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Chocolate (Honey) and Berries Are Best with — Almost Anything

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(Gerry Furth-Sides) In the changing cycle of food favorites, dried fruit is back in fashion.   It transforms baked goods,   ice cream sundaes and absolutely shines on cheese or charcuterie platters.


Dried fruit company Stoneridge Orchards and leading honey company Savannah Bee offer the very best variations of their perfect ingredients for at-home chefs and hosts. The new Whipped Honey Chocolate, and berries include sweet-tart Montmorency Cherries, and Chocolate Covered Blueberries and Chocolate covered Strawberries, big as pebbles.

The Montmorency Cherries have been considered special since ancient times when elite members of Chinese society enjoyed them. The cherry made its way to Greece from the Black Sea in Asia Minor to Europe before coming to America. It’s triple appeal came in its visually appealing ruby-red coloring and tart, yet sweet taste.

After Roman legionnaires discovered the tart cherries, they traveled with them and introduced them to the rest of Roman territory, planting cherry trees alongside Roman roads.  Roman soldiers also used the fruit for food and the wood to build weapons and repair equipment.

Upon its arrival in the New World, the cherry spread across the country over the centuries.   The most favorable weather patterns dictated that roots favored the 45th parallel because of its most favorable weather patterns. Main cherry growing states include New york, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin and Michigan. (70% of all tart cherries in the US are grown in the Traverse Bay Farms area of Michigan).

The tree was named for Montmorency, a well-to-do suburb of Paris, France with a long history of notables living in its environs. Montmorency is the most popular sour cherry in the United States and Canada, and is extensively used in cherry pies, jams and preserves.   They are the best partner with venison and also lamb.2014-08-15-00-55-57I incorporate them into salads, add them to sweet potato dishes to accompany venison or lamb, and love them in oatmeal too.  Montmorency cherries are also marketed in dried form, and Montmorency cherry juice and juice concentrate are also sold.

And what better than a sundae with raspberry-cream gelato, raspberry sorbet and the chocolate-covered strawberries or blueberries as a garnish?

Stonebridge cherries, chocolate-dipped honey and a sprinkle of chocolate pearls becomes a decadent but not overbearing dessert for afternoon tea or espresso.

Montmorency Cherries have health benefits, studied since the last century.   Because of the circulating phenolic acid, cherries have a positive impact on the systolic blood pressure.

Savannah Bee spins together crystallized Wildflower honey and organic Peruvian cocoa powder from Brazil to make Whipped Chocolate Honey.

The sweet, silky chocolate combination, known to promote a positive state of mood and mind,” adds an intriguing, natural taste to holiday cookies, cakes, warm biscuits, as well as a topping for waffles or cakes.  It is available in two sizes: 12 oz. for $16.55 and two, 3 oz. jars for $12.

The third-generation growers at Stoneridge Orchards produce the  all-natural Montmorency Cherries, Blueberries and Strawberries, dipped in delicious chocolate.  Berries are harvested at the pick of ripeness and then gently dried.  The premium dark chocolate is made from 52% cocoa.

The brand also makes undipped dried fruit, including all-natural and organic Cherries.   Cherry Chocolate Bread Pudding or Cherry Chocolate Decandence. Its dried mixed berries, cranberries or blueberries are also perfect for a bread puddings and the Very Berry Cookie.

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