There are few things I would not do for you, my loyal minions.  Included is sampling wonderful and delicious handmade treats in order that I might righteously recommend them for your gifting pleasure.  It’s one of the less pleasant activities in which I participate, but it simply has to be done.

Recently, I attended some events during which some of these treats were provided.  Were I not to suggest them here, I doubt any of you would know about them, and that is just plain wrong!  You deserve to know and to have these choices.

Seriously, I loved the experience.  I also know that I can safely recommend them to you and that you or your recipient will be delighted with your choices.  It’s so much fun to give treats such as these!

Oh, Fudge!  And what fudge it is.  I was so surprised when I tasted the little morsels that founder Christine Hanson presented. She calls her product Auntie Früf’s Aahsome Aahfferings™. More like little individual handmade candies, her fudge bites burst with flavor, so smooth and soothing to the palate.  The key is their bite-size size. These can be a perfect indulgence without loading up on the calories, if, you know, one can control oneself when confronted by these gems. I sampled espresso (dark chocolate filled with espresso beans), p-nut butter (mild chocolate with crunchy peanut butter), glandula (milk chocolate with hazelnuts) and Cloccolata all’arancia (double dip dark chocolate with a splash of orange).  Whether as a gift or for an event, you just can’t miss with these!  Many varieties from which to choose, from $12. is a unique purveyor of “bark” like nothing I’ve ever tasted. This was an, “Oh, my!” experience.  They start with a custom-made graham cracker base, dense and thick, crunchy cookies, to which toppings are added.  The resultant sinful “h bark” is to die for.  No one visiting their table that I witnessed was less than emotionally overcome with delight when sampling varieties of h bark.  The original, shown above, is topped with their own recipe toffee and chocolate concoction.  It works!  Also choose from white chocolate, Heath, almond, Reeses, Oreo and Holiday specials (through November 29 only, this year!).  Handmade perfection.  From $20 for the h bark, but there is more!  Outstanding cupcakes, mini cupcakes and bundts are available from their spin-off company, Katycakes.

With one exception, that being the fudge lady above, here is another succinct online resource for similar goodies from Los Angeles Splash magazine.

Finally, I was treated to the most delicious, juicy without being sloppy, sweet, gourmet caramel apple ever tasted. Lovingly hand created in La Verne, CA and shipped everywhere, the Sinfully Sweet Apple Company makes the most diverse and delectable line of edible apple art I’ve ever sampled.  I am far from an apple expert, but I’ve had my share of caramel apples.  Now, I am forever spoiled and can never go back to those super sticky, thick and chewy common caramel apples after having one of these.  The story is that these folks choose only the finest Granny Smith apples to start.  Mine was perfect from the first to the last bite, with only the slightest, smallest core.  This means that it was mostly all edible apple.  I tried their large size Chocolate Banana Peanut apple, above, which sells for a reasonable $6.25.  It was THAT good!  Smaller apples cost less.  I learned from company folks that they not only have a regular line of inventive gourmet apples, perfect for any general occasion imaginable, but they also will create and deliver product for special occasions from weddings to any special event under the sun.  In addition to these best-of-the-best apples, the company also specializes in on-a-stick pretzels, cheesecake, even chocolate covered bacon and more, plus tins of their own unique gourmet popcorn combinations.

There’s a new and scrumptious, sumptuous dark chocolate in town called PureDark.  If, as I, you love dark chocolate, this is not to be missed.  The taste is as different from others as I have ever tasted, and, it was more pleasing!  The company brags that their passion is for the best chocolate, minimally processed in small batches, though not really hand made.  Though PureDark is a unit of Mars, Inc., the company seems to be run as a boutique brand, left to do its thing unencumbered by the big, bad corporate world.  On the other hand, having the resources of a huge company behind it does have its advantages when it comes to expensing funds for PR, R&D and marketing. At the event where I saw their display, I sampled some of their bark as well as covered blueberries.  Flavor was intense, as it should be, without bite and very smooth.  Very pleasing to the palate! Available in slabs, barks, and rounds, with fruits and nuts, and nibs.  Trust me, this is heavenly, decadent indulgence guaranteed to please.  Perfect for baking, cooking and tasting, PureDark is among the very best I’ve tasted, ever!  Choose from singular tastes exploding with flavor, or try something more exotic, with combinations that include Chipotle Cinnamon, Cardamom All Spice, and Raspberry Acai.  Other flavor combinations include macadamia nuts roasted and halved, with dried mango and caramelized cocoa nibs, and roasted pecans, crystallized ginger and caramelized cocoa nibs (just to whet your appetite!).  Surely you know someone who would love some of this, in addition to yourself, that is.

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