Monday, December 22, 2014

Charles Chocolates - Salty-Sweet Hazelnut bar - Dec. 22, 2014

Chocolate of the Day: 

Charles Chocolates
Salty-Sweet Hazelnut bar
Good + - Very Good
Weight: .975 oz. (28 g.) / 3.9 oz. (112 g.) in 1 bar
Calories: 146 calories (estimate) in 1/4 bar
Cost: $7.95 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Calafia Cafe and Market A-Go-Go, Palo Alto, CA

Welcome to Day #5 of Chocolate and Hazelnut Theme Week.

Charles Chocolates founder, Chuck (Charles) Siegel, used to have a location in Emeryville, CA, where I visited about four years ago. I remember the filled chocolate butterflies and a great tea-infused chocolate collection. The newer location is in the Mission district of San Francisco. I look forward to trying new chocolates there soon.

In the meantime, I was was able to purchase today's smartphone-sized, Salty-Sweet Hazelnut Bar - 65% Bittersweet Chocolate bar, that was nice and fresh, from a local Cafe and Market, that carries a small, high-turnover inventory of chocolates.

Freshness is very important for all foods, and because chocolate bars can have a long shelf life, some bars with inclusions lose their freshness if they sit too long; or nuts can taste stale. Not true with this bar. Whole hazelnuts were perfectly roasted and covered with a "meringue of Fleur de Sel and sugar," helping to seal in fresh nut taste and crunchy texture, and giving them an extra burst of salty and sweet flavor.

The 65% chocolate base that covered the nuts had a slightly creamy texture and authentic, smooth bittersweet flavor.

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