If you love chocolate, you will enjoy a visit to
The Reluctant Gourmet is not a big candy fan except when it comes to chocolate. I love it and work very hard not to eat too much of the terrific truffles when they just happens to be around our house. But I am always thrilled to find a new source to fulfill my chocolate needs whether as a gift for a friend or family member or for my own chocolate cravings.
What's so special about Dan's Chocolates?
They start out by importing fine raw chocolate from Switzerland made from the highest quality ingredients. Roasted cocoa beans, fresh creams, fruit purees, pure cocoa butter and an assortment of quality nuts for the fillings.
Their Swiss trained chocolatier insists on making all their chocolates by hand in small batches to insure quality. Then in a traditional copper kettle they blend the soft centered fillings to be added to the delicate chocolate shells. Then the shells are covered with a cascade of either milk or dark chocolate in a process called "enrobing". And finally the chocolates are hand decorated so you can pick out your favorite flavor.
The chocolates are then cooled in a cooling chamber and then sent to a packing room where each piece is placed into a paper cup and boxed.
No Shelf Life for Dan's Chocolates
Because Dan's sells their products directly to you via the Internet, they don't have to add a bunch of additives to prolong the shelf life. This means you receive a fresher product that's soft and smooth but it also means you can't let them sit around for weeks getting stale. You'll just have to eat them up when they come to your door. How terrible!
How will you know if you are getting fresh chocolates? - Good Question
- The fillings should be soft and smooth not hard and dry. Have you ever opened a box of year old Valentine chocolate that was stuck in the back of a cupboard and tried chewing into one the nasty hard chocolates? That should give you a good idea of what you don't want.
- The fillings should not separate from the thin outer shell. If it does, it's a sign of age.
- Some manufacturers take the water out of the chocolate process to provide a longer shelf life. Instead they use fats and oils to imitate a fresh flavor. So if your chocolates taste oily, they are probably not as fresh as you would like them.
Dan's not only has the standard boxed chocolates and gift baskets, they have come up with a unique idea of creating your own personalized photo on the box to send to a friend. How cool is that? You can create a custom box to announce a new baby, birthdays, weddings, corporate gift or whatever occasion you happen to be looking for a gift.
They also have over 200 unique predesigned boxes for special occasions, holidays, professions, family and even foreign languages. You have to check out the cover for your favorite teacher. I can't wait to send one to my wife but wait....that means there will be more tempting chocolate around the house.