Callie’s Cabin: Chillax bites, White Chocolate Fondue
Welcome to the month of heart health. Yes, every year organizations tout the importance of maintaining your ticker.
Chocolate has been called everything from a “food of the gods” to a forbidden food. Dark chocolate is the healthy kind with its heart-healthy antioxidants. Sure, white chocolate contains sugar and fat but it also boasts calcium, essential nutrients, and feel-good compounds.
The deal is, if you dip nature’s finest fresh fruit — such as strawberries or bananas — into the white stuff you’ve got elegant sweet flavor and health benefits.
In December, when I was hunkered down in an Anchorage, Alaska hotel room, chocolate covered fresh fruit would have been paradise. But I did find my chocolate fix. Okay, my indoor adventure to an artisan chocolate shop was no nature trek or eye-to-eye contact with a moose. But in my room with a panoramic view of fog, chocolate truffles—white and dark—was as good as it was going to get.
Fast forward to our mountain town. Foraging for quality chocolate and juicy strawberries in February is easy. So, inspired by my bittersweet trip to Alaska and love for California, here is a new version of my chocolatey fondue with fruit, spices, and nuts just for you.
White Chocolate Fondue
1/2 cup organic half-and-half
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup ounces white (or dark chocolate), Ghirardelli chips or bar (chunks)
2 cups fresh fruit, Fuji or Granny Smith apples, sliced, bananas, strawberries whole, dried apricots, halves
Ground cinnamon or cayenne to taste (if you like it spicy)
Nuts (hazelnuts or walnuts, chopped fine)
In a saucepan or microwave, bring cream to a simmer. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate. Put back on stovetop or nuke until melted. Watch carefully (about every 30 seconds). Stir in vanilla until smooth. Caution: Do not mix spices in the chocolate because it will turn brown or pink. Pour fondue into a serving bowl or individual cups. Serve warm. Dip into the chocolate and then the spice or nuts of your choice. Serves 3 to 4.
Looking for more wow factor? You can use bamboo skewers or stainless-steel forks or even toothpicks. If you want to get fancy, fondue pots and sets. These can keep your chocolate warm. All the fun stuff is are available online. Or you can simply can dip the fruit chunks (a whole strawberry with its stem) into the fondue. Rough it like we do in the sierras. Savor the warm chocolate and chilled fresh fruit. Then, it’s hakuna matata.
Cal Orey, M.A. Is an author and journalist. Her books include the Healing Powers Series (Vinegar, Olive Oil, Chocolate, Honey, Coffee, Tea, Superfoods, and Essential Oils) published by Kensington. Her website is http://www.calorey.com.