Thursday, June 25, 2015

SOMA Chocolatemaker - Magnolia Peach - June 25, 2015

Chocolate of the Day: 

SOMA Chocolatemaker
Magnolia Peach
Good ++ - Very Good
Weight: .4 oz. (11.32 g.) (estimate) for 1 piece
Calories: 70 calories (estimate) in 1 piece
Cost: $ N/A part of a larger box of chocolates
Purchased from: SOMA Chocolatemaker, Toronto, Canada

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

I was intrigued the moment I stepped into SOMA Chocolatemaker's Distillery District location in Toronto several years ago. I must have spent 2 hours there, appreciating as much chocolate as I could, including a Douglas Fir truffle, which I loved, and other wonderful items at the bar/counter areas.

Recently, I've been experimenting with magnolia flower petals (and other flowers) in my yard, only recently realizing many of them were edible. The large, creamy white flower petals that occasionally flutter down from high up in the magnolia trees in my neighborhood are enjoyed for their floral aroma; but magnolias are also pickled and/or eaten by some in the U.S. I tried a peck of pickled petals, and they were a bit like sweet pickles infused with a light floral perfume. I hope to experiment more in the future with this lovely flower.

So, when I had an opportunity to order SOMA's seasonal Spring flavor -- Magnolia and Peach, I jumped at the chance. If you like botanicals, you'll appreciate this heavenly blend. The dark chocolate ganache (made with beans from Ecuador) was rich but just mellow enough not to mask the subtle magnolia flavor. And the natural, fresh peach flavor took me back to childhood memories of peach jam on buttered toast, devoured slowly near a sunny window.

Thank you to Sandy, Cynthia and others at SOMA for all their help with this order (that required and ice pack and dodging warm weather for the journey from Toronto to California); and for their ongoing creativity.

Spicely - Sage Lavender Orange chocolate - June 24, 2015

Chocolate of the Day: 

Spicely Organic Spices
Sage Lavender Orange chocolate
Weight: .5 oz. (14.1 g.) in 1 small box of discs
Calories: 75 calories (estimate) in 1 small box
Cost: $2.49 for 1 small box of discs
Purchased from: Piazza's Find Foods, Palo Alto, CA

Yesterday, was the conclusion of Chocolate and Orange Theme Week. But the faint warm citrus aroma of Orange Week past carried over to today's Sage Lavender and Orange chocolate, and Day #1 of Chocolate and Botanicals Theme Week.

Botanicals are substances obtained from plants used as flavor and aroma additions in drinks and foods.

Spicely Organic Spices Inc. (Fremont, CA) produces a line of organic herbs and tea, and herb and tea infused chocolates. I imagine having all those good herbs, spices and other botanicals must lead to robust creative experimentation when developing chocolate flavor inclusions.

Today's organic, kosher, thin, round discs of Sage Lavender and Orange were made with creamy 60% dark chocolate, infused with sage, lavender and orange.

I like all of these ingredients separately. Does that mean the combination will work? Not necessarily. Flavor balancing is an art. The resulting herby-floral-fruit blend did work though. Individual flavors were layered and detectable if you focused on them (or re-tasted a few times); and I found this chocolate evoked a slight rosemary-like flavor note, which upon re-tasting had morphed into sage. Go figure.

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