Wednesday, August 23, 2006

SHF#22: Faking Cloudberries or How To Make Cloudberry Jam with Gooseberries & Carrots

This is my entry to the latest edition of Sugar High Friday. SHF No# 22: Can You Can? is hosted by Nicky & Oliver of the beautiful Delicious Days blog. Although jam-making, salting cucumbers and preserving in general was an essential part of my childhood late summers and early autumns, my jam-making days have been scant in Edinburgh. I did make some jam last year, including some fabulously tart redcurrant jelly and cinnamon-scented cherry tomato jam evocative of Christmas. I hadn't planned any such kitchen tasks for this year, due to my soon-to-happen return to my homeland. But then I changed my mind..

My recent post about picking cloudberries in Estonia was quite popular, giving me a cheeky idea for this SHF edition. I am aware that sadly these exquisite berries (click on the photo on the right to see them in their full glory) are rather difficult to get hold of in most countries in their fresh form, though IKEA helps to satisfy cloudberry cravings with their cloudberry jam (hjortronsylt) and Lapponia produces a beautiful cloudberry liqueur that really tastes and smells of the real thing. But if none of these are available, then try this jam.

The idea comes from Finland, where this type of jam is known as 'lakattoman lakkahillo' or 'köyhän miehen lakkahillo', the former meaning 'cloudberryless cloudberry jam' and the latter 'poor man’s cloudberry jam'. Although it doesn’t taste like cloudberry jam, it’s a delicious and not overly sweet jam with the honey-orange hue of carrots and seeds from the gooseberries reminding us of the real thing. I've increased the ratio of gooseberries to carrots, and have considerably reduced the amount of sugar in the recipe. If you’re feeling slightly naughty, you may add a dash of Lapponia lakkalikööri to the cool jam.

Fake Cloudberry Jam
(Vaese mehe murakamoos)

500 grams of nice & crisp organic carrots, peeled & coarsely grated
500 grams of red gooseberries, topped & tailed
300 grams of sugar

Put grated carrots and cleaned gooseberries in a large saucepan and add a tiny drop of water (couple of spoonfuls will do). Bring slowly to the boil, releasing juices from carrots and gooseberries, and simmer on a low heat for 30 minutes. Stir regularly to avoid sticking.
Add sugar, simmer for another 15 minutes.
Let stand, covered, for 24 hours.* Bring to the boil again, simmer for 5-10 minutes and then pour into hot sterilised jars.
Keep in a cool place.

Yields 2-3 small jars.

* You can also pour the jam into jars straight away. I find the jam sets slightly better (thicker) when you let it stand and then reheat.

Friday, August 18, 2006

A lovely peach cobbler

Apple Crisp? Rhubarb Crumble? Peach Cobbler? These type of puddings were all unknown to me until I moved to Edinburgh and shared my kitchen with postgrads from all over the world, including lots of Canadian girls doing diplomas in education. Whereas I was baking Canadian apple cakes, they were throwing together apple crumbles and crisps in no time whatsoever. I was hooked. I mean, I still make MY CAKE regularly, but sometimes you just want something even easier. There are differences between all those puddings (if you cannot tell your crisp, betty, cobbler, crumble, buckle, pandowdy and grunt apart, then read this definitive guide by Martha Stewart); this particular cobbler was inspired by a recipe and picture seen over at eGullet.

I've reduced the quantities a little, as well as replaced the self-rising flour with plain flour. Using demerara sugar gave a delicious hint of caramel to the finished dish, and we devoured it with some fresh vanilla custard.

Peach cobbler
(Virsikuvormi retsept)
Adapted from Food Network
Serves 4-6

Peach compote:
6 large peaches, stoned and sliced
150 ml demerara sugar
75 ml water

To the tin:
100 grams butter

300 ml plain flour
a pinch of salt
2 tsp baking powder
200 ml sugar
300 ml milk

Put sliced peaches, sugar and water into a saucepan, shake to combine, and bring to the boil. Simmer on a low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring gently every now and then. Remove from the heat.

Take a medium-sized oven dish, put the butter into the dish and place into a 200 C oven to melt.

For the batter, mix sugar, flour, baking powder and a pinch of salt. Mix in the milk, little by little. Pour the batter onto the melted butter - do not mix!

Spoon the peach compote onto the batter, drizzle the sweet liquid on top.
Bake at 180 C for 30-45 minutes, until the cobbler is golden brown.

