Sunday, November 2, 2014

Lake Champlain - Apple Cider Caramels - Nov. 2, 2014

Chocolate of the Day: 

Lake Champlain Chocolates
Milk Chocolate Apple Cider Caramels
Good ++
Weight: 2.4 oz. (68 g.)
Calories: 245 calories (estimate) in 1 package
Cost: $15.25 for 1 box of 7 caramels
Purchased from: Draegers Market, San Mateo, CA

Colorful leaves, crisp fall weather and apples marked this week's progression into autumn -- as did today's Milk Chocolate Apple Cider Caramels "grown, fermented, and crafted in Vermont" by Lake Champlain Chocolates (Burlington, VT).

Coated with 34% milk chocolate, the flavors in these rectangular-shaped treats sprang from a blend of tart Citizen Cider apple cider and Happy Valley Orchard apple pressings -- in a soft caramel with hints of brown sugar, butter and organic cinnamon.

Today was Day #2 of Chocolate and Holiday Spices Theme Week.

The Oakland Choc. Co. - Pumpkin truffle - Nov. 1, 2014

Chocolate of the Day: 

The Oakland Chocolate Company
Pimento Pumpkin Truffle
Good ++
Weight: .49 oz. (13.8 g.) (estimate) in 1 piece
Calories: 72 calories (estimate) for 1 piece
Cost: $N/A - sample (Thank you Nancy)
Purchased from: N/A - sample, The Oakland Chocolate Company, Oakland, CA

Today was Day #1 of Holiday Spice Theme Week.

I had the good fortune to visit Nancy Nadel, the creative force behind The Oakland Chocolate Company (Oakland, CA) today. When I arrived at her relatively new facility and tasting room, I donned a hairnet and interviewed her while she was roasting beans, pouring liquid chocolate into containers, and making caramels.

Nancy is a bean-to-bar-to-bonbon chocolate maker and chocolatier (one of the few women to make chocolate from scratch in the San Francisco Bay Area). She has a relationship with the farmers in and buys her beans from St. Mary Parish in Jamaica.

Toward the end of my visit with Nancy, I sampled a few holiday-relevant* offerings, including today's Pimento Pumpkin Truffle. The dark (Jamaican) glossy, pumpkin-shaped chocolate shell enclosed a spiced pumpkin (white chocolate) filling.

The "Pimento" in this Pimento Pumpkin Truffle didn't refer to a pimento as we know it in the U.S., but rather to an allspice berry blend. The filling was infused with a subtle hint of Berry Hill pimento allspice liqueur from Wray and Nephew (Kingston, Jamaica).

The pumpkin and spice flavors were well balanced, and not overpowering, and stood up nicely to the rich, dark chocolate couverature.

*I also sampled a juniper berry truffle (think a tall, cylindrical flavored truffle, like a gin and tonic glass) that I hope to feature in the future.

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