Gourmet Chocolate Gifts for Christmas Season
Christmas is a season to be jolly. And chocolate makes an excellent Christmas gift.
Chocolate is delicious, mouth watering and irresistible. Everyone loves to be presented with a beautifully wrapped box of chocolates, even a tiny box can look like a special treat. The packaging of chocolates nowadays is nothing less than jaw dropping and thinking of the mouth watering chocolate inside makes the recipient's saliva gland uncontrollable. Then he/she starts to drool. Now, imagine getting that expression from your recipient when you present a chocolate gift. Priceless, isn’t it? Hence, I think chocolate is an excellent gift for all occasion and Christmas especially.
Benefits of chocolate (if not taken excessively):
Chocolate is good for your heart.
Studies have shown that consuming a small bar of dark chocolate everyday can reduce blood pressure in individuals with high blood pressure.
The flavonoids in chocolate may help keep blood vessels elastic.
Dark chocolate has also been shown to reduce LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) by up to 10%.
The smell of chocolate may increase brain waves, resulting in relaxation.
Chocolate stimulates endorphin production, which gives a feeling of pleasure.
Chocolate contains serotonin, which acts as an anti-depressant.
Chocolate contains Oleic Acid which is a healthy monounsaturated fat that is also found in olive oil.
Chocolate contains Stearic Acid which is a saturated fat but one which research is shows has a neutral effect on cholesterol.
Chocolate increases antioxidant levels in the blood.
Believe it or not? Men who eat chocolate live a year longer than those who don't.
What kind of chocolate is good for you? Dark chocolate.
Dark chocolate is made of cocoa solids and cocoa butter which is sometimes referred to as Plain chocolate, Continental chocolate or Bittersweet chocolate and it is different from milk chocolate.
Milk chocolate is made by replacing some of the cocoa solids with milk products. Milk chocolate is sweeter, lighter in colour and miles away in terms of health benefits as compared to dark chocolate.
Top 10 Chocolate brands for Christmas gift:
1. Godiva Chocolate
Godiva Chocolatier offers one of the world's most elegant, hand-crafted chocolates.
Joseph Draps introduced Godiva chocolate to Belgium in 1926. Draps opened the doors to his shop (named in honor of the legend of Lady Godiva) on a cobblestone street on Grande Place, selling his unique formula of rich chocolate with unparalleled smoothness. With a remarkable eye for detail, he set forth the standard at Godiva for innovative selection of elegant, European shell-molded designs and beautiful packaging.
Through the years, these standards have been maintained as assiduously as Draps' recipes have been guarded. As a result of this adherence to Draps heritage, Godiva chocolates evoke the greatest in confectionery excellence. The same careful attention to quality is apparent in the exquisite European-style gold ballotins and handcrafted seasonal packaging that have earned Godiva a reputation for design excellence.
You will never go wrong with a box of Godiva chocolates!
Godiva Chocolate - Simply Irresistible
Incorporated in 1852, Ghirardelli has the richest heritage of any American chocolate company.
Ghirardelli is one of the few companies in America that controls the entire chocolate manufacturing process, from cocoa bean to finished product. This control over the manufacturing process, combined with Ghirardelli's proprietary bean blend and unique methods of roasting and processing, ensures that you are rewarded with the highest quality and richest products.
Ghirardelli uses an intensive refining process to ensure that its chocolate truly melts in your mouth. Ghirardelli chocolate has no grainy feel because they refine most of their chocolate flakes until 19 micron (human hair is 100 microns in diameter). Other mass market chocolates are refined to only 40 microns.
3. Ferrero Rocher
Ferrero Rocher was introduced in 1982 by Italian chocolatier Ferrero Spa. In just a few years it became the favourite chocolate treat for millions of people. Today it's the world leader in its category. So, what is the secret of its success? An original recipe, manufactured with the utmost attention, refined packaging and ground-breaking advertising campaigns. Its innovative shape – round but irregular – and its unmistakable golden wrapping give it that elegance that has made it famous and also hint at the unique taste of this speciality: a creamy filling, a crunchy wafer and a delicious hazelnut centre.
