Hearts and Flowers – With Valentine’s Day a month out, we wanted to remind our readers that you don’t need to buy some mass-produced box of chocolates. There are plenty of hardworking chocolatiers in town, all ready to wrap up that big day with a bow, or just to work on your own sweet tooth.
Perhaps no local brand is known better than Sanders, founded in Detroit in 1875. You can find nine Sanders Candy & Dessert Shops in the metro Detroit area, including Clinton Township, Birmingham, Livonia, Eastpointe, Novi, Grosse Pointe, Rochester, Wyandotte and Auburn Hills. For an added experience, drop in at the retail outlet attached to the candy factory at 23770 Hall Rd., Clinton Township; 800-682-2760; sanderscandy.com.
Another local favorite is Gayle’s Chocolates (417 Washington Ave., Royal Oak; 248-398-0001; gayleschocolates.com), a longtime fixture of the local chocolate scene. Around Valentine’s Day, they’ll have chocolate covered Oreos with hearts on them, chocolate-covered strawberries and crunchy peanut butter chocolate hearts. But the biggest seller would be the store’s “pizazz” boxes, large black boxes adorned with shiny red hearts full of Gayle’s chocolate truffles. They run $26 for a medium (13 pieces) and $50 for a large (28 pieces).
Another local fixture would be Sydney Bogg’s Sweet Essentials (233 12 Mile Rd., Berkley; 248-398-7933; sydneyboggs.com). They’re known for their “turtles” — clusters of pecans, caramel and chocolate. This season, their heart-shaped turtles will come in three sizes, 2-1/2, 5 and 10-1/2 ounces, each poured into a heart-shaped box and decorated with appropriately romantic messages.
On the west side, there’s Truan’s Chocolates (22200 Ford Rd., Dearborn; 313-562-3880; 13716 Tireman St., Detroit; truanscandiesonline.com). Founded in 1929, and now in its second generation of family ownership, the soda fountain on Tireman closed in 1985 but the company still churns out the sweetness. Mark Truan tells us they still sell plenty of heart-shaped boxes and foil covered novelty chocolates around the big day, but that the most ordered item is chocolate-covered strawberries, which they make and sell Feb. 13-14, with fresh batches each day. They sell the treats at both locations, but you may want to call and secure your order.
Finally, let’s not forget the young upstarts. Pete’s Chocolate Co., the small gourmet chocolate company headed up by Pete Steffy, who says that good chocolate is all about using simple, quality ingredients — and that’s how he makes a dozen different kinds of ganache-filled truffles. The chocolate itself comes from Belgium, but the hormone-free cream he uses comes from Calder’s Dairy. Steffy also uses natural flavorings and such fresh fruit as Michigan cherries. Chocolates are $1.50 each, or $6 or more for a box. Although Steffy doesn’t have a store, he sells at local markets and by order for events. He can get jammed up around big, chocolate-themed holidays, so get those orders in soon at 313-288-9046 or peteschocolate.com.
Know of any upcoming food or drink events? Let us know! Call 313-202-8043 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Fifty Shades of Chicken: A Parody in a Cookbook
by FL Fowler
Clarkson Potter, $19.99
Fowl call — Read about food long enough and you’ll notice that food magazines are loaded with titter-inducing double entendres, and some of the gushier food blogs are practically food porn. Finally, an author has given the whole phenom an uptown treatment. From FL Fowler comes Fifty Shades of Chicken: A Parody in a Cookbook (Clarkson Potter $19.99), a story that moves the action of the recent bestseller into the kitchen. The recipes are, naturally, stuffed with double entendres, right down to the names of such dishes as “Dripping Thighs,” “Sticky Chicken Fingers,” “Learning to Truss You,” “Mustard-Spanked Chicken,” “Erect Chicken” and “Chicken with a Lardon.” Enter the world of pulchritudinous poultry, if you dare! See fiftyshadesofchicken.com for a juicy preview.
Can’t stand cooking? — Spend a few hours in the kitchen, standing on inflexible tile or hardwood, chopping, slicing, dicing, kneading and sautéing, and you can feel your lower back begin to ache, your legs get sore and a numbness attack your thighs. Most commercial kitchen floors are lined with mats that relieve fatigue while engendering better circulation and posture, alleviating some of the constant pressure found in every kitchen. Inexpensive, decorative mats can be found a cookware shops, but WellnessMats antifatigue kitchen mats, while more expensive, come highly recommended and rated. They have a nonslip surface, a nonskid bottom and no-trip beveled edges. The smooth antimicrobial surface is stain- and bacteria-resistant and puncture- and heat-resistant.