A Sugar-Coated Entertaining Guide

Confession: we love entertaining, and this year we’re gearing up to host our best Halloween party yet. But we can always use a little help, so we sweet-talked chocolatier Gia Michaels into sitting down with us and spilling everything there is to know about the making, eating, and serving of candy.

Rue La La: Tricks or treats?
Gia: Treats! I fall in love with how candy makes children smile.

Rue La La: We’re planning on throwing a Halloween party for grown-ups. What are some of your go-to displays that you put out for the more sophisticated set?
Gia: Hands down, my Wonderfuls™ a defining chocolate moment™. These are simply gorgeous when displayed in a glass bowl or tall glass vase.

Rue La La: We want to try making some chocolate goodies at home. Do you have any tips for boiling chocolate without burning it?
Gia: Yes, I say microwaves were invented to melt chocolate! Place your chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave in increments of 30 seconds, stirring each time in between until melted. Go ahead and dip your finger and taste the yummiest hot melted chocolate!

Rue La La: What’s the most unexpected treat that you can dip in chocolate?
Gia: I have many, but dip saltine crackers! Any kind of cereal is good, too. My favorite is Rice Krispies marshmallow ball treats dipped in hot chocolate and then rolled in candy nonpareils.

Rue La La: Ok, let’s get super decadent here. What’s something really impressive we can try?
Gia: Fill an ice cube tray with your favorite ice cream and freeze. Dip each cube of ice cream in melted chocolate and seriously enjoy yourself, girlfriend!

Rue La La: What’s one of your favorite fall recipes?
Gia: This time of year is a chocolate/candy/pretzel time of year. Take salted pretzels, dip them in melted chocolate, lay on top of parchment paper, and sprinkle the candy of your choice onto each pretzel. We play with crushed Snickers, Kit Kat bars, and Twix. In my house, we have two cheese graters, one for cheese and one for Snickers bars.

Rue La La: We’re imagining your factory bearing some resemblance to Willy Wonka’s. Can you paint us a picture of what it looks like?
Gia: Candy is everywhere, my desk is made of gum balls, my walls are made of gum balls and the smell of melted chocolate is in the air every day of the year! I go to work and honestly love what I do.

Rue La La: How do you celebrate Halloween with your kids now?
Gia: My son is 9 and my daughter is 8, and we start decorating the inside and outside of our house as soon as school begins. We celebrate “happy” Halloween instead of “scary” Halloween and every single kitchen cabinet has a pumpkin, googly spider, or goofy bat taped to it. Through the years, I’ve saved all their Halloween artwork and we display it in the dining room.

Our Spooky Chic: An Entertaining Guide Boutique featuring Gia Michaels opens Friday, September 30, 2011 at 11AM ET.

September 29, 2011