Fitness, Food, Wine & Travel


Chocolate on the Paleo Diet

So, big disclaimer here… if you are trying to lose weight/lean out on the Paleo diet, you should probably obstain from eating chocolate altogether… but if you are at a healthy weight, or at a weight you are comfortable maintaining (maybe you get a lot of “dee-ammns” when you walk by the opposite sex?), then OK, you are allowed to have a little chocolate in moderation on the Paleo diet.I am really not that much of a dessert person anymore, unless it’s fresh or dried fruit and almonds. I even used to do a small cheese arrangement, but in the past few months I have been more strict than ever doing Paleo, so I rarely even have cheese anymore. Practice what you preach, you know? 馃檪

But recently, my boyfriend and I went to the Winter Fancy Food Show, and one of the vendors present was TCHO Chocolates. I made a connection with the company because I think it’s important to buy products from companies who make it a point to sell organic and free trade items.
Organic and fair trade, and the highest concentration of cacao that you can find in this bar, the 99%… which, is spectacular with a port or a late harvest zinfandel.TCHO also sent me some other samples to try, such as these Dark Chocolate Organic (yes!!) Baking Drops. They clock in at 68% cacao.

I melted them down and used them to make a classic treat: Chocolate Covered Strawberries.
And if you are going to have chocolate on the Paleo diet, that’s just about the best way to do it. You can go with a chocolate that is not as sweet and it’s portion controlled because there is only so much chocolate that can fit on the berry. How many berries you eat, however, is up to you. The best thing about this dessert is that the chocolate is so intense, you wind up not eating that many.
To melt the discs, I heated some coconut milk in a bowl in the microwave (not boiling, but hot enough to melt the chocolate. Depending on how many strawberries you plan on making, place some of the chocolate discs in another bowl and add the heated milk (about 1/4 cup per 6-8ozs of chocolate). Stir the chocolate until it is smooth and add 1/2 to 1 tsp of your favorite liqueur.
Then dip the strawberries and set them on parchment or wax paper and allow the chocolate to solidify. To speed up the process, set them in the refrigerator for 10-20 minutes. Share with someone special. 馃槈

You can find TCHO on Facebook here聽and on twitter here.

Valentine’s Food and Drink Picks!!

Here are a few things I have tried lately that sort of fall into the Valentine’s category, and since today happens to be Valentine’s Day, I would like to share them with you.

Patr贸n XO Cafe Dark Cocoa

This brand new liqueur combines Patr贸n Silver tequila, the light essence of coffee and the richness of chocolate.

Distilled at 60 proof, Patr贸n XO Cafe Dark Cocoa is less sweet than many other coffee liqueurs, and a mix of coffee, chocolate and tequila.

The label and outer box for Patr贸n XO Cafe Dark Cocoa are dressed in red. You can find Patr贸n on Facebook here.

Xan Confections

Xan Confections was started by Susan Johnson and Kerry Johnson Anthony of Susan鈥檚 Healthy Gourmet. With the combination of chocolatiering creativity and Kerry and Susan鈥檚 vision of healthy, Xan created indulgent artisan chocolates, caramels, and other handcrafted treats using distinctive flavors with only the finest, all-natural ingredients. Many of the Xan products are gluten-free. I was sent a few of the CocoXan products to try, a line of antioxidant-rich dark chocolate European-style truffles paired with a selection of nutritionally enhanced ingredients.

The five new product lines include fortified ingredients targeting wellness, heart, brain, pre-natal and pre-menstrual health.

Nutritional enhancements in selected products include vegetarian Life鈥檚 DHA, Wellmune WGP, folic acid, a proprietary blend of Vitamins A, C, D3, and E, chasteberry, bilberry, CoQ10 and Kaneka QH.

You can find them on Facebook here and on twitter here.
Oren’s Kitchen

Perhaps my favorite line of samples I have been sent lately is the nut packages from Oren’s Kitchen. There are four different varieties: Rosemary Almonds, Smoked Paprika Pecans, Indian Ajwain Cashews, and Coconut Chili Macadamias. My favorite are the macadamias. The nut mix is a blend of toasted and shaved coconut, macadamia nuts, some honey for sweetness, and dried Full Belly Farms red chilies are added for a little flavor kick. They are so addictive I could probably eat 2 or 3 bags in one sitting. 馃槈 To order, you can go to their website here.

