Remember the old Wilbur's chocolate factory near the Ben Franklin Bridge? How many times have you driven past this and caught this stately building out of the corner of your eye?
Once upon a time, Philadelphia boasted some 20 or more chocolate retailers, according to the The Pennsylvania General Store. In this most chocolatey of months, the Store is celebrating Philly's chocolate pedigree at the Reading Terminal Market by offering the Philadelphia Chocolate Collection, sourced from producers in the Pennsylvania region. This collection features the best known names from times of yore and features firm faves such as Lore's Milk Chocolate Marshmallows and confections dreamed up by choclatiers like Zitners, Asher,Wilbur, West Chester's Eclat & our personal pick...Neuchatel with its Dark Chocolate Truffle from Oxford.
And if you are inspired to make your own Pennsylvania chocolate, we suggest Philly Food Lovers' Chocolate Dipped Strawberries. They pleased our crowds on Valentine's Day, and are sure to please yours any day of the year. I once presented a tray of these to my hairdresser, who was nursing a broken heart from an internet romance gone bad. They cheered him up significantly--at least enough to drag himself out of the doldrums to do my highlights. And I am confident that they will have the same effect on you and yours. Even if there's no broken heart involved--and I sincerely hope there isn't--these lovely little nuggets are sure to brighten someone's day.
1 dozen large, perfect strawberries, washed and DRIED
1 cup Ghirardelli dark chips (60% cacao)--if you prefer to keep it local, use dark Wilbur Buds, chopped
Rinse strawberries, and set out to dry. If you don't have time to allow them to air dry, use a hairdryer. Seriously. If they remain damp, the chocolate won't stick. Meanwhile, melt chocolate in a microwave proof bowl for 3 minutes on 50% power. Stir til smooth and dip the berries til thoroughly coated. Place on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, and either allow to harden at room temp (1-2 hrs) or refrigerate to expedite the process (20 minutes.)
These are best enjoyed with loved ones the day they are made.