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'Tis the Season to Eat Chocolate


The best way to describe the Great Chocolate Cover-Up is with the words that appear on its two-tone pink label: "A scandalously delicious way to dip fruit, cookies, snacks . . . . "

It's a new product from Sara Brook Desserts of Houston: chocolate coating in a jar. You soften the coating--it comes in white and dark chocolate--in the microwave oven and use it straight from the jar to paint fresh fruit, cookies, pretzels, dried apricots, nuts and whatever else you can think of. The Cover-Up can also serve as an ice cream sauce and as the dessert dip at a fondue party.

The advantage is, you don't have to transfer it to a bowl or pot. That means your clean-up load is lessened by at least one bowl.

\o7 Cover-Ups are available at Irvine Ranch Farmers Markets and at Pavilions markets in West Hollywood, West Los Angeles and Arcadia. The suggested retail price is $3.50.

A romantic tin of chocolate-infused cookies could make a splendid Christmas gift. In gold trimmed with magenta and black, the container holds 10 ounces of Tuscan-style chocolate biscotti. To make sure you know these cookies are for dipping, the tin is adorned with an old-fashioned sketch of a child about to plunge one into a cup.

Inside are three types of biscotti from La Tempesta Bakery Confections in South San Francisco. They are cioccolotti , biscotti dipped in bittersweet chocolate; gianduia , hazelnut biscotti covered with milk chocolate mixed with hazelnut creme; and amore cioccolato , chocolate biscotti that contain both almonds and hazelnuts and are dipped in bittersweet chocolate.

The suggested retail price is $15. Shops that stock the tin include Neiman Marcus, Newport; Bristol Farms, South Pasadena; Montana Mercantile and Fred Segal Espresso in Santa Monica; An Occasional Basket, Woodland Hills; the Social Graces, Van Nuys, and Village Kitchen, Glendora.

Another candidate to assuage the craving for chocolate is Green Street Restaurant's AFCC. That's the staff code name for the Almost Flourless Chocolate Cake, an intense dessert that gives you two pounds of Belgian chocolate diluted with only two tablespoons of flour. It's $32 and must be ordered a week in advance--which may try the patience of some chocoholics.

Other Green Street treats available by advance order include a chocolate-raspberry cake, $33; a Snicker layer cake, $35; key lime and New York cheesecakes for $29 each; and a carrot cake for $35. The restaurant's popular zucchini bread is also for sale. The price is $4.25 a loaf or $1 for two slices.

Green Street Restaurant, 146 S. Shoppers Lane, Pasadena; (818) 577-7170. Open Monday through Thursday 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday to 10 p.m., Sunday 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.

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