Archive for the 'Central Pennsylvania' Category


The Chocolate Show

The depth and variety of people who live around this small city has always amazed me, from ultra-marathoners to world-class sopranos to very intense foodies.

So it is with Curtis Vreeland, who tracks emerging trends in the confectionery industry. Just before Thanksgiving, he presented this year’s research at the 10th annual New York Chocolate Show. It’s part of Le Salon du Chocolat, which starts in Paris, passes through New York, then hops to Beijing and six locations in Japan.


Attendance in New York is about 30,000 — impressive, until you consider the size of the Paris and Tokyo shows, which each draw 150,000.


Here’s this year’s Chocolate Show review from Curtis:


Want to eat some opium?

A strange offer, considering that opium was traditionally eaten by Chinese women as a fatal exit plan from unhappy arranged marriages.

But an Opium bonbon was just one example of many sweet gems waiting for chocolate connoisseurs at the tenth annual New York Chocolate Show. Considering that the item in question was a dark chocolate truffle, it brought new meaning to the term “chocolate to die for.” An addictive truffle with blood orange, smokey lapsang souchong and Chinese five spice, it was conjured up by Oliver Kita, an innovative chocolatier from Rhinebeck, NY.

It can serve as an indicator of how creative contemporary nouvelle American chocolatiers have become, scouring the globe for inspiration and packing a multiplex of flavors, textures and sensorial stimulation into each sweet bite. Hello to multicultural, racy spice bazaar tastes …

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Happy Giving of Thanks

This week, my mother-in-in-law is in town – but the amazing Velma got off the plane at noon in a wheelchair and we had to camp in the Emergency Room at Hbg Hospital all evening, following by a 4 a.m. surgery.

She’s okay, and I want to tell you about the two terrific Thanksgiving dinners she almost had.

But first, I’m reanimating a Thanksgiving column I wrote about her a few years ago.


Unlike the holidays of spring and summer, which require charcoal lugging or propane lighting – and sometimes keg tapping and cherry-bomb throwing – Thanksgiving is leisurely.

It asks for only the energy to fall away from the dinner table …

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Opening a restaurant?

What’s the best place in Pennsylvania to open a restaurant?

That’s easy, State College. The relatively high percentage of income that goes to eating out in State College pushes its Restaurant Growth Index to 156, way over the national average.

“The RGI figure for each of the 363 metro areas provided here is calculated to a national average of 100,” says Tom Spencer of Claritas, “which means the higher the RGI over 100, the more opportunity there is. We worked out those numbers by looking at how much money people spend at restaurants as a percentage of their income; then we compared that to national averages.”

Right behind State College in the RGI ranking is …

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Woo-Hoo. Inspections. Maybe.

According to sort-of informed sources, the Governor’s Office has wrangled 15 municipalities into the state’s Restaurant Inspection Database, and Harrisburg is one of them.

Here, if you want to read it, is almost the entire …

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Hollywood Casino


Wow. Really.

That was the extent of my reaction this week when the Hollywood Casino people came to HACC to troll for Hospitality majors. Exterior work on the new five-story casino is finished, and the opening is set for Feb. 4.

The casino will open with 11 restaurants and go to 13 within a few months. One commissary will serve all the food venues with a butcher shop for meat fabrication, a scratch bakery and about 500 cooks, bakers, pot washers and waitstaff.

Running the food and beverage operation is …

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Anna Nother


Does your memory stretch back to the turn of the century? Do you recall Harrisburg’s nascent yuppie social networking group, the Harrisburg Young Professionals, publicly panting for a certain chain coffeeshop?

“Oh, please please please Mr. Starbucks Man, please plunk down your magic espresso machine and our downtown will be cool, and attract more people like us — sophisticated!”

Fast forward to October 2007 and …

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Goodbye, Skewers

It was great while it lasted, a sweet and quiet room with good food and excellent soup. At first, Middle Eastern food on Second Street was a novelty, but after Skewers opened two more kebab places came along quickly.

Now Javid Mohmand is headed in a different direction.

“Skewers is going to go away,” he told me yesterday.

Javid isn’t closing the place because of the competition — he just wants to do Indian food, even though he’s Afghan. So he’s going to shut down, remodel, hire two chefs and reopen as …

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In culinary school and getting ready to trade the writing life for the cooking life. Or not. Might do both. At the moment I'm a feature writer for The Patriot-News in Harrisburg, Pa. My name is Pat Carroll.