Serve with whipped cream, vanilla custard or vanilla ice cream.

UPDATE 18.8.2006
Sam included this post in her BlogHer entry "Once More Unto The Peach" - thank you, Sam!

UPDATE 21.8.2006
I made this cobbler again last night. My friend George came over to cook his famous lemon chicken in my kitchen for a mixed bunch of friends (George - a Greek/South African currently residing in the US, our friend Paul and his girlfriend Anjie - both English and studying/working in Edinburgh, and my Romanian friend Ruxandra who was visiting from England). I replaced about a fifth of the flour with wholemeal flour (simply because I ran out of plain flour), and scattered few handfuls of blackcurrants on top of the cobbler. Again, very tasty, the wholemeal flour making it somewhat more earthy and, well, wholesome, in flavour.

Monday, August 14, 2006

My Paris: La Cave de l'Os à Moëlle

This post is way overdue - I went to Paris three months ago! However, better late than never, and as I've been praising this restaurant to many of my friends, I thought I should also post the write-up and a picture or two.

I've already told that I had wonderful time in Paris, and I was lucky enough to visit the town with someone who knew the city, spoke French and shared my interest in everything food-related. I, on the other hand, knew lots of insider tips as to what's the best place to enjoy a cup of tea, where to look for the best macarons, the foodie heaven for browsing the shelves, the treasure cellar of various kitchen equipment etc. And all this thanks to being part of this wonderful world of foodblogging, as without you, I would have probably only frequented the most touristy and least exciting eating establishments.

On our third night in Paris, K. and I decided to check out La Cave de l'Os à Moëlle - the place that had received praises from Clotilde, John Whiting, and Pim. It couldn't have been bad, could it? And it wasn't. We had an exceptional meal there, enjoying the rustic French fare. There is no menu as such - you just eat whatever is served, and the eating is communal. Some of the food is on your table, some food you have to get from the neighbouring tables, resulting in lots of friendly chit-chat and banter and passing of serving plates.

The meal costs 20 Euros per person, and you can eat as much as you want. This being a wine cellar/bar, there is obviously lots to choose from in that department. You pick your own wine from the shelves, prices range from under 10 Euros per bottle to, well, much higher. We opted for a 2001 Domaine Pavelot Pernand-Vergelesses 1er Cru Les Vergelesses, which turned out to be a very fine grand vin de Bourgogne indeed.

Below is a picture taken just before our meal began. There are two sittings each night, starting at 7.30 pm and 9.30 pm, respectively. We were there for the first sitting on a Saturday night, having not been able to secure a reservation for the night before (hence, booking is essential).

There were three large tables in the main dining area on the back, plus a smaller table in the front. K. and I sat in the round table in the middle, sharing it with a London-based Kiwi girl, who had come to Paris for the weekend together with her parents who were visiting from New Zealand. And then there were three Parisian guys, who eat out together on a weekly basis and had nothing but good things to say about the place, praising both the food and the exceptional value for money. The other two tables were full of joyous French diners.

Click on the photo to enlarge. Note the stove on the far back. The puddings/desserts were placed on top of the wine boxes on the left.

On the night we were there, we started with two different types of pate, one of which was pâté de canard; there was some gutsy celeriac salad, most probably seasoned with chopped lovage (at least that's the joint conclusion I reached with the woman from NZ), which was very tasty (above); beetroot salad (above); stewed leeks; marinated red & green bell peppers; red cabbage; marinated sardines; various crudités (cauliflower, radishes, carrots, courgettes); cornichons; bread.

Then a big pot of tomato-based fish soup was brought out, and everybody helped themselves (the pot was on top of the oven in the far back of the room).

The main course consisted of a very tender and simple boiled beef, served with hot red cabbage & haricots verts, and accompanied with boiled eggs in oil marinade with bay leaves and allspice. All very tasty - the big chunks of beef were especially tender and flavoursome.

The dessert table was also generous. You could choose between pots of crème caramel with lime; madeira cake with a hint of lemon; rice pudding; a simple flan; îles flottantes/floating islands; pots of chocolate. I was already extremely full, so I opted for the light rice pudding, whereas the men in the table tried several of the available puddings and approved all of them..

And if anyone had room for cheese, then there was a cheese cupboard on the wall containing several choices. I didn't, so cannot really comment on the cheese.

Overall, this was a most interesting - and delicious - dining experience. One that we definitely recommend to our friends and will repeat on our next visit to Paris.

