A few months ago, David and I went to a Ghirardelli party where we were introduced to a new line of Ghiradelli baking products which can be used to prepare Christmastime treats. We didn't write about it then because, hello, it was not Christmastime. But now it (almost) is!
Let me start by telling you something about my identity: I love Ghirardelli. I always have. I swear by their brownie recipe. The Ghirardelli Original Chocolate Cookbook was my first--and for many years my only--cookbook. I refuse to go on a trip without a bag of Ghirardelli semisweet chocolate chips in my carry-on luggage. So when they invited me to a party, I felt kind of like I was in high school and the girl I had always idolized had invited me to her kegger. Or something.
We showed up and there were savory passed appetizers. As you may recall from our chocolate seder, we have a particular interest in savory chocolate foods (though we always find that they are not chocolatey enough). At this party I ate turkey quesadillas with mole, and polenta with caponata and chocolate nibs. Tasty stuff, but I was mostly saving my appetite for the main attraction: desserts.
So Ghirardelli is launching a few new products, and they had baked for us to show us how these products could be used in the kitchen. Sissy Biggerton, a TV host and 'lifestyle expert,' was demonstrating. I don't exactly know what a lifetstyle host is, but it sounds like a great job, and I think I'd take it if somebody offered it to me. Apparently it involves hanging out with chocolate baked goods sometimes, so, I'm down.
One of the new Ghirardelli products is candy making and dipping wafers, in both white and dark chocolate. I am psyched about this because on occasion I have baked chocolate chip cookie dough truffles, but I can't do it very often because it's so hard to find chocolate candy making wafers. Now Ghirardelli is making these, which you can buy in a normal grocery store and melt in your microwave, so I have no excuse not to make cookie dough truffles all the time.
Also you can melt these wafers around a balloon and then remove the balloon and then you have an edible bowl, as per Sissy here:
One of the other new products is hot cocoa. Obviously Ghirardelli already made hot cocoa, which I know because I drink it just about every night before I go to bed. But now it is in a new package, and in addition to the Double Chocolate and Chocolate Mocha flavors, they have created a new Chocolate Caramel flavor.
Below you can see something else they fed us, a mandarin espresso hot cocoa sip. Maybe David should have drunk this, since now he likes coffee in his chocolate. Personally I liked the orange flavoring, but I still don't like espresso. I tried it, though. Bravely I tried it. For you, dear readers.
They also fed us--and gave us recipes for!--a dense, thick, delicious pumpkin spice chocolate cupcake; a lighter mint-chocolate cupcake; and a chocolate cookie with wonderful chocolate frosting. The idea behind this party was something about "small bites," like people will come to your holiday party and they will only want to eat bite-sized portions of your dessert dishes rather than sitting down with a huge hulking piece of cake and a fork. I like this in theory, though in practice it meant that I ate like five of those pumpkin spice cupcakes. Because they were small.
BOTTOM LINE: Ghirardelli is my favorite way to bring quality chocolate, hot cocoa, and baked goods into my home kitchen without going to a lot of trouble or expense. This party helped remind me of that. And I hope this post helps you with your upcoming Thanksgiving entertaining. Cheers!