Sunday, December 15, 2013

John and Kira's - Holiday Hearts and Flowers - Dec. 15, 2013

Chocolate(s) of the Day

John and Kira's
Holiday Hearts and Flowers
1.) Hearts - Very Good - 1 piece
2.) Flowers - Good + - 1 piece
Weight: .66 oz. (18.8 g.) estimate for 2 pieces / 3 oz. (85 g.) in total 9-piece box
Calories: 100 calories (estimate) in 2 pieces
Cost: $29.00 for 1 box of 9 pieces
Purchased from: John and Kira's, online order

Today was Day #1 of Chocolate and Holiday Spice Theme Week. December is the perfect month for gingerbread, mulled cider/wine, and eggnog spices -- blended with chocolate. Cinnamon, with its inherently warm flavor, is perhaps the most versatile and popular holiday spice.

I opened a 9-piece box of Holiday Hearts and Flowers chocolates from John and Kira's (Philadelphia, PA) this afternoon. I sampled both a festively red, dark chocolate Holiday Heart (filled with white chocolate, pistachio nut pieces and cinnamon), and a red, flower-shaped dark chocolate, filled with a 66% dark chocolate ganache (filling).

The heart, with a subtle hint of cinnamon spice, was my favorite. All the flavors were well balanced and cheerful, and the bits of green pistachio provided a bit of crunchy texture and visual eye candy and holiday color.

Wild Ophelia - Mined Salt bar - Dec. 14, 2013

Chocolate of the Day: 

Wild Ophelia
Mined Salt and Milk Chocolate bar
Weight: 1/2 bar
Calories: 150 calories for 1/2 bar
Cost: $4.99 (estimate) for 1 bar
Purchased from: Walgreen's, Palo Alto, CA

The Wild Ophelia Mined Salt and Milk Chocolate bar (part of Vosges Chocolate (Chicago, IL), was one of a line of bars with promotional ties to the 2013 movie "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire." (Included in these bars was information on how to win a year's worth of chocolate.)

The story that accompanied this bar seemed to draw a correlation between the mined pink Himalayan salt in this bar and Mining and "District 12" (featured in the movie). I haven't seen the movies, and I didn't see (or taste) any salt in the bar. So, I missed parts of the story here.

So, how did the chocolate taste? The 41% cacao milk chocolate bar base was OK, but slightly bland and gummy -- a texture I associate with the addition of soy lecithin (used as an emulsifier).

More on Salt, Salt Mines
Pink Himalayan salt is mined in Pakistan and other regions near the Himalaya mountains. The pink color (due to traces of iron oxide) might have been more obvious in appearance (and flavor) if it had been sprinkled atop the chocolate, rather than blended in. Either way, I missed the salt.

I unwrapped and ate this bar in a partially underground (subway) tunnel on the way to a gathering of Santas, elves and reindeer in San Francisco, and pondered what salt mining must be like in underground mines. Hard, and possibly dangerous, work (as noted on the bar's packaging). Thank you to all miners who provided salt for holiday chocolates featured this month.

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