Local markets carry Lindt, Ghirardelli and other high quality chocolate. But for a really special selection, Fairway Supermarket in Manhattan is an adventure. The Upper West Side icon is half supermarket, and half foodie emporium. Jam-packed with goodies, from specialty meats to gourmet chutneys, and amazing chocolates for cooking and eating.
The history of chocolate is fascinating. Mayan and Aztec cultures offered chocolate to their gods in hopes of pleasing them. After the Spanish conquered Mexico, chocolate found its way to Europe as a profitable commodity. A few sips of deep rich chocolate probably explains more than a few l'affaires du coeur ... there's a reason chocolates are favored gifts between lovers.
There are many online sources for fine chocolates if you aren't happy with what you find at your local grocers. And if you do find yourself in the city that never sleeps, head for Fairway Supermarket, wander around, read a few wrappers then buy yourself some luscious chocolate so that when you get home you can cook up something yummy!
CHOCOLATE BREAD PUDDING
1/2 loaf of day old bread, crust removed cut into 1 inch cubes
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup 1% milk
1/4 cup sugar
3 half ounce squares bittersweet chocolate
3 egg yolks, beaten
1/2 cup whipping cream, whipped to a thickened but still pourable consistency
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Fill four 3/4 cup size ramekins about halfway with bread cubes. In a medium saucepan, heat milk, cream and sugar to a boil. Remove from heat and immediately whisk in chocolate until melted and well blended into milk mixture. Whisk in beaten egg yolks until mixture is slightly frothy. Equally divide the chocolate mixture among the four ramekins. Allow to sit ten minutes in order for the bread to soak in the custard mix before baking.
Set ramekins in a large baking pan and place on the middle rack in the oven. Pour hot water in the outer pan about halfway up the ramekins. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the center of the custard is set. Remove from water bath and cool slightly before serving warm. Top with cold loosely whipped cream poured on top. Serves 4.