I love chocolate. Milk, dark, semi-sweet, white…. I’ll eat it all. Last December my mom, my aunt, and I took a girls trip to Chicago. Another DIVA had recommended this fabulous Italian restaurant, Osteria Via Stato, not far off of Michigan Avenue. After we had stuffed ourselves (I had the most incredible lasagna), the waitress brought out a complimentary dessert. It was simple and perfect. They make their own chocolate, which is brought out wrapped in wax paper. The waitress laid it on the table, and then started pounding it with a wooden hammer. When she unfolded it, the chocolate was broken into bit-size pieces. To accompany it, they provided salted nuts and candied oranges. While we all swore we were just “going to try a bite”, all of it was gone by the time we left the table.
Since then I’ve been intending to try to recreate something similar to the Osteria experience. I decided to melt the nuts and fruit into the chocolate though. One of my favorite combinations is chocolate, dried cherries and salted almonds. As such, I had my perfect salty & sweet combo. Let me know though if you have other great ideas for the toppings!
Chocolate Bark with Dried Cherries & Almonds
- 1/2 cup chopped Dried Cherries
- 1/2 cup chopped Salted Almonds
- 2 Bars of good chocolate, broken into pieces (I used 1 Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate and 1 Lindt Extra Creamy Milk Chocolate)
- Parchment Paper
Place half of the chocolate (half of each bar) in a microwave safe bowl. Heat the chocolate in the microwave for 30 seconds. Stir the chocolate with a rubber spatula, and then put it back into the microwave for another 30 seconds. Note, the container is going to get very hot – use caution! Also, the chocolate will continue to melt upon stirring. Immediately add the remaining chocolate, small pieces at a time, and stir continuously until it’s completely smooth. If needed, put it back in the microwave for an additional 15 seconds.
Once smooth, pour the chocolate onto the parchment paper (I put it on a baking sheet). I attempted to get it back to a rectangle shape, but any shape will work. While the chocolate is still hot, sprinkle it evenly with the dried cherries and almonds. Allow the chocolate to harden before serving. Putting it in the refrigerator will quicken the process. When ready to serve, you can either slice the bark into pieces, or use a wood hammer to break it apart while wrapped in parchment paper. Best served at room temperature.