Wednesday, June 30, 2010

ChocolateBet: June 29, 2010

Chocolate(s) of the Day:
3 pieces/truffles
Wine Country Chocolates
1.) Chocolate Cacao Nibs with Espresso - Good - Good +
2.) Cinnamon with Clover Honey - Very Good
3.) Boysenberry with Blackberry Honey - Good+
Weight: 1.35 oz. (38.2 g.) (estimate) 3 truffles
Calories: 210 calories (estimate)
Cost: $5.25 for 3 truffles
Purchased from: Wine Country Chocolates, in Sonoma, CA

Today was a day to experiment with chocolate truffles (unaffiliated with any theme week). I enjoyed trying three different truffles from Wine Country Chocolates. Thank you to Kim for her suggestions. I think the Cinnamon with Clover Honey was my favorite. Honey and chocolate is an interesting combination. Depending on the chocolate, the subtler flavors in the honey can be overwhelmed, or they may be faintly detectable. This was a case of the latter, which I appreciated.

Tomorrow is the beginning of single origin theme week.

Monday, June 28, 2010

ChocolateBet: June 28, 2010

Chocolate(s) of the Day:
2 pieces
Wine Country Chocolates
1.) Peanut Butter and Jelly - Good - Good+ (pink dots)
2.) The Elvis - Good - Good + (yellow dots)
Weight: 1 oz. (28 g.) (estimate) for 2 pieces
Calories: 150 calories (estimate) for 2 pieces
Cost: Approx. $3.50
Purchased from: Wine Country Chocolates, tasting room in Sonoma, CA

Elvis has left the (Wine Country Chocolates) building... and was eaten by me (along with Elvis's cousin, Peanut Butter and Jelly) today (Day #8 of Chocolate and Peanut Butter Theme Week). In case, you're new to this blog, I frequently combine similar chocolates into "theme weeks" -- and this week I am sampling different chocolates that have incorporated peanut butter in some form.

Today's chocolates were both truffles from Wine Country Chocolates tasting room in Sonoma, CA, acquired yesterday. Thank you again to Cynthia who shared in this chocolate, cheese and wine tasting adventure. We followed the Chocolate Tasting sign through a little passageway, to arrive at a small courtyard where there were opportunities to taste olive oil and wine and cheese as well.

ChocolateBet: June 27, 2010

Chocolate of the Day:
1 piece
Wine Country Chocolates
Peanut Butter Heart
Good +
Weight: .45 oz. (12.7 g.) / .9 oz. (25 g.) (estimate) in package of two hearts
Calories: 70 calories (estimate) in 1 piece
Cost: $3.00 for package of 2 hearts
Purchased from: Wine Country Chocolates, in downtown Sonoma, CA

Today was Day #7 of Chocolate and Peanut Butter Theme Week; and, thanks to a stop at Wine Country Chocolates in Sonoma, I was able to purchase these hearts, and a two more chocolate and peanut butter items to sample this week.

Today was a warm day, and you may notice (picture at right) that this milk chocolate heart was melting and getting ready to slip right out of my fingers. No time for analysis. Eat first, ask questions later.

Thank you to Cynthia for sharing notes about food, cheese, wine, and chocolates this afternoon.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

ChocolateBet: June 26, 2010

Chocolate of the Day:
1 bar
New England Confectionery Company, Inc. (Necco)
Sky Bar - New Moon
Good - Good +
Weight: 2 oz. (57 g.) in 1 bar
Calories: 280 calories
Purchased from: Walgreens

Today was Day #6 of Chocolate and Peanut Butter Theme Week. Hasn't it all been done before, I occasionally wonder. Today's choice shows that "it" has not, by managing to incorporate vampires, peanut butter, and milk chocolate. Yes, it is possible to work just about any theme into chocolate.

