Chocolate-covered strawberries have been around since the 1960’s when a woman named Lorraine Lorusso combined chocolate and strawberries into this delicious dessert at her Stop n’ Shop in Chicago. She began by just dipping the strawberries in the chocolate and then they naturally hardened. She placed them on display and BAM! An overnight sensation. Now if you ever see a type of chocolate fruit, just thank Lorraine.
Even farther back, strawberries were used in Ancient Rome to treat depression, fevers, and sore throats. Native Americans have also been eating strawberries long before old Christo Colombo came to the U.S.
I checked in with Lovett’s resident plant expert, Mr. Reynolds, who shared a few more facts about Fragaria ananassa and Theobroma cacao.
About strawberries…”They are in fact not berries, but aggregate fruits. They are also octoploids, so they have 8 copies of their DNA. Not only that, but strawberries as we know them have been altered, so they are extremely different from the original strawberry. Lots of breeding behind it.”
About chocolate…”Theobromine, which is found in cacao, alters your brain chemistry and hits the pleasure part of your brain; that’s why we like it so much. Chocolate is native to the Americas, especially from Mexico and Ecuador. The seeds inside of the cacao bean is what is used to make chocolate. It’s what you crush up and process. That’s dark chocolate. Milk chocolate however is mixed with a bunch of vanilla and sugar. White chocolate is just the fat from the cacao plant. All of the chocolate active ingredient is taken out, so it's basically just the cocoa butter with sugar.”
Chocolate-covered strawberries are a well-known (and Hallmark marketed) Valentine’s day delicacy. It’s pretty typical to see a box of chocolate-covered strawberries and some red roses appear in your typical romance movie. Unfortunately, a 12 count box of chocolate strawberries from Edible Arrangements is about $40 (just goes to show how being single is economically superior).
However, if you just buy some strawberries from the store and a bar of chocolate, it’ll probably cost you about $8. So, for all you Valentine’s day-suckers, here are some chocolate strawberries that’ll save you 32 bucks.
I went to the store and purchased 2 boxes of strawberries, 2 bars of Ghirardelli dark chocolate, and 1 bar of Lindt white chocolate. I pretty much just picked whatever I could easily find. I took the groceries home and began my Lorraine L.-inspired creation. I didn’t really follow a recipe. I just did what I thought would work, and it did. (Maybe it’s because my family is from France, land of chocolatiers).
So here were my next steps.
I began by ripping two sheets of parchment paper to set on some tin trays where I would be placing the chocolate strawberries.
I filled a medium pot with about a couple inches of water. I placed it on the stove and waited for it to heat to about a simmer. Looking back, I would recommend using two pots with water, one for each bowl of chocolate. It became too difficult to mix the white chocolate while trying to dip the strawberries in the dark chocolate.
I then took two heat-safe bowls that would fit over the pot, but not fall in. While the water began to simmer, I broke the dark chocolate into small pieces and put them in a bowl. I also broke the white chocolate into small pieces and placed them into a separate bowl. I then washed the strawberries and dumped them out onto a paper towel (I would recommend doing this because it makes it easier to pick the best strawberries without searching through the plastic Driscoll’s container). After washing the strawberries, I placed the bowls over the heated pot and began stirring until the chocolates had completely melted.
After the chocolates had completely melted, I removed them from the pot and began dipping the strawberries in them. I would dip the strawberries into the dark chocolate, first swirling it around in the chocolate and then letting the excess chocolate drip off. After the dark chocolate dripped off, I placed the strawberries on the parchment paper.
Dipping a fork into the white chocolate, I drizzled some on top of the dark chocolate strawberries to make them look even more Hallmark-esque (can’t avoid that marketing!). After I dipped all of the strawberries into the chocolate and they were on the parchment paper, I set them to the side for about 45 minutes to cool just at room temperature.
Overall, the chocolate-covered strawberries were so good. I totally forgot about what all the hype was about. I can’t comprehend why they are so expensive when they are so easy to make. No mess except for the few drops of chocolate on my hand. And the chocolate covered spatula that I gladly licked clean.
If you are ever looking to further your chocolate-covered strawberry experience, there is a museum in Belgium just for strawberries and the annual strawberry festival in Lebanon, Oregon, which is home to the world’s largest strawberry shortcake. Since I won’t be in Oregon any time soon, I might have to learn to bake my own.