La Cave de l'Os à Moëlle
181, Rue de Lourmel
75015 Paris
(15ème arrondissement)
Métro: Lourmel
Tel : 0826100601

Friday, August 11, 2006

Spot the difference: filo tartlets with beetroot and cheese(s)

A recipe for elegant and surprisingly uncomplicated filo tartlets with beetroot and three different types of cheese. I know there are some foodbloggers who have declared their dislike of beetroot, but I really think this vegetable deserves a place on our tables. It is low in calories, high in minerals (Ca, Mg, Ph, K) and vitamins, it helps digestion, has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties and is generally good for you. And it tastes lovely. I've had several recipes on this blog using this vegetable - beetroot & goat's cheese sandwiches, beetroot & garlic salad, beetroot & feta salad. Hey - I even managed to incorporate beetroot into my Paper Chef pudding entry! I'm already looking forward to eating lots and lots of bortsch during the coming winter back home in Estonia.

Back to the tartlets now. The filling of these beetroot tartlets are inspired by a recipe I spotted in the first book by a young Estonian model & food writer (there's a combo, eh:), Anni Arro, called Salatid, pirukad, suupisted (or 'Salads, pies and nibbles'). Since making beetroot & goat's cheese sandwiches in February, I had been thinking of using the same ingredients again. Anni provided a lovely recipe for a puff pastry tart with beetroot & feta, where the beetroot had been marinated in balsamic vinegar. I used this idea for the filling of these dainty filo tartlets. I made 36 tartlets using three types of cheese - feta (as in Anni's recipe), goat cheese (as in my sandwich) and blue cheese. I liked the strongly-flavoured blue cheese tartlets most. And for canape queens - these would also work well when made in mini muffin tins.

And yes, I'm no longer intimidated by filo dough. Thanks, K!

Filo tartlets with beetroot and cheese
Makes 36

(Click on the photo to enlarge. Starting from the left: tartlets with blue cheese, tartlets with feta, tartlets with soft goat cheese)

6 filo sheets
olive oil, for brushing

5-6 small to medium boiled beetroots, quartered and sliced
2 shallots, chopped finely
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
Maldon sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
fresh thyme leaves

Cheese of your choice:
blue cheese (I used Dolcelatte)
goat cheese
feta cheese

For the beetroot filling:
Mix beetroot and onion, season with salt and pepper. Add thyme, olive oil and balsamic vinegar, mix lightly and put aside.
Lightly oil a 12-hole muffin tray.
Work with one filo sheet at a time, keeping the rest covered to keep them from drying.
Working from the shorter end, brush 1/3 of the filo sheet with olive oil, then fold over, brush with olive oil again, and fold the last third over. You'll end up with three layers.
Cut into 6 squares, press each three-layered square into a muffin pan hole.
Do the same with the next filo sheet to fill the other six muffin holes.
Now spoon a scant Tbsp or less of beetroot filling into each filo basket. Don't overfill them, as filo baskets are quite fragile!
Dot a piece or two of cheese of your choice on top. (I sprinkled some dried oregano on the feta-filled tartlets).
Bake at 200 C for 10-15 minutes, until the cheese has melted and filo is golden brown.
Gently remove the tartlets from muffin tray and leave to cool on a metal rack.
Repeat the process with the other 4 filo sheets, alternating the cheese, if you wish.

PS These can be made a day in advance. Keep covered in the fridge, and heat gently in the oven just before serving.

UPDATE: 13.8.2006 - I made another batch of these, to take along as a snack to the "Film Festival Under the Stars" at The Mound, Edinburgh, last night. I used my 24-hole mini muffin tin, and cut each folded filo sheet into 15 squares. That yielded 90 mini tartlets with beetroot and blue cheese - all savoured while watching Breakfast at Tiffany's and Diamonds are Forever under the dark August sky. To drink: a free Ginger Grouse: The Famous Grouse Finest Scotch Whisky with fresh lime and lengthened with Fentiman's Ginger Beer. Mmmmmm....

Monday, August 07, 2006

A beautiful raspberry focaccia

What to do with a punnet of luscious Scottish raspberries? My Japanese friend Ryoko came for dinner last Friday, and I wanted to do something with raspberries that are everywhere at the moment - raspberries being one of the few berries that really thrive in the Scottish climate.

