Chocolate gift baskets have long been a favorite gift to give and receive,
whether truffles, nougats, or fudge with nuts. Chocolate shops sell
these gifts and various other chocolate items such as candy, flavored
beverages, and specialty desserts in their holiday gift baskets.
Chocolate is a food made from the beans of cocoa trees that are native
to Central America. The cocoa bean is intensely bitter on its own,
but through a series of processes it comes to be the chocolate we know
and love in the USA. The middle of the cocoa bean is ground up into
a non-alcoholic liquid known as chocolate liquor. Cocoa butter
is the fat extracted from the chocolate liquor. Cocoa powder is the
solid left after pressing the cocoa butter out of the liquor. This
powder may undergo a Dutch process, which reduces its acidity, making it
into the cocoa that is best for hot chocolate.
Before purchasing a chocolate gift basket, become familiar with the varied
types of chocolate that are used in chocolate foods and confections.
Gift baskets and boxes may include various types of chocolate, ranging from
unsweetened chocolate, bittersweet chocolate, and semi-sweet chocolate to
dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and white chocolate.
Unsweetened chocolate, the solid form of chocolate liquor, is often used
in baking. Bittersweet chocolate is also most often used in baking;
it has a minimum of 50% chocolate liquor, while semi-sweet chocolate
contains a minimum of 35% chocolate liquor. Dark chocolate contains
only 15% chocolate liquor, as well as sweeteners and cocoa butter.
By far the sweetest of the darker chocolates, milk chocolate has at least
10% chocolate liquor and 12% milk solids mixed with sugar, vanilla, and
cocoa butter. White chocolate is made from cocoa butter, sugar, and
milk solids; it lacks the brown color of other chocolates because it does
not contain any cocoa solids.
Everyone loves receiving gourmet chocolate gifts, but chocolate varies in
quality and taste because of recipe differences and the use of natural or
artificial flavors. The fine chocolatiers listed below offer a
selection of chocolate confections and gift baskets for every occasion.
Godiva Chocolatier offers
decadent gourmet chocolates. Setting it apart from other
chocolate brands, Godiva uses high quality ingredients to create the
rich, smooth flavors they have become famous for. From truffles,
caramels, ganaches and gift baskets, Godiva has something for every
taste. Godiva chocolate is a popular gift for holidays,
birthdays, and business occasions.
Lake Champlain Chocolates
are made in Vermont with all-natural ingredients. Unlike many
other chocolate brands, Lake Champlain chocolates are Kosher-certified
and contain no preservatives that would compromise their flavor.
redefine the truffle using fine ingredients and unique flavors such
as cinnamon, pear, and eggnog. Sugar-free varieties are also
available. Hauser Chocolates look as delicious as they taste, and
they make a great gift for any occasion.
infuses old family recipes with inspiration and fine ingredients.
Cranberry chocolates, whale-shaped truffles, and almonds, lightly
roasted with sea salt and covered with dark chocolate, are just a sample
of the unique confections offered by Nantucket Chocolatier.
Attractive gift packaging is available for chocolate gift orders.
Bissinger's of St. Louis
has been offering handcrafted chocolates made from original family
recipes since 1845. Bissinger's European-style specialty
chocolates contain all natural ingredients; they include truffles,
barks, and chocolate-dipped fruits. Customer favorites include
chocolate-covered blueberries and cashew toffee, but there are over 900
different confections to choose from!
Hershey's is a name that
has become synonymous with chocolate. From their chocolate kisses
and chocolate bars, to toys and collectibles, Hershey's has something
for everyone and every occasion. Many Hershey's products can also
be personalized for parties, weddings and showers.
Chocolate Shop explains
the basics of chocolate and is a handy guide for chocolate lovers.
The website also provides links to select gourmet chocolate shops and
makes it easy to find chocolate gifts for any occasion.
Gourmet Gifts is a
helpful guide to gourmet food gifts. The site suggests gifts
for various occasions and includes links to several online gourmet
food gift shops.