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Sunday, February 13, 2011

Foodie Sunday: A Lovely Feast of Chocolate, Champagne, Roses & a very romantic giveaway!

By Beth

I love Valentines Day, simply because I completely believe in that underneath all of the random silliness that the gift of one full day devoted to love with all of it’s grand gestures is a completely wonderful thing. When I was a young romantic girl I delighted in hand making the frilly cards and shoeboxes that I’d take to school, hoping to have it filled with a Valentine from that special secret crush and fistfuls of those adorable little candy hearts with cryptic love messages written on them. Those little bits of sugar, color and spice were like handwritten messages from cupid himself, because the ones that were tucked into the valentine were so very significant!

I’ve always believed in love at first sight which I experienced first hand 30 years ago the night that I met my husband. I was at an all day MS dance marathon at the fabulous Cleveland Agora with his roommate who was one of my best friends. Jim was one of the roadies for all of the bands coming on and off of the stage. Brian evidently pawned me off at about 10 minutes to midnight, begging Jim to take care of me for a bit so that he could woo some sweet young thing that he’d spied before it was too late. Standing to the side of the dance floor I noticed this totally adorable guy who at the time looked more than a little like Todd Rundgren. He was beguilingly shy to the core as he approached me and offered to buy me a beer. Not knowing what else to say he introduced himself and uttered the 4 words that made me fall in love with him…. “I play the piano” which he proved to me shortly after that he did with stunning ability. It was all over after that…..we married a year and a half later.

Jim’s a February baby and they say that those born in the month of February truly understand love, they seem to have a special gift for it. He’s been known to do the most romantic things knowing full well that I’m not immune to milk, rosewater and honey candlelight baths and gorgeous gifts of Chuao chocolate!

Thankfully this same incredible guy really understands my complete addiction to perfume! I remember one Valentines Day in particular when I walked in to find a bottle of my very favorite Diorissimo Parfum nestled playfully among our pillows. Then he walked in smiling shyly, holding 2 Baccarat flutes and a bottle of Veuve Cliquot. This year I’ll be wearing Laurie Sterns luscious new perfume “Bed of Roses” which is just an amazingly sensual potion of a perfume, created from 9 gorgeous rose varieties blended into one perfect accord and laying on sensual bed of cognac, tuberose, orange blossom and mandarin. Like all of the wonderful creations by the mistress of Velvet and Sweet Pea’s Purrfumery , this erotic new scent is practically edible and has more than a bit of my favorite energetic quality, something that I laughingly like to refer to as “ Heaving Cleavage”. You need to try it, because it’s gorgeous and way too provocative for its own good! I love to layer this with a bit bit of Roxana Villas solid chocolate perfumes ; especially the one that she created called Cerise, a gorgeous cherry truffle scent that smells like a perfectly addictive box of chocolate covered wine scented cherries. I know that Roxana is working on a chocolate body butter....I’ve had a sneak peak (or rather sniff) and I promise that it’s going to be fabulous. I can’t imagine anything lovelier than slathering on a sensual chocolate body butter after a nice warm bath. I can’t wait for this one!

Tomorrow why don’t you try something just a little bit different in your Valentines Day champagne? If you make a syrup of red wine and roses, it will lend the loveliest flavor and color to a glass of champagne. Making the syrup is simple. Just take a 2 cups of redwine , two thirds of a cup of sugar and put them into a pan to which you’ve added a big pinch of ground pink peppercorns, some fresh lemon zest, a cinnamon stick and a handful of unsprayed rosebuds. Boil it all down, decant the syrup and add a tablespoon or two into any glass of champagne or wine with a few raspberries for fun. It’s a lusty little love spell besides being so completely delicious and all of those ingredients have been known to create some very exotic sparks!

With all of that champagne you’ll need a bit of fruit, so how about some chocolate covered strawberries? Making them is easy, I’vedipped dozens of them with ease. Some of my best memories are of making these with my son and my nieces, this is a really fun thing to do with any of the wonderful children in your life. Just make sure that you don’t get even a smidge of water anywhere near the melted chocolate as it will turn the whole thing into a grainy mess and you’ll have to start all over. The recipe is so simple: You’ll need 6 ounces semisweet chocolate chopped- I find that Ghiradelli works the best for this recipe, 3 ounces white chocolate, chopped (More Ghirardelli!) 1 pound strawberries with long stems (about 20), washed and dried very well.
Put the semisweet and white chocolates into 2 separate heatproof medium bowls. Fill 2 medium saucepans with a couple inches of water and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Turn off the heat; set the bowls of chocolate over the water to melt and stir until smooth.

