Saturday, August 17, 2019

Goodio Chocolate - Cranmary - 62% cranberries, rosemary, coconut and gin bar - Aug. 15, 2019

Chocolate of the Day: 

Goodio Chocolate
Cranmary - cranberries, rosemary, coconut and gin bar
Good ++
Weight: .848 oz. (24 g.) / 1.69 oz. (48 g.) in total bar
Calories: 130 calories (estimate) in 1/2 bar
Cost: $8.50 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Chocolate Covered, San Francisco, CA

Welcome to Day #6 of Chocolate and Spirits Theme Week.

Today's Cranmary - cranberries, rosemary, coconut and gin bar was handcrafted in Helsinki, Finland, by Goodio Chocolate.

The maker's description for this bar read: "Chocolate like Nordic summer night meadow, flavoured with tangy cranberries and herbal rosemary."

The aroma of this raw, vegan bar had fruit, herb, chocolate and light coconut notes. The texture was relatively creamy (cacao butter) for stoneground chocolate. The dominant layered flavors were an interplay of cranberries (tiny bits and powder) and rosemary, with a hint of coconut (coconut palm sugar, coconut flakes). The gin contributed a very subtle layer of herbal/botanical flavor.

And speaking of gin, this 62% dark chocolate bar was developed in collaboration with Kyro Distillery Company (Finland). The distillery produces single malt rye whisky and a Napue rye-based gin...with botanicals that include "meadowsweet, sea-buckthorn and cranberries"...with a slight "spicy pepper note."




Thursday, August 15, 2019

World Market - 64% Strawberry Champagne Dark Chocolate square - Aug. 14, 2019

Chocolate of the Day: 

World Market 
64% Cacao Strawberry and Champagne Dark Chocolate small bar
Good
Weight: .375 oz. (10.6 g.) in total bar
Calories: 49 calories in 1 small bar
Cost: $0.49 for 1 bar
Purchased from: World Market, N. Scottsdale, AZ
Welcome to Day #5 of Chocolate and Spirits Theme Week.

This individually wrapped square had a sweet dark chocolate and red berry/strawberry flavor.

The 64% cacao chocolate was embedded with tiny red-pink morsels, and it even had a few very tiny authentic strawberry seeds to embellish the tasting experience.

One had only to imagine a tiny crystal goblet of pink bubbly champagne along with it.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Coco Chocolatier - Gin and Tonic Dark Chocolate 60% bar - Aug. 13, 2019

Chocolate of the Day: 

Coco Chocolatier
Gin and Tonic Dark Chocolate 60% Cocoa bar
Good +
Weight: 1.41 oz. (40 g.) / 2.82 oz. (80 g.) in total bar
Calories: 212 calories (estimate) in 1/2 bar
Cost: $4.99 for 1 bar
Purchased from: World Market, N. Scottsdale, AZ

Welcome to Day #4 of Chocolate and Spirits Theme Week.

Summer is the time to enjoy a simple chilled cocktail like a gin and tonic with a twist of citrus peel over ice.

But even if your cold summer drink doesn't include alcohol, you might want to try today's chocolate bar which evokes herbal lemonade or limeade (with an herbal touch of juniper).

Today's Gin and Tonic Dark Chocolate 60% Cocoa bar from Coco Chocolatier (Edinburgh, Scotland) was swathed in a wrapped printed with a colorful piece of art.*

The base chocolate was smooth, creamy and dark, with a hint of nuttiness, followed by mild aromatic citrus (lemon followed by lime) with a subtle earthly herbal juniper finish.

* Coco Chocolatier is a creative endeavor that incorporates images from artists/an art collective in Europe.

Ingredients: "Dark chocolate (cocoa liquor, sugar, cocoa butter, soy lecithin, natural vanilla flavor), juniper oil, lemon oil, lime oil."





Monday, August 12, 2019

Haagen-Daza - Spirits Bourbon Vanilla Bean Truffle Ice Cream - Aug. 12, 2019

Chocolate of the Day: 

Haagen-Dazs
Spirits - Bourbon Vanilla Bean Truffle Ice Cream
Good ++
Weight: 2/3 cup  (132 g.) / 14 fl. oz. (414 mL) in total container
Calories: 340 calories in 1 (2/3 cup) serving
Cost: $4.99 for 1 container
Purchased from: Piazza's Fine Foods, Palo Alto, CA

Welcome to Day #3 of Chocolate and Spirits Theme Week.

Today's Spirits - Bourbon Vanilla Bean Truffle Ice Cream was from Haagen-Dazs* (Minneapolis, MN).

This ice cream, laced with soft bits of dark chocolate, had creamy rich texture and flavor with a hint of bourbon and vanilla. (Brown sugar, molasses, maple, vanilla bean and coconut oil also gave the taste some natural flavor depth.)

*The Haagen-Dazs ice cream brand originated with Reuben and Rose Mattus in Brooklyn Heights, New York, in 1961. The couple started with three flavors: vanilla, chocolate and coffee, and opened their first retail store in Brooklyn, NY, in 1976. 

The brand was acquired and is now associated with two larger corporations (Nestle and General Mills). Somehow, thankfully, against all odds, the ingredients list has for a growing number of ice cream flavors been kept relatively short, and is usually of a higher quality than most large brand name ice creams. (Haagen-Dazs is also one of the few brands that doesn't add a lot of vegetable gums. Thank you!)