This version of a (Necco) Sky Bar was specially crafted and packaged to promote Summit Entertainment's Twilight: New Moon movie. The bar was divided into three sections, each with a different filling and tie-in to the three main stars of this film. The caramel-filled end was emblazoned with a Cullen family crest, a reference to vampire Edward Cullen. The middle, creme-filled, section, was inscribed with a heart and the name "Bella." And last, but not least, the peanut butter segment of this bar had an image of a howling wolf and a new or full moon (a bow to Jacob, a werewolf). Jacob's picture is also shown on the wrapper.

Tonight, where I live, there was a full moon. A beautiful strawberry moon to be precise. No vampires or werewolves were reported.

Friday, June 25, 2010

ChocolateBet: June 25, 2010

Chocolate of the Day:
1/4 bar
Ghirardelli Chocolate Co.
Milk and Peanut Butter (bar)
Good +
Weight: .79 oz. (23 g.) / 3.17 oz. (90 g.) total bar
Calories: 125 calories
Cost: $2.79
Purchased from:

This Ghirardelli milk chocolate bar was filled with peanut butter and peanut bits -- a hearty choice for Day #5 of Chocolate and Peanut Butter Theme Week.

I had eaten the company's milk and peanut butter individually-wrapped squares last year (Feb. 2009). While these two chocolates had similar ingredients, I counted these as two different chocolates.

For a peanut butter and jelly/jam (PB and J) experience, I ate this bar with a half dozen tiny, fresh-picked strawberries from my yard.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

ChocolateBet: June 24, 2010

Chocolate of the Day:
1/2 bar
Sugar Factory (Astor Chocolate Corp.)
Milk Chocolate Caramel Peanut Butter (bar)
Good +
Weight: 1 oz. (28.3 g.) / 2 oz. (57 g.) in total bar
Calories: 160 calories in 1/2 bar
Purchased from: Sugar Factory, at the Mirage, Las Vegas, NV

Another item from the chocolate vault (my back bedroom, kept dark and cool) is retrieved, just in time for Day #4 of Chocolate and Peanut Butter Theme Week. I had picked up this bar when I was in Las Vegas recently. The Sugar Factory is a festive candy, chocolate and couture shop with plenty of pop culture tie-ins.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

ChocolateBet: June 23, 2010

Chocolate of the Day:
2 truffles
Lindt and Sprungli AG
Lindor Truffles - Peanut Butter
Good +
Weight: .85 oz. (24 g.) / 5.1 oz. (144 g.) total package
Calories: 140 calories in 2 truffles
Cost: $4.29 for total package of 12 truffles
Purchased from: CVS/pharmacy, in Mountain View, CA

The chocolate choice for Day #3 of Chocolate and Peanut Butter Theme Week was...two milk chocolate Lindor Truffles, with a smooth peanut butter filling. They tasted good, and were not too sweet (which I liked). However, they felt a bit heavy in my stomach. For those watching their gluten intake, I discovered (after eating them) that these truffles contained barley malt.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

ChocolateBet: June 22, 2010

Chocolate of the Day:
2 pieces
The Madelaine Chocolate Company
duets - peanut butter and raspberry, double-filled
milk chocolate truffles
Good + Very Good
Weight: 1 oz. (28 g.) for 2 pcs. / 5 oz. (140 g.) total package of 10 pieces
Calories: 140 calories for 2 pieces
Cost: $7.95 (total package)
Purchased from: San Francisco Chocolate Store, Fisherman's Wharf, San Francisco, CA

Today was Day #2 of Chocolate and Peanut Butter Theme Week. These filled truffles were quite good, like having a miniature peanut butter and jelly sandwich, only with milk chocolate instead of bread.

Monday, June 21, 2010

ChocolateBet: June 21, 2010

Chocolate of the Day:
2 servings
Maw 'n Paw Kettlekorn
Peanut Butter Chocolate (popcorn)
Good + - Very Good
Weight: 2 oz. (56 g.) / 8 oz. (224 g.) total package
Calories: 300 calories
Cost: $
Purchased from: The Candy Baron, Pier 39, in San Francisco, CA

Maw 'n Paw did a pretty good job with this batch of chocolate and peanut butter kettlekorn. It was flavorful, without being too heavy or sweet.