And then I saw this recipe in the August 2006 issue of the Finnish Pirkka magazine. Nicky's recent post about focaccia had left me longing, and this recipe seemed to fill the gap. I had all the ingredients in hand, so I rushed to the kitchen, rummaged in my cupboards, measured ingredients into a bowl, kneaded, waited, tried to be artistic with raspberries, waited some more, and finally emerged with this beautiful raspberry focaccia.

If you serve it with Brie, then you're also combining the pudding & cheese courses, so it's a lovely ending to any dinner party.

Raspberry focaccia

(Click on the photo to enlarge)

300 ml lukewarm milk (or water, if you prefer)
25 grams fresh yeast
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp runny honey or sugar
1 tsp ground cardamom (seeds from approximately 20 pods)
4 Tbsp olive oil
700-800 ml plain flour (I used Doves Farm organic)

300 ml fresh raspberries
1 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp vanilla sugar
50 grams butter

Crumble the yeast into the lukewarm liquid, then add salt, honey (or sugar) and ground cardamom. Add flour in 2-3 batches, mixing with a wooden spoon as you go. When you've added all the flour, pour the olive oil onto the dough and knead with your bare hands for 7-10 minutes, until the dough doesn't stick onto your hands and the bowl too much. You may want to sprinkle some more flour, but don't go overboard, as then you'll end up with a tough bread afterwards. Less is more!

Cover the bowl with a clean towel or clingfilm and leave to rise in a warmish corner of your kitchen for about 30 minutes, until the dough has almost doubled in size.

Dip the raised dough onto a slightly floured surface, knock out the air and form into a flat uneven circle. Lift onto a baking sheet that has been covered with parchment paper. Make indentions with your fingers, then scatter raspberries on top, pushing them into the indentions (click on the photo to enlarge). Sprinkle with sugar and vanilla sugar, dot with butter.

Bake at 200C for about 30 minutes, until focaccia is lovely golden brown.

The bread was wonderful & amazing - very soft-textured, with a wonderful cardamom scent, tasty with just a hint of saltiness, and the sweet, yet tart, raspberries giving a nice juicy burst. I served it with some Brie cheese (we used Organic Cornish Brie ), as recommended by the magazine, but it would also be lovely on its own.

It must have been good, because Ryoko treated me to an one-hour reflexology* session in return:)

* She's very good! She does home visits in the Edinburgh area, so if any of you is interested, then drop me a line and I'll put you in touch with her.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Peanuts & carrots

I knew that the adventurous chef Paz has good taste re: carrot dishes - after all, she really liked my recipe for rosemary & orange marinated carrots in August 2005 :) So when Paz - who had found the recipe on Valentina's blog - recently posted Nigella Lawson's recipe for The Rainbow Room’s Carrot and Peanut Salad, and praised it, I knew I had to try it, too. It's healthy. It's simple. It's delicious. And it's crunchy. What else do you need?!

Note that I adapted the recipe a little. I had picked up a tip from Harumi Kurihara's lovely book Harumi's Japanese Cooking (Conran Octopus, 2004) for preparing carrots for salads. In her recipe for Carrot & Tuna Salad she suggests that carrots be lightly cooked in a microwave, which leaves the carrots still very crispy and tasty. I agree, and suggest you do the same.

And maybe Paz and I should establish a mutual carrot recipe appreciation society :)

A crunchy salad of carrots & peanuts
Serves 4 as a side dish

4 medium organic carrots
75g salted peanuts
2 Tbsp groundnut or olive oil
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
Few drops sesame oil

Peel the carrots and cut them into 5-6 mm julienne sticks. Put them into a glass bowl, add the oil, cover and microwave for 90 seconds (600 W) .
Drizzle with wine vinegar and sesame oil, mix well.

Serve either hot or cold.

I highly recommended you try this dish, as the sweet carrots and salty peanuts complement each other well, and the texture of the salad is really lovely - crunchy, but still gentle to your teeth. I might add some chopped parsley next time as well. And there definitely will be next time.

