I cannot honestly say that the package arrived unexpectedly, but its content was unknown until I opened the box and removed the packing material to reveal a beautiful long bar of chocolate 64% cacao content, made by SOMA using cacao beans from Peru (as an aside, the cacao nibs I featured in my most recent post were also from Peruvian beans). I don't know whether Jerry of Jerry's Thoughts, Musings, and Rants! read something on my blog that suggested the gift or simply divined it: I was certainly happy to get a food that is an integral part of my daily diet (in moderation, of course).
In the package I also found a glass jar with an elegant label describing an intriguing content: Bacon Marmalade, whose ingredients include, besides bacon, sautéed onions (cipolle), balsamic vinegar from Modena (aceto balsamico di Modena) and spices. In the note accompanying the gifts, Jerry tells me that the marmalade is fabulous as an accompaniment to cheese. If you are curious to hear me describe how the pairing with some of my cheese works, I need to ask you to be patient, since I have decided to postpone opening the jar until a dinner with a friend of ours with whom I would like to share the experience. So, more on this at a later date.
Back to the chocolate, serendipity worked to suggest a pairing with pistachios. A few days before the chocolate arrived, we had received as a gift a bag of pistachios roasted (tostati) and lightly salted (salati). Having previously tasted and appreciated the pairing of chocolate and pistachios, and of chocolate and salt, I thought that putting together chocolate, pistachios and a bit of salt would be an interesting test. I recently made delicious chocolate-covered pecans, so it was easy to apply to pistachios the same technique. Preparation of the nuts involved only shelling and rubbing off the skin. Preparation of the chocolate consisted in finely chopping 3 ounces or so and then melting it according to the directions in this post. (In case you are wondering, a few pieces of chocolate found their way to my mouth while I was chopping it, as a sweet reward for my labor. All right, all right, chopping chocolate probably does not count as "labor.")
I used a teaspoon to make small clusters and deposit them on a tray lined with wax paper (carta oleata). Once the chocolate was completely set, we tasted the clusters and were delighted by the combination of crunch, sweetness and light saltiness of the ensemble.
The special delivery was not unexpected, because last month I signed up to participate to Season's Eatings, an edible gift exchange event engineered by Katie of Thyme for Cooking, the Blog. Many thanks to Jerry for the thoughtful gifts and to Katie for organizing the fun event.
Katie will have a roundup of the exchange some time after Christmas.
Click on the button to hear me pronounce the Italian words mentioned in the post:
pistacchi ricoperti di cioccolato
or launch the pistacchi ricoperti di cioccolato audio file [mp3].
[Depending on your set-up, the audio file will be played within the browser or by your mp3 player application. Please, contact me if you encounter any problems.]
What a special package that was! Bacon Marmalade~sounds too good to be true! And, of course the chocolate.....with pistachios! You will be eating well this holiday! Happy Holidays to you and your hubby! Have you been back to IT recently? Thanks for keeping in touch!
Posted by: Jann Mumford | December 20, 2011 at 12:00 PM
Nooo ! i pistacchi ricoperti di cioccolato noooo! adoro i pistacchi e anche il cioccolato!! ecco lo sapevo: la mia dieta è finita in questo post! DELIZIOSI! Bacioni e tanti auguri di Buon Natale e felice anno nuovo!
Posted by: Francy | December 20, 2011 at 03:49 PM
These sound really good, my kind of treat - I would say :)
Simona, I have some awards for you - I hope you will accept them:
Posted by: Paolo @ DisgracesOnTheMenu | December 20, 2011 at 11:22 PM
Oh! Yum! Now, I'm salavating. ;-)
Posted by: Paz | December 21, 2011 at 11:58 AM
Hi Jann. Truly special, indeed. I was in Perugia for a week in October. Happy Holidays to you!
Ciao Francy. Mi rendo conto che non e' un'offerta ipocalorica, ma e' vero che un assaggio e' molto soddisfacente e sapore e ricordo durano a lungo. E poi, sai, io non ho a disposizione tutte le leccornie che avrei se fossi in Italia ;) Augurissimi anche a te.
Thank you so much, Paolo! That is very kind of you. I certainly will.
I understand why, Paz.
Posted by: Simona Carini | December 21, 2011 at 10:04 PM
A beautiful post! The chocolate-covered pistachios look amazing! In Atlanta at Empire State South, Hugh Acheson makes an appetizer of pimento cheese topped with bacon marmalade which is spread on bread or crackers. It's delicious even if you don't think you like pimento cheese.
Posted by: Lynne | December 22, 2011 at 04:35 AM
Wow! Chocolate AND bacon? I never thought of chocolate and pistachios - but I have a bar of chocolate left from the cookies (shame, I bought too much) and found some wonderful pistachios yesterday.... Look forward to hearing about the bacon marmalade - sounds wonderful.
Posted by: Katie | December 23, 2011 at 09:06 AM
Hi Lynne. I have never had pimento cheese. The pairing with bacon marmalade sounds interesting.
Hi Katie. I am sure you can put that chocolate to good use. I hope you'll like the pairing with pistachios.
Posted by: Simona Carini | December 25, 2011 at 05:05 AM
Glad that your package arrived - we mailed it from the outlet mall in Grove City, PA when we were south of the border for a shopping trip and I wasn't too confident in the mall postal outlet! I'll be interested to hear to what good use you put the bacon marmalade!
Your chocolate covered pistachios look brilliant - I could eat some right now.
Happy New year!
Posted by: JDeQ | December 31, 2011 at 08:36 AM
Hi Jerry and thanks again for the thoughtful gift. I'll let you know how I will use the bacon marmalade. I am glad that serendipity brought together chocolate and pistachios under my eyes, because the pairing is really nice. Happy New Year to you too!
Posted by: Simona Carini | January 05, 2012 at 11:17 PM