Today was Day #1 of Chocolate and Peanut Butter Theme Week.

(Next week I will be focusing on single origin chocolates -- no zany combinations, just the pure stuff!)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

ChocolateBet: June 20, 2010

Chocolate of the Day:
1 piece/square
Chocoholics Divine Desserts
Chocolate Patch - Extra Strength
"Relief for Chocolate Addiction"
Good +
Weight: .25 oz. (7 g.) / 3 oz. (85 g.) in total box of 12
Calories: 37 calories (estimate)
Cost: $6.99 for a box of 12 "patches"
Purchased from: (lost info)

Chocoholics Divine Desserts produced some very entertaining chocsimiles (chocolate facsimiles of items). For example, previously I sampled their chocolate voodoo doll. Unfortunately, I believe this company may have closed up shop at the end of 2009. This item had been purchased earlier and stored in my chocolate vault.

Chocoholics Divine Desserts semi-sweet Chocolate Patch squares were "guaranteed to stop chocolate cravings for up to 5 minutes!" People ask me if I ever get chocolate withdrawal headaches (similar to those that occur when you give up coffee/caffeine after a day or two). My answer: I wouldn't know. It's been more than 3 1/2 years since I went 24 hours without chocolate. And since I'm overly comfortable in the fact that I will always have chocolate nearby, and not prone to cravings -- as a result of my constant chocolate consumption...perhaps I'm not qualified to medically evaluate the Chocolate Patch. (Oh yes, that, and the fact that I'm not a medical professional.) However, I can convey some important information was printed on the side of the box:

"Directions for Chocolate Patch:
Place one Chocolate Patch on tongue. Do not chew the patch. Chewing may reduce the duration of the effective ingredients. In cases of extreme craving place two chocolate Patches on tongue. In really extreme cases, pour contents of box into mouth. Chew vigorously."

Saturday, June 19, 2010

ChocolateBet: June 19, 2010

Chocolate of the Day:

1/5 bar
Chili and Highland Whiskey (bar)
Very Good - Very Good +
Weight: .52 oz. (15 g.) / 2.64 oz. (75 g.) in total bar
Calories: 79 calories (estimate)
Cost: $8.95 for total bar
Purchased from: Fog City News, in San Francisco, CA

Today's 72% kakao (sic) bar from Coppeneur (Germany) was filled with a Chili and Highland Whisky flavored ganache. I couldn't really taste the chili, but this was one of my favorite ganache bars I've tried. The highland whiskey stood up well against the dark chocolate. I have only an empty wrapper to show (right).

Thank you to Sunita at Chocolate Dividends, and The Chocolate Garage, for providing a tasting venue for chocolates this afternoon; and thank you to Fog City News in San Francisco for providing a great supply of chocolate bars.

Friday, June 18, 2010

ChocolateBet: June 18, 2010

Chocolate of the Day (and other fun):
1 cup
Gelateria Naia
1.) Numi Chocolate Puerh - Very Good
2.) Banana - Good + - Very Good
Weight: 4 oz. (113 g.) (estimate) in 1 small cup with 2 flavors
Calories: 250 calories (estimate)
Cost: $3.75 for 1 cup with 2 flavors
Purchased from: Gelateria Naia, in San Francisco, CA

Today (Day #8 of Chocolate and Monkey Theme Week), I enjoyed chocolate and monkey items from the North Beach neighborhood of San Francisco, CA.

The gorilla figure perched on the tray of banana gelato caught my eye. I tried this banana gelato with the Numi Chocolate Puerh (chocolate tea flavor), in a cup. The Numi tea inspired flavor (also the flavor of the week) had a little bit of chocolate, and a hint of nutmeg if I'm not mistaken. Thank you to the staff at Naia.

