09 March 2006

Tales of Chocolate & Chickpea and Sweet Potato Stew with Prunes~

Last night Antonio and I went to visit the chocolate maker Soma in Toronto's "Distillery District"--to try some different types of dark chocolate and to take a look around. I had seen a write- up about the shop in last month's Toronto Life, and always on the look out for new favorites (as well as reliable after- dinner 'dolci') we braved rush hour traffic to get there before it closed at 6. The chocolates on offer were lovely, and I was happy to see a sign posted admonishing "chocolate melts at body temperature--please use a basket when shopping." Having worked at a chocolate store myself (Eitelbach Chocolates--they make delicious treecakes or baumkuchen, also in a truffle form which, by the way, they will ship,) I know that people can ruin small chocolates just carrying them around in their hands. We bought a long, 250 gram bar of dark chocolate (from Venezuelan beans) for $12 CAD, and another 25 gram rectangle of chocolate made from organic Madagascar cocoa beans for about $4. We tried some of the larger bar last night--it was delicious! I think what makes it so good is its extremely smooth texture and its very low level of sweetness. It beats any Lindt bar hands down, and rivals (or perhaps surpasses) my favorite chocolate from Frangipan. If you are in Toronto, I would recommend a visit.

On to the pictured stew, which I whipped up in half an hour when we arrived home starving and filled with road rage... It has an incredibly rich and complex flavour, both sweet and savory, and did a good job of comforting and warming us. The sweet potato chunks were so unexpectedly smooth and buttery! The recipe suggests serving it over couscous, but that was the one item I had forgotten to pick up on the weekend so I served it with my homemade fruited bread instead, which matched well because of the sweet notes in the stew.

You Need: 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced small; 1 large can chickpeas, rinsed and drained; 1 large onion, sliced thinly; 2 garlic cloves, diced; 1 tbsp of fresh ginger, diced; 1 tsp cumin; 1 tsp cinnamon; 6 prunes, chopped; 2.5 cups vegetable broth; salt, pepper, olive oil; chopped parsley or cilantro to serve

To Make It: (1) Warm some olive oil in a large pot, saute the onion until soft, add the garlic, ginger, cumin and cinnamon and cook for about 1 more minute, stirring to prevent burning (2) Add the small sweet potato squares, chickpeas, prunes and broth (or water and bullion cube) and bring to a boil (3) Lower the heat and simmer for 15 or 20 minutes, until the sweet potato is tender (4) Season to taste with salt, pepper and chopped parsley or cilantro (5) Serve over couscous or with muslei bread~


Anonymous linda said...

Soma has some very interesting stuff...I'm inspired by the chocolates and cookies that were described on their site...

5:47 AM  
Blogger Kristina said...

I know, the flavour combinations are very tempting. I also wanted to sample the chocolate with candied lemon peel chunks in it--it looked so rustic and pretty!

10:46 AM  

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