Guylian creates all its great tasting chocolates with only the finest Belgian chocolate, originating from a unique blend of West African cocoa beans. Guylian chocolate is true Belgian chocolate, with 100% cocoa butter and no vegetable fats. The hazelnut praliné filling of the world famous Belgian Chocolate Sea Shells is home made in the traditional way with fresh hazelnuts from the Mediterranean region.
Following the success of the chocolate Sea Shells, Guylian now offers a wide range of premium gift boxes, individually wrapped chocolates and bars. All are made from the finest Belgian chocolate with the recipe of Guylian's Chocolatiers, guaranteeing an absolute great taste.
5. Leonidas Belgian Chocolates
Leonidas guarantees the freshness and quality of its chocolates. They are always made according to traditional methods, using only the finest ingredients. 100% pure cocoa butter for the coating. Natural ingredients like fresh butter, fresh cream. And delicacies such as hazelnuts from Turkey, Morello cherries from the Périgord, almonds from Italy and walnuts from Grenoble. In short, the finest ingredients the world has to offer.
6. Michel Cluizel Chocolates
Since 1948, Michel Cluizel is one of the rare chocolate manufacturers to process cocoa beans. He elaborates exceptional chocolates in his Normandy, France.
Chocolate expert, Michel Cluizel endeavours to discover remarkable plantations in order to elaborate legendary chocolates, each composed of exceptional cocoa beans from a single plantation. To be enjoyed and compared like the most fine wines.
7. Jacques Torres Chocolates
Jacques Torres (aka Mr. Chocolate) has been working with pastries and chocolate since he was 15 years old. His experiences have resulted in an impressive resume: an apprenticeship at La Frangipane in his hometown of Bandol, France as a teenager; an eight-year stint at Hotel Negresco in Nice with chef Jacques Maximin; a degree of Master Pastry Chef; Corporate Pastry Chef for the Ritz Carlton Hotel Company; 11 years working with Sirio Maccioni at Le Cirque; multiple television series. Jacques Torres chocolate is pricy but excellent in quality and taste.
8. Vosges Haut Chocolates
Vosges' exotic truffles are made from the finest ingredients offered around the world. Owner/Chocolatier, Katrina Markoff, personally chooses every spice, flower and chocolate that is flown into our Chicago kitchen. Katrina utilizes the original methods of French confectionery artistry which she learned during her training at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. Having worked extensively in France, Spain, Italy, Southeast Asia and Australia her collections of haut-chocolats have great, worldly inspirations. Inspired by her global apprenticeships, Vosges truffles have exotic influences of an "East meets West" theme. The infusions of rare spices and flowers combined with premium chocolate give a delicate balance of flavor, leaving you with a layered and lingering sensation of spice and chocolate, a true haut-chocolat experience.
9. Chuao Chocolates
Unusual, Unexpected & Delicious Chocolate
Chuao's collection of gourmet handmade bars fully indulges your senses by combining specially selected single origin Venezuelan chocolate, with all-natural spices and ingredients to create new and inspired flavour combinations. Enjoy Chuao bars with your favourite coffee or espresso beverage for a pairing that brings out the best in both. Feel your throat warm and your nose tickle with each mouthful of Spicy Maya's premium dark chocolate. A hint of Pasilla chile, cayenne Pepper and cinnamon excite the taste buds. It's a return to chocolate's ancient roots with traditional ingredients that pay homage to the first chocolate worshipping culture, the Mayans.
10. Bridge Brands Chocolates
Bridge Brands Chocolate was created to provide chocolate lovers with gourmet-quality, superbly packaged chocolate at a non-gourmet price. Since debuting in 1999, Bridge Brands chocolates have become a favorite with San Francisco locals and visitors alike.
Chocolate Poll - Just For Fun!
Do you think a beautifully wrapped box of Chocolates makes a great Christmas gift?
Can't wait for Santa Claus to come to town? HoHoHo! Be Santa Claus yourself… start giving! You will be blessed by the joy of giving. Merry Christmas!