Z. Cioccolato & Arata Gallery, North Beach
To send off chocolate and monkey week in style, I had stopped at Z. Cioccolato earlier.  They've carried "flying (stuffed animal) monkeys" in the past; and they even have a monkey "target" on one wall. So I was hopeful they might have a chocolate monkey. No luck. However,  I found tins of coconut-flavored, and also banana-flavored monkey mints there (pictured). They had plenty of chocolate items to pair with these mints. (Be alert for the smell of freshly popped caramel popcorn as you walk down Columbus, and you'll find this store.)

A few doors down, was the Arata Fine Art Gallery and Studio. The Gallery owners don't carry chocolates, but they did have a painting of Z. Cioccolato's storefront. So, with permission from the artist (Arata), I'm including an image of this painting of a North Beach chocolate favorite.

Pigs Love Chocolate Too
Last, but not least, I paid a visit to a local county fair, where there were monkey and banana images galore (think over-stuffed toys/prizes). I was too full to eat anymore chocolate (and this blog post is now too full for more monkey pictures). But I did enjoy watching the pig races. According to their handler, the winning pig's reward at the finish line was a single Oreo (chocolate sandwich) cookie. Go, pigs, go.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

ChocolateBet: June 17, 2010

Chocolate of the Day:
1 serving
Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory
Chocolate Covered Frozen Banana
Good + (or so the monkey told me)
Weight: 6 oz. (169.8 g.) (estimate)
Calories: 210 calories (estimate)
Cost: $n/a
Purchased from: Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, in Napa, CA

Deep in the heart of the jungle, there lived a small monkey who was in search of a chocolate covered frozen banana. He found it in Napa, in a Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory store.

Today was Day #7 of Chocolate and Monkey Theme Week.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

ChocolateBet: June 16, 2010

Chocolate of the Day:

1 milkshake
The Chocolate Cow
1/2 banana walnut (light - 93% fat free) gelato + 1/2 dark chocolate gelato milkshake
Very Good
Weight: 12 oz. (339 g.) cup milkshake
Calories: 700 calories (estimate)
Cost: $7.95 (estimate)
Purchased from: The Chocolate Cow, in Sonoma, CA

Today was Day #6 of Chocolate and Monkey Theme Week. Once again I was far from home, and needed to improvise. Fortunately, I found The Chocolate Cow -- a nice little business in the historic downtown area of Sonoma, CA. And in this shop, they had all things cow + chocolate. It was great fun to look around. It was also a warm day, and so a chocolate monkey-like gelato milkshake hit the spot. Lemurs are kind of related to monkeys, aren't they?

ChocolateBet: June 15, 2010

Chocolate of the Day:
1 serving
McDonalds (+ Safeway)
Reese's McFlurry + toppings (fresh banana and fruit flavored monkey pieces)
Good - Good +
Weight: 7.1 oz. (202 g.) for McFlurry; + 4 oz. fresh banana; + .45 oz. (13 g.) for 1/2 pouch Curious George fruit-flavored snack pieces
Calories: 410 calories for 1 snack size Reese's McFlurry + 150 calories for toppings
Cost: $1.79 (McFlurry) + toppings
Purchased from: McDonalds in Sonoma, CA; and Safeway in Sonoma, CA

Day #5 of Chocolate and Monkey Theme Week resulted in an out-of-town chocolate monkey hunt. I was walking in the North Bay a few hours from home (, and I tried to assemble a chocolate monkey type drink from ingredients I could buy in Sonoma, CA.

I tried a small liquor store first; but, they had no bananas or monkeys. So, I bought a McDonald's snack-size Reeses McFlurry and added my own monkey-related toppings -- a small fresh banana, and Curious George (the monkey) themed fruit flavored snack pieces -- monkey faces, monkey figure, a cluster of bananas (bright-colored, blob-like shapes shown at right).

Yes, this melange was a bit of a stretch; but it did have most of the elements of a chocolate monkey drink (ice cream, chocolate, bananas, etc.), without the alcohol. If I could have toned down the amount of sugar a bit more, that would have been nice.