Friday, August 04, 2006

A few dishes inspired by Moro

Back in March I had the pleasure of attending a cookery demonstration by Sam & Sam Clark of the Moro fame at Valvona & Crolla in Edinburgh. Valvona & Crolla is a real treasure, a wonderful Italian delicatessen & wine merchant, founded back in 1934, and they also host various events at their premises. It was a really enjoyable evening, starting with a choice of tapas and a glass of chilled La Guita Manzanilla sherry. Then the Clarks prepared some of their chosen dishes on a makeshift kitchen, and we all had a chance to taste their produce. I watched carefully to learn the secrets of making the paper thin warka dough by tapping the elastic dough on the hot iron skillet; I tried to remember the right way to wrap and fry a Tunisian brik; and watched how a tub of milk was transformed into fresh cheese with the help of just couple of drops of rennet during the cookery demonstration. It was fascinating to see these two chefs in action, and I went home that evening with a bag full of goodies bought from the fabulous Italian delicatessen (incl. a bottle of above-mentioned sherry and a large jar of El Navarrico's Judion de la Granja), and a mental list of dishes to replicate at home.

Oh, and obviously I had my book signed:)

In the days following the cookery demonstration, I successfully made fresh cheese at home, using some organic goat's milk. The resulting fresh cheese was silky, creamy and extremely light-textured. I mixed some with fresh herbs and seasoned with salt - great on some sour rye bread, and the rest I ate with some cinnamon-scented stewed prunes for a pudding.

I slowly caramelised some savoy cabbage wedges in olive oil, bringing out the sweetness of the cabbage. I then seasoned them with salt, garlic and capers - just like Sam & Sam Clark did during their demonstration, adding some bacon to make the dish more substantial. It was a flavoursome and welcome meal on a dreich Scottish winter night.

And as for the giant butterbeans - these I savoured last. Believe me, these butterbeans are so delicate and soft and tasty, that they are good enough to eat straight from the can. I fried some smoked top-quality bacon rashers on my sauce pan (I'm a great fan of the oak-smoked rashers from Puddledub Pork & Fifeshire Bacon Co), then added some cream and half of the beans, heated through and seasoned with fresh dill. This was such a good combination that I prepared the rest of the beans exactly the same way on the following day. I guess it's time to walk down to Leith Walk again and pick up another jar of those tasty buttery giants..

Estonian Cooking: Roosamanna or semolina mousse

This is the more popular cousin of the humble barley mousse or odrajahuvaht that I wrote about back in March. I doubt if there are any Estonian kids who have not eaten mannavaht either at home, at kindergarten, at the school cantine (unless they're intolerant to wheat gluten, of course). It's definitely one of the staple everyday puddings, and real comfort food. You can use pretty much anything as a base for this mousse. Tart juices are good (e.g. cranberry, sour cherry, redcurrant juice), leftover jam from the fridge will do, as well as stewed and sieved fruit (e.g. rhubarb and pretty much all berries). On the morning I left Estonia, my mum picked a big bowl of raspberries from her garden, and mashed them with some sugar for a delicious and fresh jam. This is what I used for this vibrant and summery semolina mousse below few days later in Edinburgh.

Semolina mousse
(Roosamanna ehk mannavaht)

about 200 ml of concentrated juice (e.g. cranberry, redcurrant, cherry) or jam (e.g. raspberry, strawberry, blackcurrant)
about 800 ml of water
150 ml wheat semolina/cream of wheat
up to 100 ml of sugar

Dilute the juice or jam with enough water to make up 1 litre of liquid (or simply use a litre of cranberry juice drink or something similar). Add sugar to taste and bring everything slowly to the boil.
Pour semolina quickly into the boiling juice or jam water, stirring vigorously to avoid any clumps. Simmer in a low heat for about 15 minutes, stirring regularly, until semolina has expanded and you have a thick sweet porridge. Taste - add more sugar, if necessary, or some vanilla sugar, grated lemon or lime zest etc.
Pour into a large bowl and let cool.
Whisk the cool sweet porridge until it's couple of shades lighter and a lot fluffier and lighter in texture*.

Serve with cold milk.

UPDATE 20.8.2006:
Kalyn included this post in her BlogHer entry Sahlep and Other New Entries for that Food Encyclopedia in your Brain - thank you, Kalyn!

UPDATE 23.10.2006:
Anna included this post in her weekly recipe carousel. Thank you, Anna!

