Sunday, June 9, 2013

Oakland Chocolate Co. - Hibiscus truffle - June 9, 2013

Chocolate of the Day:

The Oakland Chocolate Company
Hibiscus Tea truffle
Good - Good +
Weight: .42 oz. (11.8 g.) (estimate) for 1 piece
Calories: 63 calories (estimate) for 1 piece
Cost: $2.00 for 1 piece
Purchased from: The Oakland Chocolate Co., Oakland, CA

I enjoy mixing spices, herbs and flowers when cooking. This week I've been blending hibiscus, citrus and pink peppercorns, a combination that creates an interesting raft of flavor for beverages, desserts and chocolate items.

Happily, Nancy Nadel at The Oakland Chocolate Company (Oakland, CA) celebrates these flavors as well, inspired by her relationship with cacao farmers in Jamaica*.

I tried Nancy Nadel's Hibiscus Tea truffle and a Pink Peppercorn Caramel side-by-side today. The truffle's white chocolate ganache (filling) was infused with a hibiscus tea flavor, was coated with dark chocolate and topped with an attractive bit of tropical pink (lightly candied hibiscus blossom I'm guessing).

Today was the third day of Chocolate and Hibiscus Theme Week.

*Trivia: Hibiscus based drinks go by various names. The name for a popular, red drink in Mexico made with this flower is flor de Jamaica (pronounced ha-mie'-ka), and Hondurans enjoy: agua de Jamaica. Interestingly, a similar red beverage in Jamaica is called Sorrel.

Chocolat Lily - Hibiscus - June 8, 2013

Chocolate of the Day:

Chocolat Lily
Hibiscus truffle
Weight: .5 oz. (14.1 g.) in 1 piece
Calories: 75 calories (estimate) for 1 piece
Cost: $ N/A
Purchased from: N/A - Chocolat Lily, Portland, OR

Today was Day #2 of Chocolate and Hibiscus Theme Week.

This pretty, flower-shaped chocolate from Chocolat Lily (Portland, OR), was decorated with a light blush of color, and had a very subtle hint of hibiscus flavor infused into a soft chocolate ganache (filling).

This truffle and others (infused with fruit, berries, spices and other flavorful ingredients) were hand-crafted by Anne Pattison Simmons, founder and head chocolatier at Chocolat Lily. I first became aware of her work during a recent trip to Belize.

Anne was also a founder of Cotton Tree Chocolate in Punta Gorda, Belize, a company that specializes in sourcing local ingredients and employing local women. She applies a similar philosophy to Chocolate Lily truffles, made from (organic wherever possible) ingredients in her garden and from local Portland-area farmers. Thank you to Anne and to other chocolate crafters who bring heart and passion to your work, for the benefit of us who are lucky enough to enjoy the end product.

Madre Chocolate Hibiscus bar - June 7, 2013

Chocolate of the Day:

Madre Chocolate
Hibiscus bar
Weight: 1.5 oz. (43 g.) total bar
Calories: 225 calories (estimate) in 1 bar
Cost: $6.00 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Madre Chocolate, Hawaii (online order)

Certain flowers blend well with chocolate, particularly if the flower can stand up to the stronger flavor of dark chocolate. In this floral category: lavender, rose, geranium, and hibiscus -- the subject of this week's theme.

Today's 70% dark chocolate hibiscus bar from Madre Chocolate (Hawaii), was made with fair trade Dominican cacao. Red hibiscus flowers are quintessentially tropical, and the blooms (often incorporated as dried flowers or tea made from the flower) imparted a tart and saucy floral + citrus flavor.

Thank you to Madre Chocolate, for continuing to incorporate endemic Hawaiian fruit and flowers into new fresh-tasting flavor combinations. (For those unfamiliar with Madre, try their Triple Cacao bar, with cacao fruit pulp, cacao nibs, and dark chocolate for a multi-dimensional chocolate tasting experience.)
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