*4 cups water
*generous pinch of cinnamon, or 1 cinnamon stick
*generous pinch of ground clove, or 5 whole cloves
*splash of high quality vanilla
*3/4 cup organic dark brown sugar
*2 oz 80-100% dark chocolate
Combine water, cinnamon, cloves, vanilla and sugar in a medium saucepan. Simmer for 10 minutes. Peel pears, leaving stems in tact. Slice a small portion off the bottom so they sit upright when served. Place in the poaching syrup and very gently poach until tender (make sure not to over cook), about 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool in the syrup.
Remove pears from syrup, and dry off with a towel. Place upright on a plate. Melt the dark chocolate in a double boiler and drizzle over top of the pears. Allow to cool slightly and serve.
*Variations: Add 2 cups red wine in place of 2 cups of the water for poaching syrup.
You can skip the chocolate step and serve as is or with a bit of the syrup spooned over top.