Once the chocolates are melted and smooth, remove from the heat. Line a sheet pan with parchment or waxed paper and holding the strawberry by the stem, dip the fruit into the dark chocolate, lift and twist slightly, letting any excess chocolate fall back into the bowl. Set strawberries on the parchment paper. Repeat with the rest of the strawberries. Dip a fork in the white chocolate and drizzle the white chocolate over the dipped strawberries. Set the strawberries aside until the chocolate sets, about 30 minutes. Be sure that you’ve made enough. They seem to vanish in my house as quickly as I can make them! If you’ve got little kids around be sure to double the recipe!

All of these sweets are wonderful, but to maintain a lusty bit of stamina you’ve got eat! If I could always have my favorite meal every year on Valentines Day, it would definitely be a meal of fondue. When I was a child prowling around New York in the 60’s, my favorite place to eat was a completely fabulous restaurant called La Fondue on 55th. I’d beg my parents to take me there. La Fondue was a wonderful old place, dark and cave like with wooden benches , candles in wine bottles and the best bread ever and fondue which was perfect in every respect.

I still think that a dinner of fondue is a very romantic way to spend some time with someone that you love or perhaps want to get to know much better. When I make it at home I begin with a sinfully smooth and garlicky gruyere fondue served with sliced apples and potato, then move to a platter of marinated filet and finish with a sinfully rich dark chocolate and fleur de sel fondue. I’d have a curry sauce and definitely horseradish for the meat and probably a lyonnaise potato or two for my husband and some freshly steamed asparagus with a bit of béarnaise for dipping .

Because it’s Valentines Day a decadent dessert is definitely in order and my Fleur de Sel Chocolate Fondue is so easy to make!

Just take 12 ounces of chopped semi sweet chocolate (Use the good stuff!) and slowly whisk it until melted into about 8 ounces of heavy cream which you’ve had heating to a very gentle bubble on the stove. Add a pinch of salt and stir once more and pour the whole thing into a heated fondue pot. Then take a tablespoon or two of organic caramel sauce that you’ve already warmed up and swirl it into the fondue.
I’d assemble a pretty platter of delicious things to dip into it; organic marshmallows, bananas, strawberries, some very juicy fresh mango, candied ginger (to heat things up a bit!) and peeled fresh orange slices!

After dinner it’s time for a bath for two, more champagne and because every Valentines Day needs to finish with some simple lusty fun, here is my very own recipe for chocolate body paint ! This is sinful, delicious and has the benefit of being wonderful for your skin because of the heavy concentration of coconut oil . I created this one night in California when I was cooking dinner for several friends and my sons vegan girlfriend. I need a dessert that she could eat so this recipe was born. We ate it that night drizzled over fruit rolls in rice paper that Cassie had made that were amazingly delectable morsels of thai basil, plum, almond butter and mango and also some that were fresh peach, more basil, almond butter and raspberry.

Aside from being absolutely delicious, they were jewels…simply gorgeous!
By the next morning the chocolate ganache had solidified but not to the point that it was hard. Because I believe that anytime is the right time to eat chocolate I dipped my finger into the bowl and discovered that it was the perfect consistency for fingerpainting.

To make about 2 cups of delectable "Body Paint" you will need:

I bag of sweetened organic carob chips
3 tablespoons of good cocoa powder- I love the Green and Black brand
A liberal dash of cinnamon
1 cup of coconut oil - The Whole Foods 365 brand is very good
Agave nectar to taste
Sweetened Coconut milk to thin as needed -about 1/2 cup

This is so simple! Just put all of the ingredients into your blender or VitaMix and move it through the settings until you are rewarded with a melting and creamy sauce! If I were doing this in the blender I would probably warm the ingredients first over a double boiler and then put them into the pitcher. You really do need the emulsifying effect of the blender though because as the mixture whips it will thicken a bit like mayonnaise. Add the agave to taste and coconut milk to create a smoother consistency and then pour into a sauce boat to serve! Because of the coconut oil and carob chips the sauce with begin to solidify but it will still be silky and wonderful. At room temperature it's definitely a sauce but once you put it into the refrigerator it will solidify a bit and turn into a creamy ganache. When you’re ready , take it out of the refrigerator, let it warm up a bit and have fun!
On that note......

