Cocoa Nuts Raspberry Pralines
“Bites of heaven” are what we call these framboise pralines: raspberry-purée dipped caramelized almonds from Cocoa Designs. A few wee pieces as a snack or with espresso after dinner make the day so much happier.




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KAREN HOCHMAN is Editorial Director of THE NIBBLE™.



February 2006

Product Reviews / Main Nibbles / Candy


Amazing Sweets That Aren’t Chocolate Candy

With All the Press Chocolate Gets, It’s Easy to Overlook Other Dazzling Delights


We love chocolate, but we understand that a box of it can be too much of a good thing.  Here are our just-as-wonderful favorites.

Candy & Nuts  

Cocoa Designs: Framboise Pralines

Handmade by a Cordon Bleu-trained pastry chef, these French pralines and whole almonds are roasted and caramelized on the stovetop, then dipped in raspberry purée and dusted in fine cocoa powder. They are little bites of heaven! If your valentine doesn’t like raspberries, there are six other flavors, including Café (coffee), Épices (spice), Orange, Noir (dark chocolate), and Azteque (Spicy Aztec). Click here for our review.

Cocoa Designs

Recchiuti Confections: Fleur de Sel
Caramels from

Enrobed lightly in chocolate and topped with sea salt, Michael Recchiuti’s smokey, seductive caramels are a work of confectionary art. They are so good, we just might prefer them to his outstanding chocolates.

Fleur de Sel Caramels
Cookies & Cake  

Byrd Cookie Company: Language of Love Cookies

Say “I Love You” without uttering a word: let the crimson lettering in English, French, Spanish, and Chinese do it for you. Large sugar cookies with white chocolate icing from Byrd’s, one of our favorite cookie makers, are a sweet treat for your beloved. The reusable metal tin with sophisticated poppies is a permanent reminder of your affections.

Language of Love Cookies

Elegant Cheesecakes: Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake

A cheesecake that looks like a gorgeous gift box with chocolate ribbons, bows and roses; a bittersweet chocolate sour cream cake “box” that opens to reveal a milk chocolate truffle heart that says “be mine”: are these works of art masquerading as cakes, or cakes that are art? Either way, they taste as good as they look and are a gift that will be remembered for years. Click here for our review.

Valentine Cheesecake

My Mother’s Delicacies: Rugala

These classic cream cheese rugala—bite-sized pastries—filled with apricot, chocolate (a wee bit), cinnamon, nut and raspberry are the best we’ve had. Anyone who has had rugala before will adore this excellent version; any lover of pastry and cookies will adore being introduced to them. Click here for our review.

My Mother's Rugala

Rolling Pin Productions: Portrait Cookies

Commission custom cookies that look like your loved one, your dog, your house, your Stradivarius.... These are not the machine-produced photo cookies that you may have seen on the party circuit, but hand-designed, hand-iced artisan cookies. He/she/it never tasted so sweet!

Portrait Cookies
And More!  

The Spotted Dog Creamery: Gourmet Ice Cream

We order ice cream from the best creameries in the country and love many, but our heart goes out to the Spotted Dog Creamery in Salt Lake City.  Send your loved one six or ten pints, or let her pick out her favorite flavors, which will arrive the next day in dry ice. Click here for our review.

Ice Cream

Photo by Pietro Giordano


Rice to Riches: Gourmet Rice Puddings

This shop in New York’s SoHo is dedicated to the art of gourmet rice pudding. A top pastry chef spent a year perfecting the technique, and he turns out dozens of flavors that are simply unbelievable. Warning: give it as a gift to a rice pudding fanatic and it might be habit-forming. Click here for our review.

rice pudding




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