Artisanal Hand-Crafted Fine Chocolate

Showing Our Love For Our Community This Valentine’s Day

One of the best things about being a local business owner is that it strengthens your ties to the community. It’s been wonderful to receive support and enthusiasm from fellow citizens and businesses in Woodbury who are excited that our town now has one more good thing to offer. We love our community, and are excited about a special event this Valentine’s Day weekend that will bring all of Woodbury together. Thanks to the efforts of Charles Bartlett and the Woodbury Mini-Golf Committee, helping your neighbors has never been more fun! The annual Indoor Miniature Golf Open is taking place at the Woodbury Senior Center from Feb. 14-17, and one round costs just $2 to $4. The proceeds benefit Woodbury Community Services, which helps those in town who are in need.

A bake sale will be held during the open on Saturday. When asked to donate something, I thought: what better way to wrap up Plum Brook’s Valentine season than with a few plates of chocolaty confections to support those who need our love and generosity the most? So, I whipped up a batch of shortbread cookies (adapted from this recipe) and melted the week’s last few ounces of chocolate.

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Mmm… They taste like little heart-shaped pieces of chocolate-drizzled pie crust. I hope these tempting treats will fetch Community Services some good donations!

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Please join me in supporting Woodbury Community Services and coming to the Indoor Miniature Golf Open. I hope to see you there!

Celebrate Valentine’s Day with Local Wine and Chocolate

Some of our friends in Connecticut don’t realize that in their own backyard, they can find gourmet food and drink that rivals what they are used to buying from other coasts and other countries. It isn’t uncommon to find maple syrup from Vermont in a Woodbury family’s pantry. Granted, it may be more convenient to get all your grocery shopping done in one stop, but there’s nothing like covering your pancakes with syrup fresh from your neighbor’s tree. As for chocolates — well, never mind chocolates. Take wine. Isn’t the art of winemaking better left to the easygoing residents of places like northern California, where the sun shines on the grapevines all year long?

Certainly not! Those who have followed the state’s Wine Trail can attest that these New England hills, soil, and seasons produce a manner of wine that is Connecticut’s own, and one that we can be proud of. If you’d like to try one of the best examples of Connecticut wine, we at Plum Brook Chocolate suggest that you take a drive through the rolling hills of southern Litchfield County — beautiful even in winter, when the bare trees and old stone walls are powdered with snow — to Hopkins Vineyard in New Preston, located on the north side of Lake Waramaug. Tastings take place in the vineyard’s antique barn, at a cozy bar overlooking a panoramic view of the surrounding highlands. For $7.50, you can try seven of the vineyard’s award-winning wines, including the delightfully crisp “Duet,” a blend of Chardonnay and Vidal Blanc, the smooth, semi-sweet Peach Wine, and my favorite, the Cabernet Franc: rich, earthy, and deeply satisfying.

We have had the pleasure of working with winemaker Jim Baker and winery manager Rachel Greklek on creating a Cabernet truffle made with this sumptuous wine. Jim and Rachel could not be friendlier taste-testers. After working with them, I recognized that their perfectionist determination and keen attention to the details of flavor and texture help explain why Hopkins wines are so good. We have worked hard to perfect a truffle that will be worthy of their Cab Franc, using the best chocolate that we can find — a Valrhona Grand Cru — and are especially proud of the result!

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Our new Cabernet truffle is available in sampler boxes just in time for Valentine’s Day. Speaking of the holiday, our friends at Hopkins are hosting special wine tastings accompanied by an artisan food platter (featuring our chocolates) and live music next Friday, Saturday and Sunday evening, the 14th through 16th. If you’re looking for an extra special Valentine’s Day evening, check it out! For more information, visit the vineyard’s website.

Chocolate for a Cold Night

I often wonder if the winters have gotten colder since I was a child, or if children are simply more tolerant to the weather than adults. Probably the latter. As a child, I played outside with my friends well into many a bitter midwinter evening, and I don’t remember the chill ever bothering us much. What I do remember is racing inside as fast as we could the moment we heard that Mom was making hot chocolate. I must say that it never tasted better than it did under those circumstances. However, Plum Brook Chocolate’s “Velvet” Drinking Chocolate mix is rich, flavorful and satisfying enough to bring back those fond childhood memories of coming in from the cold, and to make many new ones.

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As adults, of course, we even have the chance to improve on the hot chocolate experience by adding our favorite liqueur. Our packaging suggests adding Kahlua to our drinking chocolate, but the possibilities are vast. Amaretto, peppermint schnapps, bourbon, or high-quality Jamaican rum like the Meyer’s we use in our ginger truffle all blend nicely into our cocoa.

In addition, our truffles can be combined with other warm drinks for a fulfilling winter lift. Because we endeavor to produce chocolates that leave a deep, enduring aftertaste, the taste of one small truffle from Plum Brook Chocolate can linger as you finish your whole cup of tea. Of course, you’re welcome to have more!

Here are some tea-and-chocolate pairings that we recommend:

  • Ginger Rum + Tazo “Zen” (a green tea infused with lemongrass)
  • Sugar Shed Maple + blueberry tea (available from Celestial Seasonings and others)
  • Winter Night + Earl Gray, or a stronger black tea

We hope that you can stay warm this January with Plum Brook Chocolate!