You can find them on Facebook here and on twitter here.

Emanuel Andr茅n Chocolates

Emanuel Andr茅n Chocolates ( are crafted in the small town of Lilla Edet, located just southwest of Stockholm. The family-owned company has been producing confections since 1868, with recipes passed down from generation to generation. Emanuel Andr茅n, who has followed in his great-great-great-great-grandfather鈥檚 footsteps, transformed the family business since becoming CEO in 2002. Today, Emanuel Andr茅n Chocolates is recognized as some of the world鈥檚 most luxurious chocolates and truffles, each of which is deemed a work of art, with Andr茅n being named 鈥淧astry Chef of The Year鈥 in his country.

Red Carpet was featured at the 54th and 50th Grammy Awards. The Red Carpet collection makes your successes memorable with elegant chocolate creations that celebrate any occasion.

Rich and Robust is an extraordinary luscious sensory-provoking confection created from a selection of the finest spirits and tobacco with a taste of distinction.

Royal Tribute a Swedish inspired array of noble flavors reaching a new level of sophistication and designed in honor of Sweden Royalty.

Rustic Harmony offers chocolate lovers the creamy and delicious union of chocolate and cheese with a touch of sweet fruit marmalade.

Swedish Strawberries offer fresh aromatic summer berries captured in their purest form to seduce every palate.

You can like Emanuel Andr茅n on Facebook here, and follow on twitter here.
Happy Valentine’s Day!

Lodi’s Wine and Chocolate Weekend is February 11th and 12th

Here’s a press release from my friends in Lodi. I hope you’ll be able to join us for the upcoming Wine and Chocolate weekend. There are lots of events planned at the participating wineries, and even food available besides chocolate! Cheers!! 

LODI, Calif.鈥 Lodi鈥檚 annual Wine & Chocolate Weekend 鈥 held each Valentine鈥檚 Weekend 鈥 has quickly become one of Northern California鈥檚 鈥渕ust do鈥 events for many wine and chocolate lovers. The fifteenth annual celebration of tasty decadence is scheduled for Saturday, February 11th and Sunday, February 12th, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day.

Event attendees will have the opportunity to visit more than 45 participating wineries and take part in hosted activities ranging from wine and chocolate pairings, barrel tastings, live music and cellar tours. Attendees will also have the opportunity to win over 100 prizes including the 鈥淕olden Ticket鈥 which will be hidden in a commemorative chocolate tin.

鈥淟odi鈥檚 Wine & Chocolate Weekend is a fabulous event for anyone who loves wine, chocolate, someone special or any and all of the above,鈥 said Ryan Sherman, winemaker and partner at Fields Family Wines 鈥 one of the participating wineries. He added, 鈥淏est of all you get to experience the passion of LoCA and what makes the Lodi wine region so memorable, fun and approachable.鈥

Tickets are now on sale and can be purchased online at or by calling the Lodi Wine and Visitors Center at 209.365.0621. Advance tickets cost $45 per person and $55 per person during the event. Tickets include a commemorative wine glass, a chocolate tin, wine tasting and admission to all participating wineries. Tickets are valid for both Saturday and Sunday and there is no charge for designated drivers.

LoCA 鈥 short for Lodi, California 鈥 is one of the state鈥檚 most historic wine regions and home to more than 100,000 acres of winegrapes farmed by more than 750 growers as well as more than 80 wine tasting rooms. With more than 60 varieties currently being grown, Lodi offers a diverse portfolio of wines. While long known as a superior producer of Zinfandel, the area has also been producing award-winning Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay. Newer varieties to the area include Albari帽o, Tempranillo, Viognier and Syrah.

For more information about the Lodi wine region, visit:

You can find LoCA on Facebook here and follow them on twitter here.

July 21st is the 3rd Annual Bag Lady Dessert & Game Night Presented by Soroptimist International of Roseville