Top Pick Of The Week

May 22, 2007

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Chocolate With Cacao Nibs

Espresso, Kahlua and Cocoa Nibs is one of more than a dozen sophisticated flavor combinations.

WHAT IT IS: Cubes of dark, milk and white chocolate with different add-ins.
WHY IT’S DIFFERENT: The special “recipe” that melds the concept of hard chocolate with the sensuality of fudge; the skillfully-conceived combinations of nuts, fruits, liqueurs and herbs devised by a creative executive chef.
WHY WE LOVE IT: The variety of wonderful flavor choices, and the fact that a small slice is very satisfying.

Brown Paper Chocolates:
Chocolate Nouveau

“We need new forms. New forms are needed, and if we can't have them, then we had better have nothing at all.”*

Fans of Chekhov will recognize the fictitious playwright Trigorin, who demands that plays break their traditional bonds and seek exciting new forms of expression. If Trigorin had been a chocolatier, he would have a new form from Chef Richard Kaplan. Brown Paper Chocolates have the hardness of a chunk of solid chocolate, with the melt-in-your-mouth quality of fudge. It’s amazing how the solid cube dissolves into a swirl of flavors: No heavy chewing is required to experience the chocolate or the three or four delicious ingredients mixed in. Call it art, call it culinary chemistry—just call it over to your place, in three or more flavors.

*Trigorin in “The Sea Gull,” by Anton Chekhov.

These sophisticated chocolates with their inspired combinations of fine liqueurs, nuts, fruits and herbs are a perfect gift for Father’s Day. They can be enjoyed a slice at a time, alone or with coffee or wine; or can be shaved, grated or melted onto ice cream, cheesecake and other desserts. They’re called Brown Paper Chocolates because of their kraft paper packaging, but these “chocolate cubes” merit a more eloquent name (perhaps Trigorin?). Try several flavors and let us know what you’d call them.

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  • Read reviews of more of our favorite chocolates in THE NIBBLE™ online magazine.
  • See the Table of Contents of the May issue of THE NIBBLE online magazine, plus the back issues archive and our most popular articles.
  • All of the Top Pick Of The Week newsletters are permanently archived on, in chronological order and by product category.
THE NIBBLE does not sell the foods we review
or receive fees from manufacturers for recommending them.

Our recommendations are based purely on our opinion, after tasting thousands of products each year, that they represent the best in their respective categories.


Learn To Make Your Own Chocolates

Chocolate Obsession Making Artisan Chocolates
The Art Of Chocolate
Chocolate Obsession: Confections and Treats to Create and Savor, by Michael Recchiuti and Fran Gage. Even amateurs can achieve professional results with the guidance of two top chocolatiers, San Francisco’s Michael Recchiuti and Seattle’s Fran Gage. The book covers both chocolate and pastry. Click here for more information or to purchase. Making Artisan Chocolates, by Andrew Garrison Shotts. Shotts, the former pastry chef for Guittard Chocolate and the owner of Garrison Confections (one of our favorite boutique chocolatiers), shows readers how to create extraordinary chocolates at home through the use of herbs, flowers, chiles, spices, vegetables, fruits, dairies and liquors. Click here for more information or to purchase. The Art of Chocolate, by Elaine Gonzalez. A cooking teacher with decades of experience, Elaine Gonzalez has devised innovative techniques to put the art of working with chocolate within everyone’s reach. Even novices will soon be able to roll, curl, twist, coax and nudge chocolate to incredible heights of fantasy. Beautifully photographed. Click here for more information or to purchase.

Brown Paper Chocolates: Chocolate Nouveau



Richard Kaplan has had a distinguished career as a chef at restaurants known for their creativity: One Fifth and Claire in New York City, Terraza de Marti in Key West River Cafe in Houston. In 2004, while working with a chocolate recipe, he developed the concept for Brown Paper Chocolates: dense cubes of chocolate with creative combinations of flavorings, using the highest quality of ingredients. The innovation received a lot of attention in Houston, and it deserves to be noticed everywhere else as well.