Happy Valentines Day to all of you! May all of your lovers be wonderful, your chocolates delicious and your perfumes exquisite!

Now for any of you who’d love to spend some time in nestled with your sweetie wrapped completely in Laurie Sterns delightful Bed of Roses and some delectable chocolate from Roxana Villa I have one wonderful gift to give way! Just let me know in your comments and I’ll put you into the drawing!

You can enjoy Laurie Sterns “Bed of Roses” for yourself at
Roxana Villa’s yummy chocolate BonBons can be found at

Picture of rose chocolate frosting courtesy of Beth Schreibman Gehring
Picture of Fondue from an unknown source.

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Blogger taffynfontana said...

Beth that is indeed a sumptuous feast Chocolate dipped strawberries are so yummy. I love the description of Bed of Roses very sultry and perfect to share with the one you love. Please enter me in the draw

12:26 AM EST  
Blogger Tammy said...

Beth, I'd love to be entered in the draw (thank you!) almost as much as I'd love to hear more about garlicky Gruyere fondue!!

And the rose syrup sounds intriguing!!!

12:47 AM EST  
Anonymous L said...

Sounds wonderful! Sign me up!

1:34 AM EST  
Blogger Heather said...

Delicious! Sign me up for the drawing, please!

1:41 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, that is a thorough recipe for Valentine's Day, every aspect is covered (in chocolate ;)).
Thank you, Beth for all your suggestions. I was very moved by your love story with your husband of thirty years, to read that gives me hope that such great loves stand the test of time. :)

3:02 AM EST  
Anonymous Lavanya said...

ooh- I love fondue!! I want your gruyere fondue- yum!

I have been dying to sample 'Bed of Roses'. Please enter me in the draw..Thanks!

3:16 AM EST  
Blogger Irina said...

sounds great enter me the draw, please

5:06 AM EST  
Blogger rosarita said...

Please enter me in the draw, and thanks for sharing your *love at first sight* story. :)

5:41 AM EST  
Anonymous helenvanpattersonpatton said...

Oh my...what a fantastic take on the classics! Your writing makes it all sound beyond delectable. Oh, and sign me up! :-)

6:42 AM EST  
Anonymous maitreyi1978 said...

Sounds lovely! Please include me in the drawing.

6:55 AM EST  
Blogger Isa said...

Your love story is beautiful. Thanks for sharing it with us :)
As my boyfriend is not going to be with me tomorrow, we have already exchanged our gifts. He has given me Un Jardin Sur le Nil :)

I would love to be entered in the draw. Thank you!

7:14 AM EST  
Blogger queen_cupcake said...

What a nice tribute to your husband. Someone at work asked me "When is Valentine's Day?" My answer: every day! Please enter me in the draw and thank you!

7:25 AM EST  
Anonymous sybil said...

I absolutely want in on this drawing! And the Fleur de sel fondue sounds soooo good!

7:39 AM EST  
Blogger Ines said...

This is a wonderful giveaway! :) So perfect for Valentine's Day and I would definitely like to be included.

8:16 AM EST  
Blogger CC ... said...

Beth, you had me at Todd Rundgren. What a beautiful story. These recipes sound absolutely delicious. Please enter me in the drawing. Thank you!

10:00 AM EST  
Blogger Prettywitty504 said...

The rose syrup sounds devilishly intriguing, and I bet it would be a great substitute for bitters in an Old-fashioned or a Manhattan cocktail. Please enter me in the drawing. I'm a fiend for chocolate! Thank you.

10:20 AM EST  
Blogger Janet said...

What a wonderful post! Have a wonderful Valentine's day!

Please enter me in the draw.

11:05 AM EST  
Blogger JoAnne Bassett said...

Thank you for a tantalizing post...please enter me in the draw. Love the romance in your words!

11:09 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! I'd have been thrilled enough with a bottle of Diorissimo parfum, let alone Baccarat flutes, Veuve Cliquot AND a shy smile!