* My paternal grandmother, Mamma, has often told us a story how my dad managed to rid himself of kitchen duties as a kid. He was once given the task to whip up a big bowl of mannavaht for some workers on the farm. However, when my dad had finished the task, there was no increase in volume whatsoever, as my dad had been eating the mousse as eagerly as he had been whisking it (we're talking about early 1950s here, so obviously there was no gorgeous Kitchen Aid artisan mixers to talk about, just pure muscle power). Since then, he was asked to stay away from the kitchen. Which probably explains why he is still a bit of a beginner when it comes to cooking and feeding his family.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Food gifts from all over the world

I've been one lucky girl recently, as I've been a recipient of various culinary gifts from foodbloggers across the world. Here you are:

Food Gift Number One: from Stevi of Bread & Butter (Athens, Greece)

I met up with Stevi upon returning from the wedding on Santorini to Athens back in June. She was wonderful - as my ferry from Santorini was delayed (hmm? Delayed? In Greece?), I didn't arrive at her place until after 2am. Despite this ungodly hour, she welcomed me at her home with some delicious food served on the balcony and gave me this delightful goodie bag just before I rushed off to the airport next morning:

* some chewing gum with natural Chios Mastic from Sarantis Lifedrops company
* a packet of barley rusks, so I can make my own dakos salad
* a packet of poppy seed fettucini from Mylelia Water Mill , a 250-year old water mill on the Greek island of Lesvos. This pasta is made in small quantities from fresh durum wheat flour and is air-dried the traditional way on the island.
* a jar of home-made orange marmalade (not on the picture)

Efharisto, Stevi!

Food Gift Number Two: from Dagmar of A Cat in the Kitchen (Stockholm, Sweden)

I flew RyanAir from Glasgow Prestwick to Stockholm Skavsta to attend my friend Annika's wedding there in early July. Anyone familiar with this particular no-frills airline knows that their airports are located in the middle of nowhere (as I already realised when flying to a dinner party in Germany in October 2005) . Which means that when I finally arrived at my hotel just before midnight (Nordic Sea Hotel, the home for Absolute Icebar, which I sadly didn't manage to visit this time) , I was rather exhausted and sleepy. Rather hungry as well. Imagine my surprise and confusion then when the receptionist suddenly told me that there is a packet waiting for me and rushed off to his office behind the counter, leaving me totally baffled. A packet? For me? From whom? What? I wasn't expecting a packet. Yet, he brought me a beautiful paper bag filled with various goodies and my name written on it. This wondrous surprise packet turned out to be from Dagmar! I ate the chocolates as soon as I got into my room, and hid the rest of the goodies at home in Estonia. I will be enjoying them when I go back in early September - and I cannot wait!

* A bottle of Polish raspberry syrop
* handbaked crispbread
* some chocolate
* a can of preserved chantarelles
* a glass of dried mushrooms picked and dried by Dagmar's mom and dad
* a jar of hot mustard with whisky and saffron
* various Swedish chocolates that I finished then and there before collapsing on my hotel bed

Tack så mycket, Dagmar!

Also - note that when I finally made it to Stockholm and was looking forward to meeting up with the three bloggers writing in English based there, then Anne was in London, Kristina in Estonia and Dagmar on the Swedish islands. Did somebody warn them that I was coming and they decided to flee??? Oh well, better luck next time...

Food Gift Number Three: from Eden over at eGullet (Seattle, WA, USA)

This chocolate-filled parcel was waiting for me when I got back from my latest trip to Estonia.

* Liberty Orchards Aplets & Cotlets: Apple and Apricot Confections with Crunchy Walnuts - these reminded me of Turkish Delight and were indeed, rather delightful
* Fran's Chocolates, Ltd Smoked Salt Caramels: Soft butter caramels sprinkled with pure sea salt smoked over Welsh oak, handmade with 40% deep milk chocolate
* Fran's Coconut Gold Bar. I'm not a great fan of coconut bars - I'd only choose a Bounty from a sweet counter if NOTHING else is available and even Raffaellos leave me rather cold - but this "perfect combination of creamy white chocolate ganache, coconut, whole toasted almonds and Fran's custom blend of dark chocolate" was lovely.
* Chukar Cherry Company, Inc. Milk Chocolate Bing Cherry: premium dried Bing Cherries dipped in savoury milk chocolate with a topcoat of rich, burgundy colored chocolate - bliss!

All of them were nice, though I was especially blown away by those smoked salt caramels - so soft and chewy and flavoursome. I'm already looking forward to my next encounter with these divine creatues, thou sadly I don't know when that would be just yet. And note that I received all this in return for a bar of kama 'chocolate' and white chocolate with blueberry pieces, both from the Estonian company 'Kalev'. Lucky me! Anyone else out there keen to try these Estonian sweets?

Thanks again, Eden!!!