If there ever was an ingredient in need of atonement, it might be candied fruit. When you're talking about the fruit, in fruitcake, there is no escaping judgment. And this time of year, the tubs of seemingly shellacked fruit cubes begin to show up in the produce sections. Neon green cherries, anyone?
But excellent quality candied fruit is worth a second chance. All we have to do is separate the fruit from the cake and re-imagine it, encased in chocolate. This path to redemption can lead to Edelweiss Chocolates.
The original Edelweiss Chocolates shop and factory in Beverly Hills opened in 1942. Since then, it's changed hands several times, and is currently owned by Steve and Madlen Zahir. The candied fruit is either macerated and enveloped in dark chocolate, or kept in large slices and hand-dipped in the stuff. And the chocolate is not used to dress up or mask the favor of the candied fruit. The bittersweet chocolate tempers some of the concentrated sweetness and allows the full flavor of the fruit to emerge.
Although you can buy Edelweiss' candied fruit chocolates by the piece, we tend to purchase what is known as The Fruit Box. And we usually reach right for the center first: the chocolate-dipped orange. Next up is the tart apricot. Unlike other filled chocolates, there is never a question as to what is inside this piece: the smooth honey-like flavor of the apricot hits you even before the chocolate. Finally, before we close the box, we take one of the candied ginger coins. The ginger pieces are tender, yet almost as crisp as the chocolate shell. And with each bite, an addictive and strong gingery syrup is released, a marker of the freshness of the candied fruit used.
Wait did we just say, addictive and fresh candied fruit? Yes, indeed. Redemption can be sweet.