"Send me food!"

My oldest niece, Cassie started college a few weeks ago up in Boston. I saw her dorm last week and had a lot of memories of my first time away from home. You forget it takes time to adjust to a new bed, new food and people, let alone all the distractions. When I passed by her mailroom, I told Cassie I'll have to send her a package. Her eyes lit up as she was so excited... "Send me food!" 

During my trip, I learned that Cassie has never had a macaron. She wondered what they tasted like so it was then that I realized her first college gift package should be a colorful mix of macarons from Sweet Sarah. Oddly enough, the last time I blogged about Sarah she was based in West Palm Beach, Florida. She's now in New Milford, Connecticut where both Cass and I grew up. Small world...perfect gift. 

Another great gift idea comes from my cousin, Michele based in the lovely Charleston, SC. She owns Sweet Bottom Cookie- chocolate chip cookies that are dipped in chocolate fudge along the bottom. Michele is a workhorse and as hard as it is to get a new food company off the ground, she's done an amazing job. Besides movie theatre chains, her latest coup is getting into huge college football stadiums. 

Michele sent me a box of Sweet Bottoms (you can order 3, 6 or 12) and I enjoyed mine with some vanilla ice cream and more chocolate chips. I can't imagine any college kid not loving this. See her site and fun gift sets, here.

If you really want to take chocolate to the extreme, one of my favorites is Dude, Sweet Chocolate in Dallas. Master chocolatier, Katherine Clapner keeps coming up with one tasty concoction after another. I think every single college kid needs a Tub of Love at some point. (hazelnut & chocolate spread)

There is a lot in her shop to choose from- like chocolate granola, salami and toffee. Whatever you decide on- it is pretty much guaranteed to be met with a heartful thank you from a (slightly homesick) college student. Keep your eye out Cass, something fun is comin' in the mail....

 

Photos: Sweet Sarah, Sweet Peach, Dude Sweet Chocolate     Content: Sweet Peach


Sweet Sarah

I'm not exactly sure what these are but I know I want to try them. That was my first thought when I saw this picture. Upon further investigation, I found it to be the work of baker, Sarah Moraes of West Palm Beach, Florida. These yummy concoctions are chocoloate guimauves, French marshmallows made with Michel Cluizel chocolate. 

These aren't your typical marshmallows which can be bland and sticky. As Sarah shared with me, "My guimauves are extremely tender and packed with flavor. Also, I do not use corn syrup in my guimauves, I use honey as my invert sugar which also adds to the depth of flavor. They are hand cut, hand rolled and hand packaged." These luscious bites are a mix of matcha green tea and passion fruit. 

Sarah makes all kinds of tasty goodies, from the guimauves to macarons, candies, cookies and pastry. She plays with ingredients and creates masterful presentations. As she shares, "I strive to create flavors that are not unique just for the sake of being different but that are genuinely delicious." 

Sarah's chocolate salami with almond biscotti is an easy party favorite. It's her take on the popular Italian and Portuguese sweet that is a delicious and rich chocolate truffle with homemade almond biscotti cookies. I want, I want... 

If you had any doubt that Sarah was a culinary artiste, all one must do is look at her perfectly pretty macarons to know she is all that and more. 

Her flavors sound amazing...from Rogue (chocolate, hazelnut and cognac) to passion fruit with chamomile or honey sesame pistachio. Macaron shells filled with rich, delectable ganache make an excellent dessert and I personally love them as hostess gifts. (so much better than the ubiquitous cupcake, don't you think?) 

Sarah was born and raised in Brazil but moved to the States 14 years ago. As she states, "I combine my Brazilian heritage, American inheritance, love for Asian culture and passion for French cuisine into each and every one of my products." With that description alone, we know her flavorful confections are uniquely her own. 

Mason jar concoctions are always a Southern favorite so I was happy to see Sarah's Spiced Banana Fruit Butter. As she explains it, the batch is made of "golden ripe bananas and Saigon cinnamon, a delicious alliance underscored by the comforting flavor of nutmeg." 

As Sarah shares, "Sweets are the pinncale of creativity." I love the passion that goes into her confections...that translates beautifully into her playful photographs. See all of Sweet Sarah's sweetness here.   

 

Photos: Sweet Sarah Artisan Confectioneries    Content: Sweet Peach