Friday, November 2, 2012


First, just in case you are saying.......What the heck is an amenity?  An amenity is just a little something that someone (usually a business) provides to their customer or guest as a little something extra.  For example, at my old job I planned a meeting at the Grand Bohemian hotel in Orlando, FL and when I arrived and checked into my room there was a beautiful fruit and cheese platter with a very nice bottle of red wine waiting for me as a thank you for booking the meeting with them.  Chocolate covered strawberries or an assortment of chocolates is another common amenity.

There is an upscale hotel here in New Orleans that Bittersweet Confections provides the amenity boxes for the hotel's special guests.  The hotel colors are red, black and silver so the amenities are prepared using boxes that are a combination of those colors.  We place some shreds of black crinkle paper and silver strands in the bottom of the box, and place little bags tied up with ribbon of items that are either a nice treat or are indicative of New Orleans.  Each box is then tied up with a pretty red ribbon and is ready to go.  We usually prepare at least 100 of these boxes each week for the hotel.   

Some examples of things that I have learned are well known in New Orleans are:

Cheese straws are something I had heard of before, but really wasn't all that familiar with.  They taste similar to a Cheese-It cracker.  They are piped into short "sticks" with a star tip so they have ridges and baked until crispy.  We actually used these in the box lunches we made last weeked instead of chips.  These are probably better for you than chips anyway........maybe.

Pecan roca is yummy deliciousness in your mouth!  Roca is basically a nut brittle with chocolate on top and can be made with several different nuts.  Each time I have helped with boxes it has been pecan roca, but we also have almond roca in the shop.  Cheryl (the owner of Bittersweet Confections and a confection queen) explained to me that when making the roca you can tell if you have it right if it is shiny when you pour it out to harden.  If it looks cloudy then it is going to be too soft and you want it to have a nice snap and be crunchy when you eat it, not chewy.

Amaretti cookies sweet little almond flavor cookies that are made with almond paste, sugar and eggs and are piped onto a cookie sheet to bake instead of scooped.  Once they are baked and cooled we dust them with powdered sugar before bagging them up for sale.  Although they can be kind of expensive to make because of the almond paste, they are well worth it!

The Fleur de Lis is seen all over the city.  Almost everywhere you look you see a Fleur de Lis somewhere.  We make some molded chocolate Fleur de Lis for the shop and they are very popular.  We pipe the tempered chocolated into the chocolate molds and let it set, then once the chocolate has set we pop them out, dust them with silver dust and place them in individual clear bags.  They really are pretty and Cheryl uses quality chocolate so you know they taste good too!

Hmmmm, mental note.........this is definitely a little nugget to tuck away for coming back to Tally and the some of the nice hotels there that may consider amenities for their special guests.  I just need to come up with treats that represent Tallahassee.  Any ideas?

Until next time......Keep it sweet!

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