This December, Certified Master Chocolatier Amy Jo (Valenza) Pedone is hosting two Orange County Holiday Pop-Up Shops featuring the entire VALENZA CHOCOLATIER® 2014 HOLIDAY COLLECTION. Those still looking for the perfect edible gift to give to loved ones--or themselves--can choose from a selection of handmade Italian chocolates made locally. First is the Holiday Pop-Up Shop at The Hood Market in Costa Mesa on Thursday, December 18th from 11:00am to 6:00pm (or until sold out). The second Pop-Up Shop will be at Local Fare located in The OC Mix on Saturday, December 20th from 1:00pm to 4:00pm (or until sold out). In addition to getting all of those last-minute gifts taken care of and meeting Certified Master Chocolatier Amy Jo in person, all who stop by either location will be eligible to win a VALENZA CHOCOLATIER® Tartaruga gift box and bar medley from the Holiday Collection.

Each chocolate or confection in the VALENZA CHOCOLATIER® 2014 HOLIDAY COLLECTION has its own unique Italian history while capturing the holiday spirit with ingredients such as amaretto, cinnamon, clove, candied orange peel, hazelnuts, limoncello, pecans, nutmeg, and more. This Holiday Collection will certainly be a memorable gift for family, friends and clients as well as a perfect gift for a holiday party host/hostess or stocking stuffer.

“Being half Sicilian (Valenza is my maiden name), I grew up making an assortment of Sicilian cookies from 100+ year old family recipes as well as my mother’s turtles and chocolate covered cherries each Christmas. My inspiration for VALENZA CHOCOLATIER® 2014 HOLIDAY COLLECTION is to pay homage to my heritage, family holiday traditions, and studies in Torino and Lecco, Italy,” states Amy Jo.

2014 VALENZA CHOCOLATIER® Holiday Collection:

Cucidati Truffles (6 or 12 Piece Box): Inspired by Great, Great Grandfather Giuseppe Vitale’s Sicilian fig cookie called Cucidati, this authentic truffle is a warm spiced dark chocolate ganache blend of figs, allspice, cinnamon, candied orange peel, honey and raisins, hand rolled in 61% dark chocolate and finished in pure cocoa powder.

Bonbon Sleeve (5 Bonbons): A variety box of decadent, award winning Bonbons. Flavors include Spumoni (cherry, pistachio, 61% dark chocolate), Fennel (anise flavor, 61% dark chocolate), Clove (based on Sicilian clove chocolate cookie; clove, cinnamon, allspice, 41% milk and 61% dark chocolate), Limoncello (lemon, limoncello, white chocolate) and Espresso (illy® espresso, 41% milk and 61% dark chocolate).

Gianduiotti (6 Pieces; Classico, Maximo or Combination of Both): Formed and wrapped in the true traditional style, this hazelnut chocolate dates back to 1865 in Torino, Italy. Valenza Chocolatier has brought this delightful treat to the United States in the form of Gianduiotti (plural of Gianduia), extruded ingots of pure bliss made with 100% imported Piedmontese hazelnuts and either 41% milk (Classico) or 61% dark (Maximo) chocolate.

Bar Medley (3 Bars): A medley of solid bars including the Nocciole Bar (roasted Piedmont hazelnuts and Sicilian sea salt sprinkled on a bar of 41% milk chocolate), Peperoncino Bar (an infusion of crushed Calabrian red pepper with 61% dark chocolate), and Nib Bar (caramelized cocoa nibs sprinkled on a bar of 73.5% dark chocolate).

Tartaruga Box (5-piece or Singles): Chewy caramel with a salty surprise between four roasted Georgia pecan legs and shelled with silky 61% dark chocolate, the award winning Tartaruga (Turtle in Italian) and inspiration for Valenza Chocolatier® has garnered many fans. While available year-round, the custom 5-piece box is a part of the Holiday Collection, because it is the most popular gifted item.

il Cioccolato Club (one, two, or three month membership): For the ultimate chocolate lover, the “il Cioccolato Club” is an exclusive monthly Valenza Chocolatier® club that can be gifted on a one, two, or three month basis. Each member will receive a package at the beginning of the applicable month filled with a four-week assortment of chocolates and confections chosen by Amy Jo. Consider it a chocolate survival-kit with a tasting guide illustrating the proper order of indulgence and tips on pairings.

The Holiday Collection (including full descriptions and pricing) is available online through

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