Chef Kaplan’s formal training and years of recipe development come in handy when creating sophisticated flavor combinations for Brown Paper Chocolates. You’ll appreciate that when you taste pairings like thyme, Meyer lemon and rum in white chocolate or dark chocolate infused with tequila and ancho chile.

Milk Chocolate With Cashews and Fleur de Sel
Milk Chocolate With Cashews and Fleur de Sel.


Brown Paper Chocolates

Brown Paper Chocolates: Flavors

The chocolates use a base couverture from fine Belgian chocolate housesCallebaut or Belcolade and incorporate the finest, all-natural ingredients—fresh herbs, fresh and dried fruits, nuts, seeds, and top shelf liqueurs. There’s a “recipe” that will appeal to everyone—and we’ve haven’t yet met one we didn’t find as delicious as the next.

The white chocolate varieties deserve a shout out. If you think white chocolate is too cloying, just try some of the flavors below. New forms were needed, and Richard Kaplan created them. As you peruse the list, think ahead: These will make very hot party favors, bounty for adult Halloween parties and stocking-stuffers.

Milk Chocolate With Apricots
Milk Chocolate With Apricots.

Dark Chocolate

  • Almonds, Aged Tequila, Ancho Chile (a
    very subtle spiciness)
  • Candied Pumpkin, Candied Ginger, Brandy,
    Toasted Pumpkin Seeds, Cinnamon and
    Nutmeg (fall season)
  • Espresso, Kahlua, Cocoa Nibs,
  • Macadamias, Framboise and Fresh
    Raspberries (Valentine’s Day)
  • Pistachio, Cointreau, Dried Cherries and
    Orange Peel

Milk Chocolate

  • Almonds, Amaretto, Dried Apricots
  • Cashews, Jack Daniel’s, Caramel, Fleur de Sel
  • Filberts, Frangelico, Currants
  • Hazelnuts, Starbucks Coffee Liqueur
    Candied Orange, Orange Peel
    (holiday season)

White Chocolate

  • Candied Meyer Lemon, Myers’s Dark Rum, Fresh Thyme
  • Candied Strawberries, Balsamic Syrup,
    Marsala and Mint (Valentine’s Day)
  • Lavender, Pimm’s No. 1, Toasted Peppercorns, Fresh Chervil, Lavender Fleur de Sel
  • Pine Nuts, Pernod, Candied Fennel
  • Pistachios, Starbucks Coffee Liqueur,
    Caramel, Citrus Peel

Serving Suggestions

The first and foremost way to enjoy a cube of Brown Paper Chocolates is with a knife: Just carve a slice to enjoy by itself, with a cup of tea or coffee, a glass of wine or after-dinner cordials. When you’re entertaining  on a larger scale, set different flavors on a cheese board or a block of marble or granite, and let guests slice their own.

But Brown Paper Chocolates also are delicious to shave or grate:

  • Over coffee, cappuccino or latte
  • Over ice cream
  • On top of cheesecake or warm bread pudding

White Chocolate With Fennel
White Chocolate With Fennel—or any other herb,
including our favorite lavender—is a must-try.



You also can melt them down if you need a sizzling dessert sauce.


What’s the difference between semisweet chocolate
and bittersweet chocolate
Learn about the world of chocolate in our  Chocolate Glossary.


BrownPaper Chocolates may become your favorite small gift: It has what marketing people call “high perceived value.” Not only do good things come in small packages, they come in brown paper ones.

—Karen Hochman

FORWARD THIS NIBBLE to everyone who loves chocolate, needs great little gifts and party favors or likes to stock up on stocking-stuffer ideas.


Dark, Milk and White Chocolate Cubes Infused With More Than A Dozen Flavor Combinations

  • 5-Ounce Cube
    3-Piece Minimum Order
    (Any Flavors)

Purchase online at

Prices and product availability are verified at publication but are subject to change. Shipping is additional.

Back to Index

Brown Paper Chocolates
Brown Paper Chocolates: the most delicious “building blocks” you’ll ever taste.

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