider. I promise it will be a hit. How can you lose with bacon? (The one person I know who doesn't care for bacon likes this.) Even though you might not consider some of the ingredients light, (doesn't mayonnaise lighten a dish?) it really is refreshing and different from your usual heavy holiday fare. Glazed with cocoa powder and brown sugar, the bacon is pretty darn good all by itself. I hope you will give it a try.

For the Bacon:
1 1/2 lbs. thick sliced bacon - the best you can find

1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 Tablespoon cocoa powder

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet or two with foil. In a shallow dish (I use a pie plate), combine the brown sugar and cocoa powder, breaking up any lumps with a fork. Piece by piece, coat the bacon with this mixture, pressing it on so you have any even coating. Place the bacon slices on the baking sheet so that they are not touching. Bake for 45 minutes, turning every 15 minutes. The bacon will look a little black, but that's what happens when you cook with cocoa! The bacon will still be pliable, but it should have some body. Remove it to a platter and blot it lightly with a paper towel. It will be a little sticky, so don't blot too vigorously. Let cool.

Lettuce Wraps

For the Curried Chicken:
12 ozs. roasted chicken, shredded (I cheat and buy an already roasted chicken, but I won't tell you not to roast your own.)
1/2 cup mayonnaise (you had better use Best Foods or Hellmans!)
1/2 cup sour cream
1 clove garlic, finely minced
2 Tablespoons Madras curry powder
3-4 green onions. thinly sliced
2 ozs. raisins (about 1/3 cup)

For Garnish and Finishing:
1 or 2 heads Bibb (Butter) Lettuce- you will not use the biggest and smallest leaves, so salad for lunch!
1 apple, peeled cored and sliced thinly (you need about 40 slices)
1/2 cup chopped peanuts (optional for those with nut issues)

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the mayonnaise, sour cream, garlic and curry powder. Mix until thoroughly combined. Add the chicken, raisins and green onions. Mix to combine evenly.
Remove the core from the lettuce, separate the leaves and clean them. If you have a salad spinner, that will get them dry enough, otherwise put them on paper towels and get them as dry as you can. Glean out the 16-20 leaves you will want to use- they will be the medium sized ones as close to uniform in size as possible. To assemble, place a forkful of curried chicken on one half of the lettuce leaf (about 1/4 cup). Spread it evenly lengthwise (you are creating a taco-like thing) then place two slices of apple side by side over the filling. Cut the bacon to fit the lettuce leaf (usually cutting the bacon in half does the trick) and place over the apple. Fold the other half of the lettuce leaf over that, sprinkle with some peanuts and Ta Da! You have a deliciously light and full of flavor pocket of goodness. Happy Holidays!

Christmas Trees

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1367 Main Street
St. Helena, CA 94574
telephone 800-966-3468