This week in honor of Valentine’s day, I made chocolate soup. It is absolutely sinful. Since I was a kid, I have loved the movie “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.” My favorite part is when the kids get to wander around in the “everything is edible room.” I have often fantasized about that chocolate waterfall and river, and being able to drink from the chocolate river like “Augustus Gloop.” Well this soup makes that fantasy possible. This soup is exactly what I imagine Willy Wonka’s chocolate river would taste like. Unlike “Augustus Gloop” though, I will not be sucked into a pipe after indulging in this decadent soup. Additionally, unlike “Augustus,” I enjoyed my chocolate soup with a spoon. ☺
I was introduced to this recipe about 5 years ago, while watching “Ham on the Street” on Food Network. It was George Duran’s show and Dan and I loved it…he was so funny. The show got cancelled, but not before I saw the episode that featured my personal kryptonite…aka chocolate. George Duran actually made this for people that he stopped in the park. I remember thinking to myself “…man, I take my kids to the park every week, and not once has a celebrity chef stopped me, and asked me if I wanted chocolate soup!” Well I knew after watching this episode that I would indeed make that soup and I did. I have actually made it a couple of times since then, but it’s been a few years since I made it last.
Tomorrow is Valentine’s day. I love love love Valentine’s day. I mean how could you not love a holiday that celebrates 2 of my favorite things…love and chocolate. We have the same dinner every year (pasta and garlic bread), and we end our culinary feast with a chocolate tasting. This tradition started about 8 years ago. I had a private practice in Troy at the time, and my office was located just down the street from a “World Market.” On my breaks I would go browse and many times pick up a few things for home or my office. “World Market” carries all sorts of interesting things, and in February they sell all different sorts of chocolate. Well during one of my trips there, I got an idea to have a “chocolate from around the world” tasting for Valentine’s day. I also picked up some heart-shaped pasta, and a tradition was born. I make heart-shaped garlic bread, and we drink “fancy water” from our best crystal goblets. “Fancy water” is just ice water with cranberries or clementine orange segments added to the crystal pitcher. My kids came up with the name “fancy water” during our first Valentine extravaganza, and it stuck. So since that first year, it is mandatory that we have the same dinner, the same “fancy water”, the same garlic bread, and of course the same chocolate tasting. Unfortunately, “World Market” closed many of their stores in the area a few years back. The only “World Market” I know of that is still open is in Ann Arbor. Since Ann Arbor is 2 hours one way from my house, I’ve had to make a few changes. Every year, I scour every store that sells pasta for heart-shaped noodles, and every year I come up empty. So for the past few years, we just have regular ol’ noodles. This year, however, I found heart-shaped ravioli at Costco! Ryan of course doesn’t eat ravioli, but the rest of us will. I am soooo excited!
In addition to my “pasta scavenger hunt,” I also still try to find international chocolates for our annual tasting. I can usually find our personal favorites from Germany (Rittersport), but I haven’t been able to replicate the international assortment that we used to sample since “World Market” closed. This year I purchased mostly American made chocolate, but I got unusual flavors like dark chocolate raspberry lemon biscotti truffle bar, and milk chocolate peanut butter pretzel truffle bar. I also picked up some chocolate bars from Germany and Switzerland, and some chocolate covered biscuit sticks from Japan. I cannot wait for our annual Valentine celebration, it is one of my favorite days of the whole year. The festivities continue into the evening, as after we put the kids to bed, Dan and I watch one of my favorite movies ever…”Chocolat.” If you haven’t ever seen it, I highly recommend it. Admittedly, it is a “chick flick” but it isn’t cheesy…it’s actually quite chocolatey (hahaha). For my 30th birthday, Dan surprised me and rented out a theater owned by our good friends Connie and Dave, and we screened this movie. I love love love it and we watch it every year on Valentine’s day. It’s about a single mother and her daughter who open a “chocolaterie” during Lent in a very conservative French village in the 1950’s. It stars Juliette Binoche, Judi Dench, Johnny Depp, and Alfred Molina, a few of my absolute favorites…it is awesome! This year as a special treat before our Valentine’s day celebration, we had chocolate soup for dessert. The soup is rich, creamy, decadent, and absolutely delicious. In a word it is heavenly. I hope you all have a wonderful Valentine’s day full of family, chocolate, and of course love. Here is the link to the recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/george-duran/chocolate-soup-recipe/index.html