Just in time for Valentine's Day (given the delivery time, up to four weeks), the American Bat Conservation Society is selling bat-shaped chocolate candies. Why bat-shaped? "Bats are cute, adorable and lovable," says ABCS president Tom Valega. The candies are a fund-raiser, as shown by their price: $25 for eight 2-ounce Bat Bites in plain milk chocolate, $27 for decorated versions with peanut butter ears and dark-chocolate eyes (both prices postpaid). Call Absolutely Bats, (301) 984-BATS. You might also ask about Vampfire, a habanero hot sauce.
Every so often you need an instant fancy appetizer, and that's why a company called City Bites sells what it calls coquilles: frozen scallop-shaped miniature souffles. They come in four flavors--mushroom chive, eggplant-pesto, broccoli-Cheddar and Parmesan-zucchini--and bake in 10-12 minutes in a conventional or toaster oven (microwave not recommended). Handy. Available in L.A. at Bristol Farms and Mrs. Gooch's markets.
Barkingside for Beer
Some people just want to brew their own, and for them the Barkingside Catalog sells all sorts of stuff for beer- and wine-making. We're talking 50 different beer malts from England, Scotland, Belgium, Germany and Holland and 13 types of hops, to say nothing of wine yeasts and fining materials, brewing and wine-making kits, and even the makings for liqueurs and soft drinks. For a catalog, call Barkingside at (507) 332-0876.
Bite This Book
"The Stinking Cookbook: The Layman's Guide to Garlic Eating, Drinking and Stinking" (Celestial Arts: $9.95) is by Jerry Dal Bozzo, whose San Francisco restaurant the Stinking Rose goes through a ton and a half of vampire-bane a month and uses the slogan "We Season Our Garlic With Food." The book gives 36 garlic-saturated recipes--obvious ones like cioppino, 40-clove chicken and garlic ice cream and less obvious ones like garlic ramos fizz and garlic cough syrup. It's a rather San Francisco-ish book, featuring lots of self-indulgent whimsy and photos of local celebrities you may not know, but it's indubitably garlicky. At bookstores.
The Prospect of Purple Chocolates
For the first time in their 54-year history, M&Ms; are asking the public to vote on a new color for the candy-covered chocolates. From now through March 17, ballots will be available at markets for you to express your preference for blue, pink or purple--or none of the above. The three prospective colors already have their own cartoon representations: purple holding a cellular phone, blue in dark glasses and pink wearing a baseball cap backwards, Generation X-style.
Scores of fisherman have been injured angling for the variety of tuna known as ono. It may take off into midair even when not hooked, and its pointed, toothy jaw can inflict wicked injuries on anybody in its way.