My top 10 chocolate covered recipes and a delicious giveaway

 

What is the word you associate with chocolate?

Pleasure?

Celebration?

Memory?

Guilt?

Me time?

Perfect gift?

In his book In Defence of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto, Michael Pollan writes:

“He showed the words “chocolate cake” to a group of Americans and recorded their word associations. “Guilt” was the top response. If that strikes you as unexceptional, consider the response of French eaters to the same prompt: “celebration.”

I often find the power of words mesmerizing. I am not talking about the power of the written word, though that to me is infinitely enchanting. I am talking about the words that we associate with things, sometimes at a subconscious level.

chef-in-disguise-chocolate-heart

What is the word you associate with work?

Is it money? achievement? labour? boring? challenge? exciting?

What is the word you associate with motherhood?

A gift? a burden? magic? blessing?

Digging deep and finding the word or words a person associates with something “or someone” can be a truly fascinating experience. It tells you so much about their mentality, values and beliefs. Oddly enough, some of those values or beliefs may have escaped your conscious mind yet they managed to take root in your subconscious and shape your actions and thoughts.

assorted-chocolate

If you associate chocolate with celebration, you get to enjoy it to the fullest when you decide to have it. You focus on the positives and probably recite information like the fact that dark chocolate is scientifically proven to reduce anxiety and improve serotonin secretion (serotonin is a neurotransmitter that elevates the mood and improves mental well-being). Also, eating dark chocolate helps in the prevention heart diseases and joint problems. It is also rich in antioxidants, omega 3 and other multivitamins.

Enjoying chocolate may not be something you do everyday if you associate it with celebration but when you, you do it with elegance and style and you enjoy every bite and savor every minute

If however you associate chocolate with guilt, you try to avoid it while yearning for it all the time. When you eventually do have it, you never get to enjoy it to the fullest because something in the back of your mind keeps telling you that you should not be doing this.You are robbing yourself of the joy of it because of the association you made at a conscious or a subconscious level!

In my book chocolate is associated with  me time (as I sometimes end a long and hectic day with a cup of tea, a piece of chocolate and a good book or an episode of one of my favorite animes from when I was a kid! -Yes I still watch cartoons and I am not the least bit embarrassed by that- 🙂 ). It is also associated with gift (as I love giving and receiving chocolate), and with healthy (as I often have dark chocolate,especially if combined with mint or orange). If you asked me the same question a few years ago, guilt would have probably made the list  but  I have learnt to change my association from I can’t have it  (but I want it all the time),  to I don’t want to have it all the time but when I do, I chose the best quality possible and enjoy it to the fullest.

Don’t you think that it is actually quite liberating to figure out the words you associate with the important things in your life (ofcourse I am not just referring to chocolate) then work on changing them to live your life to the fullest?

chef-in-disguise-vestri-chocolate

“I was like a chocolate in a box, looking well-behaved and perfect in place, all the while harboring a secret center.”
Deb Caletti, Honey, Baby, Sweetheart

A couple of weeks ago I was approached by Chocolak , an online store that sells premium chocolate in GCC and Levant countries from Dubai.

Chocolak carries brands like VESTRI chocolate that is made in Florence – Italy. If you know me, you would probably know that I am always fascinated by the back story behind a product or brand or personal project. Vestri chocolate is no exception.

chocolak-chocolate-collection-chef-in-disguise

The Vestri family ,went to great lengths to ensure the quality of their product. That quest lead them to take on an adventure, one that they describe as their most beautiful adventure yet. They decided to buy a cocoa plantation in Santo Domingo. The decision to buy the plantation was to control the species of cocoa pods and the growing conditions. I knew very little about the growing conditions for cocoa pods but it turns out that the  proximity to the sea, the mountain system, the microclimate and the relative humidity, are very important factors that need to be controlled in order to grow the best cocoa pods and then turn them into the best chocolate you can possibly make. The Vestri chose their plantation location and the species they grow in it very carefully to produce chocolate they were proud of.

The Vestri did not stop there, they also hold a chocolate covered  guinness world record for making a giant chocolate cremino , weighing 380 kg!

In all honesty going through their products on the chocolak website  was no easy task!They offer a wide range of bars, pralines, truffles and gift packs that are perfect for parties, weddings, and all sorts of celebrations. I really loved the names they use for their gift collections: teatime, couple, special treat, prestige, glamor, signature .. You can tell a lot of thought went into their products.

The prices range from 10.99$ to 94.94$

vestri-box-of-chocolate-chef-in-disguise

I eventually ordered their assorted praline love bites (cute name right? 🙂 ). It contains: Cremino, Puffed Rice Praline, Hot pepper praline, Pink pepper praline, Milk Gianduiotto, Dark Chocolate Gianduiotto, Dark Chocolate Heart, Candied Orange Rind Enrobed with dark chocolate, Candied Orange Slice with dark chocolate, 2 assorted pralines with almond strands, 2 assorted pralines with hazelnut nibs. Can you tell I am someone who loves trying a bit of everything before deciding what to love and what to hate?
The kids and I loved the variety of the bites and all the different options and flavors. There was something new to enjoy every time we decided to take a chocolate break

The second product I ordered was the Sottili Profumi, I chose that one because of the rose and jasmine pralines. If you  follow my recipes, you already know that I am  in love with rosewater and orange blossom water and delicate floral flavors! The stottili  did not disappoint, in fact it went above and beyond anything that I expected .

In addition to the great care that the Vestri put into every detail of producing their chocolate, Chocolak extends the same level of care into shipping their chocolate. My order arrived in a cooling container surrounded by packs of black ice, something my kids found fascinating. They wanted to open up the packs and examine the color and consistency of the ice pack!!

Giveaway details

Chocolak is an online premium chocolate store that sells Vestri Cioccolato, gourmet decadent Italian chocolate made using the finest ingredients by the Vestri family in Florence. I’m giving two lucky winners the chance to win a box of sfogliate assortite worth 59.99$ each. To enter the giveaway head over to my facebook page and instagram account.

Also, you get $20 off your order if you spend $80 and above using the code: SAWSAN. This is for the first 10 people only!

Delivery is available in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, and Lebanon

So if you live in these countries or know someone who does and you wish to send them a chocolate gift, join the giveaway, order some chocolate, enjoy it as is or use it to make one of these chocolate covered recipes 🙂


1.Chocolate mousse

Chocolate avocado mousse @chef in disguise

2.Chocolate brownies
Healthy chocolate brownies

3.Birthday chocolate cake

4.Chocolate granola
Chocolate granola from chef in disguise

5.Chocolate caramel crispy bites

Chocolate caramel crispy cakes

6.Chocolate coconut oatmeal cookies

Chocolate oat cookies

7.Chocolate swirl cheesecake

Cheesecake with berries

8.Chocolate donut muffins

Copycat Tim Horton double chocolate muffins

9.Chocolate waffles

Chocolate waffles

10.layered cake with spiced chocolate and caramel frosting (Schichttorte)

Layered cake with spiced chocolate and caramel frosting

Disclaimer

Please rest assured that even though the products were sponsored, that did not have any bearing on the content of this post. Opinions stated are entirely my own and genuine.

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