Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Gratify - Milk Chocolate Pretzel Twists - Sept. 16, 2014

Chocolate of the Day: 

(Distributed by) Osem USA, Inc.
Gratify - Gluten Free Pretzels - Milk Chocolate Covered Twists
Weight: 9 pretzels (31 g.) (estimate) serving / 5.5 oz. (156 g.) in total package
Calories: 150 calories 1.095 oz. (31 g.) serving
Cost: $1.99 in 1 bag/package
Purchased from: Grocery Outlet Bargain Market, Palo Alto, CA

There are all sorts of sweet and savory ice cream flavors now -- including some with crunchy pretzels and/or salted nuts.

Today I made my own pistachio nut ice cream sundae, by crumbling some Gratify* Gluten Free Pretzels (milk chocolate covered twists) pistachios and mixed salted nuts into some vanilla ice cream, for my own pistachio sundae.

The pretzels in the ice cream stayed crunchy even after sitting in the freezer overnight, and they added a touch of chocolate flavor. They were good by themselves, and with nuts as well.

Today was the last day of Chocolate and Pistachio Theme Week.

*Gratify pretzels were distributed by Osem USA, Inc. (Englewood Cliffs, NJ).

Monday, September 15, 2014

Her Coconess - Apricots with salted caramel, chocolate - Sept. 15, 2014

Chocolate of the Day: 

Her Coconess Confections
Apricots with caramel, chocolate
Good + - Very Good
Weight: 1.5 oz. (42 g.) (estimate) in 1 package of 2 pieces
Calories: 220 calories (estimate) for 1 package of 2 pieces
Cost: $7.00 for package of 2 pieces
Purchased from: Her Coconess (herself), Palo Alto Farmers Market, Palo Alto, CA

Today was Day #6 of Chocolate and Pistachio Theme Week.

It made my mouth water to hear Her Coconess (Shelley Seward) describe these plump sweet Blenheim apricots, half-covered in dark chocolate with a layer of homemade caramel. I ran into her at the Palo Alto Farmers Market a few days ago, and picked up a few items from the Her Coconess Confections (Belmont, CA) table/booth.

And these generous apricot confections did not disappoint. Visually attractive, each piece was enveloped in purple foil and yielded tart, fresh apricot flavor. The vanilla salted caramel and bittersweet chocolate balanced the sweet apricot fruit flavor.

A handful of pistachios and salted mixed nuts provided complementary flavor (salt, protein) and crunchy texture. Pistachios (and most nuts) do pair well with fruits and chocolate.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Nirvana - Pistachio, Almond, Walnut bar - Sept. 14, 2014

Chocolate of the Day: 

Nirvana Belgian Chocolates
72% Dark Chocolate with Pistachios, Almonds and Walnuts bar
Weight: 1.16 oz. (33.3 g.) / 3.5 oz. (100 g.) total bar
Calories: 184 calories (estimate) in 1/3 bar
Cost: $5.99 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Country Sun Natural Foods, Palo Alto, CA

Today was Day #5 of Chocolate and Pistachio Theme Week.

Today's Nirvana Belgian Chocolates (Wellesley, MA) bar contained a long title: "72% Dark Chocolate with Pistachios, Almonds and Walnuts," and -- like most chocolates now -- many descriptors and adjectives.

This gluten-free, Non-GMO, organic, fair-trade chocolate bar also had an intriguing sweet nut flavor with a whisper of rice pudding spice (not quite cinnamon and not quite nutmeg, but something similar).

I've been commenting all week that the light, sweet pistachio flavor is all but lost when blended with chocolate. But, somehow this rice pudding flavor note seems to evoke a bit of the sweet nut flavor.

The primary ingredient -- organic cocoa mass -- originated from "fine flavor Trinitario cocoa beans" grown in the Dominican Republic. The cocoa was transported to Belgium to create a smooth, relatively mild but well executed final base chocolate for this bar.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Gelataio - Pistachio, Chocolate Mini Pops - Sept. 13, 2014

Chocolate of the Day: 

Pistachio Mini Pop, Chocolate Mini Pop
Weight: 2 oz. (56.6 g.) (estimate) for 2 pieces
Calories: 290 calories (estimate) for 2 pieces
Cost: $5.70 total for 2 Mini Pops
Purchased from: Gelataio, Palo Alto, CA

Today was Day #4 of Chocolate and Pistachio Theme Week.

