Sunday, December 25, 2016

Valenza Chocolatier - Christmas Eve chocolates - Dec. 24, 2016

Chocolate(s) of the Day: 

Valenza Chocolatier

Barolo bonbon
(part of 6-piece Holiday Italian Cioccolato Sleeve assortment box)
Good+++-Very Good
Weight: .4 oz. (11.32 g.) (estimate) in 1 piece
Calories: 60 calories (estimate) in 1 piece
Cost: $15.00 - This piece was part of a 6-piece assortment box
Purchased from: Valenza Chocolatier, Costa Mesa, CA

Nocciole bar
(part of a 3-bar holiday bar set)
Good +++-Very Good
Weight: .775 oz. (22.5 g.) / 3.1 oz. (90 g.) in total bar
Calories: 116 calories (estimate) in 1/4 bar
Cost: $N/A - sample
Purchased from:

Welcome to Day #4 of Chocolate and Italian Holiday Theme Week, where we're celebrating the holidays with a holiday red wine-infused confection and a milk chocolate Nocciole (hazelnut) chocolate bar—from Valenza Chocolatier (Costa Mesa, CA).

Valenza Barolo Bonbon
Today's Barolo chocolate was from Valenza's Holiday Italian Cioccolato* Sleeve 6-piece assortment box. This Italian inspired collection was filled with rich holiday flavors.

Barolo is an Italian red wine made from the Nebbiolo grape in the Piedmont region of Northern Italy (not far from where excellent Piedmont hazelnuts are grown I must add).

Today's Valenza Chocolatier's Barolo holiday chocolate was constructed of a pate de fruit layer atop a 61% dark chocolate ganache, and covered with dark chocolate. The concentrated, layered flavors and textures were well-executed and delicious. This Barolo bonbon was a 2017 Good Food Awards finalist.

Valenza Holiday Bars - Nocciole
Today I also sampled one of a trio of Valenza chocolate bars (hazelnut, nibs and sesame) that were packaged together for the holidays.

The bar I tried was a 41% milk chocolate Nocciole (hazelnut) Bar loaded with roasted hazelnuts from the Piedmont region of Northern Italy and seasoned with a light sprinkle of Sicilian sea salt. These Piedmont PGI or IGP** hazelnuts are known for their fine quality.

Red Wine and Hot Chocolate
Today's Barolo chocolate reminded me of a hot item featured on numerous food blogs and in the New York Times. Mixing a good red wine (like a Barolo) with hot (drinking) chocolate (dark chocolate, milk, nutmeg, allspice, clove, mandarin peel and other spices. I had my doubts, but it was better than expected. And I drank the whole cup.

*Cioccolato is the Italian word for chocolate; and unfortunately this holiday assortment is already sold out for this year's holiday season.

**Piemonte IGP is a protected geographic designation and the term refers only to hazelnuts grown in a specific region of Piedmont Italy. 

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