MICHEL GUERARD now gets us coming and going. For years he has provided low-calorie temptation with his cuisine minceur. Now he is returning our attention to calories by bringing his private label chocolates to Washington. The only problem with them is that they are superb, having perhaps the best fillings we have ever tasted, from the lightest of creams made with real whipped cream, to the most intense of coffee and caramel. Apparently, the chocolate itself is made with about 25 percent less sugar than its competitors, which in part accounts for its appeal. Made in Belgium and sold at four Garfinkels stores (downtown, Springfield, Montgomery Mall and Seven Corners), Michel Guerard chocolates are sufficiently expensive as to not really endanger your diet: filled chocolate assortments (which are the extraordinary ones) range from $5 for 3 1/2 ounces to $35 for 28 ounces; chocolate leaves (which are pretty but not nearly so wonderful) are $7.50 for 3 1/2 ounces, $14 for 7 ounces.
Along with the chocolates, Guerard himself is coming to Garfinkel's Nov. 20 to demonstrate a few chocolate recipes on the first floor of the downtown store, from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. He'll have recipes for chocolate mousse, chocolate cake and -- we wonder what the nouvelle twist could be -- hot chocolate. Countering Holiday Calories
The thought of impending holidays may have some people counting out shopping days, but it has others counting calories and becoming edgy over the fate of their special diets. Thus Robin Rifkin, who teaches cooking at the Pritikin Center in Pennsylvania, is returning to town just in time. She will be teaching her healthful, low-fat, complex-carbohydrate cookery at L'Academie de Cuisine in Bethesda Nov. 18, 19 and 20. For registration call 986-9490.
From the Pritikin Center has come a recipe for Mock Cream Cheese, which we found a surprisingly adequate low-fat slather for a bagel. The secret to this yogurt-based cream cheese is a touch of apple juice concentrate to cut the tartness of the yogurt but not enough to make the cheese sweet. MOCK CREAM CHEESE (Makes 1 1/4 to 2 cups) 2-pound container low-fat yogurt 1/4 cup chopped chives (or 1 tablespoon dried) 1 tablespoon frozen apple juice concentrate, or to taste Cheesecloth and twine Make a large square of several thicknesses of cheesecloth, empty yogurt into the middle, then tie the corners together with twine to form a bag. Hang from a shelf or hook for 8 to 12 hours, with a bowl underneath to catch the drippings. Remove the "cheese" from the cloth and fold in chopped chives. Sweeten, if desired, with apple juice concentrate to taste. Store in refrigerator. Turkey-less Celebration
Thanksgiving without turkey is enough to give pause. But Thanksgiving without family or friends is beyond the pale. Thus the Vegetarian Society of D. C. comes to the rescue with its annual vegetarian Thanksgiving potluck supper at 12:30 p.m. Thanksgiving Day at the Georgetown Presbyterian Church, 3115 P St. NW. In the Indian-and-Pilgrim tradition, each guest is asked to bring a dish (a vegetarian one -- no meat, fish or poultry -- enough for four times the number in your group), plus its recipe on a 3-by-5 card. Each guest also must bring his own utensils, cups, plates and napkins, and a $1 donation per guest for the church. Call 779-8343. Learning the American Way
If you have been looking for the American Regional Foods explosion to shake Washington, hang on for a while longer. Possibilities are looking up. For example, the D.C. Public Schools career program has launched a culinary arts course at Burdick Career Development Center with 26 weeks of training, from classroom to professional kitchen, which includes the preparation of American regional cuisine as well as the techniques of professional cooking, buffet catering and continental pastries. The course, for students 18 and older so far, will start next semester, under the sponsorship of the Private Industry Council, the Hotel Association of Washington and the public schools, and will be taught by master chefs from New York's Culinary Institute of America.