Just in time for Valentine's Day (given the delivery time, up to four weeks), the American Bat Conservation Society is selling bat-shaped chocolate candies. Why bat-shaped? "Bats are cute, adorable and lovable," says ABCS president Tom Valega. The candies are a fund-raiser, as shown by their price: $25 for eight 2-ounce Bat Bites in plain milk chocolate, $27 for decorated versions with peanut butter ears and dark-chocolate eyes (both prices postpaid). Call Absolutely Bats, (301) 984-BATS. You might also ask about Vampfire, a habanero hot sauce.
Every so often you need an instant fancy appetizer, and that's why a company called City Bites sells what it calls coquilles: frozen scallop-shaped miniature souffles. They come in four flavors--mushroom chive, eggplant-pesto, broccoli-Cheddar and Parmesan-zucchini--and bake in 10-12 minutes in a conventional or toaster oven (microwave not recommended). Handy. Available in L.A. at Bristol Farms and Mrs. Gooch's markets.
Barkingside for Beer
Some people just want to brew their own, and for them the Barkingside Catalog sells all sorts of stuff for beer- and wine-making. We're talking 50 different beer malts from England, Scotland, Belgium, Germany and Holland and 13 types of hops, to say nothing of wine yeasts and fining materials, brewing and wine-making kits, and even the makings for liqueurs and soft drinks. For a catalog, call Barkingside at (507) 332-0876.