Who likes chocolate?


In my January release With Strings Attached, my heroine Corey is a chocolatier. She makes fine, hand-crafted chocolates. She actually makes the chocolate herself, from raw cacao beans which she imports from a plantation in Brazil. She roasts them, then grinds them to remove the husks. Then she grinds the winnowed beans again to liquefy the cocoa butter and adds other ingredients— sugar and milk powder, sometimes vanilla. The mixture next goes into a conch machine, where rollers continuously knead the batch of chocolate liquor and ingredients for several hours. It’s a labor intensive process, but she produces amazing chocolates, which she charges a premium price for.  🙂 Continue reading “Who likes chocolate?”

Guatemala – Land of Eternal Spring


Guatemala has been termed the “Land of Eternal Spring”. This is due to the fact most of the country has temperatures that range between 64-82° F and humidity is rarely a problem. The temperature does cool significantly during the night. However the coastal areas and Petén jungle lowlands are hot and humid. The combination of hot and humid can drain you. The temperatures in the jungle are above 85° F giving the lush vegetation the perfect conditions to thrive. Continue reading “Guatemala – Land of Eternal Spring”

Wine Labels: Secrets of the Universe Revealed

* WINE 101 FOR BEGINNERS series 


“In vino veritas (In wine there is truth)”, or so Pliny the Elder has been credited with saying. He would have been even better served if someone had slapped a wine label onto the amphora.  Wine labels reveal the secrets of the universe.

Okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration; however, wine labels can tell you a lot when considering what bottle of vino you want to buy for that romantic dinner, gift for a friend, etc.

There’s a lot to know about wine, such as varietals, proper storage, styles versus grapes, oak versus unoaked and why it is a seriously bad idea to fill your pool with Champagne and go for a swim, no matter how rich you are.  Instead, I’m going to concentrate on the humble label.  This way, when you’re standing in the wine aisle, staring at the 8,000 varieties of wines and feeling like you’ve been pole-axed, you can decide what to buy based on something more than a name like Honeysuckle Sweet or Batty Old Tart. Continue reading “Wine Labels: Secrets of the Universe Revealed”