Haagen-Dazs - Coffee and Vanilla Layers Ice Cream; Olive and Sinclair Chocolate Co. - Bourbon Nib Brittle - Aug. 11, 2019

Chocolate of the Day: 

Haagen-Dazs
Crispy Trio Layers - Belgian Chocolate with Coffee and Vanilla Ice Cream(s)
(topped with Chocolate Banquet special bourbon-soaked nibs)
Good ++
Weight: 1/4 cup (44 g.) / 14 fl. oz. (414 mL) in total container
Calories: 120 calories (estimate) in 1/4 cup serving + 50 cals. for nib topping
Cost: $3.50 (sale, 2 for $7) for 1 container
Purchased from: Piazza's Fine Foods, Palo Alto, CA

Welcome to Day #2 of Chocolate and Spirits Theme Week.

The Haagen-Dazs (Minneapolis, MN) Crispy Trio Layers collection is part of the companies expanding family of ice cream-related products. Flavors include Belgian chocolate, vanilla ice cream and a featured third flavor (blackberry, coffee, caramel, etc.) The line-up also includes a triple chocolate flavor and non-dairy variations as well.

Today we're featuring the Belgian Chocolate Coffee and Vanilla ice cream, that was quite tasty. It contained a nice blend of crispy darker chocolate layered pieces and creamy and flavorful coffee ice cream, mellowed by a smooth and upbeat vanilla ice cream.

Recently, Haagen-Dazs announced a line of ice creams with spirits. (We'll feature one tomorrow). But, in the spirit of spirits, we jumped the gun with our own spirited inclusion to today's Crispy Trio Layers flavor.

We amped up the chocolate flavor by topping this ice cream with Chocolate Banquet's own secret recipe for bourbon soaked cacao nibs (with bitters and orange peel).

And speaking of bourbon and cacao nibs...

Olive and Sinclair Chocolate Co.
Bourbon Nib Brittle
Good +
Weight: 2 oz. (56.6 g.) / 6 oz. (170 g.) in total package
Calories: 280 calories in 1/3 package
Cost: $18.00 for 1 package
Purchased from: Cashmere + Chocolate, Santa Fe, NM

We also re-tasted two small pieces of Bourbon Nib Brittle from Olive and Sinclair Chocolate Co. (Nashville, TN). We originally enjoyed this back in 2012. (How time flies.) It was sweet, crunchy and satisfying, with a very light Bourbon touch.


Saturday, August 10, 2019

Fruition Chocolate - Hudson Bourbon Dark Milk 61% bar - Aug. 10, 2019

Chocolate of the Day: 

Fruition Chocolate
Hudson Bourbon Dark Milk 61% bar
Very Good
Weight: 1.06 oz. (30 g.) / 2.12 oz. (60 g.) in total bar
Calories: 160 calories (estimate) in 1/2 bar
Cost: $12.00 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Chokola, NM

Welcome to Day #1 of Chocolate and Spirits Theme Week.

Today's Hudson Bourbon Dark Milk 61% bar was made by Fruition Chocolate in "their workshop in the Catskill Mountains" (Shokan, NY).

Today's bourbon bar, a Good Food Awards winner, was spirited chocolate at its best: high-quality bean-to-bar chocolate blended with balanced, well-executed flavor inclusion(s).

The chocolate had an aroma with light fruit, chocolate and faint roasted coffee latte notes, and a creamy, even melt and texture. The warm, round, almost buttery flavor, also embraced a very subtle, rich bourbon presence.

The chocolate maker (Bryan Graham's) tasting notes and bar description read as follows: "Roasted nibs, aged with Hudson Baby Bourbon and barrel staves, are crafted into a creamy dark milk chocolate with hint of oak."

Friday, August 9, 2019

The Chocolate Cartel - 73% Dark Chocolate with Local Lavender bar - Aug. 9, 2019

Chocolate of the Day: 

The Chocolate Cartel
73% Dark Chocolate with Local Lavender bar
Good - Good +
Weight: 1 oz. (28.3 g.) in total bar
Calories: 150 calories (estimate) in 1 bar
Cost: $3.99 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Airport Shop (ABQ), Albuquerque, NM

Welcome to Day #8 of Chocolate and New Mexico Theme Week.

Today's 73% Dark Chocolate with Local Lavender bar was from The Chocolate Cartel (Albuquerque, New Mexico).

The Chocolate Cartel has partnerships with several other New Mexico businesses—that furnish flavor inclusions for the company's chocolates. For example, the lavender in today's bar comes from Los Poblanos, the site of a historic inn and organic farm where they grow 25 acres of lavender. I recommend eating at their excellent restaurant (Campo) on-site and stopping in at their Farm Store which is open to the public during open hours.)

The simple, clear wrapper allowed one to see whole lavender buds on the chocolate, and was used by the company for local inclusion bars, where a separate label identifying the type of local ingredient could be easily affixed. In this case a small white label read: "local lavender."

This chocolate had an herbal-floral aroma, and a blossoming true lavender flavor. The dark chocolate was relatively bold in flavor and had a very slight tartness and/or astringency in the finish that one could feel in the throat.
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