Monday, June 14, 2010

ChocolateBet: June 14, 2010

Chocolate of the Day:
1/4 bar
Rainforest Cafe - Pure Dark Chocolate (bar)
Good + - Very Good
Weight: .5 oz (14.6 g.)/ 2 oz. (57 g.) total bar
Calories: 72 calories (estimate) in 1/4 bar
Cost: $2.99 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Rainforest Cafe, in San Francisco, CA

Welcome to Day #4 of Chocolate and Monkey Theme Week. Today's chocolate choice was a dark chocolate bar from the Rainforest Cafe gift shop, in San Francisco, CA. The monkey tie-in was the label art. A very happy and muscular cartoon ape appeared on the dark bar wrapper. The bar itself was smooth and rich, albeit a tad sweet for me.

The same day I purchased this item in the gift shop, I looked at the Cafe menu to see what chocolate desserts they were offering in the restaurant. The sparkling volcano dessert (with chocolate sauce and sparkler on top) looked fun.
Unfortunately, the chocolate cake dessert contained flour/wheat. That's OK. It was fun to take a peek inside at the rainforest ambience.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

ChocolateBet: June 13, 2010

Chocolate of the Day:
2 servings
Virgin Chocolate Monkey (drink)
Good +
Weight: 10 fl. oz. (296 ml), enough for 2 servings
Calories: 470 cals. (estimate)
Cost: $5.75 (estimate) for ingredients
Purchased from: Most ingredients were purchased from Safeway, in Palo Alto, CA

Day #3 of Chocolate and Monkey Theme Week was reserved for a Chocolate Monkey beverage. I uncovered many different recipes for a Chocolate Monkey drink. They all involved banana, chocolate and ice cream in a blender; and most included some liqueur (usually creme de cacao and/or banana).

I made my own version of this drink, without any alcohol; I used Dreyer's fun flavors - Nestle Butterfinger ice cream, and just a little grated dark chocolate in this drink, along with fresh bananas and ice.  A cool blender drink was the right choice for a hot day. I drank the first serving inside, but moved outside to enjoy the second serving.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Coco-luxe Confections - Monkeyin' around bar - June 12, 2010

Chocolate of the Day:

1/4 bar
Coco-luxe Confections
Monkeyin' around (bar)
Very Good
Weight: .625 oz. (17.5 g.) / 2.5 oz. (70 g.) in total bar
Calories: $5.50 for total bar
Purchased from: Coco-luxe Confections store, in San Francisco, CA

Day #2 of Chocolate and Monkey Theme Week found me munching on a few squares of a Coco-luxe Confections "Monkeyin' around" bar: milk chocolate with banana chips, cocoa nibs and alaea sea salt.

These bars were part of Coco-luxe's line of "classic americana in fine chocolate" line, and were, according to the packaging, handcrafted in small batches. The chocolate, banana and cocoa nibs flavors and textures were well-balanced with small hints of salt.

Leaving the land of chocolate monkeys for a moment, thank you to Sunita at Chocolate Dividends today, for allowing me to taste many wonderful chocolates at the new Chocolate Garage, in downtown Palo Alto, CA. I'm looking forward to visiting the Garage again in the near future. Today's tasting menu included bars from Madecasse and The Grenada Chocolate Company.

Friday, June 11, 2010

ChocolateBet: June 11, 2010

Chocolate of the Day:
1/6 bar
Golden Monkey Bar
Very Good
Weight: .583 oz. (16.5 g.)/ 3.5 oz. (100 g.) in total bar
Calories: 85 calories (estimate) for 1/6 bar
Cost: $12.90 for total bar
Purchased from: chocri (

Today was Day #7 of Create Your Own Chocolate Theme Week (although there will be more of these in the future), and Day #1 of Chocolate and Monkey Theme Week.