Thanks for sharing the recipes as well as the story of your love at first sight. Will definitely have to try the red wine and roses syrup. And who could say no to all the ways to use chocolate?

Do please enter me into the draw.
- from Lindaloo

12:16 PM EST  
Blogger Stacey said...

I'd love to be in this draw and try these out!

1:06 PM EST  
Anonymous Denise Miller said...

Thanks for the wonderful ideas for Valentine's Day and sweet video! Please enter me in the draw. ♥♥♥

3:31 PM EST  
Blogger Katherine said...

I'd love to be in the draw - and thanks for the idea for chocolate fondue, that'll work out splendidly.

3:32 PM EST  
Blogger Beth Gehring said...

I'm so very glad that you guys really enjoyed the review. I had so much fun with it. If any of you want the Gruyere Fondue recipe just friend me on facebook and I'll be happy to share it with you through the message board!

3:44 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beth, I would love to be entered in the draw. I have visited Laurie's site several times since I first read about her through another of your lovely reviews, but have not as yet been able to sample any of her scents. Your food essays are always so delightful. Thank you for the inspiration.

3:53 PM EST  
Anonymous sharyl said...

Hi Beth, I do not know why my comment showed up as anonymous. I chose name/url. Anyway, the above anonymous comment about visiting Laurie's site, is mine, and I am Sharyl.

3:57 PM EST  
Anonymous Singlemalt said...

Sign me up also. I love making my desserts for Valentines. Chocolate of course. This year it's a dark chocolate cake with caramel buttercream frosting.

4:44 PM EST  
Anonymous Laurie said...

Hi Beth and all!

What can I say? YUM! Purr! Can you be president? Ambassador of LOVE, reminding us to smell the (Bed of) Roses and enjoy this delicious life! This is my fav holiday, since when I was little and my dad would bring us little heart shaped cakes home with our names on them. Thank you and Happy Valentine's Day everyone! And that chocolate coconut thing...


5:28 PM EST  
Anonymous Jiyin said...

I would love to be entered in the draw, thank you!

5:42 PM EST  
Anonymous Claudia0219 said...

Absolutely delicious. Would love to be entered in the draw please :)

7:57 PM EST  
Blogger Nina Z said...

My husband may not play the piano, but he is making me homemade chocolates right now (crushed caramelized almonds are mixed with dark chocolate for the filling, then cut in squares, then dipped in chocolate)! I'd like some perfume, too, though, especially a bed of roses, so please sign me up for the draw.

9:18 PM EST  
Anonymous Lavanya said...

Just friended you!

10:27 PM EST  
Blogger desyl said...

Oh, please include me in the draw. Bed of roses sounds lovely.

10:39 PM EST  
Blogger Cheryl G. said...

Wow Beth, I need to take a shower now. Whooow!
Thanks too for turning me on (all pun intended) to Velvet & Sweet Pea’s. The site is very enticing and I would love to sniff several of the scents.

11:47 PM EST  
Blogger a.k.a. Warum said...

Wow, thanks! What great ideas! I am leaving this window open so I can look at some recipes for tomorrow. Thanks for sharing them!

Excited to be entered in the draw.

3:14 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Enter me in the draw s'il vous plais....and rose syrup and champagne? Brilliant.

9:59 AM EST  
Anonymous Cynthia said...

Beth, I love to read your entries. You embrace life head on. I'd love to be entered in the draw, as I love the work of both these ladies. thanks!

10:43 AM EST  
Anonymous hotlanta linda said...

Any rose lover worth their salt must enter this contest - thank you for sponsering! Agree hands down w/ queen-cupecake!! :-)

12:59 PM EST  
Blogger Tasha said...

Beth, I'd love to be entered in the draw. Love fondues and champagne! Thank you :)

2:47 PM EST  
Blogger Katherine said...

mmmm chocolate... please enter me in the draw, thanks!

4:10 PM EST  
Blogger Amy K said...

Happy Valentine's Day! Please sign me up.

7:36 PM EST  
Blogger Alice said...

I'm such a chocoholic! If I'm not too late, please enter me in the draw! Chocolate and roses; mmmmmmm...

6:06 PM EST  
Blogger Ľubaša said...

Please enter me- All sweet and gourmand sounds interesting and I would like to try it.:-)

6:48 AM EST  

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