I'm in awe of entrepreneurs that jump through all the hoops necessary to open a business. So, it's always exciting to visit a new business. Gelataio, in downtown Palo Alto, CA, opened five weeks ago. I walked into a clean, modern, attractive interior and met co-founder Christianne Mares.

I was hoping to order a cup scoop of Pistachio gelato and a scoop of Chocolate gelato. Sadly, there was no freshly made Pistachio gelato on the menu today. Happily, there was one remaining Pistachio Mini Pop, and I sampled this with a Chocolate Mini Pop instead.

Both were slim white chocolate covered rectangles of gelato on a stick. The Pistachio Pop was a vision in white, and adorned with a single green nut. My favorite, was the Chocolate Pop, drizzled with chocolate. The dark chocolate gelato filling was smooth, creamy and flavorful.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Blue Mountain - Cacao Pistachio Brownie - Sept. 12, 2014

Chocolate of the Day:

Blue Mountain Organics
Cacao Pistachio Brownie
Weight: 2.4 oz. (68 g.) in 1 package
Calories: 240 calories in 1 package
Cost: $5.39 for 1 package
Purchased from: Country Sun Natural Foods, Palo Alto, CA

Today was Day #3 of Chocolate and Pistachio Theme Week.

This Cacao Pistachio Brownie from Blue Mountain Organics (Floyd, VA) -- part of the company's line of raw, organic desserts and snacks -- was seriously dark.

The short list of ingredients: dates, agave, cacao, pistachios and golden flax. No funny business. Despite dates and agave being listed first, this was the opposite of birthday cake sweet. Weighing in at only 10 g. of sugars, it was a breakfast brownie built for a seriously busy day. No sugar spike, just raw, sustained energy for the morning.

The lovely green pistachio nut bits in this brownie were a bit overpowered (as in almost all chocolates with pistachio nuts), but the nuts added some crunch and color.

This brownie was non-GMO, kosher and vegan.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Gary and Kit's Dark Toffee Pistachios - Sept. 11, 2014

Chocolate of the Day: 

Gary and Kit's / Clif Family Winery
Dark Chocolate Toffee Pistachios
Weight: 1 oz. (28.3 g.) / 5 oz. (142 g.) in total tin
Calories: 150 calories (estimate) for 1 oz. serving
Cost: $12.00 for 1 tin
Purchased from: The Olive Press, Sonoma, CA

Today was Day #7 of Chocolate and Toffee Theme Week, and Day #2 of Chocolate and Pistachio Theme Week. And, speaking of numbers...

Chocolate Anniversary: Year 8
... Today also marks the 8th anniversary of eating a different chocolate each day on ChocolateBanquet.com.

What have I learned after eating 2,900+* chocolates? Among other things: 1.) There are enough chocolates worldwide that I could eat a different chocolate every day for at least 8 more years. And, 2.) chocolate is very versatile; it blends with hundreds of sweet and savory foods, spices and beverages.

What is your favorite, easily mixable food? In addition to chocolate, I'm also fond of lemon (also equally at home in sweet and savory dishes). Butter, brandy, bacon and olive oil are other candidates. I'd nominate potatoes and garlic if I could; although, in truth, I can't see garlic in many desserts.

OK, back to the Chocolate of the Day: Gary and Kit's Dark Chocolate Toffee Pistachios from Clif Family Winery (St. Helena, CA).

Loved the fact that these chocolate-covered nuts were not too sweet. This tin of whole, shelled, crunchy pistachio nuts with a toffee and dark chocolate coating were crispy and flavorful. The sweet, mild nutty flavor of nuts (like pistachios and cashews) can be overshadowed a bit by even a smooth dark chocolate like this; however, I enjoyed these nonetheless.

*I expect to hit the 3,000 chocolates mark, at the end of November 2014. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Lillie Belle Farms - Pistachio Toffee Bar - Sept. 10, 2014

Chocolate of the Day: 

Lillie Belle Farms
Pistachio Toffee Bar
Weight: 1.5 oz. (42 g.) in 1 bar
Calories: 225 calories (estimate) in 1 bar
Cost: $3.00 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Lillie Belle Farms, Central Point, OR

Today was Day #6 of Chocolate and Toffee Theme Week, and Day #1 of Chocolate and Pistachio Theme Week. And what better bar to represent both of these themes than the Pistachio Toffee Bar from Lillie Belle Farms (Central Point, OR).

Organic, pistachio toffee bits were incorporated into 37% organic, single origin milk chocolate. A bit sweet and buttery for me. So smooth and melty, you could almost spread it on toast.

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