Monkeys, you may ask? And my answer would be, why not? The Golden Monkey Bar that I created using the chocri online ordering system was a dark chocolate (64% cacao) bar with banana chips, cinnamon, real gold flakes, mini bananas, and peanut butter drops. The results: a fun-to-eat, festive-looking bar.

I'm not sure monkeys should eat chocolate, but our monkey friend (pictured below) seemed to like the idea.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

ChocolateBet: June 10, 2010

Chocolate of the Day:
1/6 bar
"Hot Plum Soup" (bar)
Very Good
Weight: .583 oz. (16.5 g.) in 1/6 bar / 3.5 oz. (100 g.) in total bar (estimate)
Calories: 85 calories (estimate) for 1/6 bar
Cost: $11.90
Purchased from: chocri (

The question was, how could I best create a chocolate bar that incorporated coriander? The answer: hot plum soup. From the chocri menu (of 100 possible toppings) I added plum bits, candied ginger, cinnamon, coriander, and orange pepper -- to (an organic, fair trade*) dark chocolate (64% cacao) bar base. The result was not bad. Although, I saw an article on the chocri site that talked about German Chocolate Cake. I think a chocolate bar inspired by this cake may be next on my order list.

Today was Day #6 of Create Your Own Chocolate Theme Week.
*Note: According to their site, chocri also donates a portion of their revenues to DIV Kinder, an organization that supports children in the Ivory Coast region.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

ChocolateBet: June 9, 2010

Chocolate of the Day:
1/6 bar
chocri (meine schokolade)
"Anise Fruitcake" (bar)
Very Good
Weight: .583 oz. (16.5 g.) in 1/6 bar/ 3.5 oz. (100 g.) total bar (estimate)
Calories: 85 calories (estimate) in 1/6 bar
Cost: $12.20 total bar
Purchased from: chocri (

What is in an "Anise Fruitcake" chocolate bar? Answer: dark chocolate (64% cacao), apricot, orange, cranberries, cinnamon, and anise. I suppose if I could have piled on a few more ingredients, I might have added cherries, pineapple, cloves, and brandy flavoring. But, there's probably a limit to the number of items that one bar of chocolate can hold.

Today's chocolate fruitcake choice (on Day #5 of Create Your Own Chocolate Theme Week) was another example of designing a chocolate version of a food item I can't normally eat. (Cakes are usually made with flour, which is usually made from wheat; and I can't have wheat/gluten, and so on...). Thank you again to chocri for offering a creative outlet to would-be chocolate designers.

ChocolateBet: June 8, 2010

Chocolate of the Day:
1/2 bar
Sizzling Bacon Breakfast (Bar)
Very Good +
Weight: 1.75 oz. (50 g.) / 3.5 oz. (100 g.) total bar (estimate)
Calories: 253 calories (estimate)
Cost: $12.10 total bar
Purchased from: chocri (

Today's choice for (Day #4 of) Create Your Own Chocolate Theme Week was an excellent choice for breakfast, if I do say so myself. But, then again, I chose the ingredients because I thought I might enjoy the combination of dark chocolate (64% cacao), cornflakes, organic sesame seeds, imitation bacon bits, peanut butter drops, and sizzle rocks. I think I'll have the remaining half for breakfast tomorrow morning.

Monday, June 7, 2010

ChocolateBet: June 7, 2010

Chocolate of the Day:
1/3 bar
chocri (meine schokolade)
Carrot Cake (bar)
Very Good
Weight: 1.16 oz. (33 g.) in 1/3 bar / 3.5 oz. (100 g.) total bar (estimate)
Calories: 170 calories (estimate)
Cost: $12.95 for total bar
Purchased from: chocri (based in Berlin, Germany)

Well, I can't have carrot cake -- as it is usually made with flour (wheat). But, that was the beauty of designing my own chocolate bar(s). I could have a chocolate bar facsimile of carrot cake. This dark chocolate (64% cacao) bar contained ginger, cinnamon, walnuts, marzipan carrots, and pineapple bits.

Today was Day #3 of Create Your Own Chocolate Theme Week.
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