Chocolate It Up to Experience

Chocofin Chocolatier has been providing its handmade chocolates to the Valley's top resorts for the past three years. Now, the purveyor of artisan European confections has opened a retail shop in Fountain Hills.

These aren't just any candies, but masterpieces of all-natural ingredients so special that they're sold by the piece (boxes holding two to 24 pieces also are available).

Chocofin's owners know their craft. Denise and Louis Mirabella are both seasoned pastry chefs. Denise, a graduate of the New England Culinary Institute, has crafted pastry for the Boulders Resort and Marriott's Camelback Inn. Louis trained under the Valley's renowned Pierre Fauvet of Pierre's Pastry Cafe, the Princess Resort and Lewis Stevens catering.

Flavors are fanciful, including roasted raspberry and banana macadamia.

Check out Chocofin at Saguaro and Panorama drives in Fountain Hills. Info: 480-836-7444.

Ponying Up Polo: It's so hard to find a good zereshk polo in this town. Persian Room has just made the search a little easier. The fine wine and kebab restaurant has opened at Scottsdale Road and Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard, and it serves not only zereshk polo, but polo varieties of sabzy, adas, baghala and albalo.

Polo is the Iranian term for basmati rice, and zereshk refers to mix-ins of barberries and saffron (barberry is an acidic fruit). Sabzy polo is rice with fresh vegetables; adas polo is rice with ground lamb, dates, raisins and saffron; baghala brings dill weed and lima beans; and albalo means sour black cherries and saffron.

Persian Room also offers other familiar Iranian favorites such as kebabs and gyros.

Wynds of Change: CopperWynd Resort and Club in Fountain Hills has unveiled a new flagship restaurant. It's called Alchemy, and it is the first time that the private club has opened its facilities to the public. Alchemy offers a contemporary menu with specialties like Jack Daniel's New York steak, sesame-crust ahi salad and potato-crusted ono.

What's Up, Doc?: We've got purple potatoes from Peru and maroon carrots from the Texas Aggies. Now, also from Texas, we have a purple carrot, and it's showing up in markets everywhere (not quite the Valley yet). They look pretty neat, ringed with purple and orange. The problem? According to Gourmet, when cooked, the colors bleed, much like a tie-dyed tee shirt. Worse, the vibrant veggies have a curious flavor, reminding one Gourmet magazine taster of "ant spray." So looks can kill.


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