Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Firefly Chocolate - Orange + Rose bar (+ petals) - Jan. 6, 2016

Chocolate of the Day: 

Firefly Chocolate
Orange + Rose 85 percent bar
Good +
Weight: 1.86 oz. (52 g.) in 1 bar
Calories: 279 calories (estimate) in 1 bar
Cost: $9.00 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Firefly Chocolate, Fall Chocolate Salon, San Francisco, CA

Welcome to Day #6 of Chocolate and Flower Theme Week, and Day #1 of Chocolate and Orange Theme Week. Today I'm featuring a bar that included flowers and fruit in bloom this month (winter) in California—orange citrus fruits, a few hardy roses, and a sprinkle of loquat blossom petals.

Today's Orange + Rose dark chocolate bar was from Firefly Chocolate in Sonoma County (Windsor, CA). This 85 percent cacao, organic dark chocolate bar was made with stone ground cacao beans, coconut palm sugar and cocoa butter. And it was flavored with rose powder and orange peel powder.

This ultra-dark bar had a pleasing fragrance with hints of fruit, floral, and spice. The texture was smooth, and the rose petal flavor stood up to the 85% chocolate and the (very subtle) orange peel flavor better than I imagined. (Floral flavors can be delicate, volatile and easily lost.)

This bar was perfect for those who want to experience some lovely flavor elements without much sugar.

And if you'd like to turbo-boost the rose flavor, you can always make a rose petal wrap* (or rose "taco") by folding rose petals around small bites of a floral chocolate.

Roses and Loquats
The rose family is large. It includes the lush, romantic rose flower, as well as apples, pears...and loquats.

Conveniently, loquats bloom in January in California, so I picked some loquat blossoms (thanks to my neighbor Margaret!), and sampled these edible flowers, with the intent of doing some chocolate and flower match-making.

The small five-petal, off-white loquat flowers had an intriguing, slightly musty, almond blossom perfume aroma. As is often the case with flowers, the smell was different than the taste of the orange fruit that will develop in a few months. (Loquats came over from Asia. And, I believe loquat flowers are used in China to make or flavor a cough medicine.)

Rose5 Cocktail
On a related note, I made a low-alcohol Rose5 cocktail. This drink was made with 3/4 oz. of vodka that had been mixed with 1.5 oz. of simple syrup of rose petals and loquat flowers; a drop of chocolate bitters, 3 drops of almond liqueur, and a splash of soda water if you'd like. Garnish with ice cubes filled with petals if you want to guild the lilly. Adjust portions to your liking.

*Make sure to use fresh unsprayed or, preferably, organic roses petals. You'll find some roses have more perfume oomph than others; but they're all fun to try—either by infusing petals into a heated simple syrup (1/2 organic sugar + 1/2 water) and letting them sit for an hour or two to cool. Or, if you wish, you can muddle them into some vodka or gin and let them sit/infuse for awhile before straining the petals out.

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