Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Lillie Belle Farms Ramblin Rose; Strawberry bars - Dec. 3, 2014

Chocolate(s) of the Day: 

Lillie Belle Farms
Ramblin Rose - 70% bar
Good ++
Weight: 1 oz. (28.3 g.) / 2.5 oz. (77 g.) in total bar
Calories: 150 calories (estimate) in 1 oz. (28.3 g.) of chocolate
Cost: $8.00 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Lillie Belle Farms, Central Point, OR

Today was the last day of Chocolate, Rose and Strawberry Theme Week, and Day #1 of Chocolate and Africa Theme Week.

The bar that came closest to matching these two overlapping themes was the Ramblin Rose 70% Madagascar Bean-To-Bar Dark Chocolate bar from Lillie Belle Farms (Central Point, OR).

And, because I chose to lash together Rose and Strawberry items this past week, I added two more bars. I've paired the hand-crafted Ramblin Rose single origin bar, made carefully from scratch....with two widely available strawberry flavored nostalgia bars: the Ricolino Bubu Lubu bar and the Strawberry flavored Charleston Chew bar.

The Ramblin Rose dark chocolate bar doesn't really have "rose" in it; and the two nostalgia bars may not have much chocolate, or maybe even real strawberry, in them. (One is "chocolate flavored" and the other is "chocolaty".) That's OK, there's room for everyone here; although these last two bars belong in a different candy bar category.

Ramblin Rose 70% bar

The Ramblin Rose 70% cacao bar was made from scratch, using organic cacao beans from Madagascar (a large island nation of the east coast of Africa), and organic sugar.

When tasting dark chocolate bars, one looks for an aroma, a hard snap, good melt, flavor, texture and finish, among other attributes.

The Ramblin Rose bar broke with a snap. A good, hard snap is an indication that the bar was very precisely heated and cooled to create the optimal crystalline structural alignment, as part of a process called tempering -- before chocolate is poured into bar molds or made into confections.

This bar had a slight roasted aroma and finish, and the chocolate was smooth, rich and satisfying with no off flavors. It's worth noting that when a chocolate maker crafts a bar with just two ingredients: cacao beans and sugar, there is no place to hide if you've made any mistakes or if you're dealing with flawed cacao beans.

Strawberry Nostalgia bars

Now let's switch to a rose relative -- the strawberry.

Both the Strawberry Charleston Chew (Tootsie Roll Industries) and the Ricolino Bubu Lubu (Grupo Bimbo) bars were made by large companies and contained a long list of ingredients (very common for popular, high-volume confections where consistency and long shelf life are important). And both bars are sometimes eaten frozen. Somehow I missed trying frozen Charleston Chew bars when I was young, but today I was determined to remedy that childhood nostalgia deficit.

Both strawberry bars were fun to try, if only because I would never eat a single origin dark chocolate bar frozen. These strawberry candy bars do break with a hard snap too, if frozen.

I particularly liked the frozen Strawberry Charleston Chew. Nougat and hard taffy bars were once referred to as "filling pullers" by my dentist. However, to my surprise, this chocolatey-coated, chewy nougat bar became much easier to bite off a piece in its frozen state.

There wasn't much of an aroma (because it was frozen); however, it had a pleasant, strawberry ice cream candy flavor throughout the tasting experience, with a sweet taffy finish.

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