After much anticipation, I attended the 12th annual Chocolate Show, and after about 3 hours of samplings and tastings, I threw in the napkin. There was so much chocolate, in so many different forms I didn't even know where to start. Fortunately, right by the entrance was Peanut Butter & Co., one of my favorite little shops in the West Village. They make all different types of PB (my fave is Cinnamon Raisin Swirl) and they had a cute little booth set up (complete with monkey mascot) where you could sample their 10 kinds of PB, chocolate covered peanut brittle (delicious), chocolate covered peanuts, and if you're really obsessed, buy a PB & Co. Cookbook.
I tasted almost all of the PB's, and I am a big fan of Cinnamon Raisin Swirl, the Bee's Knees, and Mighty Maple; yet I never got the appeal of The Heat is On, their spicy peanut butter. So I asked Jennifer, a representative for PB & Co., and she said that they sell out of it every year at the show. I was shocked. Evidently, it's great for dishes like Pad Thai (why didn't I think of that?), and she says she likes to marinate chicken in it and throw it on the grill. Who knew? I guess I was imagining it with jelly, which clearly (and thankfully) is not what it was intended for…
They also had a big stack of chocolate brownies with peanut butter swirl selling 2 for $5. If I pulled out my wallet any faster someone might have lost an eye.
Another one of my favorite's at the show was Pure Dark, another little shop in the West Village specializing in dark chocolate bark. Their booth grabbed me because it's called "Pure Dark," and I happen to love dark chocolate, so I figured, how can I go wrong? I sampled a bit of their 62% cacao bark with almonds and cranberries, and it was so good, I wanted to eat the whole block. I don't know what it is about bark, but it seems to be very popular this year at the Chocolate Show. Berkshire Bark was also there (based in Massachusetts), and they use real Belgian chocolate for their bark. I sampled almost all of them, but my favorite was a milk and dark chocolate bark combo with sea salt, caramel and pretzels called "Pretzological". It was divine. I rarely use that word, but this time it's necessary.
Pure Dark is actually having an event today at their store where you can customize your own bark. For $20, you can get a block of Pure Dark bark, select your custom toppings, and they will make it for you on the spot. I think it's a great gift idea, especially for the holidays coming up. I like to think of dark chocolate bark with dried cranberries, almonds and walnuts as the "New Fruitcake," because who really likes fruitcake anyway?
There is more to come from the Chocolate Show, but I need to stop for meals. So be patient and stay tuned for 2 Chicks with Chocolate, Jer's Chocolate, and Illinois Nut & Candy!
And if you want to visit Pure Dark today to make your own bark, their shop address is below.
350 Bleecker St., New York NY 10014
And while you're in the area, stop in to Peanut Butter & Co. for one of their amazing sandwiches like The Elvis (peanut butter, bananas, honey and bacon). Trust me..
Peanut Butter & Co.
240 Sullivan St., New York NY 10012